"Asia and Africa today"
- is a scientificl monthly journal (in Russian)
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Included in Russian Science Citation Index on
WoS platform, and EBSCO Publishing.
ISSN 0321-5075. Published since July 1957.


 "Asia and Africa today" № 9 2019



Aziaafrika 09 2019


 On the 90th birthday of Academician A.B. Davidson

Apollon Borisovich DAVIDSON

An article prepared by the researches of the Center for African Studies of the Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences on the 90th birthday of Academician A.B. Davidson




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750006265-3

Irina O. ABRAMOVA, Corresponding member, Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS); member, Presidium of RAS; Dr.Sc. (Economics), Professor; Director, Institute for African Studies, RAS; member, Editorial Board, “Aziya i Afrika segodnya” journal  ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The author summed up the results of the Annual Meetings of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and respective Russia-Africa Economic Conference. The events were held from 18 to 22 June 2019 in Moscow. They became an important international discussion platform in advance of Russia-Africa Economic Forum and Summit (October 23-24, Sochi). The event was organized by the Roscongress Foundation, African Export-Import Bank and Russian Export Center JSC. More than 1,500 delegates from 81 countries took part in the Annual Meetings of the African Export-Import Bank and Russia-Africa Economic Conference. Dmitry Medvedev, the Chairman of the Russian Government, addressed the opening ceremony of the 26th Annual Meeting of Shareholders. He noted that Russian-African relations have a solid historical base. With this advantage, it is necessary to move forward and search for answers to existing challenges together. More than 20 business events were held within the framework of the Annual Meetings and Russia-Africa Economic Conference. Those events were aimed to discuss the cooperation with the African SMEs in the Russian market, trade among developing countries, integration of Africa into the global economy, trade financing amid difficult global financial environment, digital solutions and cybersecurity for state and municipal purposes, food security issues, health and education. Amid the current environment, the comprehensive cooperation with the growing African economies is of paramount importance for Russian-African relations. The demand for scientific and technological progress, the comprehensive introduction and application of Russian innovative developments in such sectors of the African economy as infrastructure, agriculture, green energy, health care, and municipal government come to the fore.

Keywords: Afreximbank, Russia, Africa, Russian-African Economic Cooperation, International Trade, Export Potential, Investment




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750006268-6

Leonid M. ISSAEV, PhD (Political Science), Associate Professor, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, RAS ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Hamidreza AZIZI, PhD (Regional Studies), Assistant Professor, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    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.

Keywords: Iran, Russia, Syrian crisis, economic development, Syrian reconstruction




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750006269-7

Natalia A. VASILYEVA, Dr.Sc. (Philosophy), Professor, School of International Relations, Saint Petersburg State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Sharmaine T. MARMITA (Philippines), Post-graduate student, School of International Relations, Saint Petersburg State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The authors note that the defeat of ISIS in Syria led to the fact that Islamic radicals began to look for new regions for their activities. In recent years, news of terrorist attacks began to come from ASEAN countries, in particular from the Philippines. In this state, Islamic extremists have concentrated their efforts on fomenting the long-standing conflict of the central government and the Moro people on the problem of the autonomy of the islands of Mindanao on an ethnic and confessional basis. Various methods have been applied (armed provocations, hostage-taking, terrorist acts, etc.) In the past decades, the Philippine republican authorities pursued a policy aimed at the socio-economic integration of Moro practicing Islam, but often the measures only exacerbated the hostility of the indigenous population south of the country. For example, in the 60s-80s. President F. Marcos carried out a program of resettlement of residents of the north of the country (Catholics who actively modernized family-clan economic relations of southerners - a kind of “Filipino Yankees”) to the south, creating competition for land issues and entrepreneurship that is not strong for the local population. The current president R. Duterte, on the one hand, seeks to find a peaceful compromise on the issue of autonomization of the Mindanao region, and on the other hand, uses radical methods in the fight against terrorism and drugs. In 2018, a Coordination Committee was created at the government level to monitor the fight against the financing of terrorism in the country. During the brutal “war on drugs”, their actions often went beyond the law and violated human rights. The position of the leadership of the Philippines provokes harsh criticism in those UN agencies that are concerned with the observance of human rights in the world. As a result, the authors conclude that a peaceful settlement of ethnic and confessional contradictions in the south of the Philippines will give impetus to the development of the country's economy and reduce the level of drug addiction of the population, and joint actions of ASEAN countries in the fight against terrorism can deprive the global network of Islamic organizations of an important extremist link in the South -Eastern Asia.

Keywords: Philippines, UN, terrorism, Moro people, Islam, counterterrorism activity, South-East Asian states, cooperation



DOI: 10.31857/S032150750006270-9

Dmitry A. MARYASIS, PhD (Economics), Israel and Jewish Communities’ Studies Department, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    This paper focuses on the Israeli digitalization experience. The first part explains why Israeli experience is relevant. In the second, the situation with the digitalization of state authorities and other structures related to the country's management at the macro level is analyzed. The third part of the paper presents an analysis of the situation with digitalization in the business sphere.

    The analysis showed that the basic structure of management of the digital economy has been formed in Israel. It is significant that the Israeli digital strategy is based on the ideas of socio-economic development. The key structure in this process operates within the framework of the Ministry of Social Equality. That is, at least at this stage, the government of the country sees in digital transformation an opportunity to solve social problems and looks at the digitalization process through this prism, which, however, does not mean a decrease in the scale of ongoing transformations. At the international level, on the whole, Israel’s efforts are rated positively, however, apparently due to a certain time lag required for data processing, the country's achievements of 2017–2018 in international rankings did not find adequate display.

    The specificity of the digital transformation of the Israeli business sector is that with the presence of a large number of relevant technologies in the country, the domestic market in many respects clearly does not match Israel’s claims to world leadership in the innovation economy as a whole and in the digital economy as part of it.

    A reflection of this dichotomy is, in particular, the insufficiently high position of the country in the relevant international rankings. We note, however, that Israel is actively cooperating with the outside world in the field of digitalization, adapting successful experience in this area of ​​other countries, which seems to allow the country to gradually solve its existing problems in this area.

Keywords: digitalization, Israel, national initiative “Digital Israel”, artificial intelligence, information and communication technologies




Aida A. SIMONIYA, PhD (Economics), Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The author analyzes the attempts of the government of Bangladesh to cope with the influx of refugees from neighboring Myanmar. As a result of the crisis in Rakhine state (Myanmar) there were about 1,2 million refugees-Rohingya in neighboring Bangladesh, which was a huge burden on the environmental security of the overpopulated country.  The main reason for the failure of the process of repatriation of refugees at the end of 2018 was the lack of security guarantees for Rohingya returnees in Myanmar. The refugees themselves do not want to go back. Following the announcement of the "voluntary" repatriation plan, they organized mass rallies to protest the return to their former homes, fearing further outbreaks of violence. Some Rohingya believe that return is possible only if they are granted citizenship and justice. After the de facto disruption of the repatriation of refugees to Myanmar the government of Bangladesh is trying to unload the world's largest refugee camp in the Cox’s Bazar by relocating 100,000 people to a previously uninhabited "floating island" in the Bay of Bengal. However, as with the issue of repatriation, international human rights defenders are against the resettlement of refugees on the floating island and Rohingya themselves refuse to move to the island. According to many representatives of international organizations , the island is not suitable for permanent residence of people. But even with a favorable outcome of the resettlement operation this measure is unlikely to reduce the burden on the refugee camps on the mainland and to a certain extent solve the problem. The fate of Rohingya today depends only on the joint efforts of the UN and international specialized organizations.

Keywords: Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Myanmar, refugees-Rohingya, repatriation, "floating island"


POLITICAL STABILITY AND CHARACTERISTICS OF NATIONAL BUILDING IN ZAMBIA (On the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the independence of Zambia

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750006272-1

Liubov Ya. PROKOPENKO, PhD (History), Senior Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The article discusses the ethno-political situation and characteristics of national building in Zambia. This young nation was formed under the slogan ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ proclaimed by the country's first president Kenneth Kaunda. Its formation was to be promoted by the introduction of the principle of regional and ethnic balancing which implies quotas for various ethnic groups to be represented in government bodies.

    The influence of the ethnic factor manifested during the return of Zambia to the multi-party system in 1990. The government of F.Chiluba who came to power in 1991 officially abandoned the ethnic balancing principle willing to prove its undemocratic essence. The lack of ethnic balance in politics during that period could not contribute to national unity.

    Special attention is paid to the problem of the autonomy of Barotseland (Western Province). Barotseland’s demands for autonomy are considered by the authorities as a threat to the integrity of the state and to its political stability.

    In October 2019 the Republic of Zambia will celebrate 55 years of its independence. Throughout this period the country demonstrated a possibility of political development along the path of democratization without violent changes of power and bloody ethno-religious conflicts. Since the proclamation of political pluralism in 1991 eight democratic elections were already held: in 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2016.

    For more than half a century of its independent development Zambia, where more than 70 ethnic groups coexist, has become a country that, despite economic difficulties and various intricacies in the development of the political process, is one of the examples of ethno-political stability in Africa.

Keywords: ethno-political stability, political pluralism, regional and ethnic balance, nation building, Barotseland, Litunga, poverty




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750006274-3

Konstantin A. PANTSEREV, Dr.Sc. (Political Science), Professor, Saint-Petersburg State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    There is presented a revue of the Second International Forum “Development of Parliamentarism” in the paper. The Forum was held in Moscow on July 1-3, 2019.  Members of parliaments and experts from over 70 countries participated in the Forum. They discussed the most significant issues of interparliamentary cooperation in the field of international security, the development of legislative base of the digital society, basic issues of the interparliamentary cooperation, the legislative regulations of the struggle against poverty, media warfare and counteraction to fake news.  Certain round tables were devoted to the problems of the protection of the environment and the role of young generation in the development of parlamentarism. Also there took place a special Parliamentary Conference “Russia-Africa”. Parliamentary delegations from 30 African countries participated in the Conference. 25 Countries were presented by speakers of their national parliaments. Within the Conference "Russia-Africa” there have been organized several panels and round tables: “Russian-African Security Cooperation as a Factor for Peace and Stability in Africa: Role of Parliaments”, “Russian-African Humanitarian Cooperation: Parliamentary Dimension”, “Legislative Support of Trade and Economic Cooperation Between Russia and African Countries”, “Sustainable Management of National Resources and Community Development: Legislative Framework for Extractive Industry Companies”, “Exchange of Legislative Experience Between Russia and African Countries in Regulating new Economic Sectors: Digital Technologies, Innovations, Communications”. Leading researchers at the field of African studies from the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Science and Saint-Petersburg State University have participated in this Conference as experts. The Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken to participants of the Forum on the closing ceremony.

Keywords: development of parliamentarism, Russia, Africa, Russian-African cooperation, security, sustainable development.



RUSSIA-SUDAN RELATIONS IN THE EARLY 21ST CENTURY: A lost opportunity or the foundation for a new beginning?

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750006275-4

Sergey V. KOSTELYANETS, PhD (Political Science), Senior Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Senior Research Fellow, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Associate Professor, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University) ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    Over the past decade or even longer, a lot has been contemplated and written about the need for Russia to "return" to the African continent. An increase in the importance of Africa’s resource, human and economic potential within the emerging model of world development is undeniable, and with Russia once again claiming to be a weighty player on the global arena, it cannot but seek to expand its presence on the continent to restore its international standing. The first Russia-Africa Summit poised to take place in Sochi (Russia) in October 2019 attests to the growing importance that Moscow attaches to the continent.

    In recent years, within its new foreign policy approach to Africa, Russia has established special relations with a number of African countries. Russia developed particularly close cooperation with Sudan, just short of establishing a full-fledged strategic partnership, raising hopes in Moscow that it gained a viable foothold on the continent and, consequently, access to farther parts of the continent. Indeed, Russia capitalized on its standing with Khartoum as it managed to penetrate politically and economically into the Central African Republic.

    On 11 April 2019, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir was removed from power by the Sudanese military and placed under arrest. This put Moscow, which was seen as a close ally of the ousted President, in a precarious position. Even so, the present study argues that the intensity of political and military relations and the convergence of national interests have laid a solid foundation for the close friendship and comprehensive ties between Russia and Sudan. However, the shortcomings of Moscow's economic policy for Africa in general and Sudan in particular must be addressed promptly if Russia were to establish itself on the continent.

Keywords: Russia, Sudan, military coup, international diplomacy, military-technical cooperation, economic cooperation, strategic partnership




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750006276-5

Nadezhda E. KHOKHOLKOVA, PhD (History), Research Fellow, Centre for History and Cultural Anthropology, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy od Sciences; Analyst, Center for Scientific Projects Development, Russian State University for Humanities( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    In the context of complication of social structures, caused by the processes of globalization and globalization, the issues of state-building and nation-building assume particular relevance. These issues include not only updating of management strategies but also resolving contradictions, fostering tolerance, consolidation of a multi-ethnic population. Research in these fields is in high demand throughout the world. It is particularly crucial for regions whose recent past has been associated with various kinds of destabilizing events - national liberation movements, wars, change of political regimes, etc. Most regions of the African continent correspond tothese characteristics. At present, the experience, mechanisms, and prospects of nation-building in African states are analyzed internally and externally. These themes occupy thoughts of representatives of governments and public organizations, and also discussed at major international conferences. In March 2019 the 1st Social Scientists Conference “State-Building in Africa: Prospects and Challenges” was held at the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy (MNMA) in Dar es Salaam, the largest city of Tanzania. The event was organized jointly by MNMA and the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The article highlights the work of the scientific forum, in which more than 100 researchers participated. Experts in the fields of anthropology, history, political science, economics, international relations, and linguistics from 14 countries introduced their reports during the conference. The members of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences took an active part in the event.

Keywords: African Studies, Africa, Tanzania, Russia, Institute for Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, nation-building, globalization




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750006277-6

Yulia A. ILICHEVA, Applicant, Moscow State Institute of International Relations ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The purpose of the article is to analyze the main direction of the East Asian vector of Indian foreign economic policy in 2007-2018 - India’s ties with Southeast Asian countries. The article covers a wide range of analytical methods: statistical analysis, forecasting, comparison, theoretical generalization, statistical data processing, as well as abstract-logical analysis (to systematize and summarize the main directions of scientific and technological cooperation).The combined indicators of India and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on R&D expenditures and their results were analyzed in detail. The author examines in detail the main objectives, principles and directions of technological interaction of the Indian government with the countries of South-East Asia. The article provides data on significant projects in the field of scientific and technical cooperation between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. India has shown great interest in expanding cooperation with the poorer members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, namely Cambodia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia and Vietnam (CLMV), by implementing capacity building programs in areas in which India has proven its expertise, such as information technology, agriculture and outer space. It was noted that the interaction between the countries is characterized by much greater activity on the Indian side. India-ASEAN cooperation in science and technology is based on complementarity, with India generously sharing its “technical knowledge” and “resources” with ASEAN member countries at various levels. In general, scientific and technical cooperation contributes to the development of relations between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Keywords: India, ASEAN, scientific and technical cooperation



SHAABAN ROBERT – WRITER, HUMANIST, PHILOSOPHER (to the 110th anniversary of the birth)

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750006278-7

Nelli V. GROMOVA, Dr.Sc. (Philology), Professor, Head, Department of African Studies, Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The article is devoted to the 110th anniversary of the famous writer and poet of East Africa Shaaban Robert. He was an outstanding figure in modern East African history, culture and literature, a great writer and the founder of modern literature in Swahili. Shaaban Robert is considered a pioneer in the development of the Swahili language, who created a new type of Swahili prose and poetry. He was the first writer of colonial Tanganyika to write in modern Swahili, for which he is called the “father of the Swahili language”. He was above all a serious philosophical moralist and humanist. Shaaban Robert opened windows on new ideas. Some of his political, ethical and didactic concepts, like unity of religions and equality of men and women, were ahead of his time and society.

    He devoted his original brilliant talent to the struggle for the dignity of the African people, for a free personality in a free society. In his works, he realized his own educational concepts, making his positive characters a striking example for a new person. The philosophical and allegorical thrust of the novels of Shaaban Robert had a clear impact on contemporary Tanzanian writers.

    The heritage of Shaaban Robert is known in the whole wide world, his works are studied in various countries and are translated into several languages. One of the very first translations of Shaaban’s works into a foreign language was a Russian translation. Russian scholars of Swahili language, culture and literature made their valuable contribution into the studies of the legacy of the great East African writer.

Keywords: Shaaban Robert, writer, poet, philosopher, humanist, father of Swahili language




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750006279-8

    Review of book: Anna Yu. Sharova. Electricity Sector of the Arab Countries of Asia: Economic Trends and Innovations / Ed. I.O.Abramova. Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2018. 204 p. (In Russ.)

Sergey N. VOLKOV, PhD (Economics), Senior Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Keywords: electricity sector, Arab countries of Asia, reforms, renewable and nuclear energy, Russian-Arab cooperation