Download Russian Elite Image of Iran: From the Late Soviet Era to the by Dmitry Shlapentokh PDF

By Dmitry Shlapentokh

Because the past due Soviet period, the presence of Iran has loomed huge within the minds of the Russian elite. quickly after the tip of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)-and even before-increasing numbers of Russian intellectuals turned disappointed with the West, specially the U.S., and hunted for substitute geopolitical alliances. The Muslim global grew to become one of many attainable possible choices. Iran turned specifically very important within the geopolitical building of Eurasianists or neo-Eurasianists who believed that Russia's alliance with Iran is key for Russia's upward thrust to strength. but, by way of the center of Russian President Vladimir Putin's tenure, expanding rigidity with the Muslim group and the increase of Russian nationalism had resulted in extra advanced perspectives of the Russian elite on Iran. at the present, the Russian elite doesn't brain utilizing Iran as a bargaining chip in its dealings with the West, particularly the U.S., and as a marketplace for Russian guns and different items and prone. even though, the dream of a Russian-Iran axis is outwardly deserted for sturdy.

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Similar views were broadly held by Nationalistminded elite members who, though in opposition to the Yeltsin regime, continued to occupy important positions in various segments of Russian society. For them—they could be defined as imperial Nationalists— Russia as a great power was the most important plan for the future. 54 Most of them thought in purely geopolitical terms, seeing Russia in mortal conflict with the West, especially the United States, regardless of political makeup. General Leonid Ivashov, a three-star general who had occupied an important position on Russia’s General Staff and who was responsible for the relationship between the Russian army and the outside world, thought in geopolitical terms, quite close to Eurasianism.

Iran was seen not as just essentially similar by culture and tradition to Russia— the Yeltsin regime was not seen as an affirmation of the country’s real nature and destiny and would be replaced in the near future—but also as an advanced state. Those who saw Iran as a backward nation—a symbiosis of the worst of Soviet totalitarianism and the Middle Ages—proclaimed that Iran had nothing to do with Russia. In this interpretation, Russia is seen as a Western country and the Soviet period as an aberration.

Dzhemal’s view here was quite similar to that entertained by the jihadist members of the Chechen resistance and some al-Qaida ideologists such as Zarkawi. Dzhemal was a popular figure among some Russian radicals and known abroad. He visited several Muslim countries including, as noted, Iran, as an honorable guru. One could argue that Dzhemal’s views were on 47 the fringe of legality and could be marginalized. But similar views—in less radical form—could be recorded in the statements of Russian Muslims who were part of the establishment.

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