2011-02-01 15:24:00

Islamists not key players in Egypt unrest, but may try to 'ride' the wave Primakov

Moscow, February 1, Interfax - The current developments in Egypt have social, not religious roots, Russian Chamber of Commerce President, ex-Prime Minister Academician Yevgeny Primakov said.

"We have concentrated in our analysis quite fairly on radical Islamism, which has been gaining strength in the Muslim world, and we have somewhat overlooked 'traditional' roots of social revolutionary explosions. Generally, we have erroneously assumed that revolutions, which sweep away conservative and authoritarian regimes, are a thing of the past, including in developing countries. The situation in Tunisia and Egypt show that we are wrong," Primakov, a leading Russian expert in Middle East affairs, says in an article, published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily on Tuesday.

"Having focused on the dangers of extremist Islamism, we have underestimated the influence of modernization, primarily on advanced Muslim states, in terms of their socio-cultural development," he said. Spontaneity backed by chatting on the Internet and via mobile phones played a role in the revolutionary movement that shook Tunisia and then Egypt.

There were no Islamic slogans in demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia, even through the Muslim Brotherhood has rather strong positions in Egypt, he said.

"It is a sign of serious importance. But it gives no guarantee that the Islamists will not try to ride the revolutionary wave," Academician Primakov said. The Muslim Brotherhood did so during the revolutionary events in Egypt in 1952-1953.