Director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor Alexei Maslov visited the Bolgar Islamic Academy.

An tour of the Bolgar Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve and the “White Mosque” complex was provided for the guest of honor. Activities of the library, manuscript restoration and digitization laboratory, as well as other departments involved in the educational process were presented within the framework of acquaintance with the Academy.

According to Alexei Maslov, the Bolgar Academy leaves a vivid impression: “I would like to note the high motivation of the management of the educational institution, the rapid development and promising plans for the future, the scale of the tasks reflected in the development strategy. As for the students, it is encouraging that the audience not only knows how to listen, but also shows keen interest and asks questions. And the diversity of opinions clearly shows that the students are very educated and know how to conduct a discussion. One cannot fail to mention the Academy’s facilities, especially its splendid library, which not only features ancient manuscripts, but also modern studies of the Quran and fiqh. Scientific fields such as Islamic studies and Quranic studies are very well developed here, which is reflected in the great contribution of the Academy to Russian and world science. “

Also, the director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Moscow State University gave a lecture to masters students, in which he touched on such topical issues as the current strategy of Russia’s foreign and domestic politics and the problem of civic identity.

“As for Russia’s strategy, which is called “turning to the East,” it is important to understand what is behind it in general. And it’s not just about politics or economics. Behind this is a rethinking of Russia’s role in the world, and this is a very long process related to our mentality, to our morals. Each of us is asking questions: who we are, what our function is, what we are here for. As every single person has global tasks, so our country has the task to become a great country,” Alexey Maslov noted.

During the lecture, the speaker drew the audience’s attention to the fact that Asian civilization has not lagged behind the collective west in its development, and at times has even been several steps ahead.

Speaking about the formation of civic identity and the policy of the Russian state toward the country’s multi-ethnic and multi-confessional people, Mr. Maslov noted that Russia has its own unique national tradition.

“We have the greatest diversity of ethnicities and religions in the world. This is how it was historically formed. We have Muslim regions, we have Buddhist regions. But inside, for example, an Orthodox region you can find inclusions of Muslims, and vice versa. This is a peculiarity of Russia. We are very diverse. The Russian emperors understood long before the coming of Soviet power that we should not lump everybody under one roof but allow national traditions to develop. Everyone should remember that our strength is in our unity,” explained the lecturer.

Answering the numerous questions of the students, Alexey Maslov dwelled on the concept of “civic identity”. According to him, this term includes the willingness to understand and solve the problems of the country, the willingness to empathize with society.

During the visit, an agreement was signed between the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Bolgar Islamic Academy, stipulating cooperation in the fields of science, education and culture.