MOSCOW, December 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russia ranks highest in the world among upper-middle-income countries affected by terrorism and ninth overall, according to a new report by an Australian think-tank.
Other former Soviet republics ranked considerably lower in the Global Terrorism Index*, a new measure of the impact of terrorism, released last week by the Institute for Economics Peace (IEP).
The rating assesses 158 countries over the past 10 years, factoring in the number of attacks and casualties, as well as relevant factors such as relationship networks, human rights, group grievances and governance.
The majority of terrorist attacks in Russia, the report found, took place in the volatile North Caucasus region, where a low-intensity Islamic insurgency has simmered for years. About 45 percent of the country’s attacks have targeted police officers and government officials, the IEP said.
The 2004 siege by Chechen rebels of a school in Beslan, in the North Caucasus republic of North Ossetia, remains the third-deadliest terrorist attack in the world since 2002, the report added.
The report labeled Russia a “hybrid regime” – a relatively prosperous country with limited civil liberties – and noted that this type of country suffers the most from terrorism in terms of attacks and casualties.
Countries with greatest risk of terrorism
On Tuesday, Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Alexander Bortnikov said Russian authorities have thwarted 92 terrorist attacks in 2012 and detained more than 600 terrorism suspects and accomplices.
Viktor Orlov, deputy head of Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC), said earlier that more than 260 terrorism-related crimes took place in 2012, compared to 365 in 2011.
The other countries in the top 10, from greatest impact of terrorism to least, were Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Thailand and the Philippines.
Among other former Soviet republics, Belarus trailed behind Russia as a distant second, at 32nd place in the index. The Belarusian capital Minsk was hit by a subway bombing in April 2011, which left 15 people dead and led to the prompt execution of two young Belarusian men convicted of plotting the attack.
The Central Asian republics appeared even lower on the list, despite ongoing claims of a terror threat by several of their governments.
Kazakhstan ranked the highest in Central Asia, at 47th place, while Tajikistan came in at 59th, Uzbekistan at 86th and Kyrgyzstan at 92nd. The report found no impact of terrorism in Turkmenistan, identified by human rights activists as a closed, authoritarian regime.
In recent years, NATO’s anti-terrorism campaign in Afghanistan and the alliance’s impending pull-out have heightened fears that Islamic terrorism could seep through the region’s porous borders into the ex-Soviet Central Asian states.
*An earlier version of this story incorrectly named the report the Global Terrorism Index for 2011.