Ragna Boden: Soviet Foreign Policy and Islam


In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2009. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, S. 149–162

Soviet-style socialism and Islam represented two variants of those world views that claimed universal validity and competed for influence in the “age of ideologies”. Although Soviet politicians were guided by atheistic principles, Soviet policy towards countries with a significant Islamic population varied according to domestic policy, bilateral relations and the overall international situation. Stalin and especially Khrushchev and Brezhnev experimented with concessions in the realm of foreign policy when dealing with colonial or newly independent countries, sometimes regardless of their respective domestic religious policy. Whenever it suited his political aims, Khrushchev courted Islamic representatives, invited religious delegations to the USSR and even turned a blind eye to the repression of communists – for example in Egypt – just like Brezhnev did later with Iran. At the same time, Soviet representatives were active in international Islamic organisations and movements. But all those efforts were undone when Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan. The constellation of the 20th century shows clearly that the antagonism was not either interreligious or between secular social systems of capitalism or communism, but that they transgressed these lines.

Über die Autorin

Ragna Boden, Dr. phil., Studium der Mittleren und Neueren Geschichte, Slawistik und Anglistik in Marburg und London, 2005 Promotion. Nach dem Magisterabschluss wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin bzw. Akademische Rätin im Bereich Osteuropäische Geschichte an den Universitäten Marburg und Gießen, seit 2007 an der Universität Bochum. Veröffentlichungen u. a.: Die Grenzen der Weltmacht: Sowjetische Indonesienpolitik von Stalin bis Brežnev, Stuttgart 2006; Die Weimarer Nationalversammlung und die deutsche Außenpolitik, Frankfurt a. M. 2000; Die sowjetischen Streitkräfte: Struktur, Umfang, Stationierung, in: Stefan Plaggenborg (Hg.): Handbuch der Geschichte Russlands, Bd. 5/II, Stuttgart 2003, S. 1025–1043; Moscow and the ›Gestapu‹ Events of 1965 in Indonesia – New Evidence from Russian and German Archives, in: Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 163 (2007), H. 4, S. 507–528; The Cold War and Soviet Economic Assistance to Indonesia, in: Journal of Cold War Studies 10 (2008), H. 3, S. 110–128.