Russian Institute for African Studies, 1995 Report

Russian Institute for African Studies, 1995 Report

Russian Academy of Sciences
Institute for African Studies
Annual Report - 1995

1. Staff
2. Research
3. Doctoral studies
4. International contacts
5. Scientific Council on Problems of Africa and Association for Business and Cultural Cooperation with African Countries.
6. Funding
7. Publications.

1. Staff

The Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences is the biggest research centre on the problems of the continent not only in Russia but the world over. The Institute's staff consists of 196 persons, including 142 academics. Twenty of them have Doctor of Science degrees and 75 - PhD degrees.

According to the Statute of the Institute the Academic Council elected by the staff is its highest body. At its meetings the Council discussed main directions of research, changes in the Instutute's structure, recommended scripts for publications, discussed the reports on the actual problems of Africa.

Professor Alexei Vassiliev, an internationally recognised specialist on Arab, African and Islamic studies and the author of over 20 books was elected Director of the Institute in 1992. His academic interests include nowadays also Muslim republics in the territory of the former Soviet Union. He holds an M.A. from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and later received PhD and Doctor of Science degrees on the history of Saudi Arabia. Professor Vassilyev is a member of the Council on Foreign Policy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Deputy Directors (Academic):

- Dr. Leonid Geveling holds M.A. degree from the Institute for Afro-Asian Studies of the Moscow University and PhD degree of the sociology of management in Nigeria. He specialises in social and political problems of West Africa.

- Dr. Vladimir Shubin received M.A. from the Moscow Institute of International Relations and PhD degree from the Academy of Social Sciences. He defended a dissertation on the policy of the international Social Democracy towards Southern Africa and specialises in the history and politics of the region.

- Deputy Director (Business Centre) Dr. Igor Borisov holds M.A. degree from the Moscow State Institute of the Foreign Languages and defended a PhD dissertation on the new international information order. He specialises in the Russian-African affairs in political, economic and cultural fields.

- Deputy Director (Administration) Peter Kovalyk holds M.Eng. degree from the Military Academy, Lt Col (Rtd)

- Research Coordinator Dr. Marina Amvrosova holds M.A. from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and defended a PhD dissertation on the policy of Western European countries in Africa. She specialises in the European-African relations.

Three Research Centres of an Inner-Institute status are based in the Institute:

- Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (President - Prof. Alexei Vassiliev)

- Centre for Strategic and Global Studies (Director - Dr. Leonid Fituni)

- Centre for Civilisation Studies (Director - Dr. of Science Igor Sledzevski)

2. Research

The Institute's research in 1995 was focused on two programmes: "The ways of the world development and of the revival of Russia" (the programme of the World Economy and International Relations Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences) and "Evolution of African societies and new stage of relations between Russia and Africa" (the Institute's programme).

2.1. African Studies

2.1.1. In 1995 the integral direction was a further research in the civilisation theory referring to Afro-Arab World. The researchers studied transitional phases of civilisation development, peculiarities of cultural code of the African and Islamic cultures, problems of their compatibility. They paid special attention to the intellectual space of the Tropical Africa and came to a conclusion that previous attempts on modernisation according to the Western models failed in Africa basically because they ignored the peculiarities of peoples' culture and psychology. The studies of ethno-political situation and cultural policy in African countries were carried on.

2.2.2. There were three priorities in the studies of the economy of the Tropical Africa:

- Revealing causes, factors and effects of the slowing down of the economy's dynamics.

- Critical review of Structural Adjustment Policy, evaluation of the role of state in forming the basis for mixed economy,

- Study of tendencies in the world economy conducive to altering the conditionality of the African economy.

The findings show that the change of the technological production model in the centres of the world economy queries the future of many industries in Africa, which were regarded as parts of the international economy earlier. However, the African countries have a number of specific resources. Their mobilisation and active involvement into the world economy's turnover can give some chances for development and attract foreign investments. This is oil, phosphate, bauxite, cobalt, gold, diamonds as well as "metal of future" (tantalum, niobium, lithium, beryllium, etc).

