"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" № 1 2018

 

 

Aziaafrika01 2018

 

 Top Problem

THE 19th CONGRESS OF THE CPC: NEW TASKS FOR CHINA - NEW CHALLENGES by Andrey V. OSTROVSKI, Dr. Sc. (Economics), Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences; Financial University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
In contrast to the situation prevailing before the XVIII Congress of the CPC in 2012, the distinctive feature of the socioeconomic development of the PRC on the eve of the XIX Congress of the CPC was the decline in the annual growth rate of the gross domestic product (GDP) from 9-11% in 2002-2011 up to 6.9-7.9% in 2012-2016. In recent years, China has moved from a high rate of economic development to a lower rate, which is due to two reasons: internal - the high GDP achieved, which determines great difficulties in trying to provide even higher GDP, and external - associated with a significant decline in demand for Chinese exports because of the global financial crisis. The article contains a brief analysis of the 19-th National Congress of CPC, which took part not long ago, studied the situation in China before the Congress, analyzed the keynote report made by Xi Jinping, amendments to the CPC Constitution, results of the election to the leading organs of the CPC. The article determined basic tasks, which were posed by the 19-th National Congress of CPC by the middle of the new era, changes in the CPC Constitution, a new situation in the leading structures of the CPC after the elections at the Congress.
Keywords: 19th Congress of CPC, moderately prosperous society (xiaokang shehui), socialist modernization, keynote report of the CC CPC to the Congress, the CPC Constitution, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, initiative “One Belt - One Road”

 

 Policy, Economy

THE SYRIAN CRISIS IN THE TRANSFORMING WORLD ORDER: ROLE OF SYRIAN EMIGRANT OPPOSITION STRUCTURES (2011-2015 - Syrian National Council, National Coalition) by Maria S. KHODYNSKAYA-GOLENISHCHEVA, PhD (History), Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
The paper explores initial phase of creation of Syrian emigrant opposition structures between 2011 and 2015 - Syrian National Council, National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces. Ideological basis of these organizations is analyzed through their orientation on foreign sponsors. This envisages isolation from the Syrian realities and focus on promoting foreign policy agendas of respective countries (Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, USA and others). The author speaks about differences and disaccords between the regional sponsors of Syrian National Council and National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces which led to permanent competition inside these structures and strife between their members. The paper also analyses evolution of foreign states approaches towards the two opposition structures and lack of willingness of some states to recognize them as sole representative of the Syrian opposition. The author looks into the issue of participation of Syrian National Council and National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces in the rounds of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, identifies reasons of lack of progress in Geneva-based political process. Special attention goes to Russia’s efforts to build relationship with emigration opposition structures. These efforts are analyzed in the framework of Moscow’s increasing position in the new world order. The author places two opposition organizations activities in the context of international relations system transformation. The latter envisages increasing role of regional players in the Syrian crisis settlement which makes the international relations system less stable and predictable and Syrian conflict settlement more complex.
Keywords: Syria, Middle East, international relations system, foreign policy, Syrian crisis, world order transformation

 

MYANMAR: THE RADICALIZATION OF THE ROHINGYA PROBLEM by 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 article analyses the origins of the recent crisis in Myanmar with the Bengalis and the reasons for the rise of terrorist activity of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). The author describes the complex situation in the context of the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine state (Arakan) and gives a brief historical retrospective of relations between Аrakаns and Bengalis in Rakhine state since the colonial period. The author comes to the conclusion that the root causes of the conflict were the policies and actions of the British colonial administration. Special attention is paid to the emergence of paramilitary groups among the Bengalis in the period of recent history. The emphasis is on the lack of understanding of the world community the true causes of the crisis, which led to the mass Exodus of Rohingya people from Myanmar, and also the nuances of the political system in contemporary Myanmar and biased criticism by the world community of the country’s political leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Although ‘clearance operations’ targeting a Rohingya militant group, the ARSA, conducted by state security forces, which are not subject to the State Counsellor. The most active critics were representatives of the United Kingdom, whose colonial policy was the root cause of the current crisis.
Keywords: Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, army, Min Aung Hlain, Rohingya people, ARSA

 

