"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" № 12 2019



Aziaafrika 12 2019




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007652-9

Irina O. ABRAMOVA, member, Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Corresponding member, 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. )

    This year, the Institute of African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IAfr RAS) celebrates the 60th anniversary. IAfr RAS is the only scientific center in the field of comprehensive African studies in Russia in charge of scientific substantiation of Russia's strategy in the African direction. Created in 1959, during the collapse of the colonial system, at the time when dozens of newly independent states appeared on the political map of the world, it remains a unique center of social studies to this day, not only carrying out fundamental and applied research, but also coordinating the efforts of individual scientists and individual groups of Africanists in the Russian Federation. The Institute is also an integrating and consolidating center for the work of Africanists in Russia and a number of post-Soviet countries. The article scrutinizes the main lines of research and sets the priorities for the future development of African studies in Russia.

    A significant part of the article is dedicated to exposing the role of the Institute in developing and maintaining Russia’s strategic communications with African countries.

    Over the 60 years, the Institute has published more than one and a half thousand fundamental scientific research, tens of thousands of articles, held hundreds of international conferences, symposia, round tables, and dozens of scientific expeditions to African countries, as a result of which unique material has been obtained the basis of pioneering scientific developments.

    Together with the Institute of Oriental Studies (RAS), the Institute for African Studies is a co-founder of scientific periodicals - the magazines «Asia and Africa Today» and «East. Afro-Asian communities: history and modernity». IAfr RAS is the founder and publisher of the quarterly «Journal of the Institute for African Studies».

Keywords: Africa, Russia, African Institute of RAS, African studies, Russian-African relations, strategic communications




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007091-2

Vladilen G. BUROV, Dr.Sc. (Philosophy), Professor, Principal Research Fellow, Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences; Member, Editorial Board, Journal of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences "Study of world socialism"; Advisor, International Confucian Association ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The article discusses the creative approach of Chinese Marxists to the theoretical problems associated with the revolutionary process and the construction of socialism in the country. Sinicized Marxism has allowed the Communist party of China (CPC) to win the Kuomintang, and after 1949 successfully realize the modernization. Still (yet) in 1930-1940s, the CPC decisively breaks with the dogma - the conquest of power by armed uprisings in the cities and make stake on the peasantry.

    The theory of socialism with Chinese specificity takes into account the socio-economic and ideological and cultural characteristics of Chinese society. This is evident in the policy of reform and openness that has been going on more than forty years. The CPC opposes the mechanical borrowing of the experience of socialist construction in the Soviet Union. It believes that the construction of a socialist society will take a long period - a hundred or more years. Therefore, all social stratas focused on national revival and the transformation of China into a powerful developed state should participate in this process. The innovative approach of the Chinese Communists is manifested in a number of the theoretical principles, successfully implemented in practice: the legalization of market relations and private property; the use of individual farms; the expansion of the social framework for party membership; emphasizing the special role of the intelligentsia by including it in the working class, and finally, the promotion of the principle of "one state - two systems" for Hongkong and Macau.

    Sinicized marxism represents a major contribution to the General theory of Marxism, its development and enrichment.

Keywords: China, Chinese Marxism, the role of the peasantry in society, market relations, criticism of the leftist approach to socialism, modern ideology of the CPC



DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007653-0

Leonid L. FITUNI, Corresponding Member, Russian Academy of Sciences; Dr.Sc. (Economics), Professor; Deputy-Director, Institute for African Studies; Professor, SPbGU University; member, Editorial Board, “Aziya i Afrika segodnya” journal ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The article exposes the structural influences of the system of media communication dependence of the population on the frequency, intensity and duration of protests in Asian and African countries. The problem is multilevel: the influence occurs both at the international and national levels, as well as within the boundaries of cultural areas. The issue is examined through the prism of how protest models and technologies are constructed and structured in the context of the influence of the media-communication system. A number of individual models fall under special scrutiny: that of dispersed protest networks, "leaderless protest", "one-time (disposable) leadership" and youth ("child") protest. The results of their implementation are considered and disputed. Underestimation of the organizing and guiding role of media as a tool for managing protests is still widespread in political discourse. Its belittling is explained by the fact that the protests are often based on objectively existing reasons. From this, despite the abundance of well-known opposite examples, an often erroneous conclusion is made that the protests have nothing to do with external forces. However, the fact that under similar objective conditions, protests in some cases are quickly quelled and forgotten, but in are protracted and intensified, proves that objectivity of causes is not the decisive factor. Contrastingly, the media dependency of the targeted audience may become a crucial factor in the management of protests and even for the regime change irrespective of the level of the “objectivity” of grievances.

