190121, Saint Petersburg,
Soyuza Pechatnikov str., 16
A meeting in Berlin in January 2020 dedicated to a settlement in Libya — unlike the failed international conference held in Palermo in 2018 — leaves a slight hope for the implementation of conditions laid out in its final document. The essence of the proposals is to fix the state of things established in Libya at the end of last year. The meeting in Istanbul between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan that preceded the negotiations in Berlin implied the same thing. Their joint statement after the talks on January 8, 2020, stressed the impossibility of a unilateral solution to the Libyan problem: “Seeking a military solution to the ongoing conflict in Libya only causes further suffering and deepens the divisions among Libyans.”
The second decade of the twenty-first century is characterised by Russia’s active involvement in Middle Eastern issues. Unexpectedly, Russia decided to return to the Middle East, and Damascus appeared to be the gate to the region. Russian policy in the Middle East ceased to be ideological following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and no longer followed a messianic narrative. The State has become more pragmatic, neither “pro-Arab” nor “pro-Israel” and, in principle, serves its own interests without adhering to a specific camp. Russia has repeatedly changed its vision and respective narrative of the events taking place in the Arab world since the onset of anti-government protests in the region in 2011. In fact, Russian policy in the Middle East has taken a u-turn during the past 8 years: from near total disinterest to direct military intervention.
This study will examine the second Sakhalin and Kuril Islands expedition of lieutenant Khvosotv and ensign Davidov in 1807. The plan of the expedition to Sakhalin was originally built by Rezanov. He genuinely believed that it would help to establish trade between Russia and Japan. On the August 8th of the 1806 he issued an order that prescribed two officers to conduct the expedition to Sakhalin. However, on the 24th of September, he cancelled the expedition. Despite that fact Khvostov decided to conduct the expedition to Sakhalin. Moreover, the following 1807 year Khvostov, this time together with Davidov, carried out the plan of expedition to Sakhalin and Kuril island for the second time. This research is based on the Davidov’s journal “The Voyage of an American Company Tender “Avos” in 1807, under Ensign Davidov”, in which he gives a detailed description of the expedition. He makes interesting notes on the state of the Japanese settlements, compares them to the Russian ones, and describes the search of the first Russian settlements, which was founded by Zvezdochotov on Kuril Islands.
The article presents biographies of two prominent authors of kokkeibon (“funny books”) genre, namely, Jippensha Ikku and Shikitei Sanba. The famous writers of their epoch, they are notable for their unusual fates and eccentric behavior, which was depicted in their personal memoirs as well as in the works of their contemporaries. Their well-known colleague, Kyokutei Bakin, in his work “Modern Fiction: A Classification of Edo Authors” gave one of the most detailed characteristics of their lives and literary careers. In his review gesakusha writers are represented in all the varieties of their appearances — as successful authors of fiction and poetry, talented storytellers, artists, calligraphists and even businessmen. Jippensha Ikku, the author of one of the biggest gesaku bestsellers, “Shank’s Mare”, started as a bureaucrat in Osaka, and then soon he began to write fiction, alongside with making prints, calligraphy and storytelling. Shikitei Sanba was involved in bookselling business for quite a long time, and then his own literary career started. At the same time he opened a pharmacy, which turned out to be very successful. Therefore, both Jippensha Ikku and Shikitei Sanba embodied a typical image of a gesakusha writer, being active in different spheres and creating a special type of behavior. This mindset can as well be found in their literary works, made of various humorous, theatrical and poetic elements.
In 1859 Governor General of East Siberia, count Muravyov-Amurskiy (1809 - 1881) arrived in Edo (now Tokyo) as a head of squadron of warships to negotiate with the representatives of military government (bakufu). He sought acceptance by Japanese authority that Sakhalin is Russian territory to draw a border along La Perouse strait. Muravyov-Amurskiy tried to achieve his aim while not resorting to the threat of military force. Russian arguments were not accepted by Japanese diplomats. It was not until 1875 some 16 years later when by Saint-Petersburg treaty Sakhalin fully became part of Russian Empire. Famous japanese historian Akidzuki Tosiaki, while not fully showing Muravyov-Amurskiy statements, is trying to show russian policy in Far East in a misrepresented manner.
