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Gazprom Neft publishes the world’s first encyclopaedia on the history and culture of the Kurdish people

Gazprom Neft has presented the leadership of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) with a book, “The Kurds: Legends of the East”, published at the company’s initiative, and funded by it. The book contains unique materials and rare illustrations from collections at Russian and international universities. This is the first book — in terms of the scale of its content, almost an encyclopaedia — to comprehensively cover the history and culture of the Kurds.

Alexander Dyukov, CEO, Gazprom Neft and Chairman of the Management Board, presented the book to the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) HE Nechirvan Barzani personally during Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov’s working visit to the Republic of Iraq and the KRI.

“The Kurds: Legends of the East” contains maps, original illustrations and infographics, rare photographs and images sourced from private collections and collections at the State Hermitage, Oxford University’s Bodleian Library, the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, and archives at the Institute of Oriental Studies and the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts (Russian Academy of Sciences) and the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia. The book covers the origin and history of the Kurds, their religious life, traditions and festivals, language, folklore and literature. Individual chapters highlight the Kurds’ historic relationships with the Russian Empire, the USSR and the Russian Federation, as well as the history of Kurdish national movements.

Work on the publication has been ongoing for three years, with the involvement of leading experts from the Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS (Moscow) and the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, RAS (St Petersburg), as well as a project group including a total 17 Kurdish specialists and researchers and a 14-person editorial team. Production of the book was supervised by Vitaly Naumkin, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS, and Irina Popova, Director of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, RAS. The project curator was the “Russian Humanitarian Mission”, which manages humanitarian cooperation initiatives throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and the Balkans.

The book has been published at Gazprom Neft’s initiative, with the company’s financial and administrative support, as part of a project to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the Kurdish people. Russian- and English-language copies of the book will be supplied to the most important libraries and universities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and in Russia.

“The Kurds: Legends of the East” is the second book to be published at Gazprom Neft’s initiative: “Storied Land: Kurdish Culture through the Eyes of Russian Explorers” having been published in 2015.

“The Kurdistan Region of Iraq is a key region in Gazprom Neft’s international business development. In working here, we are not just focussed on the technological inventiveness and safety of our oil-producing assets, but also act as a partner to local government in implementing social projects. One such project has involved publishing ‘The Kurds: Legends of the East.’ We developed the concept for this book, involving leading Russian Orientalists and academics in its publication. I have no doubt that this work has made a major contribution to preserving and popularising the history and culture of the Kurdish people.”
Alexander Dybal
Alexander Dybal Deputy CEO for Corporate Communications and a member of the Management Board, Gazprom Neft
Notes for editors

Gazprom Neft Middle East is developing the Garmian block at the Sarqala field in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), as well as working on the Shakal block. The publication of “The Kurds: Legends of the East” marks a major contribution to preserving the historical and cultural heritage of the Kurdish people, and highlights the company’s role as a responsible social investor and a reliable partner to the government of the KRI.