Forbidden Art in Moscow
Buying is easier but not for the faint of heart
P.02 Distributed with
An exhibit lands cura- tors in trouble P.06
A Bittersweet Return Voyage
90 years on, white Rus- sian families come back
This pull-out is produced and published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia) and did not involve the news or editorial departments of The Washington Post Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Education Kremlin funds select Islamic schools in attempt to stem growth of radicalism Push for a Moderate Islam
The Russian government will spend $13 million each year to support education. Critics are unsure of the impact on the conflict-torn region.
ANNA NEMTSOVA SPECIAL TO RUSSIA NOW
On a recent weekend morning, six young women covered in long, colorful dresses and head- scarves waited impatiently for a bus to pick them up at their campus, the North Caucasus Is- lamic University Center of Edu- cation and Science in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. Serious and silent, the first-year students were pre- paring for their first “zairat,” a seminal visit to a sheik and a ritual in Sufi Islam. “This day is the most impor-
tant one in my life,” said Rena- ta, an 18-year-old student and follower of Sufiism, a mystical movement within Islam. “I am going to find out if I can be- come my teacher’s murid,” or follower. “My heart will know the answer as soon as I see the sheik.” The form of religion practiced
by Renata and her fellow stu- dents is a moderate stream of Islam that the Russian state has begun to encourage—and sub- sidize—in an effort to combat the religious extremism that has taken hold in Dagestan and other Russian republics in the North Caucasus.
Dagestan is racked by a low-
level guerrilla war, a complicat- ed and painful conflict rife marked by suicide bombings, the assassination of police, may- ors and religious leaders, and the abduction and murder of peaceful Muslims. These crimes are interwoven with ethnic strife, internal corruption, pov- erty and unemployment—all of it tighter than the threads in a handmade Dagestan rug. In an effort to counter the proselytizing of Islamic funda- mentalists often funded by for- eign governments, the Russian government is underwriting the education of moderate religious leaders and teachers at seven Islamic Universities in Moscow, Tatarstan, Bashkyrkostan and in four North Caucasus republics, including Dagestan. Rufik Mukhamedshin, the rec-
tor of Russian Islamic University in Kazan, said he hopes the state will also standardize diplomas issued by Islamic educational in- stitutes and ensure they are ac- cepted across Russia as proper academic qualifications. The Kremlin’s Fund for the Support of Islamic Culture, Sci- ence and Education will spend about $13 million a year on ed- ucational, scholarship and pub- lishing programs. At Renata’s university, the school’s leader- ship is clear about its goal—to propagate a form of Islam that the government finds accept-
The Gubden Islamic Uni- versity - which lost its license this year - incorporated educational programs for young children.
able. Besides Islamic subjects, the 1,500 students at the Uni- versity Center study journalism, economy, state history, law and finance. “As reformers, we are creat-
ing unified educational meth- ods for training future school- teachers of Islam,” said Maksud Sadikov, chairman of the recent- ly founded Russian Council of Islamic Education. “We need to educate imams for at least 2,500 mosques registered in
Dagestan and hundreds of teachers for Islamic elementary schools, madrasas and univer- sities…We are also training con- sultants for the police and the Federal Security Service to help fight extremism and radicalism in the republic.” But the creation of an offi-
cially sanctioned version of Islam and the marginalization of those who fail to subscribe to it is fueling violent extrem- ism, not tamping it down, ac-
cording to some human rights activists. “To reform Islam in Russia, the authorities need to make an ef- fort to listen to all religious lead- ers, and not just to the loyal ones,” said Tatyana Lokshina, deputy director of Human Rights Watch. “The development of civil society institutions that would protect human rights is the so- lution to Dagestan’s issues.”
CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 URY KOZYREV
NEWS IN BRIEF
Police Reform Bill Goes Online
A proposed law designed to overhaul Russia’s antiquated police force (officially called ‘militsi- ya’) came online Aug. 7 (www.za
). President Dmitry Medvedev promised that feedback will be taken into ac- count as the document passes through the ad- ministration and parliament. The Web site has drawn thousands of comments on issues rang- ing from the right of police to enter one’s home to a proposed name change (‘politsiya’). This marks the first effort to engage the public via the Internet to develop a new law.
First Black Man Elected in Russia
Jean Gregoire Sagbo, a native of the West Afri- can country of Benin, has become the first black man to hold elected office in Russia. A natural- ized citizen with a Russian wife and two chil- dren, Sagbo was elected to the city council of Novozavidovo, a town located 100 kilometers north of Moscow, where he negotiates real es- tate deals. His ambitious plans for the economically hard- hit town include cleaning up the polluted local lake, expanding heating to rural homes and fighting drug addiction. “I am one of them. I am home here,” Sagbo said in an interview with The Moscow Times.
