Professor Vitaly Naumkin meets the Yemen Times Russia and Yemen linked by scholar of ancient history [Archives:2002/50/Culture]

December 9 2002

Professor Vitaly Naumkin, a specialist in Arabic studies, has occupied several posts such as Chairman of the Russian Center for Political and Strategic Studies and Chairman of the Arabic Studies Center at the Orient Institute. He is also the Editor-in Chief of the East Magazine, (Sharq), and advisor at the National Russian Security Council and a political analyst.
He lived here in Yemen for several years and wrote a number of books and dozens of research papers, essays which deal with the history of modern and ancient Yemen.
The majority of his research and studies have focused on Socotra Island.
To know more about the Prof. Vitaly Naumkin, and his opinion of the current developments in the Middle East, Mohammed Bin Sallam, political analyst of the Yemen Times, met him.
He asked him first about Yemeni-Russian relations. “The Yemeni-Russian relationship is firmly established since the 1920s and most of the Russians have worked in Yemen.”
As opposed to this, thousands of Yemenis have also studied, visited or perhaps gone into businesses,” he said.
As a researcher at the Russian Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Vitaly has written a number of essays and articles. He has also participated in Yemen’s history-related symposiums along with the current issues in the world in general, and Yemen-Arab-Russian issues in particular.
“As for Yemen’s history, I have written a lot of essays and I have still preoccupied myself in Yemeni-related issues. I have still been interested in Yemeni ancient history and other studies conducted about Yemen,” he said.
New book to be released
“Next year, a new book on the armed struggle against the British colonization in the south of Yemen will be published,” he noted.
In addition to this, Vitaly Naumkin has several studies on Socatra Island.
Three books of the Socotra have been written in English and Russian. They revolve around the social and historical aspects of the island.
“A number of studies have been also conducted on Yafa’e. I have gathered a number of documents and found that this area has buried treasure of antiquities,” he commented. “I have also several studies on the Islam’s philosophy and all these studies are in Russian.”
As a superpower and its relations with other countries, Vitaly Naumkin said that Russia wasn’t in need to go back to its former state. “As a matter of fact, Russia is now a superpower. The former era has finished and Russia never thinks of retrogressing,” he said.
“President Putin will see that he is a worldly-wise leader who also thinks to modernize Russia which could economically and culturally compete with other superpowers,” he noted.
“Frankly speaking, there are countries like the US that exceed Russia from economical prospectives. Despite of difficulties and the economic hardships encountered by Russia in 1990s, it has begun to tackle its crises. It has become clear that during the Putin’s reign, there is tangible evidence of economic boost during the recent years,” he added.
Russia and Middle East issues
Concerning the imminent US strike against Iraq “I don’t think that Russia is far away from the Arab issues. Russia opposes any US-led strike against Iraq or overthrowing Arafat. There are extensive diplomatic efforts to settle this issue,” he declared.
As for the Palestinian issue, “The majority of the Russian sympathize with the Palestinian. They are against their torture, and mass killings and in favor of liberating the occupied territories from the Israeli occupation,” he said.
At the same time, Russia has a major responsibility within the framework of the international legitimacy and as one of the peace process sponsor. It has given commitments to be performed and therefore must cooperate with the US, the European countries, the UN and then with Israel