"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 2018

 

 

Aziaafrika 12 2018

 

 TOP PROBLEM

INSTRUMENTS OF THE ISLAMIC STATE "SOFT POWER": TYPOLOGY AND PERFORMANCE EVALUATION

DOI:10.31857/S032150750002565-3

Alexey M. VASILIEV, member,Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS); honorary President, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences; Leading Research Fellow, Saint Petersburg State University; Head, Chair, African and Arab Studies, Russia’s Friendship University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

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

Andrey V. KOROTAEV, Dr.Sc. (History), Head of Laboratory, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Senior Research Fellow, Saint Petersburg State University; Leading Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, RAS ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Alisa R. SHISHKINA, PhD (Political Science), Research Fellow, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Research Fellow, Saint Petersburg State University; Junior Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, RAS ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    This article discusses the media strategies of the Islamic State (ISIS). The authors conclude that the “soft power” of the Islamic State is based on three components: culture, political ideology, and foreign policy. The sources of the “soft power” are the elements and images that allow those interested and applying the “soft power” to gain control over the consumer. Throughout its existence, the Islamic State has been able to turn into a popular and attractive “global brand”, skillfully instrumentalizing information and foreign policy strategies. The wide coverage of content distributed via the Internet is exponentially increasing the audience that terrorists may be interested in. Such organizations have the opportunity to distribute content over the Internet without any control. The promotion of extremist rhetoric through a growing number of Internet platforms encourages acts of violence, which is also a general trend. Terrorist propaganda in cyberspace covers a variety of goals and audiences. It adapts, in particular, to potential or actual supporters of extremists or to a common extremist ideology. The Internet is used not only as a means for extremist publications, but also as a way of developing relations with potential supporters. On the experience of the “Islamic state”, it becomes obvious that the perception of an extremist group by its potential supporters is a pledge of strength and survival, and for such positioning it is important to maintain a high level of propaganda and add new and new elements to the main narrative. New technologies, as well as co-optation of high-class specialists, increase the cost of doing “jihad”, however, as practice shows, in order to remain in the mainstream, it is impossible to do without these tools.

Keywords: ISIS, media strategies, information security, terrorism

 

 POLICY, ECONOMY

ISIS FRACTIONS AND ALLIES IN AFRICA: MEDIUM-TERM OUTLOOK FOR FURTHER ACTIVITY

DOI:10.31857/S032150750002566-4

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

    At the end of 2017, Moscow and Washington separately and at different times announced the defeat of the so-called Islamic state (is). At the end of August 2018, leading news agencies reported that the ISIS group for the first time in almost a year distributed an audio recording, authorship of which is attributed to the leader of the defeated ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, calling "to continue Jihad". Concurrently, the number of reports from different countries in Asia and Africa about the influx of surviving groups of ISIS increased dramatically. Having come back the returning fighters are actively recruiting jihadist replenishment, engage in clashes with competing local groups and carry out terrorist attacks. It became obvious that after suffering a crushing military defeat in Syria, ISIS did not disappear completely as a threat to the development of many Eastern societies. Moreover, in some parts of the world, the advent of large contingents of "shelled" militants and experienced field commanders gave a new impetus to the activity of the local ISIS units as well as to Daesh’s allies. The author considers the possible scenarios and directions of development of the Islamist terrorist threat in the near and medium term in the African region. The article uncovers the potential and the development trends of all known “provincial” divisions of ISIS in Africa against the background of competitive jihadi groupings in the subregions of the continent, in particular those associated with the structures of “al-Qaida”. In this connection, the author provides his own forecast of the dynamics of relative global “importance” of individual subregions of Africa.

Keywords: ISIS, threat forecasting, terrorism, Africa, Eastern societies, information and communication technologies and propaganda

 

"CHINA-MONGOLIA-RUSSIA CORRIDOR" PERSPECTIVE IN FRAMEWORK OF GLOBAL SILK ROAD ECONOMIC BELT"

DOI:10.31857/S032150750002567-5

Alexander V. VORONTSOV. PhD (History), Head of Korea and Mongolia Department Institute of Oriental Studies Russian Academy of Science ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    As is well known there is a real great interest in the World to China's "One Belt One Road" (OBOR), initiative or as is also was cold "Silk Road Economic Belt"). At the same time the projected provoked quite strong resistance in some kea countries that are trying to compete it now in different ways. When we try to deliberate the abovementioned problem we naturally consider China's "One Belt One Road" (OBOR), backed by Russia Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Mongolian conception of Great Steppe or (Tea) way. Past year demonstrated three states efforts to further develop the conceptions and to find the best practical methods to make them mutually reconcile compatible and consistent with each other. Important deals were done including sending from China to Europe test trains by different routes.

    There were both successes and difficulties, theoretical, practical development and new obstacles, challenges appearance.

    Taking in mind first of all the OBOR as the most grand potentially global design we need to distinguish internal and external issues pressure. Sure the OBOR Initiative, is a huge design aimed at bringing greater development and connectivity to the countries of Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The New Silk Road Initiative involves large-scale Chinese investment in infrastructure projects (according some Chinese Academy of Social Sciences representatives estimate - up to $6 trillion) across Central, South, and Southeast Asia, including roads, rail, ports, pipelines, logistics, telecoms, IT, and industrial capacity.

Keywords: "One Belt One Road" (OBOR), "Silk Road Economic Belt", Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU); the Great Steppe or (Tea) way conception

 

JAPAN IN THE SETTELMENT OF THE SITUATION ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA

DOI:10.31857/S032150750002568-6

Victor V. KUZMINKOV, PhD (Political Science), Assistant Professor, Japanese Language Department, Institute of Foreign Languages, Moscow City University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The article examines the role of Japan in the settlement of the situation on the Korean peninsula. The serious aggravation of relations between the United States and the DPRK in 2017 unexpectedly ended with the first ever US-North Korean summit in Singapore. The results of the summit are assessed ambiguously, but the very fact of direct contact between the leaders of the United States and the DPRK contributed to strengthening confidence between countries and easing tensions on the Korean peninsula. Remarkably, the change in rhetoric of Tokyo, which traditionally adheres to a rigid line with regard to the DPRK and considers maximum pressure the only way to achieve a result in relations with the North Korean regime. The question of the destruction of DPRK medium and short-range missiles that can hit targets on the territory of the country is of exceptional importance for Japan's national security. The rapid development of the situation, the unpredictable policy of US President D.Trump aroused Tokyo's fears that Washington could make a deal with the DPRK, allowing to preserve medium-range missiles in exchange for refusing to develop long-range ballistic missiles. In such circumstances, it would be very reckless to rely only on promises from its overseas ally. Therefore, on the eve of the meeting in Singapore, Prime Minister S.Abe expressed his desire to hold a summit meeting between Japan and the DPRK. The problem of normalization of relations with the DPRK will allow S.Abe not only to remove the threat to the national security of Japan, but also to strengthen the internal political positions, shaken in connection with corruption.

Keywords: Japan, DPRK, Republic of Korea, USA, Korean Peninsula, nuclear problem, security

 

ASEAN-CHINA FTA AGREEMENT: IMPACT ON ASEAN

DOI:10.31857/S032150750002569-7

Alexander S. KOROLEV, Junior Research Fellow, Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The article analyses the impact of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area agreement on the development of trade, economic and investment cooperation between the parties with an emphasis on the ASEAN member states. The work reveals the main reasons for the increase in export supplies from ASEAN to China, as well as the volume of Chinese foreign direct investment in the countries of the Association. In particular, it is alleged that this trend is mainly conditioned by the high level of industrial development and services sector, a significant innovative potential in a number of ASEAN countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia), which turns them into large technological and production hubs in the Asia-Pacific region. Beyond that, China's increased interest in investing in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia is also dictated by the degree of involvement of states in the Chinese «Belt and Road» initiative (BRI).

    The article also examines the problem areas within the ASEAN-China FTA, as well as the main «growth points» that help strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties. The former includes growing fears among ASEAN countries over further trade liberalization under the FTA agreement, Beijing's use of unfair competition practices and China's lobbying for more active use of the yuan in trade settlements with ASEAN member states. The prospects for strengthening ASEAN's positions in trade with China are in turn related to the overall economic recovery of the Association, the positive demographic changes in ASEAN, the growth of the urban and middle class in China, the boom of online trade in ASEAN and China and the promotion of the BRI.

    The paper concludes that ASEAN-China FTA serves as an example of an effective form of trade and economic cooperation, allowing both sides of the agreement to successfully advance their strategic interests.

Keywords: ASEAN, China, FTA, FDI

 

NORTH AFRICA: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND MODERNIZATION PROCESS

DOI:10.31857/S032150750002570-9

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

Alexander A. TKACHENKO, PhD (Economics), Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The work analyses the ties of key trends of economic development of the North African countries with modernization and globalization processes in the late XX - early XXI century. The state of national economies, progress and results of market reforms define and - in a sense - dictate the course, opportunities and limits of modernization processes in social and political life of the North African countries. This influence has complex and, in many aspects, mediated and controversial nature. The crisis that developed in the North African countries at the turn of decades had complex nature which points directly at relevant demand in progressive reforming of key social areas. Nearly all countries of North Africa in the short and medium-term perspective will feel the consequences of relatively low or modest growth rates of the periods of now fallen regimes and of the political upheavals of 2010s. The unfinished political modernization - along with other factors - keeps inhibiting various processes of economic upgrade. First of all this inhibition affects forming of sustainable foundations for the modern market economy - creative businessmen of large, medium and small scale, sustainable independent court procedures in economics which would conform both to the international law and the conventional practices of governing the investment law.

Keywords: North Africa, modernization processes, globalization, integration processes, Arab spring

 

THE SLAVE TRADE IN AFRICA AS PART OF INTERNATIONAL CRIME

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750002571-0

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. )

    In today's world, trafficking is defined as a gross violation of fundamental human rights. The universal Declaration of human rights prohibits the use of any form of slave labour. However, today the slave trade is no less common than the arms trade, drug trafficking and other types of shady business. This is due to the limited access of the population, primarily in poor countries, to education, social protection and other resources, low living standards, as well as gender segregation in the labour market. Gender discrimination and poverty are considered by experts to be factors that prevent women from receiving education, adequate employment and confidence and push them into the hands of traffickers. Trafficking in persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation, both on the African continent and beyond, has become widespread. The intricate cross-border supply chains of "live goods" rely on multiple sub-contractors, which prevents law enforcement agencies from monitoring and suppressing criminal activity. Today the slave trade is the third most profitable criminal business in the world, second only to the arms and drugs trade. Combating trafficking is complicated by the inability to collect the most reliable statistics, as non-governmental organizations usually provide them without reference to their sources of awareness. In addition, various forms of illegal migration can be attributed to trafficking, when migrants themselves turn to intermediaries, conductors and sellers of information and enter into a deal with them on their own initiative.

Keywords: Africa, slave trade, crimes, violence, human rights, trafficking, shady business

 

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS IN AFRICAN MIDDLE CLASS SOCIETY

DOI:10.31857/S032150750002572-1

Inna G. RYBALKINA, 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 middle stratum of African societies are the mainstay of social and political stability. Family-marriage relations in this social strata represent a subject not yet explored in the African studies worldwide. In turn, they are subjected to evolution, like the African states themselves. The length of the period of education, the time to enter the labor market, the age of marriage - all of them are increasing; the number of children in the family decreases. But despite rapid evolutionary changes, the institution of marriage is of great importance, and today it is an integral part of the entire traditional organization.

    In various countries of North Africa, there are common and special components of the marriage-family context. For Tunisia and Algeria, there is a very high age of both young men and girls entering into the first marriage union. In Morocco, about a quarter of the population does not have a family at all. Traditional relations prevail in Egypt and the family remains the most powerful social institution there, etc.

    Arab families are very diverse and adaptable to evolutionary changes. One of the main changes is the new role of women and girls in the family who have received education and work and who have become one of the sources of family income in some countries. However, their equality with men is not yet assured.

Keywords: Africa, middle social strata, family-marriage relations, evolutionary changes, new female roles

 

 POST-GRADUATE COLUMN

THE MODERN MEGAPOLIS

DOI:10.31857/S032150750002573-2

Ilya B. SPEKTOR, Post-graduate student, Department of South Asian History, 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 dedicated to the role of Tibetan diaspora in contemporary Delhi. The prob-lems of Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal are often considered insignificant in comparison with the problems inside Tibet. However, the Tibetan diaspora plays an important role in such Indian states as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The refugee camp in Delhi gave birth to the Tibetan colony in the Indian capital. The community is involved in tourist business and ethnic crafts selling. Majnu-ka-tillah, the Tibetan settlement in Northern Delhi, is one of the major tourist destinations in the city. Delhi serves as a communica-tion point between “Central Tibetan Administration” in Dharamshala and the Tibetan diaspora outside South Asia. The major organizations of the Tibetan diaspora such as Bureau of His Holi-ness Dalai Lama have their headquarters in Delhi. The role of the Tibetan diaspora is also im-portant in the Indian’s domestic policy. The ‘Tibetan question” is widely used by both Indian Na-tional Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party. Tibetans in Delhi managed to preserve their identity, language and traditions in the modern metropolis. However, the young generation of the Tibetan community faces the problem of assimilation. Some members of the community are not satisfied with the politics of “Central Tibetan Administration” in Dharamshala and with the special status of Tibetan refugees in India. The case of Tibetans in Delhi is interesting as an example of the exist-ence of the autonomous community in the foreign-speaking environment in contemporary India.

Keywords: Diasporas, Tibet, Delhi, India

 

MEDIA INTERCHANGE TELEVISION COMPANIES OF PRIMORYE AND CHINA (ON THE EXAMPLE OF THE STRC "VLADIVOSTOK" AND CCTV-R)

DOI:10.31857/S032150750002574-3

Olga N. SEMAKINA, Post-graduate student, Far Eastern Federal University (Russia,  Vladivostok) ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The article is devoted to information relations between Russia and China.  At present, Russian science and the Russian media note the convergence of the two countries in the spheres of politics, economy, culture, and sport.  In the period of strengthening international relations, it seems necessary to assess the work of the media, as well as to present opportunities for professional interaction between the Russian-Chinese press.  The article analyzes the experience of two TV companies of Primorye and China (GTRK "Vladivostok" and CCTV-R).  Starting in 2013, these media regularly exchange information products.  The reports of China are broadcasted on the territory of Primorye, and the news of the Russian Far East is broadcasted by the state-owned television company CCTV-R.  The empirical base of the research was the information broadcasts of TV companies GTRK "Vladivostok", and CCTV-R.  On both TV channels, about 200 headings and news releases were broadcasted between 2015 and 2016.

    The author concludes that media cooperation in the border areas has an informational relevance and establishes professional contacts between the journalistic corps of the two countries.  Regular media exchange is caused by economic, social and cultural reasons. But the most important task of such a medical exchange is to obtain reliable facts from reliable sources (especially in the field of politics, economics, ecology and medicine) and the exchange of personal contacts. Analysis of the regular media exchange between the TV companies of Russia and China (GTRK Vladivostok and CCTV-R) revealed common features of news content and preferred subjects: the work of border control agencies and military departments, environmental programs, emergency incidents.

