"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 2018

 

 

Aziaafrika 09 2018

 

 TOP PROBLEM

JAPAN-INDIA RELATIONS AND THE IPR CONCEPT

Irina V. GORDEEVA, PhD (History), Associate Professor, School of Asian Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

DOI: 10.31857/S000523100000685-7

     The article focuses on the policy of Japan towards India in light of the processes unfolding now in the Asia-Pacific Region. It is emphasized that in the advance undertaken by the United States and Japan in the APR - with the aim to form the so-called Indo-Pacific region (IPR), the utmost importance is given to the drawing of India, with its great potential, to the side of the West. One of the leading roles in the realization of this plan is assigned to Japan which put forward the concept of a “free and open IPR”, meant to become the foundation of a new order in the region with the core consisting of “four” countries - the USA, Japan, India and Australia. The considerable rise of bilateral relations between Japan and India that has been taking place in recent years and may have a deep impact on the future of the region is analyzed. The question is - will Washington and Tokyo be able to succeed with their plan to reconstruct the current situation in the APR taking into account the negative reaction from Russia, China and other Asian countries? The fact that India, which has always kept to an independent position, does not intend to spoil its relations with its traditional partners can cause a serious problem to the realization of these plans.

Key words: Indo-Pacific region concept, the role of Japan, Japan-India relations, the prospect of a new order in Asia Pacific Region, strategic “triangles”

  

 POLICY, ECONOMY

THE ROLE OF VIETNAM IN RUSSIAN “PIVOT TO THE EAST”

Nikolai V. FEDOROV, PhD (History), Associate Professor, American Studies Department, Saint Petersburg State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

DOI:10.31857/S032150750000686-6

     The article analyses the role of Vietnam in Russian policy in the Asia-Pacific region. The formation of “Pivot to the East” policy is influenced by not only rising significance of Asia-Pacific states in world policy and economy, but also the need of development of the Russian Far East and the nature of relations of Russia with the West. Russia and Vietnam are connected by long history of friendship and cooperation. After 1991 the cooperation between Moscow and Hanoi decreased, but the Russian Federation and Vietnam kept political contacts on high level and continued the interaction in different spheres (including the energy and military cooperation). However, now the significance of Vietnam in the economic cooperation of Russia and the Asia-Pacific states is lower than the role of China, Japan and South Korea (especially in the framework of interaction with the Russian Far East), but at the same time Vietnam is a key partner for Russia in Southeast Asia and Russian-Vietnamese cooperation has substantial potential for the further development. In 2015 Vietnam signed the free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union and so it plays important role for Eurasian integration. However Russian-Vietnamese cooperation induces the indirect involvement of Russia in the South China Sea conflict. Also the character of Russian-Vietnamese relations has changed in the comparison with the period of the Cold War and Vietnam can’t be considered as a counterweight to the U.S. in Russian foreign policy. The crisis in relations between Russia and the West and Russian alignment with China might cause some challenges for Russian-Vietnamese partnership.

Keywords: Vietnam, Russian-Vietnamese relations, Asia-Pacific region, Pivot to the East

 

THE GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES OF ILLEGAL DRUG MARKETS IN ASIA AND AFRICA

Fedor L. BRAZHALOVICH, Post-graduate student, Faculty of Geography, Moscow State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750000687-7

     In last years, the position of Africa and Asia in the global illicit consumption of different types of drugs escalated. The paper considers the geographical features of the markets of illegal plant-based drug use (on the example of cannabis, cocaine and several opiates) in Asia and Africa at various scale levels. The author analyzed the geography of the main supply routes as well as places of drug seizures. It was found that in many regions of the continents there is a well-developed network of drug supply channels characterized by interregional and intraregional types of links. The type depends on either characteristics of drug substance or geographical position of drug hubs on drug routes. A territorial concentration of drug seizures on interregional and interstate levels is inherent for the continents. Main Asian and African drug-transit areas in the global illicit drug-trafficking system are characterized by intermodality of transit i.e. drug dealers can smuggle through such territories several types of illegal drugs substances. At present, there is a tendency of drug users’ increase not only in the whole world but especially on the both continents: beginning with XXI century Africa and Asia demonstrate the highest growth rate of individuals with narcotic abuse in comparison with the rest global drug markets (Americas, Europe and Oceania). The assessment of the value of the drug markets made it possible to determine the degree of its impact on the economies of Asian and African states. The negative influence of legalized drug-incomes on the economy will be exclusively negative.

Keywords: Asia, Africa, drug-trafficking, dug-seizures

 

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES AND ASIAN AND AFRICAN COUNTRIES

Nina N. TSVETKOVA, PhD (Economics), Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Asian and African Countries, Moscow Lomonosov University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

DOI:10.31857/S032150750000688-8

     The article analyzes problems of spread of digital technologies, digital transformation and development of digital economy in Asian and African countries. Different definitions of digital economy are given. The article sets the aim to assess the level of development of the digital economy in some Asian and African countries. The evaluations of digital economy development in China given by the World Economic Forum and by the Report on Internet Development in China presented at the 4th Conference on Internet in Wuzhen (China) vary. Still, China has reached a significant level of development of digital economy, in production and exports of ICT goods (digital devices and equipment), in ICT-services, in e-commerce, electronic payments and sharing economy.

     Digital transformation is taking place in African countries, including development of ICT services sector, e-commerce, electronic payments, online education and digital healthcare services. The example of Senegal is quite typical for a certain group of African countries in this respect..

     In countries of Africa, the virtual crypto currency - bitcoin - has also become widespread. Bitcoin is used by some Africans in the belief that by investing their modest savings into it, they can earn.  At the same time, Africans estimate the development of digital transformation with a certain amount of skepticism. Sometimes they view bitcoins and digital technologies in general as a kind of magic that will allow them to transform their lives, solve many problems.

Keywords: digital technologies, digital economy, Asian and African countries, ICT goods production and exports, ICT services, e-commerce, electronic payments

  

ISLAM, ISLAMISM, EXTREMISM

AL-SHABAAB CELLS IN EAST AFRICA. SUCCESFUL DETERRANCE & DISINFORMATION

Ilia V. PONOMARIOV, 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. )

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750000689-9

     A paper finishes the assessment of counterterrorist measures in East Africa [cf. 2; 3]. So scarce in recent scientific works and mass media reports, the examples of successful disruption of terrorist attacks by security agencies and military forces are evaluated. The dynamics and drivers of recruiting in the ranks of Al-Shabaab in East Africa and the changing pattern of its terrorist operations in the region are described in detail. The profiles of the most dangerous extremists that were involved in preparing terrorist acts are given. The accent is put on the situation in Kenya because it endured the most of terrorist attacks in East Africa and sustained the hardest assault of Al-Shabaab’s propaganda warfare. The research is based on the multilevel cross-examination and verification of different kind of sources: the extended database of media and human rights outlets publications, intelligence and expert reports, and some scientific works of the last years.

     There is a situation when Al-Shabaab and its proxy in East Africa constantly produce disinformation about killing of some sheiks and Muslims that they manage to sell to the mass media and human rights organizations. As a result the actions of law enforcement agencies are pictured with notoriously bad connotations. All this has had negative and devastating impact on the public opinion. The consequences of this situation and its main adepts are displayed. Al-Shabab has recently been deprived of people and financial resources suffering strong setbacks from the troops of African Union and Somali Federal Government. This makes difficult coordination among its different wings and groups which in turn leads to their increasing autonomy as well as the moral degradation of some fighters and new bloody purges.

Keywords: Kenya, Tanzania, Al-Shabaab, terrorist cells, foreign fighters

 

MALAYSIA: THE RETURN OF MAHATHIR

Victor A. POGADAEV, PhD (History), Nusantara Society, IAAS Moscow State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

DOI:10.31857/S032150750000690-1

     The political observers called the general elections held on May 9, 2018 in Malaysia as a "people's tsunami" that washed away the National Front (NF), which ruled the country for more than 60 years, and brought the opposition alliance "Hope" to power. For many observers, the election results were unexpected. But if one looked closely at the development of the political situation in Malaysia in recent years, the results of the elections will be quite natural. Already in the 2008 and 2013 elections. the opposition could show itself as a mighty one. The leader of the National Front and Prime Minister NajibRazak could not control the situation in his hands, also because his involvement in the corruption scandal connected with the government-run strategic development company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). While the opposition was able to win over the former prime minister, the builder of modern Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad. In the absence of the generally recognized leader of the opposition, Anwar Ibrahim who at that time was still in prison, Mahathir played his role by uniting the opposition (with the exception of Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party) and using the people's discontent with Najib's policy (in particular, the introduction of GST, an increase in gasoline and toll roads prices, etc.), as well as a corruption scandal, to which investigation the United States, Australia, Switzerland joined. The fulfillment of election promises could be a difficult task for the winning alliance. However, the rich and fruitful experience of state management, which Mahathir possesses, gives hope for a favorable development of the situation in Malaysia.

Keywords: General elections in Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, Najib Razak, National Front, Alliance "Hope"

 

BANKER TO THE POOR

Anna A. SUVOROVA, Dr.Sc. (Philology), Head, Department of Asian literature, Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

DOI:10.31857/S032150750000696-7

     The article examines the personality and life-story of Muhammad Yunus (born 1940), a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker, economist, and civil society leader who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. These loans are given to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. In 2006, Yunus and the Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts through microcredit to create economic and social development from below. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that "lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty." Yunus and his Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development. In 2011, Yunus founded “Yunus Social Business - Global Initiatives” (YSB) which creates and empowers social businesses to address and solve social problems around the world. As the international implementation arm for Yunus' vision of a new, humane capitalism, YSB manages incubator funds for social businesses in developing countries and provides advisory services to companies, governments, foundations and NGOs. In Bangladesh the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina waged a destructive campaign against Grameen Bank and its founder, Muhammad Yunus. In March 2011, the Bangladesh government fired Yunus from his position at Grameen Bank, citing legal violations and an age limit on his position. During three decades of his work Yunus has become a well-known international figure. He is one of the most followed and cited businessman and economist worldwide.

Keywords: Bangladesh, social businesses, microcredit, economical and social development from below, The Nobel Peace Prize

 

MONGOLIA: PASTORAL NOMADIC LIVESTOCK HUSBANDRY’S RECORD GROWTH AND ECOLOGICAL CHALLENGE

Vladimir V. GRAYVORONSKIY, Dr.Sc. (History), Principal Research Fellow, Head, Mongolia Unit, Department for the Korean and Mongolian Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750000691-2

     Contemporary Mongolia is a unique, wonderful country, where thousand years old traditions of the pastoral nomadic livestock husbandry and nomadic civilization are actually coexisting, intertwining and interacting with the achievements of the modern, industrialized and globalizing world. Just recently, a hundred years ago in the early XX century 90% of the Mongolia’s population were engaged in the only nomadic livestock husbandry and leaded nomadic life. At present time more than 70% of Mongolia’s total population are employed in the industry, construction, transportation, telecommunication, management, education, health, services and other activities and live sedentary life in cities and towns, meanwhile the rest about 1/3 part of the economically active population is employed in the gradually modernizing pastoral nomadic animal husbandry. Nevertheless the mining industry has become the main driver of the Mongolia’s economic growth traditional pastoral nomadic livestock husbandry still remains a basic, vital sector of the economy and subsistance of the people.

     The author has examined the main changes in the traditional pastoral nomadic livestock husbandry in the contemporary Mongolia after transition from the previous socialist model of development to the western democracy and market economy in 1990-2017, as well as the role of the branch in the national economy, output of main agricultural products, internal and external factors of livestock record fast growth in the last years (2011-2017), the challenges of the imbalance between the number of livestock and the capacity of natural pastures, the threat of ecological degradation.

Keywords: Mongolia, pastoral nomadic livestock husbandry, livestock fast growth, the number of the livestock and the capacity of the natural pastures, ecological challenge

  

 FOREIGN EXPERT VIEW

KENYA’S OVERLAPPING MEMBERSHIP IN REGIONAL ORGANISATIONS

Claire A. AMUHAYA (Kenya), Post-graduate student

DOI:10.31857/S032150750000692-3

     State interests are similar especially within a region as they have a lot of common objectives and regional integration is the common avenue that most states have adopted for pursuing and achieving these shared objectives. However, it’s important to note that regardless of the shared objectives, most states will pursue their own national interests first before anything else. This has led to some countries choosing the strategy of overlapping membership hence belonging to multiple organizations within the region as is with the case of Kenya. Using realist theory and theories of integration, this article will analyse the overlapping membership of Kenya in the different regional organizations of economy and peace and security which have similar objectives. I will evaluate the commitment challenges it faces both politically and institutionally within the multiple organizations. In its quest to fulfill its vision 2030 objectives, Kenya has taken some measures which sometimes pose a challenge to integration in the region, but it has to find ways to balance them out. While trying to pursue their own “personal” interests as a country through other organizations outside the region and continent, such as the European Union, Kenya faces particular challenges in the region. Since Kenya economically is already stronger than other countries in East Africa, it is inevitable for it to not constantly face competition so it has to continually improve and better itself to maintain its status in the region. Finally, the author concludes with the measures Kenya can take to maximize and achieve its interests without compromising the need and importance of regional integration but mainly without jeopardizing its strategic and economic position in the region.

