Russia and the Arab Uprisings

Russia and syrian flag fadding into one another

Russia and the Arab Uprisings

Friday, 19 February 2021 - 5:00pm
ZOOM Online Webinar
Vitaly Naumkin (Russian Academy of Sciences)
Alexey Vasiliev (Russian Academy of Sciences)
Professor Eugene Rogan (St. Antony's College, Oxford)
Middle East Centre Friday Seminar Series

Russia and the Arab Uprising:  While Europe and the United States were caught unprepared for the revolutions of 2011, Russia seized the opportunity to expand its influence over the Middle East and North Africa.  One decade on, Russia has emerged as a decisive power in Syria and Libya, is drawing closer to Turkey and Iran, and has sought parity with US influence among the Arab Gulf states.  The more the West retreats from the region, the further Russia advances.

Speaker biograpies:

Prof., Dr. Sc. Vitaly Naumkin was elected Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies in May 2009 and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2011. He graduated with distinction from the Institute of Asia and Africa (then Institute of Oriental Languages) at the Moscow State University, where he also earned his Doctor of Science degree with a dissertation on the history of South Yemen’s armed struggle. In 1984, he joined the Institute of Oriental Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences, where he became Head of Department of the Arab Countries (1984-1989), then Deputy Director of the Institute (1989-1994). From 1994 to 2009, he served as the Head of the Center for Arab Studies. He also delivered lectures at many Universities in different countries and in 2004, he was a Rockefeller Foundation fellow at the prestigious Bellagio Center (Italy). Since 2003, V. Naumkin also serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Regional Studies at the Faculty of World Politics at Moscow State University.

In terms of public service, Professor Naumkin has been President of the “Centre for Strategic and Political Studies”, a non-profit NGO, and the co-chair of the Russian-American Regional Conflicts Task Force of the Dartmouth conference. In 2006, he was appointed by the UN Secretary General to be a member of the High Level Group (HLG) of the UN Alliance of Civilizations project. He was then appointed as the Ambassador for the Alliance in 2008.

Vitaly Naumkin has been honored with Russian and foreign awards including the Russian Order of Friendship, Certificate of Merit from Russia’s Federal Assembly, Order of Friendship of Tajikistan, Medal of Honor from Russia’s Council of Muftis, Golden Cross, and the V.Posuvalyuk Prize in international journalism.

Vitaly Naumkin is the author of over 500 publications in Russian and other languages dealing with the history of Asia, the Arab world, Central Asia and Caucasus, international relations, political science, Islamic studies, philology, conflict management and resolution.


Alexey Vasiliev is a prominent Russian Arabist and Africanist. Dr. of Science (since 1981), Professor (since 1991), full member (academician) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) since 2011.

Honorary President of the Institute for African Studies of the RAS (since 2015). Director of the Institute for African Studies (1992–2015). Head of the Chair for African and Arab Studies of Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (since 2013).

Special Representative of Russian President for Relations with African leaders (2006–2011). President of the Centre for Civilizational and Regional Studies of the RAS. Chairman of the RAS Scientific Council for the problems of economic, socio-political and cultural development of African countries. Member of the International Security Section of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. Member of the Academic-expert Council under the Speaker of the Council of Federation (Senate) of the Russian Federation. Member of the Foreign Policy Council of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Editor-in-chief of Asia and Africa Today journal (since 1998). Member of the editorial council of Social Evolution & History journal. Member of the Russian Pugwash Committee under the Presidium of the RAS.