Keywords: information transfer, TV in China, video sharing, ССТV-R

 

 CULTURE, LITERATURE, ART

ENGLISH-LANGUAGE WRITERS OF EAST INDIAN ORIGIN IN THE WEST: ACCULTURATION STRATEGIES

DOI:10.31857/S032150750002575-4

Nataliya V. KOLESNIKOVA, PhD (Philology), 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. )

    The paper deals with very interesting phenomenon in the postcolonial age - the writers-immigrants of Asian origin living in the West. Some critics consider the writers as the Western ones, the others - as the writers from the East. Such cross-cultural literary seeks to position itself within the traditional narratives of the West and East literary canon. The purpose of the work is an attempt to reconfigure the critical geographies by which the writers have been mostly defined. Focused on the English-speaking writers of the East Indian origin (Jhympa Lahiri, Bharati Mukherjee, V.S.Naipaul and S.Rushdie) the research is analyzing the selected writers’ cultural identities in the context of the West aimed to reveal acculturation strategies they adopted. The writers use various acculturation strategies not only because they belong to different immigrant generations, but their motives and circumstances were differ. B.Mukherjee belonging to the first generation wanted to adopt the new culture and called herself an American writer. Belonging to the same generation S.Rushdie wanted to maintain his original culture and calls himself a writer from India. Belonging to the second generation Jhympa Lahiri moves between different cultural groups and integrates the two cultures into her daily life. Belonging to the third generation V.S.Naipaul used the marginalization strategy. He could not integrate two different cultures into his life and created a blend of Indian and Western culture.

Keywords: postcolonial immigration in the West, cross-cultural literary, cultural identity, acculturation strategies, assimilation, integration, separation, marginalization, English-speaking writers of East Indian origin, Jhympa Lahiri, Bharati Mukherjee, V.S.Naipaul, Salman Rushdie

 

AFRICA: LITERATURE OF TRAVEL

DOI:10.31857/S032150750002576-5

Tatiana M. GAVRISTOVA, Dr.Sc. (History), Professor, P.G.Demidov University, Yaroslavl ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

    The article is dedicated to the development of the genre of travelogue in Africa. For centuries, the travel literature was dominated by Europeans. At present, African names appear in the boundaries of the meta-genre, which has absorbed the features of literary, historical, cultural anthropological, geographical traditions. In the XXI century travelogue becomes a genre of social media and personal sites. Persons, for whom journey is entertainment or part of their profession, give advice to potential voyagers, describing all that they themselves saw while traveling in blogs, pinterest, twitter, facebook, instagram. Travel blogs have historically become one of the first, emerging in the mid-1990s. Since then, their number is only multiplying. The digitalization of the dissemination and replication of information changes the perception of Africa. The author of the article focuses on the stories written by Africans about their voyages across Africa and all over the world: travel notes, essays. Famous writers, journalists, freelancers and bloggers of Africa and African Diaspora share their impressions, fears, and observations, relaying their personal experience in their hope of winning an international audience. The genre of travelogue is dynamically developing in Nigeria. Evidence of this is the works of Noo Saro-Viva, Tedju Cole, Pelu Awofeso, etc. Following the pioneer of the genre, Olauda Equiano, they destroy stereotypes, changing the perception of Africa and the Africans of the continent and the Diaspora. On the basis of the principle of objectivity, they create a completely reliable picture of African life with its problems and achievements, sorrows and joys. Traveling Africans are building their own, afrocentric, picture of the world. Acquaintance with it expands the notions of Africa.

Keywords: travelogue, literature, travel, history, identity, Africa, Nigeria

 

 BOOK REVIEW

"VIRTUAL" POETRY OF MALAYSIA IN RUSSIA

DOI:10.31857/S032150750002577-6

    Book review: Guests of the Sunset (collection of Malaysian poetry / Ed. E.S.Kukushkina, translator V.A.Pogadayev, Moscow, 2018, 140 p. (In Russ.)

Elena V. SAFONOVA, editorial staff member ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Keywords: Malaysia, Russia, Internet, poetry, literary communities