"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" № 2 2019

 

 

Aziaafrika 02 2019

 

 TOP PROBLEM

CENTRAL ASIA: POLITICAL AND ENERGY ISSUES IN THE RUSSIA-CHINA FORMAT

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003728-2

Aleksandr I. SALITSKY, Dr.Sc. (Economics), Chief Research Fellow, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences;

Nеlli K. SEMENOVA, PhD (Political Science), Senior Research Fellow, Department of Economic Research, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

    The article is devoted to theoretical bases of research of energy problems from the point of view of its influence on the internal and external strategy of states. The research task of analysing the evolution of energy from a purely economic factor, into a political factor - the struggle for national interests taking into account the global and regional context. The object of research is international relations in the energy sector. The subject of the study is the formation of elements of a possible "competitive field" in the political and energy sphere of the Russian Federation - People's Republic of China in the Central Asian region. In the course of the research, the author used the conceptual-categorical apparatus of the theory of international relations, economics and political science and the method of comparative analysis, which made it possible to trace the similarities and differences in the understanding of Western theories and Chinese approaches. In particular, the author considers the understanding of power / influence practiced in Western approaches as an aspiration for direct and power geopolitical control, which in Chinese transcription is understood as a limited, natural, precisely dosed, directed impact on key points of regions and countries, states and social systems. With regard to the analysis of international relations in the energy sector, a key role is given to the interests of states seeking to maximize access to energy resources (their countries porters), or the most favorable conditions for the realization of their energy resources in world markets (exporting countries). The author comes to the conclusion that at the present stage of the development of international relations, the so-called. The «power arsenal» of states has significantly expanded. The author turns to the little-studied problem of determining the nature and mechanisms of the influence of international political factors on the process of realizing the energy (hydrocarbon) interests of Russia and China in Central Asia.

Keywords: national interests, balance of power, energy, security, Russia, China, Central Asia 

 

 POLITICS, ECONOMY 

AFGHANISTAN’S REGULATION OF SITUATION: DESTABILISATION THREATS AND REGIONAL POWERS INTERESTS

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003729-3

Aryan SHERSHAH, PhD (History and archeology), Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia;

Alina I. BUTOVA, Master (International Relations), Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003729-3

    The paper explores positions and interests of regional powers such as Pakistan, India, Iran and China in the Afghanistan’s settlement of situation. There are analyzed relations of region states concerning this issue and their national benefits from the stability of Afghanistan. Authors explore the main factors of instability in the region and mutual benefits in the bilateral relations. The article deals with the current situation in Afghanistan, further understanding of regional development and interests of regional powers from Afghanistan. The strategic location of Afghanistan, that is a link between the Central and South Asian regions, is constantly subject to competition between the great powers with each other. The confrontation of world and regional powers in Afghanistan consistently affects the security situation in neighboring states. The critical situation in the country involves leaders of all states in the process of settling the Afghan crisis and establishing peace and security in the region. First of all, its neighbors are interested in the stability of Afghanistan. Such forces for instability as terrorism and drug trafficking worry the whole world and unite countries in the fight against global threats. Each of these states has its own interests and benefits from the stability of Afghanistan. First of all, this is the elimination / reduction of terrorism in the region and the security of borders. This is a common goal. It is also important to ensure the security of supply and transportation of energy resources through the territory of Afghanistan (for example, TAPI project). Economically, countries also benefit from close economic cooperation. Countries such as Pakistan, China and India are interested in their participation in the development of energy resources and minerals. Countries are interested in stable Afghanistan and are ready to provide powerful support for the settlement of the situation in the region.

Keywords: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iran. China, regional powers, instability threats, national interests

 

“LOOK-EAST POLICY”: ECONOMIC COOPERATION BETWEEN RUSSIA AND PAKISTAN

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003730-5

Natalia V. GALISTCHEVA, Dr.Sc. (Economics), Associated Professor, Head, Department of the World Economy, MGIMO-University

    The aim of this research is the analysis of the contemporary tendencies in mutual cooperation between Russia and Pakistan in 2000s. The latest emerging recovery in the Russia-Pakistan interaction is due to the complicated political situation in which Russia and Pakistan appeared to be several years ago on the one hand as well as the gradual reduction of weighted average tariffs of both countries on the other hand.

    The author examines the modern composition of the Russian exports to Pakistan and imports from this country. The author draws the attention to the fact that apart from the mutual trade Pakistan is of some interest to Russian companies in terms of participation in large and medium-sized economic projects in such areas as energy (construction of hydroelectric power plants, dams etc.), oil and gas production and processing, metallurgy (modernization and overhaul of equipment of enterprises built with the assistance of the USSR), agriculture, infrastructure and irrigation projects.

    Among the important obstacles to economic cooperation, including investment and military-technical interaction, there are the geopolitical aspirations of the parties. The geopolitical interests of Russia and India, as well as Pakistan's long-term focus on the United States (now and China), reduce the possibility of expanding cooperation between Russia and Pakistan.

Keywords: Russia-Pakistan economic cooperation, Russia-Pakistan trade

 

IRAN: STRENGTHENING POSITIONS IN LEBANON AND A TEMPORARY RAPPROCHEMENT WITH HAMAS

Timur R. KHAIRULLIN, Junior Research Fellow, Center for Civilizational and Regional Studies, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003731-6

    The article deals with the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to promote a rather specific Shiite version of Islamism, which implies the establishment of political and religious control among the Shiite communities loyal to Tehran in the Arab region. Iran has achieved significant success in this direction in Lebanon through the Shiite group Hezbollah, which is the conductor of Iranian policy in this state. Hezbollah has managed to significantly strengthen its position both within the state and in the fight against the state of Israel, receiving financial, diplomatic and military assistance from Tehran. Iran also provided military and financial assistance to Hamas, gaining popularity among the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip. However, the cooperation between Tehran and Hamas was not permanent. Special attention should be paid to the active participation of Hezbollah in the Iranian military forces on the side of the government of B. Assad. It should be pointed out that the participation of Hezbollah troops in the Syrian crisis was an important event not only for Iran but also for Syria itself. The Syrian Arab Republic is an important mediator between Iran and Hezbollah. That is why, the preservation of the Assad regime is the main condition for supporting the political axis of Iran-Syria-Hezbollah. Thanks to the well-coordinated cooperation with government forces, Hezbollah helped to oust radical Islamist groups from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as to preserve the political axis. Hezbollah's success in the Syrian theater of war, as well as its victory in the 2018 parliamentary elections strengthened Iran's influence in Lebanon.

 Keywords: Iran, Islamism, Islamist project, Shiism, Hezbollah, Hamas, Lebanon, Syria

 

ASSYRIAN ORGANIZATIONS IN THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR (2011-2018)

Nikita S. KOZHEMYAK, Post-graduate student (History), Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University)

DOI: 0.31857/S032150750003732-7

    The article examines the participation of various Assyrian communal organizations, political parties and militias in the ongoing Syran civil war. It explores the Assyrian community's engagement with the whole range of parties and actors involved in the crisis, including governmental forces, military opposition dominated by Islamists and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. It also studies the dynamics of the community's stance towards the civil war under external pressure and attempts of major forces to win over the support of the Assyrians. While the emphasis is put on the pre-war organizations such as the Assyrian Democratic Party, the Assyrian Democratic Organization and the Syriac Union Party, special attention is devoted to newly-emerged military units including the Syriac Military Council, the Sutoro, the Sootoro (aka Sutoro-2 or Gozarto) and the Khabour Guards. The article reveals the lack of unity and accord in the ranks of Assyrian politicians, militiamen and common citizens who support different and sometimes antagonistic parties of the conflict. It states that the majority of Assyrian organizations either voluntarily or forcedly cling to the pro-Kurdish structures rather than those affiliated with Damascus. It proves that contrary to popular belief the Christian population of the Syrian Arab Republic is not wholly committed to supporting the Bashar al-Assad government in the ongoing crisis but divided between several camps, which reveals complexity and ambiguity of the situation while at the same time rejects the so-called 'sectarianism' as the only driver of the Syrian civil war.

 Keywords: Syrian civil war, Assyrians, ADO, ADP, SUP

 

DEBATES AROUND LAND REFORM IN SOUTH AFRICA: STAND OF CHURCHES AND CIVIL SOCIETY

Daria A. ZELENOVA, PhD (Political Science), Senior Research Fellow, Higher School of Economics; Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS);

Albert D. KHAMATSHIN, PhD (World Economy), Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, RAS;

Natalia A. VORONINA, Junior Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, RAS

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003733-8

    The article analyses the debates among the South African establishment on the Land issue and a possible amendment to the Constitution which would enable the government to expropriate land without any financial compensation. It is crucial to note that the Land reform is currently high on the agenda of the South African society, to say the least. Debates on the expropriation of land without compensation were resumed in the country shortly after December 2017 when ANC announced its readiness to reconsider article 25 of the Constitution, the article which stipulates property rights for land. Whereas there is a common understanding in South Africa that the land issue is to be addressed as soon as possible, opinions on how to achieve this goal differ significantly. Proceeding from their field research conducted in South Africa, the authors analyze the stand of the modern church organizations and social movements on the Land reform. The question hanging in the air is whether it is acceptable to expropriate land in order to fix the housing crisis in the South African megalopolises. Also, the article attempts to consider the Land reform as a possible solution to the housing crisis in South Africa. All things considered, the Land reform is a multifaceted issue with too many stakeholders, including government and different social, traditional and religious groups. In a nutshell, the Land reform is a Catch 22 situation where any move could be fraught with serious repercussions.

Keywords: South Africa, Land reform, land expropriation without compensation, civil society, churches 

 

IMPROVEMENT OF COUNTRYWISE ARBITRATION IN AFRICAN COUNTRIES

Igor S. KRUKOV, Fellow, Legal Department, Supreme Court of the Russian Federation

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003734-9

    The article studies methods and sources of reforms of court systems of the African countries in order to find out their post-reform influence on a country's economy. . Common features and special aspects of functioning of national arbitration systems of certain African countries, in their ties to the state structure, level of economic development and historic circumstances formed at the turn of XXIth century, have been determined. A definition is given of the effective arbitration court system in the light of its inherent specifications. Specifically, an application of UNCITRAL model act on international trade arbitration from 1985 is shown, which is the ground for the arbitration legislation of the large group of countries. This group includes ten countries of the continent: Egypt, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Madagascar, Rwanda, Uganda and Tunisia. Various aspects of functioning of the Organisation for the Harmonization of Corporate Law in Africa (OHADA) are covered. OHADA consists of the following members: Benin, Burkina Faso, Kongo, the Comoros, Chad, Central African Republic, Mali, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Equatorial Guinea. The organisation forms the unified integration law between the countries of Central (Equatorial) Africa, West and South- East Africa, the former French colonies where the French law was in force. OHADA develops and passes 'uniform acts' of enterprise legislation, that have direct impact, are preferentially met by the national law of the member countries and go into effect without ratification necessary The research shows the achievement of significant success of African countries in creating favorable environment for foreign businessmen by raising the degree of commercial arbitration in court systems, indicated by steady growth of foreign investment into economy of the countries that follow this way.

Keywords: Africa, foreign investment, commercial arbitration, UNCITRAL OHADA

 

FOREIGN EXPERT’ VIEW

MAIN TRENDS OF MIGRATION ACROSS THE COUNTRIES OF NORTH AFRICA

Mohamed GRIFA (Libya), Post-graduate student, People’s Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003735-0

    The article is devoted to the problems of migration, a process that has become in recent years the cause of global demographic destabilization in the world. North Africa was no exception. Migration processes here have gradually become systemic and have become the agenda of foreign policy of the countries of the region. The author examines the history of the issue, analyzes the causes, nature and consequences of this phenomenon. In addition to its own migrants, North Africa has also become a transit area for migration from various African countries on the way to Europe. Of these migrants, unable to embark on the path of migration will remain in the countries of North Africa. Currently, labour migrants and refugees from Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia are migrating to Libya through Sudan, Chad or Egypt. Migrants from China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have begun to migrate to Morocco through the Saharan routes in recent years. West African migrants are sent from Mauritania, Cape Verde, Senegal and other West African coasts to the Canary Islands. A large proportion of migrants who fail or do not wish to enter Europe choose to stay in North Africa as a second option. The majority of migrants prefers the North African countries to their more unstable, unsafe and substantially poorer countries. While a significant part of migrants from Central, Western and South Africa are sent to America and Oceania, Europe and the Gulf countries remain the main migration destinations for North Africans. The author comes to the conclusion that the intensification of migration processes is a direct threat to national security, preservation of cultural identity and sovereignty, as well as socio-economic development of North Africa.

Keywords: North Africa, migration policy, transit migration, demographic destabilization, illegal migrants

  

POINT OF VIEW

CHINA'S «SOFT POWER» IN ARCTIC

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

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003736-1

    Nowadays “soft power” is the main and important tool for Chinese participation in Arctic affairs, however, until now a total study of this new phenomenon didn’t exist. The article is to conduct a detailed analysis of the feasibility, instruments and mechanisms, representative examples, as well as the effectiveness and prospects of China's use of “soft power” in the Arctic.

    Due to a wide range of political, economic, environmental and international factors, China uses “soft-revisional” Arctic policy aimed at realizing national rights and interests, as well as regional sustainable development. The common instruments and mechanisms for its implementation include: defining the national identity as a near-Arctic state, intensifying the polar scientific researches, taking actions in response to global warming, developing interaction with regional and extra-regional countries, using the platforms provided by international organizations.

    A representative example is the Arctic cooperation between China and the Nordic countries, which has become a “new driving force” for developing China-EU relations. However, the practical сooperation is still at an immature stage. Therefore, it’s necessary to analyze the effectiveness of China's use of "soft power" in the Arctic, on which experts have given various points of view. The author from the essence of “soft power” explains the reasons causing the incompleteness of the existing estimates, indicates that accomplishing strategy “soft power” and evaluating its effectiveness require patience.

    China’s use of “soft power” in Arctic affairs would produce “spillover effects” in case of its successful implementation. Firstly, it will cause resonance in the other extra-regional countries, their involvements will affect the Arctic governance paradigm and regional geopolitical system; Secondly, considering the increasing scientific, technological, financial and economic inputs, it seems appropriate for China to develop Arctic policy based on “smart power”.

Keywords: China, Arctic, «soft power», the Nordic countries

 

 POST-GRADUATE TRIBUNE

CAMEROONIAN UNIVERSITY IN THE ERA OF "BOLOGNIZATION"

KOUMA Jean Cottin Gelin (Cameroon), Post-graduate student (Political Science), People’s Friendship University of Russia

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003737-2

    This study is an analysis of the achievements and dynamics initiated within the Cameroonian university since the beginning of the process of Bolognization, created by the Declaration of the Sorbonne signed in 1998 by the ministers of higher education of four European countries: Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom. The Bologna process, commonly known as LMD, is seen as an adaptation of Cameroon to a new competitive global environment. It is true that there is an abundant literature that looks at the changes, challenges and crises that the higher education systems in Cameroon and Africa have experienced. Specifically, this is to present the business cycle that led to the implementation of the LMD system (Bachelor-Master-Doctorate, from French "Licence-Master-Doctorat") in Cameroon and scrutinize the architecture of the Cameroonian university as it exists today without ignoring its impact in the Central African subregion. It is about understanding the issues and challenges related to the strategic management and organization that today's higher education needs to face. This inevitably implies taking part in the debate on the transformations of Cameroonian higher education, which, over the past ten years, has experienced a certain change. The purpose of this contribution is to show that Cameroon's link to the LMD system has led to considerable progress in skills production, infrastructural development and subregional integration. The author also wants to highlight the efforts of the Cameroonian government within the dynamics of the system.

Keywords: Cameroon, university, Bolognization, modernization, cooperation, reform, internationalization

  

RELIGION, BELIEFS, CULTS

INDIGENIZATION OF CATHOLICISM IN MODERN VIETNAM

Ekaterina О. STARIKOVA, Senior Lecturer, National Research University Higher School of Economics - Saint-Petersburg

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003738-3

    The article analyzes the processes of localization of Vietnamese Catholicism, namely the issues of the cult of ancestors among Vietnamese Catholics, the veneration of national saints, canonized in 1988 by the Holy See as well as the phenomenon of the "Vietnamese" Our Lady of La Vang, which was re-imaged in 1990-s as an Asian woman dressed in the Vietnamese traditional dress áo dài by American emigrant Nhan Van. This article examines history of the La Vang Sanctuary, the process of Vietnamization of Our Lady of La Vang. This image is very popular among the Vietnamese Catholics diaspora in USA, because it became an important manifestation of the Vietnamese Catholics identity. The article analyzes the attitude of the Holy See toward the indigenization of the religion among Vietnamese Catholics. In 16-17 centuries the Chinese Rites Controversy became the largest controversy in the history of Catholic Church, but the attitude of the Holy See toward the cult of ancestors changed in 20 century, especially after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Today Vietnamese Catholics have the permission of the Holy See to venerate their ancestors. The homes of today's Vietnamese Catholics may have an ancestral altar, although it can be easily distinguished from an altar set in a non-Catholic family, since it is less decorated and it usually have no offerings except flowers and candles. The veneration of 117 martyrs also has the features of the ancestral cult.

Keywords: Vietnamese culture, Catholicism in Vietnam, Religion in Modern World, Our Lady of La Vang

  

CULTURE, LITERATURE, ART

MIRAGES DU DESERT

Svetlana V.PROZHOGINA, Dr.Sc. (Philology), Chief Research Fellow, Department of Comparative Culturology, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003739-4

    L’article analyse le livre recent des poète tunisien Tahar Bekri «Le Desert au crèpuscule» (P., 2018). Dans la grande tradition poétique arabe qui est évoqué par la beanté du Désert, ce’ livre sappuie sur les mirages des Oasis et leur Réalité et se soulève contre une réalité de Guerre habitée par la volonté de la Mort. Le Présent macule par le sang toute l’histoire des recherches du bonheur dans les sables ardents du Désert et le Poète se revolte contre tout qui aggloutit les traces des Oasis, des palmeraies couverts du poussière noire, de la nudité mortelle du corps si beau de l’ espace ensoleillé. Les batailles en Syrie d’aujourd’ hui transforment en traces sanglants tous les passages envers les recherches des Oasis et couvrent par les bannières de Mort le ciel autrefois plein des Mirages heureux. Les hommes, écoque le Poète, doivent aqquérir leur volonté de surpasser des obstacles du Désert et de marcher envers les horizons nouveaux négligeant les sables arrides couverts de traces des chars et la soif mortelle, provoquée par le feu des armes.

Les mots clés: l’espace littéraire du Désert dans l’œuvre de Maghrébins francophons, la métaphore du Désert en tant que la Traversée, le Surpassement, la Résistance, la Recherсhe de l’Oasis, le Mouvement vers les horizons nouveau. La métaphore du Désert dans le livre de Bekri est la Guerre, l’absence de la vie et de théatre de bataille entre la mort et les visions du Passé comme mirages du Bonheur

 

TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS, MORALS

CHINA: LOVE SHOWN IN NUMBERS AND NOT ONLY

Anastasia A. VOYTSEKHOVICH, Senior Lecturer, Chinese language Department, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University)

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003740-6

    The social changes that have taken place in China over the past 30 years have affected many areas of Chinese life. Changes, that in one way or another have influenced the culture of the Chinese nation, including the relationship between a man and a woman. On the one hand, there are concepts and customs that relate exclusively to traditional Chinese consciousness, philosophy and centuries-old culture, on the other - the penetration of Western ideas contributes to the emergence of new traditions and new views on how in the modern world relations between people should be built, how should these relations help to create a more stable family, what should be the main thing in relations between partners, and what is family happiness.

    Since the end of the twentieth century there have been many social changes in Chinese society that have affected the culture of the Chinese nation, including in particular the relationship between a woman and a man. The article examines changes in the institution of marriage in China over the past few decades including the impact of Western culture and the emergence of new views and ideas on what the family should be and in particular how they affect the relationships within marriage. The main family traditions and the changing role of women in China, the attitude of the younger generation of Chinese to family and love, the introduction of new digital technologies, reflected in the language of "digital personal relationships" are all analyzed in great detail.

Keywords: China, marriage, love, hieroglyphics, Confucianism, homonymy, erotica

 

BOOK REVIEW

RUSSIAN WOMEN IN AFRICA: TEXTS, CONTEXTS, PARATEXT

DOI: 10.31857/S032150750003741-7

    Review of the book: Krylova N. “Russian African Women” in the Twentieth century: Family. The Fate. Homeland. Moscow, Institute of African Studies, 2018. 614 p. (In Russ.)

Tatyana M. GAVRISTOVA, Dr.Sc. (History), Professor, Department of General History, Faculty of History, P.G.Demidov Yaroslavl State University

Keywords: emigration, “Russia abroad”, Africa, women, memories, interviews, A.Meinstein-Shirinskaya, family, identity