Libmonster ID: VN-1293

Memoirs

To the blessed memory of my teachers and colleagues who were at the origins of Russian Vietnamese studies ...

There were six of us - the first students in Russian and Soviet Oriental studies who were enrolled in the Department of Oriental Studies of the History Department of Moscow State University, majoring in" History of Vietnam " and studying the exotic language of this distant and essentially unknown country in the USSR in the 50s.

In the archive of the Faculty of History, probably, a document is dormant in which it is written who and when proposed to fill up the Department of History of Eastern countries with the Vietnamese direction and start training specialists in this profile practically from zero. Why and for what purpose? In fact, we got the answer to this question five years later, when the time came for the assignment to work. And in September 1950, everything was still ahead of us, and the future was not even in the vaguest outline. Most likely, the leadership of the faculty, or maybe someone higher up, decided to "keep up with life": The Democratic Republic of Vietnam was just recognized in the early 1950s, and science must keep up with the impatient times! It immediately became clear, among other things, that this "direction" was organized on a live thread, and only by the end of our training did something similar to a classic country studies course develop. So we ended up being somewhat of a guinea pig, but it was even interesting and not offensive at all.

Why the history department? After all, there were Oriental studies departments in both the economic and philological faculties of the university. In addition, in Moscow at that time there was still an Institute of Oriental Studies in Sokolniki, and MGIMO also trained specialists with knowledge of Oriental languages. Probably, there were some considerations of their own on this score.

Why Vietnam? After all, in Southeast Asia, not only Vietnamese fought for freedom. Indonesia and Burma gained independence, Malaya and the Philippines were booming. Most likely, because by 1950, the Soviet leadership was convinced that Vietnam was fighting not just for independence, but for the independence of a socialist orientation. I can't think of any other answer.

I don't think that any of our "six" dreamed about the history of Vietnam in high school. I dare say that hardly any of us, when receiving our matriculation certificate, suspected the existence of such a country. It was necessary to be a "fan" of the East to be interested in it in those years, especially since there was no available literature about Vietnam in Russian at that time. Unless "Frigate " Pallada"", but who read this rarity! Or the monograph "Indochina"by V. Ya.Vasilyeva, published in a small edition, is more informative than intended for the general reader.

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Later, in our senior years, when we were admitted to the special collection of the Lenin Library, we learned that there was an Indochina group in the Eastern Section of the Comintern, that some mysterious people, who had disappeared somewhere, were studying with Vietnamese students, and that some of these Vietnamese took part in the defense of Moscow in the fall of 1941 city of But that was later...

I first heard about the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the truest sense of the word on the eve of the entrance exam in the history of the USSR. It happened in the MSU student dormitory at 32 Stromynka Street.I don't know if there is such a tradition now, but then teachers came to applicants from time to time and arranged "flying" consultations on the most pressing issues of current politics. I do not know the last name of the person who happened to be in our dorm room that night, and I have not met him in all my five years at the Faculty of History. He asked if there were any unclear questions about the history of the USSR, and began to find out what our ideas about world events were. He also asked if we knew, for example, who Ho Chi Minh was. And we just didn't know! Then it was explained to us that this was the president of the DRV, created on September 2, 1945 as a result of such and such events. That's the whole amount of Vietnamese studies knowledge that we took to the entrance exam. I must admit that among us was a future corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences and director of the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences, the late Anatoly Novoseltsev, who was seriously interested in the East and knew much more in this area than a student, even a medalist, should, but he also had no idea about the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Remembering my school years, I can't help but notice that in all textbooks, starting with the "History of the Middle Ages" edited by Academician E. A. Kosminsky, sections concerning the countries of the East were simply issued by teachers. During the war years, this was explained by the fact that the school year, at least in the provinces, did not start in September, but in October, and therefore the curriculum had to be tightened. But even in the post-war period, even events such as the Boxer Rebellion in China, the Sepoy rebellion in India, or the Meiji reforms in Japan were mentioned casually in the school course of modern history, by Petit. This could not but give rise to a peculiar attitude among schoolchildren towards the East as something boring, frozen, where everything interesting ended with Genghis Khan or Batu. I don't know whether this was a general phenomenon, or whether such an approach was allowed "on the ground" without a clear order, but in the provincial schools of the 40s of the last century, the East was "in the pen".