A shift in the consumption pattern in the industrialised countries towards a non-material component gives new chances for international tourism in Africa. Africa is a "treasure house" of non-traditional, genetically valuable plants and animals. It opens broad prospects for research and production in pharmacy, biotechnology, gen engineering.

2.1.3. The researchers studied social problems, such as employment, migration, urbanisation, human investments related to economy. The efforts on macro-economic stabilisation in a number of African counties resulted in lack of proper attention to social development. The "anthropological disaster" areas that emerged in Africa prove a serious disbalance in the world. In some cases it leads to a total poverty and jeopardizes the very right to life.

2.1.4. Political studies are concentrated on existing political systems and development of socio-political thought in the African countries. The study of attempted political reforms in African societies in the 1990s shows that democratisation cannot be reduced to introduction of a multi-party system. A choice of political systems in Africa is conditioned by the level of the society's development, its political culture.

Most of African countries has neither socio-economic nor political and cultural prerequistes for a democratic system of the Western type. Traditional (neotraditional) structures and relevant elements of social consciousness remain and will continue to affect greatly social life and ideological positions. However, a part of the African intelligentsia sees a way out of Africa's marginal position in a synthesis of cultures, short of cultural isolationism.

2.1.5. Modern economic, social and political history of Africa remained a major direction of the research in the Institute in 1995. An African experience, including its negative aspects, can be used for forecasting and monitoring certain world processes, conflict situations, ecological crisis zones. Having used archive sources the Institute historians reassessed the geopolitical scale of Africa's involvement in the World War Two, of its immediate and long term consequences for African societies.

2.1.6. Area studies were carried out within the framework of preparation of the reference books on African countries and by highlighting the most important problems of individual African states, particularly in Northern and Southern Africa. The research in the role and place of Islamic factor in socio- political life of the Arab states went on. A special attention was paid to the other "pole" of the continent - South Africa - due to the growing mutual interest in the development of bilateral relations between Russia and the RSA and the fact that the ongoing processes there affect the whole continent.

2.1.7. African regional conflicts and Russia's role in ensuring Africa's security had been another major field of research. The analysis of the present international situation prove that transition from "bipolar" to "multipolar" world has not strengthened security and stability, particularly in Africa. On the contrary, it is fraught with new conflicts and arms race; the change in the balance of forces worried many African states.

2.1.8. The study of specific features of Africa and Russia's development helped to define the prospects for restoration and further development of the Russian - African cooperation. In the 1990s Russia's trade and economic relations with African countries were on decline, in spite of the compatibility of the Russian and African economy. The development of economic interaction with Africa would help Russia to get rid of irrational import of consumer goods from the West.

The military-technical cooperation on a commercial basis remains an important field of the Russian - African ties. On 13-14 December, 1995 the Institute organised a conference on "Russia and African countries: present state of relations and potential for economic, political, military and cultural cooperation". The conferees analyzed both positive and negative experience of the USSR's cooperation with African countries and the prospects of Russia's relations with Africa.

2.2. Russian studies

2.2.1. Aforementioned autonomous research centres pay main attention to the ongoing processes in Russia. There are striking similarities in the situation in Russia and other former Soviet republics, and in some areas of the Third World. The Institute's researchers believe that Russia represents today a specific geopolitical space where the features of North and South are combined.

The institute launched a joint project with the Tashkent University (Uzbekistan) and the University of Durham (UK) on "Privatisation and its role in formation of market economy in Russia, Islamic republics of Central Asia and some Arab countries (comparative analysis)".

2.2.2. The research in inter-ethnic relations in Russia and other members of the Community of Independent States was in progress. Academics warn that in the multi-ethnical societies the appeals to protect sovereignty of nations bring about the substitution of the principle of equal rights by the principle "one nation - one state". It can be prevented by democratisation of the state, by broadening of the national- cultural autonomy within the federation of a new type.

The work on the book "Post-Soviet republics of Central Asia: Losses and Gains" has been completed. The research in the problems of socio-cultural inversions in the history of Russia and in practice of the post-Soviet society, ethno-political mythology in transitional society, ethno- confessional processes of the Islamic-Christian border areas was carried out jointly with the University of Kazan (Tatarstan) and French and Danish research centres within the framework of the project "Post-Soviet space: Russians, Russian culture and revival of Islam".

3. Doctoral Studies

In 1995 for the first time in three years new students have registered in the Department of Doctoral Studies, four for full- time studies and two for correspondence courses. There are 19 PhD students in the Institute: 13 Russian citizens and six foreigners including five Africans. There are also ten visiting research fellows, including seven Africans.

Seven academics were awarded PhD degrees in 1995 after the successful defence of their dissertations:
- Addisu Shewaye Wosene (Ethiopia)
- Benjaber Abdelaziz (Morocco)
- Ibrahim Avad Ahmed (Sudan)
- Kassi Ahmed (Morocco)
- Rabe Simon Raboara (Madagascar)
- Rakutuarijauna Tiana Falimiarana (Madagascar)
- Yameogo Barthelemy (Burkina Fasso)

4. International contacts

The Institute maintained ties with over 50 centres of African and Oriental studies abroad, mostly by exchange of publications and by holding joint conferences. The Institute's researchers took part in a number of international conferences, lectured at the universities of Egypt, South Africa, Namibia and several European countries.

The Institute has close contacts with the African and Arab Diplomatic Corps in Moscow. African diplomats and African students actively participated in the traditional commemoration of the Africa Liberation Day on 25 May.

Ambassadors and military attaches of African countries took part at the seminar "Africa and World War Two" in May. Earlier, in February, the Institute and the US Embassy held a round table discussion on "Russia and USA in Africa".

International symposium "History and Present Stage of Russian- Saudi Relations" was organised on 25-29 May to discuss problems of history and prospects of developing bilateral relations in the fields of economy, trade, culture, as well as the evolution of Russia and Saudi Arabia's position on the most important international issues.

Russian researchers and academics from the University of the Western Cape, University of Stellenbosch and University of South Africa took part in the conference "Russia and South Africa: Past, Present and Future" on 5 and 6 September.

5. Scientific Council on Problems of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Association for Business and Cultural Cooperation with African Countries

The Institute serves as a base for activities of these two organisations, they are both chaired by Professor Alexei Vassiliev.

5.1. The Scientific Council coordinates African studies in Russia and maintains contacts with African scholars in the countries of "near abroad" (former Soviet republics). In 1995 it organised the following conferences:

- "Africa: culture and society (problems of theory and methodology)", St-Petersburg, 3-5 May, jointly with the St-Petersburg University.

- "Experience in Solution of National Question in Developing Countries at the First Stage of State-Building". Tbilisi (Georgia), 11-16 May, jointly with the Georgian Academy of Sciences.

- "Africa in the World War Two: Stages of 50 Year Struggle for National Independence", Volgograd, 24-26 May, jointly with the Volgograd University.

- "Reforms in transitional economy (theory and practice of the CIS, African, Asian and Latin American Countries)", Kiev (Ukraine), 13-15 December, jointly with the Institute of International Relations of the Kiev University.

5.2. The Association for Business and Cultural Cooperation with African Countries (ABCC) was founded in 1995 on the initiative of the Institute's staff members. It is a successor of the Soviet Association for Friendship with African Peoples. In May and October the ABCC held forums of Russian, African and Arab business people, who exchanged commercial proposals. The exhibitions of African handicrafts, national attires and musical instruments were also organised by the Association in the Institute's premises.

6. Funding

Under the conditions of a deep economic depression in Russia the Institute faces an acute shortage of funds. Its traditional source - the budget of the Russian Academy of Sciences - has been badly cut down by the government. It is not sufficient even for paying salaries to the staff, to say nothing of information and library services, publications, international contacts, computerisation etc.

