Dr. Denis Sokolov is a Senior Fellow at Free Russia Foundation, Senior Advisor at the CSIS, and a former Visiting Fellow at the Kennan Institute (2016). He is an expert on issues of informal economy and gray zone conflicts with geographical specialization on Russia, Central Asia and Northern Caucasus. Since 2009, Dr. Sokolov has conducted fieldwork in the Northern Caucasus, studying transformation of rural communities and urbanization and migration spurred by globalization. His nationwide, regional and global research projects have focused on issues ranging from the role of Russian-speaking combatants in Syria; proliferation of Salafi Islam and its impact on rural communities; migration from Dagestan to Western Siberia as part of expansion of energy extraction in Russia; economic displacement of ethnical Russians by migrants from Dagestan and the Chechen Republic in the East of Stavropol Krai; and to regional conflicts linked with this migration process. 

Sokolov is a winner of the 2013 Hadzhimurad Kamalov Prize, a Dagestani journalism award, in the “Consolidation – Creation – Tolerance” nomination.

Project Summary

Post-Soviet elites and their clientele use the ‘war on terror’ label to mask a whole complex of practices legitimizing state violence against political opponents – so much so that it’s possible to suggest that ‘terrorism’ is not so much a problem as it is a tool used by these old elites to fight democratic modernization on the one hand and the Islamic project on the other. The areas of post-Soviet space where similar institutional transformations take place is so large that this hypothesis seems relevant for areas and regions beyond North Caucasus. 

Major Publications

•       Analysis of Humanitarian Sector in the North Caucasus (Case Study of Dagestan’s Health Sector), published in Ways to Peace and Security, issue 1(54), 2018
•       Uses of “Radicalism”: Elite Relationships, Migration, Religion, and Violence in the Volga Region and Central Russia, published by CSIS, June 2018
•       Three Generations of Karata: The Transformation of a Daghestani Collective into a Global Islamic Religious Community, published in Anthropology and Archeology of Eurasia Journal, Volume 56, 2017, Issue 3-4
•       Russia’s Other Pipeline: Migration and Radicalization in the North Caucasus, published in Kennan Cable,  No.17: 15 August 2016 
•       Ugra, the Dagestani North: An Anthropology of Mobility Between the North Caucasus and Western Siberia, New Mobilities and Social Changes in Russia’s Arctic Regions (Routledge Research in Polar Regions), ed. Marlene Laruelle, Routledge, 232 p., 2016
•       The Northern Caucasus as a Frontier of Empire, Annual Report Russia 2014, CCI France-Russie, 2014, p. 302-314