From all this, it can be understood that when I entered the history department of the largest and oldest university in the country, I was by no means eager to study the history of the East, and even more so Vietnam!

Having scored 25 points out of 25, I told the admissions committee that I would like to study the history of the party. Out of respect for this organization. But there was also a naive calculation: I believed that a specialist in the history of the CPSU (b) would not be sent to school to work. I really didn't want to get into the crabs!

At this call, the chairman of the admissions committee, Associate Professor M. I. Orlova, told me that such a department accepts only party members, and since I am still a Komsomol member, the doors are closed for me. So I need to think about it and go back and decide which narrow historical specialty I want to get knowledge in. As it turned out later, all this was cunning, and the Komsomol members also worked in this department. But I never once regretted that I "stayed out": everything about the "party historians" was too "peculiar"!

In a quiet reverie, I left the assembly hall and went out onto the landing of the house No. 5 on Herzen Street, known to many generations of historians. Now there is no Herzen Street, and there is no history department in other parts of Moscow. What a pity! Dark-haired Mo approaches me-

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an elderly man (later I found out that it was an Arabist student Felix Arsky) and asks me what department I would like to enroll in. I answer that, they say, it would be desirable to look at the history of the CPSU(b), but, it seems, it does not work out. The young man, laughing, says: what, they say, did you find good there? Let's go to the Department of the East, it's interesting, and it's also promising!

Yielding to his pressure, I stammered, which was certainly tempting: for example, the history of Mongolia is a good thing, and I've always been interested in it. I wasn't being disingenuous here: in fact, I had reread Yan's writings many times, and again, I knew something about Khalkhin-gol. Arsky got bored and says that there is no admission to Mongolia this year, but for the first time there is a set for Vietnam. There, they say, and do.

Having already had a year's experience of studying at the Dnepropetrovsk University, I was in no hurry to answer, I evaded: I'll think about it! Well, it's nice, chernyavy was happy, tomorrow everyone who wants to study at the Department of Eastern countries will be gathered at the department. Come here!

I came back the next day. This gathering must be described, for it was all a mixture of ecstasy, romance, and merry humbug. The absolute majority of those present were yesterday's schoolchildren. Older and more experienced people did not aspire to some obscure department of the East, where it was also necessary to "hammer" the Eastern language four times a week. In my opinion, the only one of them was Nikolai Orestov - a guy from Nizhny Novgorod who signed up for Japan, but ran away six months later.

To begin with, Mikhail Filippovich Yuriev, who was still unknown to us, took the floor-then quite young and pleasant to look at. He explained in great detail how and who is being trained at the Department of Oriental Studies, and what languages are being studied. Interesting story! He also mentioned that there will be internships abroad in the chosen country, and after graduation, work in the specialty - there is a wide field here! It is this latter that has caused a surge of enthusiasm among future Orientalists. Later, when our "Vietnamese" group was fully formed and, as they say, more or less trusting relations developed, someone, most likely former Suvorov fighter Vyacheslav Karpov, thoughtfully stated something like the following::

"We've got a lot of noodles on our ears, my brothers. Judge for yourself: go abroad for an internship, but why don't we fill out the application forms? Do you know what questionnaires you need to fill out and what questions you need to ask? Not everyone will be released abroad! Over at the Institute of Oriental Studies, what is being done, what a frequent comb there is!

We didn't give a damn about it, to put it mildly: what other questionnaires are there! But in vain. It would be quite useful to think about this, but the times were quite dashing: 1950, the thaw did not even smell! The whole hilarious cynicism of Mikhfil's introductory statement (there was such a nickname for M. F. Yuriev among students of Oriental studies, and not only among them) was understood much later - in the fifth year, when we had to sign a distribution to rural schools in very remote regions. Even later, I once asked Mikhail Filippovich why he painted such a happy eastern Arcadia for us. He laughed and said:

"I should have lured you to the East."

