Victor Taki, "Tsar and Sultan: Russian Encounters with the Ottoman Empire" (I.B. Taurus, 2016)


Victor Taki's Tsar and Sultan: Russian Encounters with the Ottoman Empire (I.B. Taurus, 2016) invites the reader to explore the captivating story of the relationship of the Russian and Ottoman Empires in the 19th century, and highlights the role the Oriental world played in the shaping of Russian national idea and Russia's relationship with Europe. Dedicated to the study of previously less well known sources such as diplomatic correspondence, military memoirs, or former captives narratives, this book argues that, for Russia, the relationship with the Ottoman Empire served as a way to establish the image of self as a superior, more progressive westernized state. The book also talks about the transformation of the image of the Ottoman Empire in Russian cultural imagination over the course of the 19th century as well as Russian attitudes towards Christian co-religionists living outside Christian lands. Tsar and Sultan: Russian Encounters with the Ottoman Empireis particularly interesting as a multidisciplinary attempt to re-consider the concept of Russian Orientalism, and interpret Orientalism outside the framework suggested by Edward Said.

Olga Breininger is a PhD candidate in Slavic and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. Her research interests include post-Soviet culture and geopolitics, with a special focus on Islam, nation-building, and energy politics. Olga is the author of the novel There Was No Adderall in the Soviet Union and columnist at Literratura.

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