Russia's Turn to Persia: Orientalism in Diplomacy and Intelligence By
 Denis Volkov
Publisher Cambridge University Press Pub Date 2018 Pub Location RU Isbn 0 Subject


Iran has remained one of the most effective tools in Russia’s foreign policy towards the West for more than two hundred years. Simultaneously, the cultural and political ties of the two countries on institutional and individual levels (especially during the period surrounding 1917), the influence of Russia, and then of the USSR, on Iran and vice versa, in political, economic and cultural spheres through the activities of individuals, as well as the methods and tools used by the “Big Northern neighbor” during the execution of its foreign policy towards Iran did not receive proper attention, and thus lacked detailed analysis. Dr. Volkov’s research addresses this lack of knowledge by drawing on previously unpublished and recently declassified sources (from various international archives) which change the established wisdom on many aspects of the history of Iran and Russia. He examines the Iran-Russia relationship, situating it within the broader context of Oriental studies. With a particular focus on the activities of Russian ‘Iranists’ (scholars-diplomats, as well as scholars involved in academia, missionary activities and the military within their own professional domains), Dr. Volkov analyses the interaction of intellectuals with state structures and their participation in the process of shaping and conducting foreign policy towards Iran in the times of Late Imperial Russia and the Early Soviet Union (1863-1941). This work explores the specific institutional practices of Russia’s Iranian studies, including organization 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.