The Institute is striving to generate additional funds. It conducted research commissioned by corporate bodies. Moreover, it had to let some of its floor space. Research foundations, both Russian and foreign, would be naturally a more adequate source. The first steps in this direction have been taken; apart from some funding from the Russian Fund for Humanitarian Research, the aforementioned international projects on cultural aspects of Eurasia and comparative analysis of privatisation are funded by the International Association INTAS (Brussels).

The Institute facilitated the creation of the Russian-African- Arab Business Centre in its premises. It is headed by Dr. Igor Borisov, Executive Director of the ABCC.

7. Publications

The Institute publishes *Vostok-Oriens* quarterly and *Asia and Africa Today* monthly (jointly with the Institute for Oriental Studies). Apart from numerous articles and chapters, the Institute's staff published in 1995 the following books and pamphlets:

In Russian:

1. S. Babkin, E. Mironova. *Algeria: Three Years on Verge of Civil War*, 81 pp.,
2. Yu. Cherkassov. *Tropical Africa: Is There a Way Out of the Economic Deadlock?*, 145 pp.,
3. T. Deich (ed.) *New Role of Russia in the World and in
Africa*, 186 pp.
4. M. Frenkel. *World War Two: Global Strategy and Africa*,
184 pp., published jointly with "Oriental Literature"
Publishing Company,
5. M. Golansky. *New Trends in World Economy and Destiny of
the Less Developed Countries*, 107 pp.,
6. Kassi Ahmed, P. Kukushkin. *Vital Questions of France and
Italy's Relations with Leading Countries of Maghreb in
Late 1980s - Early 1990s*. 77 pp.,
7. Yu. Kobishchanov. *Gafol-feorn: Phenomenon of Domestic
and World History of Civilisations*, 320 pp., published
by ROSPEN Publishing House,
8. V. Lopatov. *Fundamental Problems of Russia's Trade and
Economic Relations with Africa*, 167 pp.,
9. N. Matveeva. *Farmers and Farming in Tropical Africa*,
40 pp.,
10. I. Matsenko. *Developing Countries of Africa: Human
Resources and Urbanisation*, 59 pp.,
11. A. Neklessa. *Prospects for Global Development and
Africa's Place in the New World: Socio-Political
Aspect*, 47 pp.,
12. V. Pavlov. *Foreign Bank Capital in Economy of African
Countries*, 145 pp.,
13. V. Sharaev. *Political Organisations in Ethiopia*,
135 pp.,
14. E.Tarabrin, M.Vishnevsky. *Peace-Making in the US
Foreign Policy: Africa and Other Regions*, 25 pp.,
15. N. Vysotskaya. *West European Social Democracy and Africa (late 1980s - first half of 1990s)*, 32 pp.,
16. *Africa: Opinions and Facts* (ed. by Yu. Vinokurov):
issue 5, 46 pp.,
issue 6, 38 pp.,
issue 7, 45 pp.,
17. *Bibliography of Books, Pamphlets and Articles on Africa
Published in the CIS*, ed. by Yu. Vinokurov:
N 18, 63 pp.,
N 19, 73 pp.,
N 20, 85 pp.,
18. * Africa in Changing World: Global and Regional Aspects of Economic, Social and Ecological Problems*, ed. by B. Runov, 96 pp.,
19. *Africa: Problems of Transition to Civil Society (Materials of the Sixth All-Russian Conference of African Studies, 16-18 November 1994)*, ed. by A. Vassiliev, 210 pp.,
20. *African Culture and Society: Problems of Theory and Methodology (Materials of Conference in St.Petersburg, 3-5 May 1995)*, ed. by I. Sledzevski, 241 pp,

In English:

V. Shubin. *Flinging the Doors Open: Foreign Policy of the New South Africa*, published by the Centre for Southern African Studies, University of the Western Cape, 22 pp.

All publications in Russian are available at the Institute.

Date: Fri, 12 Apr 1996 22:05:33 GMT-5 From: H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU> Subject: FYI: Inst. for Afr. Stds. (Russia), Annual RPT. From: Shubin Vladimir, Inst. for African Studies <>

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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