RUSSIA AND THE ARAB WORLD

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The present topic pictures the assessment of the visibility of Arab world personalities and
businesses as seen in the Russian news between January 2004 and April 2013.

New tools for new issues

Our objective was to put together a variety of expertise and work as a single team on a particularly
complex issue in order to experiment several innovative information techniques.

The study

Both Russia and the Arab world are often scrutinized through a European or American prism, yet
both areas are seldom observed from the viewpoint of their relations, whose historical and
geographical relevance is paramount. These ties, however important, are not our only motive of
study.
The current turmoil a!ecting many Arab countries and the essential diplomatic part Russia is playing
should not be neglected – in this, the Syrian crisis is certainly the most blatant example. Therefore,
access to the Russian-speaking media is probably the shortest way to get a genuine and thorough
assessment of the Russian perception and priorities.

The methodology

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RUSSIA AND THE ARAB WORLD

  1. 1. RUSSIA AND THE ARAB WORLDThe present topic pictures the assessment of the visibility of Arab world personalities andbusinesses as seen in the Russian news between January 2004 and April 2013.New tools for new issuesOur objective was to put together a variety of expertise and work as a single team on a particularlycomplex issue in order to experiment several innovative information techniques.The studyBoth Russia and the Arab world are often scrutinized through a European or American prism, yetboth areas are seldom observed from the viewpoint of their relations, whose historical andgeographical relevance is paramount. These ties, however important, are not our only motive ofstudy.The current turmoil affecting many Arab countries and the essential diplomatic part Russia is playingshould not be neglected – in this, the Syrian crisis is certainly the most blatant example. Therefore,access to the Russian-speaking media is probably the shortest way to get a genuine and thoroughassessment of the Russian perception and priorities.The methodologyWe initially selected a sample of seven major Arab countries – namely Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt,Lebanon, Qatar, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).We subsequently used the Russian database INTEGRUM provided by RUSSOSCOPIE as a trial inorder to extract a list of personalities, mostly politicians and diplomats, associated with each country.Once extracted, the comprehensive database only provided, however, raw information that requiredprocessing and qualification: hence, the list of hundreds of names had to be analysed and revised tocome up with precise and accurate intelligence. In our case, this resulted in 280 differentpersonalities reflecting Russian priorities in the news (concerning for instance Syria and Egypt). Foreach name, all the related articles are indexed in the database.Aside from the press, the database also provided us with information regarding companies andbusinesses registered and/or present in Russia. We took either one of the selected countries or onesingle name in particular to find these companies. Dozens of Arab firms of different sizes and fieldswere subsequently singled out and categorized.Such data have both geopolitical and microeconomic dimensions. On the one hand, they can beemployed to outline the interactions between geopolitical areas of interest. On the other, theymatch the purpose of business prospection and competitive intelligence.To come up with the results, a major asset was the onomastics software, provided by NAMSOR,applied to various alphabets including Russian Cyrillic, Latin and Arabic. Its ability to recognizesimilarity in names helped us find several other Arab personalities amongst the tens of thousands ofnames featured by the Russian media since 2004.
  2. 2. 0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%janv.-04avr.-04juil.-04oct.-04janv.-05avr.-05juil.-05oct.-05janv.-06avr.-06juil.-06oct.-06janv.-07avr.-07juil.-07oct.-07janv.-08avr.-08juil.-08oct.-08janv.-09avr.-09juil.-09oct.-09janv.-10avr.-10juil.-10oct.-10janv.-11avr.-11juil.-11oct.-11janv.-12avr.-12juil.-12oct.-12janv.-13EVOLUTION AND COMPARISON OF THE EXPOSURE OF ARAB PERSONALITIES IN RUSSIAN MEDIA(Jan-2004 to Mar-2013, Source: Integrum WW/RussoScopie)Baseline (EN)SyriaIraqLibyaLebanonEgyptSaudi ArabiaYemenTunisiaJordanAlgeriaBahreinQatarMoroccoUAEThe resultsIn the end, the INTEGRUM database and the name recognition software combined with the analyticalskills at AESMA brought interesting statistical results: THE EVOLUTION AND COMPARISON OF THEEXPOSURE OF ARAB PERSONALITIES IN RUSSIA SINCE 2004.At first glance, the Russian interest for the Arab world seems obvious, as shown by the hundreds ofdifferent Arab personalities mentioned in the Russian media. Comparisons within the Arab world butalso between the Arab world and Europe lead to at least three conclusions:(1) even though it is not a clear priority (compared with Europe for instance) the importance of theArab world is increasing;(2) media coverage is more reactive to events rather than to traditional alliances;(3) due to current trends and developments, 2013 will be a milestone year in the relationshipbetween Russia and Arab countries.About the authorAdlene Mohammedi is a PhD candidate specialised in geopolitics andone of the authors of ARAPRISM. ŚƩƉ͗ͬͬĂƌĂƉƌŝƐŵ͘ĐŽŵͬAbout the contributorsThe consulting firm AESMA™ is the editor of Eurasia Focus, a newsletter focused on business intelligence in Russiaand the CIS. http://www.aesma-group.com/en/RUSSOSCOPIE™ is the distributor of INTEGRUM, a leading professional database covering Russian media,companies, and decision makers. http://russoscopie.com/NAMSOR™ is a provider of applied onomastics, sociolinguistics and name recognition software.http://namesorts.com/©2013 All rights reserved

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