Vol 21, No 4 (2021): The Greater Mediterranean: Still Constructing the Macro-region

THEMATIC DOSSIER
Russian Policy in the Mediterranean: Historical Continuity and International Context
Kurylev K.P., Parkhitko N.P.
Abstract

The article considers the main directions of the Russian Federation’s foreign policy in the Mediterranean region in the period from 2015 to autumn 2021. The authors present a historical analysis of Russia’s military presence in the Mediterranean Sea since its first deployment in the 18th century and separately during the Cold War, since the key strategic goals and operational-tactical tasks facing the 5th Soviet Navy operational squadron in those years, as a whole, remained unchanged. Only their scale was adjusted. Three key aspects that determine the need for Russia’s presence in the Mediterranean are researched. These are the military, political and economic (raw) components that form the determinant of Russian foreign policy in the region. The expansion of the military activity of NATO countries - in particular, the United States, Great Britain and France - in the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East, especially since the beginning of the civil war in the Syrian Arab Republic in 2011, requires an asymmetric response from Russia in the context of protecting its national interests. As far as geopolitics is concerned, Russia’s return of at least partial of those Soviet influence in the region also contributes to strengthening our country’s international positions. Finally, Russia’s presence in a part of the world, which is a natural logistics hub in the context of both world trade and energy supplies, conceptually complements the military-political agenda. The authors use the methods of historical and political analysis and practical systematization in order to formulate the main hypothesis of the study and come to scientific and theoretical conclusions. The main hypothesis is that the expansion of Russia’s military, political and economic presence in the Mediterranean will be intensified as the country’s economic potential grows. The authors suggest the following order as tools for implementing the strategy: speeding up efforts to ensure the permanent military presence of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean, deepening bilateral ties with Syria and conducting a pragmatic economic policy towards Turkey, which claims to be an important actor in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East as a whole.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):609-624
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The Mediterranean Sea Basin as a Single Ecosystem: Problems and Prospects for International Cooperation
Egorov V.N., Malakhova L.V., Degterev A.K., Yurlov M.N.
Abstract

The article justifies that the Mediterranean Basin in the broad sense (Mediterranean, Black, Azov and Marmara Seas) is a single ecosystem. The state of this ecosystem is affected by the rivers of this water intake basin, among them - the Nile, Tiber, Po, Rhone, Ebro, Danube, Don and others. The interconnection of the individual elements of the ecosystem is ensured through active water exchange and a sufficiently branched system of currents that turn the inland seas of the Mediterranean basin into communicating vessels. The paper analyzes the main anthropogenic factors, as well as the influence of climate changes on the ecological condition of the Mediterranean ecosystem. Within the framework of anthropogenic impact, special attention is paid to the negative impact of urbanization, the oil industry (production, transportation and oil refining), industrial and agricultural waste, as well as runoff waters. The problem of plastic, as well as contamination with dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is discussed in detail. Analysis of DDT accumulations in the bottom sediments of the Mediterranean basin makes it possible to study the synchronization of anthropogenic processes and their long-term nature. Aridization (intensification of droughts) in the Mediterranean is shown as an important problem for the regional ecology, not directly related to the anthropogenic factor. The article reveals the disastrous effects of increasing droughts and climate change on Mediterranean basin countries. International cooperation to regulate transboundary environmental problems in the region is associated with a number of problems. Among them is the delimitation of sea zones between countries, first of all - the territorial claims of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. The problem of the shelf around the Serpents’ Island in the Black Sea is also considered, as well as territorial disputes in the Western Mediterranean (France/Spain). The paper widely presents successful cases of cross-boundary cooperation: the 1976 RAMOGE Agreement, the 1975 Mediterranean Action Plan and the 1995 Barcelona Convention, as well as its seven protocols. The cases of PEGASO and 4GreenInn projects, as well as the BSEC environmental projects, are considered as successful examples of cross-border academic cooperation. Promising areas of cooperation are outlined and the conclusion is made about the importance of transboundary environmental risk management, despite the political differences between the Mediterranean countries and the EU sanctions restrictions on Russia after 2014.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):625-641
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Maghreb 2021: Political Development Impasses and Threats to the Subregional System
Kuznetsov V.A., Vasilenko A.I.
Abstract

The article is devoted to the relevant issues of international relations in the Maghreb subregion, which became especially acute after the rupture of diplomatic relations between Algeria and Morocco in August 2021. The authors analyze the general parameters of the Maghreb subsystem of international relations and identify key trends in the internal political development of its member states. The growing tension in the bilateral relations between Algeria and Morocco is only a symptom of the general crisis of the regional subsystem. The study is based on the analysis of a wide array of information and analytical materials and documents, as well as the authors’ field research in the border regions of Morocco (2019) and Algeria (2018, 2019) and interviews with Maghreb politicians (2020, 2021). The first part of the article highlights the key parameters of the Maghreb subsystem, describes its internal architecture, reveals the interconnections with other regional subsystems, and identifies the development trends of the Maghreb that took shape in the 2010s. The second part analyzes the internal political dynamics in Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. The current situation in each country can be described as an impasse, both in terms of the development of the democratic process and the possibilities for national consolidation on an authoritarian basis. The political elites of the region are unable to offer realistic strategies for state development and it leads to the growing alienation of societies. The third part of the article reveals the implications of political development crises for the regional relations. The authors conclude by putting forward a scenario of a partial reorientation of a number of Maghreb states from a deeper Mediterranean integration to finding other allies. They also identify prospects for rebalancing relations of Maghreb states with their Arab partners. In the framework of these processes the elites can use conflicting foreign policy agenda for the national consolidation of some countries. Finally, the authors raise the question of seeking new models of state and regional development in the Maghreb.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):642-654
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The Islamist Challenge in the Greater Mediterranean
Dolgov B.V.
Abstract

The article examines and analyzes the spread of Islamism or Political Islam movements in the Greater Mediterranean and their increasing influence on the socio-political situation in 2011-2021. The historical factors, which contributed to the emergence of the hearths of Islamic culture in the countries which entered the Arab Caliphate in the Greater Mediterranean parallel with the Antique centers of European civilization, are retrospectively exposed. The Islamist ideologues called the Ottoman Imperia the heir of the Arab Caliphate. The main doctrinal conceptions of Political Islam and its more influential movement “Muslim Brotherhood” (forbidden in Russia) are discovered. The factor of the Arab Spring, which considerably influenced the strengthening of the Islamist movements, as well as its continuation of the protests in the Arab countries in 2018-2021, is examined. The main attention is allotted to analyzing the actions of the Islamic movements in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, and in the Libyan and Syrian conflicts too. The influence of external actors, the most active of which was Turkey, is revealed. The author also analyzes the situation in the Arab-Muslim communities in the European Mediterranean on the example of France, where social-economic problems, aggravated by COVID-19, have contributed to the activation of radical Islamist elements. It is concluded that confronting the Islamist challenge is a complex and controversial task. Its solution depends on both forceful opposition to radical groups and an appropriate foreign policy. An important negative factor is the aggravation of socio-economic problems and crisis phenomena in the institutions of Western democracy, in response to which the ideologues of Islamism preach an alternative world order in the form of an “Islamic state”. At the moment the Western society and the countries which repeat its liberal model do not give a distinct response to this challenge.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):655-670
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The Eastern Mediterranean in UAE Foreign Policy: Goals and Principles
Tyukaeva T.I.
Abstract

The Eastern Mediterranean in recent years has become an arena of growing activity of regional states causing tensions among them. The importance of this region from political and military point of view combined with its strategic value in the world energy markets underpins the growing involvement of the UAE, a non-regional actor that lately has become deeply engaged in the regional agenda. Due to the fact that the UAE has taken up a quite active foreign policy course outside of its traditional Gulf circle only recently - with the Eastern Mediterranean becoming a new area of Emirati activities - the volume and scope of Russian and foreign research on this topic is rather limited. The existing works that in some way cover issues of the UAE foreign policy do not reflect the increasing influence of this small Gulf state in the Middle East and North Africa and beyond. For this reason, there is a need for complex research on the matter. This paper is based on analysis of existing works on topics related to some aspects of Emirati foreign policy and tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as analytical articles and statistics. The dramatically increased interest of the UAE in the Eastern Mediterranean is part of significant transformations in the monarchy’s foreign policy that have been taking place since early 2010s. These transformations manifest themselves in new goals and purposes of Emirati foreign policy, its expanding scale and new instruments for its implementation. Not only is the UAE policy in the Eastern Mediterranean consistent with its general goal of containing Turkey and fighting the threat of Islamism, but it is also a part of realizing Emirati global ambitions of becoming a leader in energy and logistics and ensuring its international status as an influential actor.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):671-682
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German-Algerian Relations by the Early 2020s in the Context of the Germany’s Regional Policy: Political and Military Aspects
Trunov P.O.
Abstract

Since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been a noticeable increase in German efforts to ensure security in the Mediterranean Sea. This is part of the growing activities to ensure a strong strategic position in North and West Africa, including the settlement of existing armed conflicts here as sources of threats to instability for Germany and its EU partners. Consequently, Germany found itself increasingly interested in finding reliable strategic partners, one of which is Algeria, which makes the topic of this article relevant. The purpose of the study is to examine bilateral security and defense relations with a special focus on the second half of the 2010s and early 2020s with the help of comparative and event-analysis. Having an applied character, this topic has not yet found detailed coverage in the works of both domestic and foreign, especially German, researchers. The historic background of the German-Algerian dialogue is presented. The growth of high-level contacts in the second half of the 2010s is shown, with Germany having to focus on negotiations with the frequently changing figure of the Algerian prime minister. The article also explores the constraints for the cooperation of German and Algerian armed forces on land and sea, as well as the dynamics of military-technical cooperation. The bilateral cooperation in the resolution of the armed conflict in Mali, first of all, in its northern region (Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu) is considered. The political and diplomatic cooperation on the Libyan track in the middle and second half of the 2010s, as well as shortly after the Berlin Conference on Libya in January 2020, is revealed. In the early 2020s, there was a sharp decline in the intensity and volume of bilateral cooperation in almost all areas. In addition to COVID-19, the importance of domestic political factors and the temporary decline in the practical value of the partnership in Libya and Mali for Germany are stressed. A forecast of the dynamics of bilateral relations is finally given.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):683-699
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China’s Relations with the Mediterranean States: Military and Political Aspects
Timakova O.A.
Abstract

China is one of the most influential non-regional actors in the Mediterranean. As of 2021, it is ranked among the top three trading partners of almost all Mediterranean states. Chinese foreign policy in the Mediterranean reflects the growing importance of geoeconomics and, in particular, economic instruments of foreign policy in China’s foreign policy strategy. The intersection of the routes of the “Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century” and the “Silk Road Economic Belt” in the Mediterranean basin indicates the region’s high potential for the development of new logistics routes, economic corridors and supply chains. Despite significant impact of the coronavirus restrictions on the global economy and the deepest economic crisis seen in recent years, China has not reduced its global activity. Actually, it is the pandemic that can become an incentive for the development of new formats of cooperation within the “Belt and Road” in the Mediterranean. China’s traditional foreign policy paradigm presupposes emphasis exclusively on economic interaction and “non-involvement” in political issues. De facto China’s economic relations with the countries of the region are increasingly complicated by military and political issues. The article categorizes the main political and security issues that arise between China and partner countries in the Mediterranean region. While the discourse of human rights and sustainable development prevails in relations with Europe, the issues of ensuring security and managing regional instability come to the fore when dealing with the states of North Africa and the Middle East. Given China’s growing economic needs, it is likely that in the medium term there will be a doctrinal formalization of China’s role in the political process in the Mediterranean region.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):700-711
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APPLIED ANALYSYS
Key Models of Religious Institutions’ Interaction in the Context of the State-Church Relations in Russia and Egypt
Lukyanova G.O., Chikrizova O.S.
Abstract

The article reveals and comparatively analyses the peculiarities of the state-church relations in Russia and Egypt. Currently, the role of religion and religious institutions in world politics is actively increasing, as well as the process of secularization of public life is being redefined. Religion still often becomes the cause of discrimination, persecution of certain groups of society; the level of Islamophobia in Western countries and Religiophobia in the whole world is not decreasing. In these conditions, the importance of state-church relations within key international actors is also growing. The purpose of the study is to provide comparative analysis of the specifics of the state religion policy of Russia and Egypt in order to develop recommendations for the use of Russian religious institutions to strengthen Russia’s position in the Middle East. Russia and Egypt were chosen as research objects, since these countries have a rich history of interaction in the religious sphere, which could become a basis for the future cooperation between religious institutions of the two countries. In addition, Egypt is one of the key states in the Middle East, where Russian influence has never been dominant, but where exactly religious organizations such as the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) most actively and successfully pursued Russia’s interests. Methodologically, the article is based on historical and empirical institutionalism, as well as comparative analysis and historical-genetic method. The study is quite novel, as it identifies four models of interaction between religious communities, which are based on two criteria: a) presence of religious institutions representing the interests of a particular community; b) status of religion in the state (dominant / minority religion). The practical significance of the study lies in its attempt to make recommendations for improving the use of religious organizations in Russia to promote state interests in Egypt on the basis of the highlighted features of state-church relations in Egypt.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):712-733
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PEACE AND SECURITY
Islamist Terrorism in the Context of Contemporary Hybrid Wars
Pochta Y.M.
Abstract

The article deals with the present-day causes of the reproduction of Islamist terrorism. The concepts of desecularization, hybrid wars, and a system-functional approach form the methodological basis of the research. Recognizing the failure of liberal explanations of the causes of Islamist terrorism, the author criticizes the liberal methodology, which is based on an essentialist explanation of Islam and Muslim civilization and attributes a fixed set of qualities to Islam as an ontological evil, a barbarism hostile to Western civilization. The paper presents a viewpoint based on the approaches proposed by representatives of left-wing radical thought, postmodernism and neo-Marxism. It is concluded that the politicization of Islam, including its radical interpretations, is due not to the militant unchanging nature of Islam, but to the crisis of a number of Muslim societies. The Muslim world’s reaction to Western globalism is also an attempt to implement its own global political projects as a response of Islamic fundamentalism to the challenge of Western democratic fundamentalism. The author analyzes the phenomenon of hybrid wars as a form of armed violence that the Western world uses to restore order in its global empire. The connection between hybrid wars and the concept of a just war is shown, as well as the relevance of Islamist terrorism as an element of the system of hybrid wars. Islamist terrorism and counterterrorism are present in all hybrid wars waged in the Muslim world. This is manifested both in military actions on the ground, and in information warfare, as well as in virtual space. The market for terrorist and counterterrorist services inherent in hybrid wars and the place of Islamist terrorism in it are examined. Financial relations bind the participants in terrorist activities, including the customer, sponsor, mediator, organizer, informant, and performer. It is concluded that Islamist terrorism is not the activity of individual fanatics or a manifestation of the militant nature of Islam, but is produced by the conflict system of contemporary international relations.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):734-746
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International Aspects of Separatism in Contemporary Biafra
Denisova T.S., Kostelyanets S.V.
Abstract

In the 21st century, the world at large and Africa in particular have encountered the rise of separatism, which has become one of the major challenges to stability. In Africa, over 20 countries face separatist movements, some of which demand full secession, while the rest - greater autonomy within the existing state. Most of Africa’s secessionist projects remain insignificant in scope and ineffectual, largely due to the absence or weakness of external support for separatists and to the commitment of the international community to preserve, with rare exceptions, the territorial integrity of states. The paper analyzes the reasons for the revival of the movement for the secession of Biafra decades after the end of the civil war between the central government of Nigeria and the separatists and looks into the international aspects that could fuel the conflict and exacerbate the military-political situation in West Africa, which is already turbulent due to the activities of Boko Haram terrorist group, other Islamist groupings in the Sahel, Cameroonian separatists of Ambazonia, etc. The present paper attempts to fill the gap in Russian Africanist literature on the current situation in Biafra, which is especially urgent due to the growing threat of separatism in Africa. Employing the historical approach, the authors analyze the nature of external involvement in the 1967-1970 Nigerian conflict, as well as methods of contemporary Biafran separatists, who seek international support. The paper concludes that due to various internal circumstances, as well as the practical lack of external material assistance, the establishment of a new “Republic of Biafra” will remain a utopian project for at least a decade, although separatist sentiments is likely to spread and hinder the achievement of internal political stability in West Africa, which is ridden with an increasing number of “hot spots”.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):747-757
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Russia, NATO and the Arctic: Rivalry, Security, Possible Scenarios of Geopolitical Competition
Arzhanov I.A.
Abstract

The article is devoted to the analysis of key aspects of the geopolitical struggle for the Arctic region. The relevance of the research stems from the fact that due to climate change and the reduction of ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere, the Arctic is of increasing interest to world powers, which are competing for control over new deposits of natural resources and strategic dominance in the region. It is emphasized that the Arctic has become a region where leading states are trying to implement various geopolitical strategies. On the one hand, the four members of the Arctic Five under the auspices of NATO are trying to implement a scenario in which the polar zone is divided into stable “zones of influence.” On the other hand, there are the interests and position of Russia, which is concerned about the increased military activity of the United States and NATO in the region. The purpose of the article is to study the problems of the Arctic militarization, which will make it possible to identify challenges and threats in this region for Russia’s national strategy. The research methodology is based on theoretical analysis and dialectical method. In addition, the study used formal logical methods and various approaches to information processing (analysis, synthesis, induction, deduction). The forecasting method helped to determine the range of possible military and political trends in the region. The article identifies the potential interests of Russia, the United States and NATO in the context of increased attention to the Arctic region in recent years. The study reflects a comparative analysis of the policies and interests of the member states of the Arctic Five and NATO, namely Denmark, Canada, Norway and the USA, their practical steps in the High North. The author describes possible prospects for interaction and dialogue on countering the main threats to international security within the framework of a comprehensive strategy. Considering the role and rivalry between Russia and NATO in the Arctic, the article highlights the author’s forecasts of further military and political presence of NATO in the Arctic and the necessary actions for Russia to defend its northern territories.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):758-771
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INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC RELATIONS
Energy Security Problem amid Global Energy Transition
Borovsky Y.V.
Abstract

In the early 2020s the world’s transition from carbon-intensive to climate-neutral energy use has already become a discernible and a difficult-to-reverse process. With Joe Biden’s election as US president, the United States have returned to the Paris Climate Agreement and have become a key driver of this process (along with the EU and China). As a result, the international community has reached a consensus on the ongoing energy transition. This process will require considerable effort and may take several decades. Nevertheless, the impact of energy transition on traditional approaches to energy security, which emerged largely as a result of the global oil crises of the 1970s and 1980s and are centered around the supply of fossil fuels, is already a relevant research topic. This problem is examined relying on the relevant terminological, theoretical and factual material. The article concludes that energy transition will ultimately undermine the carbon paradigm that has underpinned energy security policies since the 1970s. Rapid development of renewable and other low-carbon energy sources will certainly remove key energy security risks of energy importers and, possibly, allow them to achieve energy independence. However, a post-carbon era may also generate new risks. For countries that rely heavily on oil, gas and coal exports, energy transition will result in the loss of markets and revenues. It may present an energy security threat for them as well as it will require a costly and technologically complex process of the energy sector decarbonization. Some exporters, especially those with high fuel rents and insufficient financial reserves, may face serious economic and social upheavals as a result of energy transition. The EU and the US energy transition policies reflect provisions of all three fundamental international relations theoretical paradigms, including realism. This means that the EU and the US policy, aimed at promoting climate agenda, may be expected to be rather tough and aggressive. China as the third key player in energy transition is still following a liberal course; however, it may change in the future.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):772-784
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Russia - Latin America Economic Cooperation: Insights from EU - CELAC Sustainable Development Concept
Borzova A.Y., Eremin A.A., Ivkina N.V., Petrovich-Belkin O.K.
Abstract

The article considers cooperation patterns between the European Union (EU) and CELAC (Community of Latin America and the Caribbean) in the context of creatively applying this experience to a broader topic of Russia - Latin America multilevel cooperation. The concept of sustainable development, which implies interaction in accordance with its three main dimensions: environmental, social and economic, is adopted on the global level. The interaction between EU and CELAC contributes to the progress in achieving the goals of sustainable development, where a lot of attention is paid to the “green economy,” alternative energy, and social aspects, since the environmental aspects’ constraints are providing the most significant impetus to structural changes in the existing development paradigm. This in return is expected to create a model that ensures economic growth based on a green economy, alternative energy, with greater equality and social inclusiveness. At supranational level in the European Union an effective and systemic policy has been formed in the field of nature conservation and combating climate change, which without a doubt can be considered one of the most progressive ones in the world, which creates potential for sharing these experiences with less developed and fortunate nations. European programs for Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries have become an important factor in the development of interregional cooperation in environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, and countering natural disasters. The article also focuses on the most recent changes that have occurred in the sphere of interaction between CELAC and EU in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. Massive structural and conceptual changes that have seriously reshaped the priorities and funding of joint programmers between two organizations reflects new priorities for sustainable development in general when it comes to new world realities in post-pandemic world, and could be useful for Russian model for the relations with this region.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):785-802
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BILATERIAL RELATIONS
Azerbaijani-Iranian Relations: Main Directions and Features in 1991-2019 (Historiographical Overview)
Aghazada M.M.
Abstract

The article is devoted to the study of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Iran in 1991-2019, as well as historiography on this topic. The author analyzes the priority areas of cooperation, such as trade and economic relations, tourism, cooperation on trilateral platforms, as well as the factors that influenced the dynamics of their development: Azerbaijani Turks living in Iran; the issue of the legal status of the Caspian Sea and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The author also identifies six stages of bilateral relations: 1) building relations (1991-1993); 2) trouble trusting in a relationship (1994-2000); 3) the most tense period (2001-2003); 4) enhanced cooperation (2004-2010); 5) sharp deterioration (2011-2013); 6) normalization and rapid development (2014-2019). It is indicated that because both states had different foreign policy strategies and international positioning on regional issues, in 1991-2019, bilateral relations were characterized by inconsistency - cooperation, on the one hand, and confrontation, on the other. However, thanks to the efforts of the presidents of both states, bilateral interaction during this period was generally able to maintain its constructive nature. Special attention is paid to the cooperation in the regional triangles: Azerbaijan - Iran - Russia and Azerbaijan - Iran - Turkey, which had different goals and different expectations. If the trilateral cooperation between Baku, Tehran and Moscow is mainly aimed at the implementation of the North-South International Transport Corridor, then the cooperation between Baku, Tehran and Ankara is aimed at strengthening trust and confidence in interstate relations. In conclusion, the author stresses that thanks to the efforts of political elites, especially the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Iran, in general bilateral relations in 1991-2019 were able to maintain their constructive character.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):803-821
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INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC COOPERATION
“We Are from Biafra”. Igbo Students in the USSR during the Civil War in Nigeria, 1967-1970
Mazov S.V.
Abstract

Drawing on the Russian archival documents the article examines the Soviet policy towards Igbo students who studied in the USSR during the civil war in Nigeria (1967-1970). They sided the self-proclaimed Republic of Biafra, Eastern Nigeria, seceded from Nigeria in May 1967. The USSR supported the territorial integrity of Nigeria, provided military and other assistance for the Federal Government in its confrontation with Biafra. However, the Soviet authorities took neutrality in the conflict between Nigerian Embassy in Moscow and Igbo students. They did not expel students at the requests of the Embassy as “accomplices of the separatists” investigating each case carefully, did not hinder the activity of the Biafrian fellowship. Since the dissemination of Biafrian propagandists’ production was banned in the USSR, they tried to reach the Soviet audience through appeals from Igbo students who studied in the USSR. The appeals did not include the main issues of Biafrian propaganda to the West: accusations of the Federal Government of the Igbo genocide by Nazi methods and the portrayal of the civil war as a religious conflict - a jihad of the Muslim North against the Igbo as the largest and most organized Christian community in Nigeria. The dominant thesis was about the nature of the civil war as a struggle of the “socialist” East, Biafra, against the “feudal-capitalist” North, the central government. The students appealed the Soviet officials to recognize publicly the legitimacy of the Biafrians’ aspirations for self-determination, to stop supplying arms to the Federal Government and to mediate in a peaceful settlement. There were no responses to the appeals, and they were not made public. Based on archival documents, the author established that the Soviet leadership reasonably feared that Biafra would become the fiefdom of the main geopolitical rivals - the United States and Great Britain. To prevent this USSR entered into an alliance with the federals. The calculation was to enhance the Soviet influence throughout Nigeria, albeit with a “reactionary” government, rather than support the “progressive” breakaway Eastern Nigeria (Biafra) and receive nothing.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):822-834
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REVIEWS
Book review: Trenin, D. (2021). New Balance of Power: Russia in Search of Foreign Policy Equilibrium. Moscow: Alpina Publisher, 471 p. (In Russian)
Nikulin M.A.
Abstract

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Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):835-837
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Book review: Morozova, N. N. (2022). Morocco and Jordan: Role of Islamic Factor in Politics. Moscow: Aspekt Press publ., 160 p. (In Russian)
Zarytovskaya V.N.
Abstract

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Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):838-840
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Book review: Konarovskiy, M. A. (2020). Afghanistan at the Turn of the Century: A New Crossroads of Fate. Moscow: MGIMO publ., 356 p. (In Russian)
Elagin D.P.
Abstract

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Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):841-843
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Books review: Lebedeva, M. (2021). Russian Public Diplomacy. From USSR to the Russian Federation. N.Y.: Routledge, 78 p.; Velikaya, A., & Simons, G. (Eds.). (2020). Russia’s Public Diplomacy: Evolution and Practice. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 285 p.
Bahriev B.K.
Abstract

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Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):844-846
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Book review: Grachikov, E. N. (2021). The Chinese School of International Relations: On the Way to Big Theories. Moscow: Aspekt Press publ., 304 p. (In Russian)
Katkova E.Y.
Abstract

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Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(4):847-850
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