Russia highly values its extensive contacts with the Muslim world and is always open for cooperation in all fields. Farit Mukhametshin, Deputy Chairman of the Group of Strategic Vision "Russia – Islamic World", Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, said this at a meeting with ambassadors of the OIC member states, representatives of federal and regional authorities and heads of religious associations.
"Russia's striving for rapprochement with the Muslim world against the background of the Western imposition of values unacceptable to Russia confirms the closeness of our traditional views with the Islamic world and emphasizes the fundamental differences in our views with the West," Mukhametshin stressed.
Last year, the activities of the GSV "Russia – Islamic World" were closely connected with the 1100th anniversary of the official adoption of Islam by the peoples of the Volga Bulgaria. In its time, Islam in the Volga Region gave a powerful impulse and made an important contribution to the common Muslim heritage in various fields of science, theology, literature and art. The most important events of the last year were, undoubtedly, the annual meeting of the Group of Strategic Vision "Russia -Islamic World" and the International Economic Summit "Russia - Islamic World: KazanSummit 2022", held in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, on May 19-21.
The participation of prominent statesmen and public figures, leaders of spiritual institutions of the world religions, representatives of cultural and scientific circles, the media community, heads of major Islamic international organizations and Christian religious figures in the events showed the relevance and timeliness of the issues discussed.
As for the Group's most important events, the annual meeting of the Group, held in Kazan, was titled "Russian Experience in Preserving Ethnocultural Diversity and Interethnic and Interreligious Accord as a Guarantee of Strengthening All-Civilian Identity". The session deeply analyzed and summarized the rich Russian experience in formation of all-civil identity through preservation of ethnocultural diversity, development of international and interreligious dialogue and intensification of cooperation between Russia and the Muslim states, and noted the high level achieved in these relations.
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in his welcoming address to the meeting emphasized: "We are sincerely pleased that guests from dozens of states came to the Republic of Tatarstan for these celebrations: politicians, religious and public figures, representatives of scientific and creative circles, mass media. The adoption of Islam by the Volga Bulgaria became one of the milestones in the history of our Motherland and had a significant impact on its development as a multi-confessional state and played an important role in the formation of a consolidated multinational people of Russia. For centuries Russian Muslims have contributed to the country's development. Their brilliant achievements in the most diverse fields are an integral part of our richest historical, scientific, cultural and spiritual heritage".
Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Hissein Brahim Taha also emphasized in his welcome address to the participants of the Kazan meeting: "The Organization of Islamic Cooperation notes with great pride that Muslims in the Republic of Tatarstan and throughout the Russian Federation represent a vibrant community successfully integrated into a multicultural and multi-confessional society and are well known for their diversity and tolerance. We commend the leadership of the country for giving a new impetus to strengthening the rightful place of Islam in society as one of the traditional religions of Russia and the preservation of Islamic heritage throughout the country. The OIC highly appreciates the active role of the Russian Federation as an observer state of the OIC and also appreciates the contribution of the Group of Strategic Vision "Russia - Islamic World" in establishing ties between the OIC member countries and Russia. The Group plays an important role in the expansion of interaction between Russia and the Islamic world in the development of economic, scientific, technical, social and cultural ties," the OIC secretary-general stated.
Official visits of Rustam Minnikhanov, Chairman of the Group of Strategic Vision "Russia - Islamic World" to the OIC member countries expanded the activities of the Group on key issues harmoniously and contributed to the establishment of new international contacts and ties with the Muslim states.
For instance, in November 2022, Minnikhanov took part in the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue as the head of the Group's delegation: "East and West for Peaceful Coexistence." The chairman of the Group spoke at the plenary session of the forum, where he presented the experience of peoples and religious communities coexisting on the territory of the Russian Federation and also met with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.
The interaction between Islam and Orthodoxy, the common traditional values of the two faiths, countering the destruction of moral reference points, and Russian and international experience in this area have traditionally been priorities in the work of the Group. These and other issues were the subject of discussion at the International Conference "Orthodoxy and Islam: Interfaith Dialogue in Achieving Global Peace", held November 15 in Moscow. The event was one of the key events in the work of the Group of Strategic Vision to support the close cooperation between Islam and Orthodoxy, preserve common traditional values, oppose the destruction of moral guidelines, and study of Russian and international experience in this field.
A special place in the activities of the Group was taken by the International Conference "Russia – Islamic World: Practical Steps in Media Cooperation", held in December 2022 and attended by new partners - the Union of OIC News Agencies, the Russian Union of Journalists, the "Russia Today"/Sputnik International News Agency, heads of other Russian and foreign leading news agencies. The exchange of views with representatives of leading international Muslim media revealed a high level of understanding of the challenges journalism in Russia and the Islamic countries faces.
It should be noted that in 2022 the Group's activities were conducted under the motto of further promoting cooperation between the Russian Federation and the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The work was carried out considering the Group's updated strategy in 2021, as well as taking into account the sharply complicated international situation. In this sense, the Group was given a new conceptual content, acting as a strategically important spearhead of the Russian state's foreign policy of soft power. The systematic pressure of the collective West on Russia has in many ways opened up new opportunities for closer cooperation with Muslim international associations and national organizations in the East and the Islamic world as a whole.
GSV "Russia - Islamic world"