Previous academic work on stability in Dagestan has focused on two potential cleavages, the republic’s ethnic diversity and the challenge from radical Islamist groups. Using results from a December 2005 survey, and focusing on Dagestan’s six main ethnic groups, this paper investigates attitudes towards the dual topics of the politicization of ethnicity and the relationship between terrorism and Islamism. We find that Dagestanis maintain layered conceptions of identity, and do not attribute violence predominantly to radical Islam in the republic or the wider North Caucasus. Scholars should be aware of Rogers Brubaker’s concept of groupism in analyzing not just ethnic groups, but religious movements as well.

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