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Sofiya Ruchko holds a Master’s degree in Political Science with a Focal Point on Area Studies from the University of Rostock, Germany. In 2019 she worked as a Research Assistant at the International Institute for Counterterrorism (Herzliya, Israel) and was involved in numerous research and investigative projects that were conducted at the Institute. The experience she gained was fundamental for her Master’s thesis: “After the Caliphate: The Continuing Dilemma of IS-Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Their Families”. This study is a thorough analysis of potential solutions to the so-called Returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters dilemma. Potential options such as “controlled return”, denaturalization, litigation and detention in Northern Syria / Iraq / third country, as well as other options are considered in this work from different perspectives: the legal one, the risks prevention perspective as well as from the human rights protection perspective.

Previously, Sofiya conducted research on the Central Asian Fighters in the Syrian Civil War, examined the ways they were recruited and the connection between Central Asian governments’ policies and youth radicalization in these countries. Currently she is working on her research paper on the Foreign Fighters repatriation program in Russian Federation.

Sofiya also holds a B.A. in Advertising and Public Relations, which she obtained at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in her home country, Ukraine. She is a native Russian and Ukrainian speaker, has full professional working proficiency in both German and English and is currently learning Arabic.

In October 2019 she was awarded the prize for excellent academic achievements and social engagement by the Society of Rostock University’s Sponsors. She was also nominated for the DAAD Prize for outstanding achievements of foreign students, studying at German universities.

Her main research interests include terrorism and violent-extremism; the process of radicalization and its prevention; East European and Middle Eastern studies.

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