Keywords: social management technologies, regime change, strategic communications, media dependency, political protest, youth protest, leadership



DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007654-1

Konstantin M. TRUEVTSEV, PhD (Philosophy), Senior 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. )

    This article contains analysis of the role of Internet and Social Media during the Arab Spring. Although widely described in public literature and analytical papers, some aspects of this phenomenon still have to be expressed more definitely. Social Media, precisely Facebook and Twitter provided great advantage to protesters in means of political communication in comparison with official power that was basing on its monopoly of Traditional Media in such countries as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. That also provided advantage to opposition in effectiveness and speed of political mobilization that guaranteed its success in uprising.

    In this aspect the picture was completely different in Syria. National authorities and President Bashar Assad personally played leading role in developing Internet in the country since 1994 when B. Assad headed Syrian Computer Society. That provided the power its role in operating Social Media and preparedness for oppositional activity in Internet including Social Media. When the turmoil started in 2011 there happened an immediate reply from pro-government side by creating a group acting mainly in Facebook under the name of “Syrian Electronic Army”. The activity of this group provided pro-government forces not only by a possibility of constructing counter content in Internet but also by similar to oppositional means of political mobilization. It resulted in organizing no less sized pro-government demonstrations in Damascus in the summer, 2011 than oppositional ones. That is one of the explanations why the course of the conflict developed in Syria differently from those in other Arab republican regimes.

Keywords: Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Arab Spring, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Bashar Assad, Syrian Electronic Army



DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007655-2

Zhanna V. Petrunina, Dr.Sc. (History), Professor, Head, History and Archival Studies Department, Komsomolsk-on-Amur State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Galina A. Shusharina, PhD (Philology), Associate Professor, Head, Linguistics and Cross-culture Communication Department, Komsomolsk-on-Amur State University, ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    Currently, the Asia-Pacific region (APR) is one of the world military-political, economic and scientific-technological centers. The rapidly developing Asia-Pacific countries have a limited raw material base and are interested in the presence of a stable economic partner in the region. Russia could be such a partner. A special place among the partners of the Russian Federation in the Asia-Pacific region is occupied by the People's Republic of China (PRC). The leaders of both countries pursue policies aimed at strengthening and expanding comprehensive cooperation in various formats. Many projects are implemented in the border regions of Russia and China and are aimed at giving impetus to the economic development of territories and improving the living standards of the population of the Far East. The sources analyzed were publications presented in the media resources of Russia and China. This made it possible to identify general and specific positions in the socio-political opinion of both countries regarding the prospects for Russian-Chinese interaction in the Far East of our country. The study notes that the Russian Far East has traditionally been wary of considering an increase in the Chinese presence in the regionю. In turn, the Chinese media criticized the pace of development of the Russian Far East at the present stage, which leads to a gradual decrease in the interest of Chinese business representatives to regional partnership in existing formats. The cooperation between Russia and China in the Far East is in the interests of both parties, but in the realities of a changing world it makes us look for new areas of cooperation.

Keywords: Far East of Russia, China, public opinion, cross-border cooperation, regional identity, values



DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007656-3

Dmitry V. STRELTSOV, Dr.Sc. (History), Head, Department of Afro-Asian Studies, MGIMO-University; 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 paper addresses the problem of long-term consequences of the electoral reform in Japan held a quarter-century ago. The author tries to give an answer to the question, how the reform influenced the electoral behavior of the Japanese and the electoral strategies of political parties. The author insists that the mixed electoral system of Japan encourages less inner-party competition and strengthens the party-first principle in electoral politics. The electoral decision of the voter is influenced by subjective factors, namely, by the image of the party and its leaders formed in his head on the basis of mass media coverages, and also by his personal assessment of party programs and the election manifestos.

    However, the substance of the inter-party rivalry, namely the struggle of party programs and slogans, attracts attention of a limited groups of voters. This is due to the fact that the deideologization of politics has led to marginalization of differences in the approaches of parties to the main problems of social life. For this reason, the political struggle is largely image-based: the parties are fighting for the most favorable image in the minds of the "median voters". At the same time, party brands are largely formed by the aggressive PR policy of parties, which are intensively using populist slogans, as well as attractive images of their leaders.

    Lowering share of "solid votes" and a gradual departure from the paternalistic type of consciousness contribute to growing skepticism of voters towards political parties, to their apolitism and absenteeism, which lead to a steadily low voter turnout.

    Judging by the weak electoral results of the opposition, which is still going through a period of reorganization, in the recent elections, the Japanese voters are largely conservative and do not wish drastic changes. Obviously, electoral behavior in the future will strongly depend on the imagiological features of the political parties and their leaders, shaped by various media technologies.

Keywords: Japan, electoral reform, "floating voices", populism, electoral mobilization




Lilia S. REVENKO, Dr.Sc. (Economics), Professor, Nikolay Liventsev Department of International Economic Relations and Foreign Economic Ties, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the MFA of Russia, Professor ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Nikolay S. REVENKO, PhD (Political Science), Leading Research Fellow, Institute for Research of International Economic Relations, Financial University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The article analyzes the Make in India programme made public by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2014. It notes that the programme is a logical follow-up of the country's large-scale economic liberalization initiated in 1991-1992. The article focuses the goals of the program (to increase the share of the manufacturing sector from 15% to 25% by 2025, to stimulate foreign direct investment flow and innovation, to raise the intellectual property rights protection level, to create new jobs) and the measures taken by the Indian government. In particular, many sectors of the economy have been fully opened to foreign investors, and the need to obtain permit from the authorities to invest in most sectors has been canceled. The requirement to obtain government approval and share restrictions on the FDI permitted under the government route remain for banking, broadcasting content services, multi-brand retail trading, print media, defense, biotechnology and some other sectors, and the share of foreign investments to infrastructure companies in the securities market, insurance, pensions, petroleum refining and power exchange is limited to 49%. The programme provides for the creation of new industrial clusters, consisted of 5 industrial corridors with a world-class infrastructure. A number of procedures related to business opening and running have been simplified to attract investments.

    The article notes that the implementation of the programme resulted in a significant increase in FDI in many sectors of the economy, but the effect is lower than expected under the influence of both objective (lack of electricity and qualified personnel, underdeveloped transport infrastructure) and subjective (complex legislation, conflicts with trade unions) factors.

Keywords: Make in India, economic development, FDI stimulation



DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007658-5

Lyudmila V. SHKVARYA, Dr.Sc. (Economics), Professor, Department of Political Economy, RUDN University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Xizhe WANG, Post-graduate student, Department of Political Economy, RUDN University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The article shows that China's foreign trade traditionally plays a key role in the socio-economic development of the country. In this article, the authors try to study the trends and identify the features of China's foreign trade in the XXI century and show the important and growing role of free economic zones and free trade zones as a driver of China's trade growth. Based on the analysis, the authors identified a number of features of China's foreign trade. This is a significant resistance to the crisis, high progressive growth, justified export flows, diversification of exports towards the growth of the share of high-tech goods in exports, the development of the geography of foreign trade, flexible foreign trade policy, in which free economic (trade) zones play a significant role. Free economic (trade) zones remain among the most effective in the world, including because they almost immediately increased China's exports and imports, the inflow of foreign investment, as well as strengthened the country's position in the world economy and trade, contributed to the growth of national competitiveness. However, in the twenty-first century, China's free economic (trade) zones are also becoming elements of other major Chinese strategies, such as "One belt - one road". Their fundamental role as a driver and catalyst of foreign trade cooperation in the development of China's economy is shown. The authors come to the conclusion that it is necessary to further improve the process of management of the free economic (trade) zones of China, especially in the direction of the formation of an innovative management mechanism. The authors ' analysis is based on International statistical information provided by UNCTAD, as well as statistics data of the National Bureau of statistics of China.

