Denis Sokolov is an expert on North Caucasus focusing on the informal economy of the region, land disputes, and institutional foundations of military conflicts. He is a senior research fellow at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) and research director at the Center for Social and Economic Research of Regions (RAMCOM).

Since 2009, Sokolov has conducted field research in the Northern Caucasus, primarily in Dagestan, focusing predominantly on how globalization has transformed rural communities and led to new urbanization and migration patterns. He has studied the impact of the proliferation of Salafi Islam on local rural communities, labor migration from Dagestan to West Siberia, displacement of ethnic Russians in the eastern regions of the Stavropol Krai, and other migration-related conflicts and phenomena.

Sokolov’s current research focus is the flow of combatants from Russia and other post-Soviet countries to Syria and Islamic State, as well as political emigration of Russian Muslims to Turkey, Egypt, and Western Europe.

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

-          Can the North Caucasus Adapt to Political Change?, oDR, January 2016:

-          Islam as a Political Factor, Vedomosti, July 2015:

-          Is Islam against the Global Market?, Kavpolit, November 2014:

-          The Northern Caucasus as a Frontier of Empire, CCI France-Russie, Yearbook, 2014: