Vol 13, No 4 (2021): History of the East: religion, politics, international relations

Religion and Politics in the Middle East

Religious policy of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II in the Syrian vilayets of the Ottoman Empire (1876-1909): methods and symbols

Zhantiev D.R.


The author examines the religious and political course of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II (1876-1909), aimed at strengthening the unity of the Ottoman state and society based on the principles of Islam, and the implementation of this strategy in the Syrian provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The research is based on reports of contemporaries, as well as research works in Russian and English. Particular attention is paid to the strategic role of Ottoman Syria (including Lebanon and Palestine) in the context of strengthening the religious authority of the Sultan as the caliph of all Muslims and recruiting prominent ideologues and supporters of Islamic traditionalism from the Syrian vilayets to serve the Sultan. The author especially examines the role of wo representatives of the Muslim intellectual elite: the Sufi sheikh Abu-l-Huda al-Sayyadi as a close associate of the Sultan who provided patronage to the conservative ulama, as well as Ahmad Izzet Pasha al-Abid, who became the main inspirer of the Hejaz Railway. The article also reveals the features of the state policy towards religious minorities (both Muslim and non-Muslim) and migration processes in the Syrian provinces. With the weakening of the international positions of the Ottoman Empire and the strengthening of foreign interference, Syria set an example of relatively successful modernization based on Islamic tradition. At the same time, confessional identity continued to dominate over ethnicity, and the emerging feelings of Arab and Syrian patriotism did not conflict with the principle of Islamic unity of the subjects of the Sultan-Caliph.

RUDN Journal of World History. 2021;13(4):347-362
pages 347-362 views

Disputes over the permissibility of tobacco smoking among the ulama of Ottoman Syria

Krayushkin N.R.


The article analyzes the history of tobacco smoking in Great Syria of the 17th - mid-18th centuries. The consumption of tobacco, brought to the Ottoman Empire by European merchants from the New World, began to spread rapidly among various groups of society, including women and children. The popularity of the new habit caused a wary attitude to it of the Ottoman theologians from the Turkish Kadizadeli movement. In the middle of the 17th century, they managed to achieve significant influence on the sultan’s court and banned tobacco smoking in the Ottoman Empire for a while. However, after the unsuccessful military campaign of the Turks initiated by the Kadizadeli near Vienna in 1683, the Hanafi “Puritans” of Islam were expelled from the capital. This time, they chose Greater Syria as one of the main strongholds of the movement. In Damascus, the question of the legality of tobacco smoking from the point of view of the norms of Islamic law was defended by Sufis under the leadership of the Syrian mystic ʻAbd al-Ghani al-Nablusi. As a result of the disputes, the Kadizadeli lost their influence in Syria, which partly contributed to the further rejection by the inhabitants of the region of another “Puritanical” movement in Islam, led by Muhammad ibn ʻAbd al-Wahhab.

RUDN Journal of World History. 2021;13(4):363-373
pages 363-373 views

The situation of Syrian Christians in the context of the Arab Spring events

Medvedko S.L.


The article is based on the information published in foreign and Russian sources and media, as well as on the basis of the author’s own research and interviews carried out in Syria. The aim of the work is to study the situation of Syrian Christians after the events of the Arab Spring-2011. This is the scientific novelty of the topic. The article is devoted to the problems that not only touched, but most dramatically affected the life of Christians in Syria, who traditionally presented at least 12% of its population (and much more in the past). They are representatives of the “most indigenous” religion in the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR). The work also traces the role of Christians in the history and socio-political life of Syria, analyzes their current situation, evaluates the events of recent years and draws appropriate conclusions. In particular, the author believes that the Arab Spring led not only to huge human and economic losses, but also to serious ethno-confessional structural changes in the society of the SAR. With the possible disappearance of this native part of the Syrian population, who lived here and represented almost all the inhabitants of that region before the Islam, the republic may lose not only 12 percent of the most educated and active part of its population, but also its tourist attractiveness in the eyes of the whole world. Although Syria has always been considered the cradle of Christianity it could lose its reputation as one of the most tolerant countries of the Arab world.

RUDN Journal of World History. 2021;13(4):374-383
pages 374-383 views

Russian-Lebanese Relations: Searching for Ways of Interaction

Savicheva E.M., Katerenchuk D., Ryzhov I.V.


For almost 30 years since the end of the civil war in Lebanon, signing of the Taif agreements in 1989 and the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 with the emergence of new Russia, the bilateral Russian-Lebanese relations remained partnership and friendly. They have reflected the trend of strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation. Nevertheless, Russian-Lebanese relations at the present stage (21st century) have remained partially unexplored. The article is devoted to a comprehensive study of Russian-Lebanese relations in the political, diplomatic, economic and cultural spheres; the focus is made on the 2000s. The research contains a quantitative analysis of Russian-Lebanese official contacts (2006-2020), as well as a review of the commodity structure of the countries’ turnover.

RUDN Journal of World History. 2021;13(4):384-397
pages 384-397 views

East and West: contacts and contradictions

The goals of the Mongol invaders according to European sources of the middle of the XIII century. Part 2

Drobyshev Y.I.


The middle of the XIII century - the apogee of power of the unified Mongol Empire. In 1241-1242, the first, bloodiest and most destructive Mongol invasion into Europe took place. Certainly, it was vital for the Europeans to find an answer to the question: what did the invaders want, what goals did they pursue? In this article, the author shows that, due to the abundance of contradictory information and the acute lack of an objective understanding of the new enemy at first, European political and ecclesiastical figures attributed many goals to the Mongols (at least eighteen!), of which only three were fully confirmed - an attack on Russia, Poland, and Hungary, and the rest were either not realized for some reason, or arose in minds of the Europeans themselves. All these “goals”, identified in various official and unofficial European sources, mainly dating from the middle of the XIII century, are discussed here taking into account information from synchronous Eastern sources. Despite well-known ideas of a “world-building monarchy”, perhaps actually hatched by the Mongol khans, events in Europe suggest that their main goal there was to punish the Hungarian king Bela IV, who refused to hand over the Polovtsians hiding in Hungary to the Mongols.

RUDN Journal of World History. 2021;13(4):398-419
pages 398-419 views

Migration of the Oirats in the first quarter of the 17th century on the eve of returning to Dzungaria

Kitinov B.U.


In 1541 the Oirats managed to form the Middle Confederation, which was led by the Khoshuts as the most powerful people. In the second half of the same XVI century the Oirats, suffering from attacks of their neighbors - the Turkic peoples from the west and south and the eastern Mongols from the east, began to move towards southern Siberia. Earlier they used to roam along the Black Irtysh river and north of the lake Zaysan, but now they began to move below the lake Yamysh. Opinions on the migration routes of the Oirats, existing in the literature, need clarification. The author offers his vision based on the archival materials and the Mongolian sources: the Hoyt Oirats, driven out of Kharakhoto by the Tumat Altan Khan, were the first to go towards the Altai Mountains. The next were the Torgut Oirats, who crossed the Altai, and then, together with the Derbets, they moved down the Irtysh river. The Elelets, the future Dzungars, left Western Mongolia for the Yenisei river sources. Already in the second decade of the 17th century the Oirats wandered along Om’, Kamyshlov, Tobol and Ishim rivers, that is, they were roaming along the middle reaches of the Irtysh river. In 1623, at lake Yamysh, they defeated the troops of the Hotogoit Altyn Khan Sholoi Ubashi-Khuntaiji, but this victory did not exclude an internal struggle in the ruling house of the Khoshuts, which resulted in weakening of this people. Further civil strife forced the Torguts to move towards west, and in the early 1630s they reached the Volga river. Migrations over such long distances were possible only if there was an effective management apparatus, while maintaining traditions and identity.

RUDN Journal of World History. 2021;13(4):420-430
pages 420-430 views

Youngs scholars reports

The Great Game in Front and Central Asia in the XIX century: historiography of the question

Ibrayymov G.V.


The purpose of the article is to study the events of the “big game”, their reflection and comparison in Russian and English historiography. For its implementation, considerable amounts of materials related both to the time of these events and to modern authors were used. Since the research concerns the topic of political rivalry between the two states, the observation of a subjective attitude in some works is not unexpected. However, the works presented in the article generally stand up to historical objectivity. The “Big Game” is an important event in terms of what is essentially a forerunner of subsequent global conflicts, primarily the “cold war”.

RUDN Journal of World History. 2021;13(4):431-445
pages 431-445 views

Top-level diplomacy in the relations between Russia and the UAE

Al-Mahmadava S.R.


Multi-faceted partnership is developing between Russia and the UAE - in the trade, economic, political, humanitarian spheres, as well as in the field of high technologies. The positions of both countries on pressing international problems are close to each other particularly on security issues, fighting against terrorism, and the conflict settlement in the Middle East. There is a tendency for the establishing of the close bilateral relations in strategically important areas. The historical visit of President Putin to the UAE on October 15, 2019 was a clear proof of the development of friendly relations and close interaction between the two countries.

RUDN Journal of World History. 2021;13(4):446-453
pages 446-453 views

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies