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Russia's Turn to Persia
Orientalism in Diplomacy and Intelligence


  • Date Published: June 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108446693

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About the Authors
  • Iran has remained one of the most effective tools in Russia's foreign policy towards the West for more than two hundred years. Drawing on previously unpublished and recently declassified sources which change the established wisdom on many aspects of the history of Russia and Iran, Denis V. Volkov examines this relationship, and situates it within the broader context of Oriental studies. With a particular focus on the activities of scholars-diplomats, as well as scholars involved in academia, missionary activities and the military within their own professional domains, Volkov analyses the interaction of intellectuals with state structures and their participation in the process of shaping and conducting foreign policy towards Iran. This work explores the specific institutional practices of Russia's Oriental studies, including organisation of scholarly intelligence networks, taking advantage of state power for the promotion of institutional and individual interests, and profound engagement with Russia's domestic and foreign policy discourses of its time.

    • Studies various aspects of the relations between Iran and Russia from different levels of society
    • Investigates the relationships between state and scholarly knowledge
    • Advances the Foucauldian approach for scholarly enquiry into Russia's Oriental studies
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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108446693
    • length: 283 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    A note of transliteration
    Alphabetical list of abbreviations and acronyms
    1. Foucauldian notions and their applicability to the Russian case
    2. Organisational set-up of oriental studies in late Imperial Russia
    3. Organisational set-up of early Soviet Oriental studies (1917–41)
    4. Between cultures and states: Russian orientologists and Russia's Eastern policy
    5. The birth and death of red orientalism (1917–41)
    General conclusion
    List of archives used for research

  • Author

    Denis V. Volkov, University of Manchester
    Denis V. Volkov is Assistant Professor in Middle Eastern History at the University of Manchester. He spent almost fifteen years in Iran, working in the field of interstate economic cooperation between Russia and Iran. His research interests include the history and the present of Russo-Iranian relations, Russia's Oriental studies, intellectual history, Russian and Iranian nationalism, and, particularly, Russian émigré Orientalists. His most recent publications are 'Vladimir Minorsky (1877–1966) and the Iran–Iraq War (1980–8), or The Centenary of 'Minorsky's Frontier',' in Russians in Iran: Diplomacy and Power in Iran in the Qajar Era and Beyond, edited by Rudolph Matthee and Elena Andreeva (2018), and 'War and Peace in the Other and the Self: Iran through the eyes of Russian spies' in the journal Cahiers de Studia Iranica (2018).

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