Research article
Issue: № 8 (110), 2021


Научная статья

Пайгунова Ю.В.1, *, Чистяков В.А.2

1 ORCID: 0000-0001-9617-2293;

1 Поволжский государственный университет физической культуры, спорта и туризма, Казань, Россия;

2 Нижегородская государственная сельскохозяйственная академия, Нижний Новгород, Россия

* Корреспондирующий автор (paigunova[at]


Статья посвящена анализу психологических факторов и профилактике экстремизма в молодежной среде. Анализируется проблема противопоставления индивидуально – личностных и социально – психологических предпосылок экстремизма, в том числе и на примере отдельных случаев экстремистских проявлений среди молодежи, вызвавших большой общественный резонанс – дело студентки Варвары Карауловой, дело казанского «колумбайнера» - Ильназа Галявиева. Приводятся результаты пилотажного исследования - анкетирования студенческой молодежи и интервьюирования педагогов вузов Татарстана по вопросу психологических факторов экстремизма - специфике личностных черт экстремистов, мотивов деятельности, отношение к различным мерам профилактики экстремизма.

Ключевые слова: Молодежный экстремизм, предпосылки экстремизма, девиантное поведение в молодежной среде, социально – психологические факторы экстремизма, мотивы деятельности, меры профилактики экстремизма.


Research article

Paygunova Yu.V.1, *, Chistyakov V.A.2

1 ORCID: 0000-0001-9617-2293;

1 Volga State University of Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism, Kazan, Russia;

2 Nizhny Novgorod State Agricultural Academy, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

* Corresponding author (paigunova[at]


The article is devoted to the analysis of psychological factors and the prevention of extremism among young people. The article analyzes the problem of contrasting individual-personal and socio – psychological prerequisites of extremism, including the example of individual cases of extremist manifestations among young people that caused a great public outcry – the case of student Varvara Karaulova, the case of the Kazan "columbiner" – Ilnaz Galyaviev. The article presents the results of preliminary study interviewing - of students and teachers of Tatarstan universities on the psychological factors of extremism - the specifics of personal traits of extremists, motives of activity, attitude to various measures to prevent extremism.

Keywords: Youth extremism, prerequisites of extremism, deviant behavior among young people, socio-psychological factors of extremism, motives of activity, measures to prevent extremism.


Extremism occupies a special place among the social deviations of our time in terms of the scale of its destructive consequences and the complexity of prevention. The problem of extremism has a multicultural basis, is characterized by a tendency to extensive and intensive growth. In the last decade, the Republic of Tatarstan has come face to face with the problem of extremism. The implantation of elements of radicalist ideology among young people, as the most socially active and socially vulnerable category of the population, is particularly dangerous. The events that took place in Kazan in May 2021, the attack on the school of one of its former pupils, unprecedented in its cruelty (teachers and children of primary and secondary school students were killed) that stirred up the whole of Russia, raises the question of the determining factors of the extremism threat among young people.

Principles and methods of research

The problem of contrasting the individual-personal and social prerequisites of extremism goes back to a common problem that social psychology has been trying to solve for many decades - the search for explanatory models of the correlation of situational and personal variables as determinants of human behavior. The obvious one-sidedness of the two principal approaches to explaining human behavior – personality-centered and situation-centered, provided the advantages of the third explanatory model, which focuses on the interaction of the individuality with the situation[1, P. 32 -35].

Most experts are inclined to believe that the work on the prevention of extremism should begin with an analysis of individual and socio-psychological factors of motivation, with an understanding of the psychological characteristics of the extremist's personality, with an analysis of public attitudes to extremism as a prerequisite for the formation of a system of socio-psychological prevention and social counteraction to this deviation. There is a modernization of views on the response of subjects of activity to the challenges of socio-cultural reality. Surprisingly, psychologists refuse to consider the psychology of the subject from purely intrapsychological positions, and advocate the need for a new understanding of the old problems caused by the emergence of an information society that has a network nature of the organization of knowledge [3, P. 5 -16.]

G. Y. Fomenko, notes that «the difficulties of self-determination of the individual in the contradictions of modernity and the unconstructivity of their resolution lead to the loss of self-esteem by the individual, the experience of his own worthlessness and hopelessness, as well as «exclusion» from social processes, « which leads, in his opinion, to the emergence of individual extremists representing the interests of the excluded mass in the modern world [6], [7]. The presented theses acted as methodological principles of our research. The empirical methods were the content analysis of the student survey and the interviewing of experts from among the teachers of Tatarstan universities.

The main results

A well-known international expert on extremism, Abraham Kaplan, suggests distinguishing the grounds and causes of extremism and terrorism, referring to the basis – the social conditions that encourage extremists to rationalize their actions, and to the reasons – the characteristics of the personality of terrorists [2].

