Russian authorities are engaged in a large-scale counter-terrorism campaign against the Caucasus Emirate (CE), a Salafist terrorist network with ties to al-Qaeda and other international groups. The CE's operations threaten the stability of the Russian North Caucasus, and could potentially impact further afield. Russia's counter-terrorism effort has assumed greater urgency since the 2014 Winter Olympic Games were awarded to Sochi, a popular resort city in the North Caucasus.
The CE, which aims to establish an Islamic state in the North Caucasus, has strong roots in the Chechen separatist movement that fought two wars against the Russian state in the post-Soviet period. However, the purpose and activities of this movement gradually evolved as it was radicalised by an influx of Islamic extremism. While continuing and intensifying the separatist movement's attacks against the Russian state, the CE has also violently sought the implementation of Sharia law, engaged in sectarian violence and, in recent years, been implicated in various European terrorist plots.