EAST Public: Russia in the Middle East: Regional Rivalries and Domestic Dilemmas
In recent years, Russia has once again emerged as a major player in the Middle East. It has close relations with both Iran and Israel and competes with Saudi Arabia as a supplier of oil and gas. In Syria it has been de-facto aligned with Turkey, Iran, and the United States in battling the Islamic State; yet its support for the Asad regime puts it at odds with Washington and Ankara. Finally, as Moscow has become more active in Muslim majority countries beyond its own borders, it continues to have a tense relationship with the once-separatist Chechen republic and with the millions of labor migrants who come from former Soviet republics in Central Asia.
In this talk, Professor Aleksey Malashenko will discuss how Moscow looks at the region, how it evaluates its interests and conflicts there, and links between domestic politics in Russia and its policies abroad.
Professor Michael Kemper (UvA) will offer a response to Professor Malashenko’s presentation.
About the speakers
- Professor Aleksey Malashenko is one of Russia’s foremost experts on Islam and the Middle East. A graduate of the Institute of Asia and Africa, he worked as a translator and researcher throughout the region and holds a doctorate from Moscow’s Institute of Oriental Studies. Aleksey Malashenko has taught at Colgate University in the United States, the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, and spent many years on the board of the Carnegie Center in Moscow. He is currently head of research at the Dialogue of Civilizations center. Professor Malashenko is the author of many works in Russian, English, French and Arabic, including The Fight for Influence: Russian in Central Asia (2013).
- Michael Kemper is professor and chair of Eastern European Studies, one of the three chair groups of European Studies at UvA. His major field of expertise is Islam in Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus, as well as the history of Oriental Studies in Europe. Kemper studied Slavic as well as Islamic and Oriental Studies at Bochum University, Germany. With Alfrid Bustanov and Prof. Dr. Jos Schaeken (Leiden University) he investigates how Russian and other European languages are currently being used by Muslim authorities and activists, and what linguistic changes this produces. He is the author and editor of many books and articles, including Reassessing Orientalism: Interlocking Orientologies during the Cold War, (London: Routledge, 2015).