Keywords: China, free economic zones (FEZ), free trade zones (FTZ), foreign trade, export, import



DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007659-6

Natalia A. KSENOFONTOVA, 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. )

Nina V. GRISHINA, 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 deals with the threats to the development of the economies of Sahel countries associated with the expansion of the Sahara desert.

    Desertification (desertion) - the transformation into a desert of once fertile land located in arid areas - in recent decades is gaining momentum. This process is most noticeable in the Sahel countries - Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Sudan, whose territories are in the zone of climatic influence of the Sahara - the largest desert in the world. Desertification is now seen as an integral part of the global environmental challenge.

    The Sahel, as an ecological system, is considered by experts to be unstable and easily amenable to qualitative changes, as evidenced by the process of desertification, which is closely related to human activities.

    Combating the desertification of the Sahel was a challenge owing to the impossibility of real action by the countries of the region themselves. Among the reasons - the lack of national projects to solve this problem, the lack of financial opportunities to attract foreign assistance, the economic weakness of the state, poverty of population.

    Intensive development of arid and semiarid lands, necessary for economic activity, significantly increases the anthropogenic impact on nature. The main place in the national agricultural systems of the desert regions is traditionally given to cattle breeding, which, being the most important source of nutrition, has caused soil degradation. Thus, desertification, in addition to a number of natural factors, is associated with overexploitation of pastures in nomadic and semi-nomadic cattle breeding.

Keywords: desertification, development, agriculture, threat, Sahara, problems, food shortage, water shortage



DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007660-8

Claire A. AMUHAYA (Kenya), Post-graduate student, Department of Theory and History of International relations; Lecturer Assistant, People’s Friendship University of Russia ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The concept of recipient foreign aid countries that seems so deceptively simple is undergoing tremendous evolution as the international development cooperation scene is also evolving. This change is exemplified by the inclusion of some global South countries as some of the new emerging donors. As the new emerging donors abandon some of the classical foreign aid approaches and instead include approaches like aid with low conditionality and respect of sovereignty in their model, they are successfully challenging the traditional donors in development cooperation with developing countries. Following the assumption that foreign aid is a tool for foreign policy, this article attempts to reconceptualise the donor-recipient country relationships by focusing on a traditional donor country, Japan, and an emerging global South donor country, China. It argues, using Kenya as a case study, that Japan and China in pursuit of their aid foreign policy engendered the competition of development cooperation projects in Kenya, thereby increasing Kenya’s bargaining power. This is evidenced by how Kenya sometimes designs tenders for infrastructure projects in order to gain maximum leverage. We conclude after several analyses and observations of Kenya’s annual debt management report that even though Japan had a head start to China in its foreign aid allocation to Kenya, over the years China has managed to surpass it to become Kenya’s leading external creditor. However, to both countries Kenya is of key strategic importance in East Africa, so Japan has been trying to change its aid foreign policy to compete with China by developing counter measures and as a result of this recently there has been a slightly upward trajectory in its foreign aid allocation to Kenya.

Keywords: Foreign Aid, Foreign Policy, Competition, Development, Cooperation. Emerging Donors, Recipient Countries, Kenya, China, Japan




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007661-9

Aida G. PETROSYAN, Post-graduate student, Faculty of Global Politics, Lomonosov Moscow State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The article discusses the main consequences of the Syrian conflict for the Armenian community of Syria. Major attention is paid to studying some of the specific characteristics of the community as well as examining different data sources regarding the Armenian population in Syria both before and after the outbreak of the conflict.

    Before the war the Armenian community in Syria had been one of the biggest ethno-confessional communities in the Middle East with its history going back many centuries. The main centres of the Armenian community had been Aleppo (with largest Armenian population), Damascus, Latakia, Kesab, Qamishli and some other.

    Being integrated in the socio-economic life of Syria the Armenian community has been affected by the consequences of the war in many ways. First, the Syrian Armenians have faced economic hardships, a lot of them have had their houses and trades destroyed. Moreover, due to the direct threat posed by the conflict, many of them have chosen to leave Syria seeking for refuge in other countries, primarily in Armenia as well as the countries with large Armenian communities, thus leading to a decrease in the number of Armenians living in Syria.

    It is highlighted that the community has a developed organizational structure which includes the following communal institutions: the Armenian church, Armenian national schools, parties, cultural, youth and sport centres, charitable organizations. They have always served as a basis for the preservation of Armenian identity and culture. Following the outbreak of the conflict in Syria they have also helped the community to survive it.