Young, inexperienced people who have a confused system of value orientations, do not have a positive social goal, but are very eager to find it, and are ready to direct their energy in any, even destructive direction, if a system of certain ideological orientations is set there, become easy prey for recruiters of terrorist organizations. A good example is the case of Varvara Karaulova, a girl from a prosperous family, a Russian, a student of the philological faculty of Moscow State University, who did not join Islamic State only due to the intervention of the actions of the Russian special services. This precedent made everyone think again about the potential threat of recruiting young people, who may well be attracted to participate in terrorist organizations for emotional motives. The court did not take into account the attempt of the convict's lawyers to justify her behavior with a schizotypal personality disorder, found the accused guilty, and imposed a rather severe punishment in the form of imprisonment in a general regime colony. The case of Varvara Karaulova. Similarly, experts initially see the difficulty in assessing the motives of the actions of the Kazan «columbiner» – Ilnaz Galyaviev, whose behavior is assessed either as caused by purely endogenous factors – organic disorders of brain activity, or by factors of skillful manipulation of the consciousness of the «shooter», and inspired ideas of social negativism, to which destructive organizations may also be involved (the investigation considers several versions).

The precedents with Varvara Karaulova and Ilnaz Galyaviev, in our opinion, actualizes the problem of the correlation of psychological and social factors in the motivation of extremist terrorist activity, and also transfers this problem from the scientific field to the legal plane. How to evaluate the actions of extremists? Who are these people-victims of the disease or competent recruiting? By what means is it possible to prevent the extremist threat to the younger generation? Is the application of preventive measures of the state threat, sanctions for behavior adequate here?

In order to answer the above questions, we conducted a preliminary study among students and teachers of Kazan universities. In total, 25 experts - teachers of Tatarstan universities and 240 students took part in the survey.

The questions of the developed questionnaire concerned, first of all, the «psychological parameters of extremism» - respondents were asked to define the concept of «extremist», to identify specific personality traits that are prone to extremist activity, to indicate the motives for such activity, including those that, in the opinion of respondents, can partially «justify» their actions.

Also, through the questionnaire, we wanted to find out the respondents ' attitude to various measures of prevention of extremism, including alternative ones, such as «compulsory preventive psychotherapy» for persons prone to criminal acts and persons with antisocial behavior. All the questionnaire questions were open-ended, and the data array was subjected to content analysis.

In the psychology of extremism, considerable attention is paid to the individual and personal characteristics of terrorists. Most specialists strive to identify the specifics of a person who is prone to crimes against humanity from the standpoint of its pathogenesis. In the individual history, as a rule, there is an early deprivation of parental care and attention, as well as a traumatic youth spent in deprivation and accompanied by numerous humiliations and losses (home, relatives, property, social and material status, etc.).

As part of our survey, we asked respondents to indicate specific factors of the extremist's personality characteristics. It is worth noting that since experts and students participated in the survey, the analysis was conducted for two categories of respondents.

The answers to the question about the individual and personal characteristics of terrorists in two groups of respondents did not show serious differences: in both the group of students and the group of experts, almost half of the respondents (48% and 55%, respectively) indicated that terrorists have a complex of psychological properties that form their attitude to illegal and antisocial activities. Among the qualities attributed by respondents to potential terrorists, the following were more often than others: unbalance, aggressiveness, cruelty, indifference. But it should be noted that in both groups, half of the respondents believe that there are no psychological qualities that determine the identity of a terrorist. Also, few of the correspondents agreed that mentally ill people become terrorists. Also, many respondents (30%) in both groups of respondents found it difficult to identify the motives of terrorist activity. The remaining answers to the question about the motivation of terrorism can be divided into two parts: religious and pseudo-religious motivation and motivation for self-affirmation and gaining power of mentally ill individuals [5]. On the question of the possibility of justifying participation in extremist activities associated with terrorist acts – 90% of the students surveyed believe that there is nothing to justify participation in a terrorist attack. The answers of teachers more often (up to 70 %) contained exculpatory motives of people who were forcibly, under the threat of death of loved ones, forced to commit a terrorist attack. The difference in the answers of experts and students was also found on the issue related to the prevention of extremist activity. The experts 'answers focused on social measures to counter terrorism, while the students' answers focused on psychological ones. In the assessment of students, extremism is rather the consequences of personal pathologies, and in the assessment of experts (people of the older generation, the arc of the social category), the problem of social deformations. Students have a more positive attitude to the idea of «compulsory preventive psychotherapy» [4] compared to experts - 70% against 20% among experts.


An effective solution to the problems of extremism requires identifying ways to prevent it not only by political, but also by psychological and social methods. The results оf preliminary study obtained by us make us think about the differences in the factors of extremism that representatives of different social and age (generational) strata of our society see, and the readiness to maintain appropriate preventive measures. Further studies, based on a more representative sample, with a large number of indicators, can shed light on the existing ideas in Russian society about the relationship between the psychological and social determinants of extremist behavior and determine effective vectors of preventive work.

Конфликт интересов Не указан. Conflict of Interest None declared.

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