Hostage Taking by Terrorists: Aggravation of Internal Conflicts Instead of Unity

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It is assumed that a terrorist action is a physical expression of a conflict between terrorists and people who confront them. However if this obvious collision of interests is considered in such way another, no less important aspect is lost. Besides the fact that terrorist action is an expression of a conflict between terrorists and a target of their attack it reveals and exasperates conflicts existing within the community which resists terrorists. Any major terrorist action is essentially and simultaneously is a litmus test and a generator of such ‘internal’ collisions. The report will present results of a research of the most impressive terrorist actions that involved hostage taking and occurred in Russia, i.e. operations in Budennovsk (1995), Moscow (2002) and Beslan (2004). The research is based on analysis of 70 in-depth interviews taken from representatives of groups of people who survived terrorist attacks (hostages and their relatives, negotiators, rescuers, members of law enforcement structures, journalists). In addition, such literary sources as reports of governmental and non-governmental organizations on investigation of these terrorist operations, recollections of the event participants, law acts on terrorism were studied. By virtue of reconstruction and analysis of practices used by groups of participants and perceived by other participant groups as erroneous the author attempts to answer the question why any major terrorist action provokes so severe conflicts at ‘this side’.


Keywords: Terrorism, Violence, Conflits, Social Practices
Stream: Identity and Belonging; the Politics of Diversity; Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in French
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Ksenia Grigoryeva

Post Graduate Student, Department of Xenophobia and Extremism Studies
Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Science

Moscow, Russian Federation

I am a post-graduate in the Department of Xenophobia and Extremism Studies at Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Science in Moscow. In 2004 I graduated the faculty of history of St. Petersburg State University and my first specialty is the history medieval. In 2005 I also graduated the French University College of St. Petersburg, department of sociology. My thesis research has focused on coverage of Chechen war by Russian media. For the present I am working on my dissertation that focuses on hostage taking by terrorists in Russia.

Ref: D08P0108