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The Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russian: Институт востоковедения Российской Академии Наук), formerly Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences, is a Russian research institution for the study of the countries and cultures of Asia and North Africa. The institute is located in Moscow, and formerly in Saint Petersburg, but in 2007 the Saint Petersburg branch was reorganized into a separate Institute of Oriental Manuscripts.
The Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) history began in 1818, when an Asiatic Museum under the Imperial Academy of Sciences was set up in St. Petersburg. It was a depository of oriental manuscripts, a museum with exposition for visitors, a scientific and organizing center for oriental studies as well as a library for academic research.
At the beginning of the 20th century, by the 100th anniversary of its foundation, the Asian Museum became a major Oriental center with a collection of manuscripts in 45 oriental languages and a library. In 1929-30 the Oriental Department of the Academy of Sciences was reorganized, and the Institute of Oriental Studies was created on the basis of the Museum under the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In 1950 the institute was transferred to Moscow.
Under Soviet leadership, the institute was tasked with political work as well as basic research. For example, the program for 1953 included "unmasking the colonial policy of imperialism" and opposing "the lying falsifications of bourgeois Orientalists, and of humanity-hating race 'theories'."
In 2013, the Russian government transferred control of the IOS, together with all other RAS academic institutes, to a government agency Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations (FASO). In 2018, Vladimir Putin's greeting to the IOS 200th anniversary celebration noted the importance of its "providing expert support for foreign policy decisions and promoting Russia's strategic interests."
Now, the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences is a research center where history and culture, economics and politics, languages and literature of the countries of Asia and North Africa are studied. The chronology covers all periods of the history of the Orient - from antiquity to the present day. About 500 experts work there.
Most scientific centers and departments of the institute conduct research on certain countries and regions (e.g., Center for Arab Studies, Center for Japanese Studies, Center for Indian Studies, etc.). Some departments conduct research on problems of the Orient (in particular, the Center for Energy and Transport Studies, etc.).
The institute's depositories contain ancient books and manuscripts, exceeding one million volumes.
Conferences of the institute include:
- Rerikhovskie chteniya (Roerich's Readings), on historical, cultural and religious problems of countries of Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent,
- Problems of modern Iran,
- The society and state in China,
- Annual conference of Arabists,
- Australia and Oceania: history and modernity,
- Russia and the Orient: problems of interaction,
- In 2004 the Institute of Oriental Studies organized the International Congress of Asian and North African Studies (ICANAS XXXVII).
The institute develops contacts with the Indian Council for Social Sciences Researches and with some universities of India, with the International Association for Mongol Studies as well as with the scientific and non-governmental organization of Arab countries (e.g. ALECSO).
Institute publishing includes the following:
- Southeast Asia: current problems of development,
- Eastern Archives,
- Epigraphics of the Orient,
- Japan, Altaica and Irano-Slavica.
- Vostok/Oriens for specialists,
- The magazine Asia and Africa Today for the general public,
- Institute of Africa of the RAS.
The institute founded the Oriental University (www.orun.ru), which trains experts in regional studies and orientalists for scientific and teaching work, public service, to work at international organizations and commercial enterprises, etc. The programs of training, textbooks and original methods have been worked out by the scholars of the Institute of Oriental Studies.
Internet journal New Eastern Outlook
According to its website, this journal primarily focuses on the region from "Japan and the remote coasts of Africa" but also examines events elsewhere "as they relate to the Orient." In 2019, Kevin Poulsen in The Daily Beast accused it of being a source of Russian propaganda and fake news.
In 2017, Politico published the titles of some article appearing in New Eastern Outlook:
- "Ukraine’s Ku Klux Klan — NATO’s New Ally."
- "Proof: Turkey Did 2013 Sarin Attack and Did This One Too"
- If NATO wants peace and stability it should stay home" and
- "Brussels, NATO and the Globalists in Total Disarray."
According to the United States Department of State (2020), the journal is a "pillar of Russia's disinformation and propaganda system", which "promotes disinformation and propaganda focused primarily on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa....while also obscuring its links to state-funded institutions."
Partnerships and collaborations
Partnerships in international programs of scientific cooperation, research projects and publishing programs, representation in academic institutions of near and distant foreign countries, participation in international expeditions, conferences and seminars, teaching activity abroad in the sphere of Orientalism, training courses of members of the Institute at foreign universities and visits of trainers from abroad, membership in international Oriental associations and in societies of business, cultural and humanitarian cooperation.
There are scientific contacts with Turkey, India, Egypt, Japan, Iran, and China.
Institute research topics have included:
- "Comprehensive study of ethnogenesis, ethnic and cultural image of the people, contemporary ethnic processes, historical and cultural cooperation in Eurasia",
- "Studying the historical roots of terrorism, monitoring of xenophobia and extremism in Russian society, anthropology of extreme groups and subcultures, an analysis of the complex ethnic and religious factors in the local and global processes of the past and present",
- "Problems of the theory of historical process, summarizing the experience of social transformation and social potential of the history",
- "The evolution of human societies and civilizations: the man in the history and the history of everyday life. Retrospective analysis of forms and contents of relations between the authorities and society",
- "Study of the spiritual and aesthetic values of national and world literature and folklore",
- "Genesis and the interaction of social, cultural and linguistic communities",
- "The historical experience of social transformation and conflict".
- Department of Israel
- Department of the History of the Orient
- Department of the History and Culture of the Ancient Orient
- Department of China
- Department of the Problems of International Relations
- Department of Korea and Mongolia
- Department of Asian Literatures
- Department of Monuments of Oriental Writing
- Department of Comparative Theoretical Studies
- Department of Comparative Culture Studies
- Department of Near and Middle East
- Department of CIS Countries
- Department of Southeast Asian Studies
- Department of Economics Research
- Department of South Pacific Research
- Asian Languages Department
- Center for Arabic and Islamic Studies
- Center for Indian Studies
- Center for Japanese Studies
- Dubrovskaya, Dina D. "200 years Oriental Studies in Russia. The Institute of Oriental Studies against the background of Russian history". International Institute for Asian Studies. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
In order to survive the October 1918 turmoil, 'Oriental Studies', in part, followed the new Soviet government to Moscow, where the Moscow Institute of the Orient (МИВ) was established. In Saint Petersburg, Oriental Studies embarked on a new chapter in 1930 under its present name of 'Institute of Oriental Studies' at the then Soviet Academy of Sciences (IOS/SAS)
- Clubb, Edmund (1958). "Soviet Oriental Studies and the Asian Revolution". Pacific Affairs. 31 (4): 380–389. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
The Academy instructed its Institute of Oriental Studies to transfer from Leningrad to Moscow, absorb the Pacific Institute, and get down to serious work on contemporary Asia. The Institute of Oriental Studies was in future to be subordinate to the Academy's Department of History and Philosophy, instead of the Department of Literature and Philology.
- "History of the Institute". Institute of Oriental Studies. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
For more than 50 years the Institute's branch in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) has been fruitfully working as a part of our country's main Oriental Studies center. In 2005, it became an independent institution within the structure of the Academy of Sciences, called the Institute of Eastern Manuscripts.
- "Russian Academy of Sciences awaits reform". Russia Direct. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
Putin also called to Fortov's attention that the reform asks for "the establishment of an agency managing Academy assets and essentially performing one of its main functions - the appointment of academic institute directors and, to a considerable degree, the evaluation of their performance."
- "Head of controversial agency becomes Russian minister for science and higher education". Science. 18 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
In a major restructuring, the Russian government has decided to split its Ministry of Education and Science here into two new departments: the Ministry of Education, responsible for primary and secondary education, and a new, separate Ministry for Science and Higher Education. Heading the latter will be Mikhail Kotyukov, a former head of the controversial Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations (FASO), which until now managed property and real estate of research institutions within the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), and effectively had control over the academy.
- Putin, Vladimir (29 October 2018). "Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the participants and guests of the International Congress dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Oriental Studies". President of Russia. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
Over the recent years, global political and economic activity has been focusing more on the East. In this environment, the role of the Russian school of oriental studies in providing expert support for foreign policy decisions and promoting Russia's strategic interests as well as positions in the world is becoming significantly more important.
- "About | New Eastern Outlook". journal-neo.org. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
- Poulsen, Kevin (30 July 2019). "Accused Russian Troll Uses a Novel Argument to Fire Back at Facebook". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- Schreckinger, Ben (12 June 2017). "How Russia Targets the U.S. Military". Politico Magazine. Archived from the original on 14 June 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
- "GEC Special Report: August 2020: Pillars of Russia's Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem" (PDF). United States Department of State. 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
New Eastern Outlook is a pseudo-academic publication of the Russian Academy of Science's Institute of Oriental Studies that promotes disinformation and propaganda focused primarily on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. It combines pro-Kremlin views of Russian academics with anti U.S. views of Western fringe voices and conspiracy theorists. New Eastern Outlook's English language website does not clearly state that it is a product of the Institute. The site appears to want to benefit from the veneer of respectability offered by the Russian academics it features, while also obscuring its links to state-funded institutions.
- "190 лет ИВ РАН. 19 декабря Институт востоковедения отмечает свое 190-летие (On December 19, the Institute of Oriental Studies celebrates its 190th anniversary)" (in Russian). Institute of Oriental Studies. 16 December 2008. Archived from the original on 10 March 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2009.
- "Структура (Structure)" (in Russian). Institute of Oriental Studies. Archived from the original on 22 June 2006. Retrieved 7 February 2009.
- Institute of Oriental Studies - Official site (in Russian)
- Saint Petersburg Institute of Oriental Manuscripts - Official site (English) - former St Petersburg branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies
- New Eastern Outlook - Online journal published by the Institute