    Despite that, due to the decrease in the number of the Armenian community members and all the damage to the Armenian communal organizations caused by the war, the process of its recovery will be very difficult and effort consuming.

Keywords: the Armenian community of Syria, the Syrian conflict, the recovery issue, the Syrian Armenians




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007662-0

Margarita F. ALBEDIL, Dr.Sc. (History), Leading Research Fellow, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The article deals with the confessional situation in Nepal and its distinctive features. Now the state is secular, but until 2008 the country was a Hindu kingdom, so most of the inhabitants consider themselves adherents of this religion. Nepali Hinduism differs from the common Indian model. Here, the cult of the living goddess Kumari, formerly associated with royal authority, is still preserved. Nepali Hinduism retains many archaic features. They are expressively manifested, for example, in the veneration of the ancient deity Indra, who lost his importance in Indian Hinduism, but retained in Nepal. The festival dedicated to him, Indra Jatra, is one of the most popular and crowded in the Kathmandu Valley.

    Buddhism does not dominate in Nepal, but plays an important role in the social and cultural life of the country. To begin with, here is the birthplace of the founder of the doctrine of the Buddha Shakyamuni, therefore Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world rush here. Buddhist and Hindu traditions are so closely intertwined in Nepal that it is sometimes difficult to find the border between them. Nepal is a multi-ethnic country, therefore, each nation Buddhism has its own local flavor. Nepali Buddhism is caste in nature, although Buddhism is not initially compatible with castes. Legally abolished in 1963 castes continue to exist in modern ethnographic reality. Of particular interest is Buddhism, which is practiced by the Nevars, the indigenous inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley. Probably, it developed under the noticeable influence of Tibet, more precisely, the tantric Buddhism of the Vajrayana. This complex ethno-confessional panorama of Nepalese life is practically not investigated in Russian oriental studies.

This article is based on fieldwork of the author.

Keywords: Nepal, Hinduism, the kingdom, Buddhism, ethnic and religious situation




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007664-2

Sergei V. MAZOV, Dr.Sc. (History), Principal Research Fellow, Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    Drawing on documents from domestic archives, the author examined closely the evolution of the Soviet attitude and behavior to the Simba uprising in eastern Congo (1964-1966), contacts between Soviet representatives and the insurgents’ leaders, the amount of the Soviet military aid, the situation inside the rebel movement. After a series of failures in the Congo in 1960-1963, the USSR reacted cautiously to the Simba uprising that provided for it a good chance to return to the “Heart of Africa”. The Soviet leaders received detailed and adequate information about the uprising from different sources including military intelligence. They had no reason to believe that the “lions” had good chances to succeed, and their leaders were true revolutionaries. The Soviet Union did not provide assistance for rebels until the NATO countries carried out direct military intervention in eastern Congo on November 24, 1964. The USSR delivered to Algeria, Ghana, the UAR and Tanzania weapons and military materials to arm and equip 18 thousand combatants, 320 Congolese went to the USSR for military training. A significant part of Soviet military aid finally did not reach the Congo. As in other critical moments of the Congo crisis (the ousting of the first Congolese premier Patrice Lumumba in September 1960 and his assassination in January 1961), the Soviet leadership refrained from intervening directly in the Congo or sending military advisers there. The failure of Che Guevara to export a revolution to the Congo confirmed the correctness of the Soviet assessment of the nature and prospects of the uprising. The uprising was suppressed due to its corrupt leaders’ rivalry over the power and external funding, low insurgent morale.

Keywords: Cold War, the Congo crisis, Soviet policy in Africa, Simba uprising in eastern Congo

See Part 1 in the issue № 11-2019.




DOI: 10.31857/S032150750007665-3

Tatiana L. DEYCH, Dr.Sc. (History), Leading Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of the Russian-African Relations and African States' Foreign Policy, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    Review of the book: L.Ya.Prokopenko. Women and Power (The South Africa Countries Experience). Ed. N.A.Ksenofontova. Moscow, 2018. 204 p. (In Russ.)

Keywords: South Africa, women, gender equality, power, policy, leadership, diplomacy