PRESIDENTIAL VOID IN LEBANON 2014-2016: CRISIS OR EFFECT OF POLITICAL SYSTEM? by Natalia A. BERENKOVA, PhD (History), Senior Teacher, Institute of International Relations and World History, Lobachevsky University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
This paper examines the causes for the longest presidential void in the modern history of Lebanon (2014-2016) that are connected to political system characteristics. Since the “Cedar Revolution” Lebanese political scene was determined by the antagonism between “8 March” and “14 March” political blocs. Presidential crisis brought some adjustments to political and sectarian balance as well as reshaping of alliances inside Lebanon. Syrian crisis and Iran-Saudi Arabia rivalry became the most important external factors that prevented progress in negotiations over filling the president void.
Keywords: Lebanon, international relations, the Middle East, political crisis, Hizbullah, Syrian crisis, consociationalism

 

WHAT DOES DETERMINE JAPAN’s RATING? by Larisa V. ZHILINA, PhD (History), Associate Professor, F.M. Dostoevsky Omsk State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
As the world becomes more integrated, political and social challenges have become increasingly global, pointing to a greater need for understanding between nations and a greater need for finding global trends. On the one hand, it helps to shape public policies. On the other hand, it helps politicians to connect with their audiences and it reveals underlying issues that are of utmost importance for decision-makers on different levels in their countries. The present article examines the results of the opinion poll “2016 Best Countries rankings” based on global opinion of respondents from 36 countries (surveying more than 16 000 business leaders, informed elites, and general citizens). They tried to decide what makes one country better than another - and ultimately which one ranks as the best country in the World. We have made this to understand how an image of Japan was perceived all over the world in comparison with other countries in 2016. Also we have made an effort to compare the results of the poll “2016 Best Countries rankings” with opinion of the professional experts, who took part in creation of “The Global Competitiveness Index 2015-2016” Report, which is one of the most important international assessments of the World Economic Forum (WEF), in terms of the competitiveness environment of 140 countries’ economies. This report shows the key factors and their mechanisms and interrelations that determine economic growth and the level of present and future prosperity in each country.
Keywords: Japan, 2016 Best Countries rankings, The Global Competitiveness Index, Public Opinion

 

BANGLATOWN - CITY HIDDEN IN LONDON by Olga N. MERENKOVA, PhD (History), Junior Research Fellow, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
The article based on fieldwork of the author is dedicated to analysis of several factors which influenced on formation of zone of highest concentration of Bangladeshi migrants in London, which later received official name - Banglatown. Today approximately 400,000 Bengalis live in Britain, most of whom originate from Bangladesh, from the region of Sylhet in the north east of the country. Banglatown is the heart of Bangladeshi community in London and Brick Lane street is one of the most important streets of this zone.
Nowadays Banglatown is a special urban space, centre of Bangladeshi business activity and one of the London touristic symbols, famous for ethnic restaurants and street art objects.
Banglatown is also known as Curry Capital dew to pecularities of local cuisine, famous for its spicy dishes. Local markets attract numerous citizens and tourists as they offer different products and goods both for Eastern and European taste. Bangladeshis have certainly made their mark - their culture and cuisine give Banglatown a cosmopolitan atmosphere. It’s clear that these days Brick Lane is a melting pot of social groups, cultures and subcultures, all of whom come together here to enjoy the U.K.’s favourite dish: the curry.
Each year tens of thousands people take to the streets for the Baishaki Mela, celebrating the Bangladeshi New Year with music, food, fashion show and dance. It helps Bangladeshis to be proud for their roots and contribute to the regeneration of the area.  
Keywords: migration, migrants, Bangladeshis, Banglatown, London, catering business

 

HIGHER EDUCATION IN ARAB COUNTRIES: TOPICAL ISSUES by Ghassan S. YAKU, lecturer, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Department of Asian and African Studies, St.-Petersburg ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), and Anastasia M. IVANOVA, lecturer, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Department of Asian and African Studies, St.-Petersburg ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Nowadays there are many reasons that affect the level and quality of education in the Arab countries. First of all, this is the lack of internal stability due to changes in political regimes resulting from upheavals, wars and local conflicts that do not allow the new authorities to find the time and means to solve important social problems, education being one of them. In most countries, priority tasks such as eradication of illiteracy of the adult population and implementation of universal compulsory primary education have not yet been resolved. The article highlights the specifics of the system of higher education in the Arab countries, various aspects of its composition and state in recent decades, as well as current problems and development trends.
Keywords: higher education, Middle East, international cooperation, UNESCO, reform

