The founder of the Strategic Vision Group “Russia – Islamic World”
The Strategic Vision Group “Russia – Islamic World” was created by Evgeny Primakov together with Mintimer Shaimiev in 2006. According to Mintimer Shaimiev, the very fact of creation of such an organization means that Russia is highly interested in distinguishing interaction with the Islamic world as one of independent and prior directions of foreign policy.
“The beginning of the dialogue between Russia and the Islamic world and the formation of an international authoritative group became possible after the historic event when Russia had joined the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) as an observer in 2005. One year later we created the Strategic Vision Group “Russia – Islamic World”.
“Our discussions at these meetings are always useful as many interesting ideas are expressed there. In the very beginning the participants of the group wondered what exactly the dialogue between Russia and the Islamic world should be filled with. And already at the first meeting we came to the common conclusion that we should consider Islam not just as a system of religious views. It includes relations between Russia and the Islamic world in a broad sense: culture, economy, politics and social sphere of life. The majority of our group participants are not religious figures”, Mintimer Shaimiev said during one of the first meetings of the Strategic Vision Group.
“In recent years we have witnessed significant positive changes in the development and strengthening of our cooperation in this direction. It is obvious that Russia has made its position clear on its strategic line in the Muslim East. Russia has become a predictable partner of the Islamic world. But one should pay their attention to the fact that it is also of great importance for the Muslim countries to have a strategic partnership with Russia, which strives for the multipolar world and does not infringe upon values, traditions, identity and sovereignty of states of the Muslim East”.
Mintimer Shaimiev is convinced that the participants of the Group are united by the desire to reduce the number of conflicts in the world through dialogue on equal terms. In this regard, the superiority of one civilization over another is out of the question. Every culture and religion has eternal values; every nation has their own way of life, their own traditions. That is why it is important not only to influence, including by force, but also to understand the way of thinking and life of other people.
Nowadays Russia is implementing a great range of projects and programmes aimed at maintenance and further development of relations between Russian and the Muslim countries. One of the important projects is the work of the Strategic Vision Group “Russia – Islamic World”. The work is being carried out and it gives a certain result – cultures are being introduced to each other, interests are being brought closer together and the faith in productive and long-term future is being strengthened.