The major debate surrounding Islam in the former Soviet ‘space’ pertains to its political significance and impact. Following the Iranian revolution and the Islamic insurgence against the Marxist-Leninist regime which took power in Afghanistan in 1978, the Soviet authorities began to show concern at Islam’s ‘politicization’. In the last decade or so of the USSR’s existence, as its hold in the periphery weakened, Moscow took pains to portray domestic Islam — at least in those parts where the Islamic ‘revival’ appeared particularly dynamic — as a threat to its hegemony. The Kremlin accused certain elements within ‘the Islamic movement’ of seeking to follow in the footsteps of Islamic extremists in Iran and Afghanistan, and from time to time of maintaining actual contacts with them with the intention of undermining Soviet rule in those areas in question.1