 

 Scientific Life

XIVth INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF AFRICANISTS by Natalia I. BONDAR, Head, Centre for Information and International Relations, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ); and Natalia A. ZHERLITSYNA, PhD (History), Scientific Secretary, Scientific Council for the Problems of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
In October 17-20, 2017 the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences hosted the XIV international conference of Africanists titled «Africa and Africans in national, regional and global dimensions». In every three years this conference gathers Africanists from all over the world to discuss a wide range of contemporary problems of the continent and try to make predictions for the future. Being the main forum for the scientists of this research area, the conference is an opportunity to see the actual problems, regional and strategic studies, and to discuss the latest approaches in the methodology of African studies as a science.
Keywords: African studies, Africa, Russia-Africa relations, multipolar world, the global economy, political Islam, international security, armed conflicts, BRICS

 

INTERVENTION BY THE GREAT POWERS IN THE AFFAIRS OF THE SOVEREIGN STATES OF AFRICA, THE MIDDLE EAST AND ASIA by Kirill D. DOLGOV, Post-graduate student, Institute for African Studies, RAS ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), and Vasily R. FILIPPOV, Dr. Sc. (History), Leading Research Fellow, Centre for Tropical African Studies, Institute for African Studies, RAS ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
On September 23, 2017, the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences held a round table on the problems of the intervention of the so-called «great powers» in the affairs of the sovereign states of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The event was organized jointly by the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Peoples‘ Friendship University, the Faculty of Political Science of the Moscow State University, and by the activists of the African Club of the Scientific Students’ Society of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. In total, 33 people took part in the round-table discussion, 11 people made speeches.
Keywords: Great Powers, Africa, Middle East, Asia, sovereignty, neocolonialism, expansion, China, France, Ethiopia, Angola, Libya, NATO

 

 Culture, Literature, Art

SATYAPAL ANAND AND HIS SHORT STORY “ISKI’S BIRTHDAY” by Ludmila A. VASILYEVA, PhD (Philology), 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 article introduces Satyapal Anand, a renowned Indian writer and an immigrant in the USA. He writes in a few languages but it is the works in Urdu that make him popular. Many of his short stories are glimpses of the life of his former compatriots who are trying to adapt to a new socio-cultural environment in the USA. The article analyses a short story by S. P. Anand centering on some major problems of the immigrants` life in an alien society.
Keywords: Satyapal Anand, emigration, short story, Indo-Pakistani diaspora, аlien socio-cultural environment, problems of adaptation

 

 Traditions, Customs, Morals

COFFEE TRADITIONS IN ETHIOPIA The social and sacred meaning of the coffee ceremony by Inna A. SEREBRYANIK, PhD (Engineering Sciences), Associated Professor, Irkutsk National Research Technical University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
The article analyses the coffee traditions of Ethiopia. It is shown what kind of culture the coffee grain has formed around itself. The coffee culture of Ethiopia is interesting for its dissimilarity with the European one. For African countries that grow coffee, it is not just a drink or a meal. The Ethiopian proverb says: «Coffee is our bread» («Buna dabo naw»). Coffee for Ethiopia is life itself. The most important coffee ritual of the country is the ceremony of buna (coffee ceremony). The ceremony accompanies every day, as well as especially significant events in the life of the family and community. It is inherent in a fairly strict ritual and the using of certain instruments, such as jebena. It has deep religious roots, and also plays a significant social role, especially in women’s lives.
Keywords: сoffee, Ethiopia, coffee ceremony, jebena, buna ceremony

 

 Book Review

ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF COLOUR AND SOUND IN CULTURE, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SYSTEM OF AFRICAN PEOPLES
Review  of  the  book:  Poliphony  and  Polichromie  in World history and culture. Yaroslavl, 2016. 226 p. (In Russ.) by Natalia A. KSENOFONTOVA, PhD (History), Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Keywords:  African  culture,  gender,  identity,  literature, music, ritual, dance, folklore, colour

 

THE PHENOMENON OF SOCIAL PROTEST
Review of the book: Social Protest in the Modern East / Ed. D.V.Streltsov, Moscow, 2016, 303 p. (In Russ.) by Nadezhda N. BEKTIMIROVA, Dr. Sc. (History), Professor, 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. )
Keywords: social protest, countries of the East, political stability, social tension, mobilization