G. Kosach, Russian State University for Humanities, 6, Miusskaya Sq., Moscow, 125993, Russian Federation (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Abstract. The article covers a transformation at the top of the political establishment after January 2015, when the King Salman Bin Abdel Aziz came to power. This change completed the period when the rule of Ibn Saud's sons was ending, and marked his grandsons coming to power. It is argued that the ruling family is transforming to a corporation with a clear “nuclear" consisting of partly “Sudeiri’s clan” and partly of Abdullah Bin Abdel Aziz' (Salman’s predecessor's) relatives. Socio-political processes, such as the structure of the society transformation and apparition of the “educated class” with its influence channels – the Shura Council, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, public organizations and municipal councils – are underlined. The alliance between state authorities and the “educated class” speaks for the country's new image less and less of an absolute monarchy. The governmentalization of religion confirms that Saudi Arabia is not becoming a secular state, but is developing to be more secular in its government methods. The policy of non-petroleum sectors state support, the tendency to external openness demonstrate new approaches to resolving economic problems. Saudi foreign policy is consistent: the Middle East conflict resolution basing on “the principle of two states”, confrontation with Iran and Assad’s regime, military actions in Yemen. This position is affecting the Saudi-Russian relations.
Keywords: Saudi Arabia, Al Saud dynasty, educated class, Shura Council, municipal elections, Hanbali Law School, Council of Senior Scholars, Saudi economy, Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Saudi-Russian relations
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