Matsudaira Sadanobu (1758-1829) was an actual head of Japanese government in 1787-1793 when relations with Russia had become one of the key questions for Japanese authorities. His success in the negotiations with Russian envoy Adam Laxman made him one of the most influential experts in external affairs even after his resignation. Through his autographic documents and diaries we managed to trace his attidude towards Russia and the idea of trade relations with it under the influence of several events: the Ainu uprising at Kunashir and northeastern Hokkaido in 1789, the visits of Adam Laxman and Nikolai Rezanov embassies in 1792-1793 and 1804-1805, and the assaults on Japanese settlements at Sakhalin and Iturup by Russian sailors in 1806-1807. By examining some common trends in Japan’s foreign policy in the first years of Sadanobu’s rule such as the reduction of trade with Dutch and Chinese merchants and the revision of Korean embassies to Japan, we have seen that Sadanobu’s early negative attitude towards Russia fits together with it. However, the negotiations with Russian envoy Adam Laxman pushed Sadanobu to reconsider the significance of relations with Russia and to pay more attention to the safety of northern boundaries of Japan. Sadanobu’s resignation in 1793 didn’t mean he was sidelined from the state affairs. His opinion was still taken into consideration by the central government as it was after the assaults on Japanese settlements at Sakhalin and Iturup by Russian sailors in 1806-1807. It appears that the capture of Russian captain Vasilii Golovnin in 1811 by Japanese officials were based on Sadanobu’s earlier offer to show off Japan’s martial prowess. Sadanobu’s recognition of Russia as a “neighboring country” signed the change in Japan’s awakening about the reshaped world order in the North Pacific.
The article traces how the image of the Ainu formed by Japanese intellectuals in 18th and early 19th centuries influenced the formation of Japan’s policy towards this ethnic minority in the Meiji period (1868-1912).
This paper focuses on the theory and practice of jihād in the Mamlūk Sultanate, especially
during the Circassian period (1382-1517). Some ideas of Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328), Ibn Khaldūn
(d. 1406), Ibn Kathīr (d. 1373), Ibn al-Naḥḥās (d. 1411), as well as scholars of the pre-
Mamlūk epoch are taken in consideration. The authors explore the issue of understanding
jihād as the responsibility of the community (farḍ al-kifāya) and/or personal duty (farḍ al-
ʿayn) and the role of jihād ideology in the inner- and international Mamlūk politics.
This paper discusses Russian and Iranian economic activity and interests in Syria and focuses on two macroblocks. First of all, it seems to us important to highlight the level of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Syria, on the one hand, and Iran and Syria, on the other. If for Iran’s economic relations with Syria, it should be noted that although the country has long been one of the top priority targets for Iranian trade and the trade interactions between the two sides were on the rise before 2011, the Syrian Crisis caused bilateral trade to fall drastically. However, Russian economic interests in Syria do not look so obvious and convincing. If we talk about the Russian economic presence in Syria after the Arab spring, it would be more correct to consider the interests of individual Russian businessmen and representatives of the economic elite in specific projects in Syria. Also, this work will be devoted to the difficulties faced by Moscow and Tehran in the implementation of their economic and investment projects in Syria and prospects of cooperation and competition between Russia and Iran. Given the close partnership between Iran and Russia in supporting Bashar al-Assad government, this paper also takes a look on the prospects of economic cooperation or rivalry between Tehran and Moscow in Syria and shows that no mechanism has yet devised by the two parties to manage their competition and promote cooperation in Syria’s economic sphere. Of note, this paper deals exclusively with Iran and Russia’s non-military economic activities in Syria and does not cover issues like arms exports or military aids of the two countries to the Syrian government.
This paper discusses Russian and Iranian economic activity and interests in Syria and focuses on two macroblocks. First of all it seems to us important to highlight the level of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Syria, on the one hand, and Iran and Syria, on the other. If for Iran’s economic relations with Syria, it should be noted that although the country has long been one of the top priority targets for Iranian trade and the trade interactions between the two sides were on the rise before 2011, the Syrian Crisis caused bilateral trade to fall drastically. However, Russian economic interests in Syria do not look so obvious and convincing. If we talk about the Russian economic presence in Syria after the Arab spring, it would be more correct to consider the interests of individual Russian businessmen and representatives of the economic elite in specific projects in Syria. Also, this work will be devoted to the difficulties faced by Moscow and Tehran in the implementation of their economic and investment projects in Syria and prospects of cooperation and competition between Russia and Iran. Given the close partnership between Iran and Russia in supporting Bashar al-Assad government, this paper also takes a look on the prospects of economic cooperation or rivalry between Tehran and Moscow in Syria and shows that no mechanism has yet devised by the two parties to manage their competition and promote cooperation in Syria’s economic sphere. Of note, this paper deals exclusively with Iran and Russia’s non-military economic activities in Syria and does not cover issues like arms exports or military aids of the two countries to the Syrian government.
The deeds and exploits of St. Lalibäla who was the most famous king of the Ethiopian Zagwe dynasty are still awaiting to be published in full. To the modern researchers this important medieval text is available only in excerpts published by J. Perruchon in the 19th century. The author argues that Lalibäla’s Deeds is far from being an Ethiopian folklore. They comprise valuable authentic data, e.g. the persecution of Lalibäla at the royal court, his escape into the desert, his marriage, his subsequent becoming a king, the organization of his army, taxation policies and history of construction of the famous monolithic churches in the centre of Lasta. The author also argues that the title wäldä nägaśi, which is mentioned in his Deeds as well as its parallel wld/ngšy-n found in Middle Sabaean inscriptions is a sufficient evidence in favour of the military and political continuity between the Aksumite and Zagwe epochs. The Lalibäla’s Deeds comprise many minute details about the everyday life, which suggests that the Christians of Ethiopia had a centuries long oral tradition of preserving and transmitting historical information.
The present article is aimed at reviewing the archival materials of the prominent Russian specialist in Caucasian studies Evgeniy Mikhailovich Shilling (1892 - 1953) that are currently stored in the scientific and historical archive of the State Museum of the History of Religion (hereinafter referred to as GMIR).
The present article discusses the global terrorism narratives exemplified by the media strategies of the Islamic State (IS).1 The authors conclude that the ‘soft power’ of the IS was based on three components: culture, political ideology, and foreign policy. The sources of the ‘soft power’ were the elements and images that allowed the IS to gain control over the consumer. Throughout its existence, the IS had been able to promote itself as a popular and attractive ‘global brand’, skillfully instrumentalizing information and foreign policy strategies. The wide coverage of content distributed via the Internet exponentially increased the audience that terrorists might be interested in. Such organizations could distribute content over the Internet not subject to external control. The promotion of extremist rhetoric through a growing number of Internet platforms encouraged acts of violence, which was also a general trend. Terrorist propaganda in cyberspace addressed a variety of goals and audiences. It adapted, in particular, to reach potential or actual supporters of extremists or to share a common extremist ideology. The Internet was used not only as a means for disseminating extremist publications, but also to develop relationships with potential supporters.
This article seeks to introduce into comparative folkloristics an epic tradition of the Muong, one of minority groups in Northern Vietnam. More precisely, it deals with the epic cycle of ‘The Birth of the Earth and Water’ which represents an essential part of the Muong ritual narratives. This cycle was presumably created no later than fifteenth century and intended for practicing mourning rituals. Though in 2015 ritual narratives of the Muong were recognized as national intangible cultural heritage in Vietnam, the Muong epics remain practically unknown and unexplored in Western scholarship.
The article discuss the most common epic themes such as creation, man’s origin and reproduction, acquisition of culture, deeds and fights of the main culture heroes through a number of motifs represented in tales constituting the Muong epic cycle. Comparative analysis of these themes and motifs in global and regional perspectives reveals obvious parallels with their representations in the world folklore as well as some specific variations and local links.
The “New Silk Road” or “One Belt–One Road” (also “Belt and Road”) is a global project ini- tiated by China, the implementation of which affects various areas of development of many states and regions of the world, including security issues, socio-cultural, political, diplomatic and civilisational aspects.
A total of 173 agreements with 125 states and 29 international organisations have been signed under this initiative. The project is gaining momentum every year and attracts ever more researchers who analyse the economic, political, and cultural sides of the project and the interaction of the different countries and regions with China within the framework of this global enterprise. This article assesses the participation of five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan) in the Chinese pro- ject and aims to define the mutual interests of the parties on the basis of economic indica- tors (i.e., ESI, RCA, TDC, and G-L indexes).
historical traditions. It is known to exist in the Ge’ez language and constitutes a part of
the compilation corpus based upon the so called magic or protective scrolls. There are
two versions of the vita of St. Sisynnios. The shorter one is found in the Synaxarion,
whereas the longer one is included in a corpus of hagiographical compilations “The
Lives of the Martyrs”. The text of the legend comprises various stories based on real facts
from the Saint’s life. However only some of them have been preserved intact; others
have been re-told. Until recently have been discovered only three redactions of the vita.
A new redaction recently discovered by the author of this article is of a paramount
importance since it changes our view on how this legend did exist indeed in the
Ethiopian cultural tradition.
The article analyzes the issues of the processes of localization of Vietnamese Catholicism, namely the issues of the cult of ancestors among Vietnamese Catholics, the veneration of national saints, canonized in 1988 by the Holy See, as well as the phenomenon of the "Vietnamese" Our Lady of La Vang, which was re-imaged in 1990-s as an Asian woman dressed in the Vietnamese traditional dress áo dài by American emigrant Nhan Van. This article examines history of the La Vang Sanctuary, the process of Vietnamization of Our Lady of La Vang and the attitude of the Holy See toward the indigenization of the religion among Vietnamese Catholics. This image is very popular among the Vietnamese Catholics diaspora in USA, where about 20 parishes and shrines are consecrated to Our Lady of La Vang. In 16-17 centuries the Chinese Rites Controversy became the largest controversy in the history of Catholic Church, but the attitude of the Holy See toward the cult of ancestors changed in 20 century, especially after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Today Vietnamese Catholics have the permission of the Holy See to venerate their ancestors.