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Fearing the Ghosts of State Officialdom Past? Russia's Archives as a Tool for Constructing Historical Memories of Its Persia Policy Practices

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The overarching task of this article is to directly present the main crucial venues – a prototype road map of Russia's study of Persia in the context of foreign policy – to the students of Russia and its relations with Persia, as well as, more specifically, to researchers of Russia's late Imperial and early Soviet policy towards Middle East and Oriental studies therein. Simultaneously, taking into consideration the equivocal and quite often controversial nature of conducting archival research in Russia, it is worth knowing that a scholarly activity, seemingly conventional and rather straightforward in the West, can turn into an adventurous quest in present-day Russia, hampered by various factors. So the article also touches upon the current condition of the archival industry in present-day Russia, with the emphasis on the traditionally most burning issue in this field, namely the unjustifiably excessive secrecy, underpinned by the discourse of protecting Russian state interests, which can turn out to be an unexpected obstacle to research into a period even dating back a hundred years.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 2, 2015

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