Environment Sobering lessons from unquenchable fires and their paths of destruction DMITRY LEBEDEV_KOMMERSANT
Tough Lessons After the Fires Rage
A swell of public compassion followed a devastating combination of smoke and summer heat that gripped Western Russia for six weeks.
ARTEM ZAGORODNOV NORA FITZGERALD RUSSIA NOW
The smoke reaches Red Square; a city employee tests oxygen equipment.
As the wildfires in Russia begin to subside, and with them the choking smog that has envel- oped Moscow, Russians are counting the environmental, health and financial costs of an unprecedented heat wave. They are also assessing the political damage that has burned from the Kremlin to the smallest city hall.
Diplomacy Russia's ambassadors get a wake-up call
Medvedev's New Vector in Foreign Policy
It has been a summer of single-minded messaging: Getting Russians behind a modernization drive that is critical to the country’s future prosperity.
YEKATERINA TOLSTAYA SPECIAL TO RUSSIA NOW
It was the strongest of direc- tives, and almost a plea: “If we want a normal future for our country, we must work on it now,” President Dmitry Med- vedev said on his Twitter ac- count late July. “Otherwise, all will leave the country.”
Medvedev has also signaled a
major shift in Russia’s internation- al relations, especially with the United States and European Union, as part of that effort. “What we need...ar
modernization alliances with our main international partners,” said Medvedev, speaking to the bi- annual meeting with Russia’s am- bassadors at the Foreign Minis- try in Moscow. “It is countries such as Germany, France, Italy, the European Union in general and the United States.” Medvedev signed a raft of laws designed to accelerate techno-
logical innovation in higher ed- ucation and research, but he warned that economic success depends on preventing corrup- tion and fostering honest enter- prise development. Medvedev laced his lengthy
address with directives to the dip- lomats to build up their exper- tise in non-traditional areas such as biomedicine, engage with non-government organizations and inject more timeliness and rigor into their diplomatic notes back home.
READ DIPLOMATS PAGE 4
Paratroopers celebrate their national holiday—Aug. 2—in one of Gorky Park’s public fountains, an annual tradition.
Sustained heat, reaching over
100°F—never before endured in 130 years of record keeping— sparked more than 26,000 wild- fires, including scores around Moscow where peat bogs, long ago drained by the Soviets to fuel power plants, caught fire and created the thick smoke that shrouded the capital. More than 50 people were consumed by the flames, and the usual death rate doubled in Moscow in July, according to the Moscow Registrar’s Office. A correspondent with the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gaze- ta reported that bodies were stacked vertically in one morgue in the Moscow region because of a lack of space. Ambulance
and emergency crews struggled to reach the rising number of bodies in apartments, in a city mostly without air conditioning in Soviet-constructed residen- tial buildings. Those residents who had not fled west or south often walked through the ghost- ly air in surgical masks. “It felt like you were in a hor-
ror film and when the smoke clears, everyone will be dead,” said Anastasia Shishkova, a Mos- cow resident and student. The newspaper Izvestia re-
ported a run on air condition- ers that saw their price jump from approximately $400 to $1,600.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 3
Russia to Lift Ban on U.S. Poultry Imports
Russia will lift a ban on poultry imports from 68 U.S. companies whose production process- es meet Russian requirements and will leave a ban on the production of the remaining 19 that have not met the country’s sanitation demands, Agriculture Ministry spokesman Oleg Aksyonov said. U.S. poultry accounted for almost 80 per- cent of poultry imports to Russia. On Jan. 1, Russia introduced new sanitary stan- dards, banning the treatment of meat with chlo- ride of a higher concentration than in drinking water. A difficult negotiating process between Russia and the United States began, while Rus- sia was also negotiating poultry supplies with other countries as well as trying to increase do- mestic production.
IN THIS ISSUE REFLECTIONS
DRAWING BY DMITRY DIVIN
PARATROOPERS COOL OFF Do-it-Yourself Ivy League
Reforms will lead to a premier class of university
TURN TO PAGE 5 LEARNING THE METHOD
American students describe their time at Moscow’s theater school
TURN TO PAGE 5
PHOTOS BY JENNIFER EREMEEVA SERGEY PONOMAREV_AP PHOTOXPRESS WWW.FAP.RU
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