Annamaria Kiss

Thesis title:

Understanding Russian Perceptions of Transnational Armed Mobilisation


Why would one join someone else’s civil war? Renewed interest in ’foreign fighters’ (FFs) as a form of transnational high-risk activism takes place in compartmentalised academic disciplines like contentious politics, civil war or terrorism studies, with few cross-references. Conceptual definitions are often based on the assumed motivations of the FFs, further contributing to this disconnect. Importantly, the policies of their home countries do not feature prominently. Yet, actors taking up arms and leaving to fight in somebody else’s civil war can be affected by the state policies both directly and indirectly. Using the case-study of Russian FFs leaving to fight in Syria and Iraq (not to be confused with PMCs or mercenaries), this project aims to understand this particular mobilisation and the Russian perception of this phenomenon. Thus, Annamaria’s thesis applies a Social Movement Theory framework to understand high-risk transnational activism and the state’s perceptions. Her research combines interviews, open source biographical data, legal documents, and ethnographic fieldwork.

Social media:

Twitter –
Linkedin –


Dr Samuel Greene (KCL) and Dr Cerwyn Moore (University of Birmingham)


12 – Strategic, Regional, & Security Studies





Merabishvili, G. and Kiss, A. (2016), The Perception of National Security in Georgia. Lithuanian Annual Strategic Review, Vol. 14, Issue 1, December 2016, pp. 159-177.

Marton, P. and Kiss, A. (2016), Chechen Combatants’ Involvement as Foreign Fighters in Ukraine and Syria and Iraq [Review article]. Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, Special Issue: Violence in the Post-Soviet Space, Vol. 2, No. 2, Kuhrt, N. and Kaczmarski, M. (eds), pp. 189-220.

Book chapters

Kiss, A. (2019), Terrorism in Russia, in: Jones, David M. et al (eds): Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency Post 9/11, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 304-315

Kiss, A. (2019), A Dél-Kaukázus, in: Szálkai, K. (szerk.): Biztonságpolitikai Corvinák, Budapest: Antall József Tudásközpont
[The South Caucasus. In: Szálkai, K. (ed): Handbook of Security Policy. Budapest: Antall József Knowledge Centre]

Kiss, A. (2019), The Means and Ends of Russo-Georgian “Normalization:” What is beyond the “Red Lines”? in: Gardner Feldman, L. et al (eds): The Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe between Conflict and Reconciliation. Research in Peace and Reconciliation (RIPAR) series, Volume 4, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht

Kiss, A. (2016), Minden út Moszkvába vezet? A dél-kaukázusi országok külgazdaság-politikája. In: Deák, A. (szerk.): A kéretlen integráció: A putyini Oroszország világgazdasági beilleszkedése, 2000-2013. Budapest: Akadémia kiadó, pp. 230-255.
[All Roads Lead to Moscow? Foreign Economic Policy of the South Caucasian countries. In: Deák, A. (ed.): The unwelcome integration. The integration of Russia into the world economy under Putin, 2000-2013. Akadémia Publishing, Budapest, pp.230-255.]

Merabishvili, G., Kiss, A., and Rácz, A. (2015), Development of Georgian Security Policy in the Light of Strategic Documents: Analysis of the National Security Concepts of 2005 and 2011. in: Bátor, P. and Ondrejcsák, R. (eds): Panorama of Global Security Environment 2014. Center for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA), Bratislava, 2015, pp. 183-193.

Policy Papers

Kiss, A (2018), Georgian Presidential Elections 2018: The show must go on, Stratpol Policy Paper, November 2018, STRATPOL – Strategic Policy Institute, Bratislava

Gyene, P. – Kiss, A, (2015), Nemzetközi tőkebefektetések a posztszovjet közép-ázsiai és dél-kaukázusi államokban. In: Szunomár, Á. (ed.): Eurázsia a 21. században – a tőkebefektetések tükrében, Kelet-Európa Tanulmányok 11, 2015, MTA Közgazdaság- és Regionális Tudományi Kutatóközpont Világgazdasági Intézet, Budapest, pp. 78-105.
[in English: Foreign Direct Investments in Post-Soviet Central Asia and South Caucasus. In: Szunomár, Á. (ed.): Eurasia in the 21st century – In light of capital investment, East-European Studies 11, 2015. Research Centre for Economic and Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of World Economics, Budapest]

Kiss, A. (2015), Az új orosz katonai doktrínáról, NKE Stratégiai Védelmi Kutatóközpont elemzések 2015/4, NKE Stratégiai Védelmi Kutatóközpont, Budapest.
[in English: The New Russian Military Doctrine, Centre for Strategic and Defence Studies Paper 2015/4, National University of Public Service, Budapest]

Rácz, A. and Kiss, A. (2014), A volgográdi merényletek anatómiája és a szocsi olimpia, MKI-tanulmányok, 2014. január, Magyar Külügyi Intézet, Budapest.
[in English: The anatomy of the Volgograd bombings and the Sochi Olympics. January 2014, Hungarian Institute of International Affairs, Budapest]

Kiss, A. (2013), A radikális iszlám terjedése az Észak-Kaukázusban mint orosz biztonságpolitikai kihívás: A Kaukázusi Emirátus, Külügyi Szemle, XII. évfolyam/2013. 3. szám, Magyar Külügyi Intézet, Budapest.
[in English: The Spread of Radical Islam in the North Caucasus as a challenge for Russian Security: the Caucasus Emirate, Külügyi Szemle, Vol. 12., No. 3, Hungarian Institute of International Affairs, Budapest]

Edited works

Kiss, A (ed.) (2017): “A Strategy for Russia”– Russian Foreign Policy and Global Positioning in the Next Decade, EU Frontier- Policy Brief No. 23, Center for Europen Neighborhood Studies, Central European University

Book Reviews

Kiss, A (forthcoming), How Socio-Cultural Codes Shaped Violent Mobilization and Pro-Insurgent Support in the Chechen Wars, by Emil Aslan Souleimanov and Huseyn Aliyev, Terrorism and Political Violence

Kiss, A. (2016), State and Legal Practice in the Caucasus. Anthropological Perspectives on Law and Politics, edited by Stéphane Voell and Iwona Kaliszewska, Caucasus Survey, Vol. 4., No. 1, pp. 106-109.

Other Publications

Kiss, A. (2014), Russian view on South Caucasus: a teetering policy of pragmatism, Cultural Relations Quarterly Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter 2014, Institute for Cultural Relations Policy, Budapest.

Kiss, A. (2013), Russia and the South Caucasus: Managing Contradictions. In: Ludvig, Zs. (ed.): Eurasian challenges. Partnerships with Russia and other issues of the post-Soviet Area. Budapest: Research Centre for Economic and Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of World Economics, 2013. pp. 30-72.