State Terrorism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


States certainly commit acts of violence, and indeed, state violence is routinely far more lethal and destructive than the violence carried out by non-state actors. Internal repression in the Soviet Union between 1920 and 1956 resulted in at least 35 million deaths, considerably more than the USSR suffered in its titanic struggle with Germany in the Second World War. For some analysts, the campaigns of internal repression against their own citizens represent 'State Terrorism'. Many states have unquestionably engaged directly or indirectly in terroristic violence. Most Western democracies favour a criminal justice model of counterterrorism, where terrorism is just another form of crime, and terrorists are regarded and treated as criminal offenders. The chapter highlights a variety of frameworks to try to better understand state terrorism and how it relates to other types of political violence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Terrorism and Counterterrorism
EditorsAndrew Silke
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781315744636
ISBN (Print)9780367580520, 9781138819085
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • state terrorism
  • state-sponsored terrorism
  • terrorism studies
  • critical terrorism studies

Cite this