If current demographic trends continue, within the next half-century Muslims will constitute a sizable part, perhaps even a plurality, of Russia's population; indeed, Moscow currently has more Muslim inhabitants than any other European city. And unlike those in Amsterdam or Paris, most of Moscow's Muslims are citizens, not immigrants — products of the Russian Empire's 19th century southward expansion. In the coming decades, Muslim peoples from Russia's North Caucasus and Volga regions, together with migrants from neighboring Central Asia and Azerbaijan, will continue to displace Russia's Slavic core and reshape how the country defines itself.
These shifts pose new challenges to Russia's stability. Last December, following the slaying of an ethnic Russian in Moscow, allegedly by a man from the North Caucasus, mobs of chanting youths took to the streets, arms raised in Nazi salutes. "Moscow for Muscovites," read one of their tamer bits of graffiti. Photos and video showed other young men — pummeled, bloodied and dark-haired — cowering behind a thin phalanx of police officers.
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