Address of Prof. Dr. Anatoly Egorin, Deputy Director of the Oriental Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Russian Federation

INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON ISLAMIC CIVILISATION IN VOLGA-URAL REGION, 2001

Dear Mr. President, Mr. Mayor, members of the presidium, colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

We, the delegation of the Oriental Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Russian Federation, have brought you an expression of Moscow’s warmth and best wishes of success, from the scientists and orientalists of Russia’s oldest scholarly institute in humanities which will soon celebrate its 183rd anniversary.
In the history of Russia, Islam played and plays a more important role than it was officially admitted. It influenced and still influences peoples’ faiths in the country, the ethnic, cultural and social processes, inter-ethnical and ideological conflicts, economic and political developments relating to the international position and international affairs of Russia. It is necessary to take this fact into consideration, especially due to the fact that the Muslim world consists of about 1 billion of people. In 40 countries, including the countries which are bordered upon Russia and situated close to it, the majority population are Muslims, and in about 30 countries, including Russia itself, Muslims make up a considerable part of the population. There are 9 muslim republics in the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Tatarstan is one of the largest among them. Within the new Independent States, there are 6 republics, in which more than 60 different nations profess Islam and where the total number of the population is more than 60 million people. Volga-Ural region is one of the largest cluster of Muslims. It represents a historical miracle resulting from the complex interactions of Russia with the Muslim world. Therefore, it is important that during this conference we are going to discuss such questions as posed by the historic-philosophical and cultural aspects of Islamic heritage, Muslim enlightenment, reformation, Djadidism, issues concerning Muslim-Christian relations, and perspectives of Islamic civilization in the new age and the new millennium. It is impossible to give complete answers to these questions. But by putting them in the wide context of the inter-cultural contacts between Europe and Asia, the process of inter-ethnic and inter-regional communications, of cultural synthesis an socio-political links, we will hopefully get near the true answers.