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>> Russia helped homegrown radicals leave the country to travel to the Middle East and fight. A Reuters special investigation found authorities help facilitate the departure of a number of Islamists that were being sought by police. Or turned a blind eye when they left the country. The militants were from Dagestan in the North Caucasus region where an Islamist insurgency is still simmering years after two separatist wars.
Reuters Moscow correspondent Maria Tsvetkova spoke to one of the militants.>> His name is Sadus Supuginov. He was a real militant in Russia and he would pose a threat to the Sochi Olympics if he stayed in the country. So few months before the Olympics, Russian authorities arranged talks with him and helped him to leave the country.
They bought him a ticket to Turkey, issued a new passport and from Turkey he crossed the Syrian border and joined a radical Islamist group there.>> Russian authorities deny they ever ran such a program. They say militants left of their own accord. But Reuters has identified five other Russian radicals, who relatives and local officials say, also left the country with direct or indirect help from authorities.
They all ended up in Syria. According to officials, the scheme lasted until at least 2014, ramping up ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics last year. By the end of 2015, nearly 3,000 Russians had left to the fight in the Middle East. Analysts say Russia is the third language of the Islamic state, after Arabic and English.
And one of it's most important supplies of foreign fighters. Moscow is now fighting IS and other militant groups in Syria. But it appears they may have helped some of the very people they say they're now fighting against.