Applied Oriental Studies of Russiaʾs Own Islam: From Orthodox Missionaries to Militant Godless and Wahhabis
To date the research of Orientalism in Russia did not present the whole mosaic palette of its competing schools and disciplines. The influential missionary Orthodox Orientology remains understudied. Even less known is contribution in the making of intolerant discourse on Islam by state atheist associations (League of Militant Godless (1925–1947) succeeded by the Knowledge Society), who seized its niche under the Soviet rule. This article attempts to integrate applied missionary and atheist schools of Oriental studies into the general debates on Orientalism in twentieth-century Russia. The focus is on agents and networks of the Soviet propaganda, as well as on its changing language, topics and messages. A special attention is paid to continuities in the Orientalist imagination of Islam between pre-Soviet Orthodox missionaries, Soviet militant atheists, post-war philosophers and dissident Muslim preachers of the post-socialist Islamic appeal (da‘wa).