Keywords: Kenya, regional integration, regional organizations, regional economic communities, peace and security, multiplicity and overlapping membership

  

 POST-GRADUATE COLUMN

KAZAKHSTAN IN THE «SILK ROAD ECONOMIC BELT» INITIATIVE

Konstantin A. SANIN, Post-graduate student, Institute for Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750000693-4

     Given its geographical location, resource potential and political weight, Kazakhstan is an important link in the Xi Jinping’s initiative of the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), which is now becoming one of the main issues in the foreign policy of China. In addition to cooperation in the field of economy, transport, trade and investments, the SREB initiative is aimed to enhance the comprehensive connection between the PRC and its neighboring countries in all possible spheres within the framework of the Chinese model of mutually beneficial international relations of a new type, which ultimately should lead to the transformation of the transport routes of the new Silk Road into corridors of joint development and unification of China and other Eurasian states into a "community of common destiny of the mankind". At the same time, Kazakhstan, together with Russia and some other post-Soviet states, is an active participant of the Eurasian integration. The integration of post-Soviet space is multidimensional too, and the problem of linking the two projects of regional integration has appeared. If the Chinese initiatives of the Silk Road Economic Belt and “the community of common destiny” are usually defined in the PRC as part of the so-called Xi Jinping’s thought, then the idea of Eurasian integration to a significant extent can be considered to be part of president Nazarbayev’s thought. In this article, the issue of linking the SREB initiative with the Eurasian integration is being examined by way of comparing the theoretical concepts of China’s and Kazakhstan’s leaders. Keywords: Kazakhstan, eurasianism, Silk Road Economic Belt, China, regional integration

  

 SCIENTIFIC LIFE

UNDERSTANDING THE WORD: DIALOG OF RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS AND BUDDHIST SCHOLARS

Alla M. SHUSTOVA, PhD (Philosophy), Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Indian Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

DOI:10.31857/S032150750000694-5

     3-4 of May, 2018 in Dharamsala (India) took place the second conference of Russian scientists and Buddhist scholars with participation of His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV Tenzin Gyatso. The first conference has been held in Delhi in August, 2017. The main theme of the discussion between Russian scientists and Buddhist scholars was bridging positions of Russian and Buddhist science in understanding the nature of the word and human nature with the accent on the study of consciousness.

     The idea to begin the discussion between Russian scientists and Buddhist scholars belongs to Dalai Lama and the group of scientists from Russia. Russian Scientists have met with Dalai Lama during of his teachings which he offers for the Buddhists of the word as well as from Russia.

     One of the tasks of the discussions between Russian scientists and Buddhist scholars was introducing to West science some ideas developed in the philosophical heritage of Buddhist University of Nalanda (India). Nalanda’s scholars created the teaching of the Mahayana, which is the base of the Tibetan Buddhist Traditions. Spirit of compassion, heartful help and self-sacrifice are in the heart of this teaching. Dalai Lama believes that modern Western science and education lack the philosophical and ethical knowledge. Along with the Buddhist philosophical ideas on understanding the nature of the word and human nature Dalai Lama for a long time promotes the idea of introducing secular ethics in the educational programs. He is sure that such characteristics of consciousness as compassion, empathy, kind-heartiness, altruism must be cultivated along with accumulation of scientific knowledge.

     Some known Russian scientists were invited in Dharamsala for this discussions. Common understanding that such discussions may be beneficial to both sides lets one be optimistic about the continuation of such meetings.

Keywords: Dalai Lama, Buddhism, Dharamsala, conference, East-West dialogue

 

 CULTURE, LITERATURE, ART

SECULAR AND RELIGIOUS ISTANBUL IN THE TURKISH CINEMA

Konstantin S. VASILTSOV, PhD (History), Research Fellow, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), Natalia V. KAZUROVA, PhD (History), Science Coordinator Administration Department, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

DOI:10.31857/S032150750000695-6

     Istanbul - the center of the cultural life of Turkey - became an essential part of feature movies. We can see rich side of the city in the popular TV series and films, while mosques and minarets are demonstrated in movies with theological and mystical plots. Bridges, lonely street benches and far deserted yards are favorite filling of Turkish art house.

     Istanbul is one of the most important component of the aesthetic views for directors of Turkish New Wave, one of the main cinema revelation of the 21st century. Sometimes the city is a protagonist like real man, or it is a significant element from which dependents on idea of films. However any city without citizens is only urbanized badlands. The fate of man is a philosophical focus of outstanding contemporary directors such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Semih Kaplanoğlu, Zeki Demirkubuz. Great palaces and poor high-rise buildings of Istanbul are the native symbols for directors who live outside Turkey. At times hard or on the contrary lyrical film works sound like clear resonant echo in Being of Turkish megapolis.

     Living in Istanbul, located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, means to undergo the influence of the Eastern and Western myths. Moreover for many Turks, Istanbul has many opposite meanings. On the one hand, it is dirty, overpopulated, criminal, too big and too cruel; on the other hand, this is a place of endless and impressive opportunities, great hopes, glory and luck.

     This article is dedicated to description Istanbul way of life through the national cinema. Scientific methods of the present exploration are approaches of cultural anthropology and film studies.

Keywords: Islam, Sufism, National Cinema, Istanbul, Turkey, Turkish New Wave