The first half of the article exclusively based on secondary sources is a long, purely theoretical and polemical explanation of the distinction between the present-day ‘Tariqati’ and ‘Wahhabi’ trends in the Northern Caucasus ― viz., in fact, two categories coined by the Soviet state and its successors, in the late 1970s, for the designation of everything linked with the Sufi paths (tariqat, turuq), on the first hand, and on the other hand a wide range of movements hostile to the traditional authority of the Sufi masters in the Caucasus as well as in Central Asia. In the line of the liberal vision of post-Soviet Islam, the author takes the defence of ‘Wahhabism’ as a modernisation movement with historical roots in the Northern Caucasus (in Dagestan in particular, from the mid-1970s onwards), opposed to the traditionalism of the turuq. Following V. O. Bobrovnikov, the author dates of a period prior to the Iranian revolution of 1979 the structuring of a ‘modernist’ movement among the Northern Caucasian youth, well before the appearance of the first Muslim missionaries from the Near East in the 1990s. If this contribution strongly and happily contrasts with the bulk of the publications on the recent development of ‘Wahhabism’ in the Muslim-peopled regions of the former USSR, unfortunately it remains too abstract and insufficiently documented for winning over a large readership ― a shortcoming not infrequent in those publications of the Marjani Foundation of Moscow that are intended for the rehabilitation of such or such present-day movement of Islam in Russia.
Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris