On 11th and 12th April, leading scientists of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences – Research fellow of the Institute, VSU Rector assistant Oleg Popenkov, the head research fellow Irina Zvyagelskaya, and the Head of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies Vasily Kuznetsov – gave public lectures in the main building's auditorium of Voronezh State University.
The visit was held within the framework of the partnership agreement between VSU and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences concluded in 2014. The agreement was aimed at making Voronezh State University a federal platform for the expert discussion of the problems of the Middle East. VSU has already had a chance to have other events held within the agreement – a lecture by the Head of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Professor Vitaly Naumkin and a round table with participation of a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
On 11th April, the cycle of lectures opened with a speech by Oleg Popenkov who talked about the military and political results of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ mission in Syria. In the beginning of his lecture he made a retrospective journey into the history of Syria and explained the process of statism development in the country. He listed the main political and economic reasons for the Russian drawdown and the major results of the mission. Irina Zvyagelskaya who was the next speaker presented two lectures: “Specific features of ethnopolitical conflicts” that included the definition of the concept “ethnopolitical conflict” and description of its distinguishing feature – ethnopolitical conflicts do not occur between two or more states but rather within a state. She also talked about conflict management and showed examples of conflicts and their solutions. Her second lecture was dedicated to “Non-state actors and violence”.
On 12th April, the Head of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies Vasily Kuznetsov gave two talks. First, he talked about the state system problem in the Middle East and the turbulent processes which are characteristic of the present situation. He told the audience about the internal problems of the region and emphasized that the statism crisis is a distinguishing feature of the present age. Together with the audience he tried to unveil the reasons for that. Then the scientist moved to a larger problem “Islam in the contemporary world”.
The lecturers attracted a lot of interest from the audience who asked many questions.