Now, more than half a century later, I have no doubt that he and the department's leadership did the right thing. Nevertheless, out of the four dozen "attracted" to our course, several intelligent Orientalists came out, who can be proud of our, unfortunately, now decaying Oriental science. Their names are known.

But back to the meeting. Putting an end to the explosion of our youthful enthusiasm, Mihfil announced::

- Let's record by country. He also explained the number of seats for each country. I will repeat again that it was 1950, the Korean War was underway, and, of course, there was no shortage of people who wanted to study Korean and the modern history of this heroic country.

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countries. Undoubtedly, the romantic image of republican Spain of the 30s floated up in the memory of many, parallels were drawn!

In second place, of course, was China - after all, not even a year had passed since the People's Republic of China was proclaimed. I didn't want to go to Korea or China. He sat and said nothing. Japan has already "left", leaving India, which has never aroused my interest, and the Middle East.

And suddenly Mihfil says:

- This is the first time we have a reception in Vietnam this year. There is already one signed up - Comrade Ognetov. Who else?

I jumped up and started to protest that I would think about it again, that I hadn't decided yet, but Mihfil tsked:

"Sit down!

I sat down and watched sadly as people got up and asked to go to Vietnam. For some reason, only Veronika Fedyushova remained in my memory, probably because we passed exams in the same group.

As it turned out later, the other four were medalists, so we didn't get to know each other before classes started. Most likely, this happened already on September 1, after the first lecture, of course, on Marxism (how could it be otherwise in such a politicized faculty as history). The lecture was delivered by an elderly docent, whom Marat Cheshkov immediately gave the nickname "Politkatorzhanka".

The first class in the Vietnamese language was a real shock. It was almost unthinkable to find a teacher of this rare foreign language in Moscow at that time. But they found it! Only the level of his knowledge, of course, no one could check.

Who was our semi-legendary Vietnamese language teacher? To begin with, he was an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, his name was Vladimir Ivanovich Rebane, a calm and patient Estonian. And since all diplomats at that time wore light gray uniforms with shoulder straps, he made an indelible impression on our classmates when he appeared at the history department. Now that I've been cooking in the Mead cauldron myself, I realize that his rank was not very high, although the man was already an old man: according to the asterisks, he was only a captain, that is, a second secretary of the second class.

To complete the portrait of our first mentor, I will tell you about our last meeting with him. This happened in 1960 in Hanoi, where I arrived as an interpreter in the office of the representative of the SCEC. V. I. Rebane was engaged in protocol affairs at the embassy and was in the same rank of second secretary. He always carried a large paper fan and became famous for eating homemade okroshka in the dining room: he took a bottle of Hanoi beer, poured it into a plate, put a salad of cucumbers and tomatoes in it, tinted it with the fattest sour cream made from buffalo milk, drank a glass of cognac and ate this okroshechka. In short, he was known as an oddball. He remembered me with great difficulty, leaving me alone.:

"Ah, hock sin!1

As it turned out, Vladimir Ivanovich began studying the Vietnamese language in the 1930s, when Vietnamese people were staying in Comintern educational institutions. He studied under some mysterious Minin. Under this name, as it turned out later, the Vietnamese historian Nguyen Khanh Toan, known in the 1950s and 1980s, was hiding. We did not ask what Rebane did after the dissolution of the Comintern, nor would he have answered. The language, presumably, abandoned. He had no idea about teaching methods, and there were no textbooks at all. Vietnamese newspapers haven't arrived in Moscow yet, so yes-

1 Hok xin (flip flops .) - a student. The pronunciation is wrong: you should say "hauk shin". This is also evidence of how well our first teacher knew Vietnamese phonetics.

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We didn't see any Vietnamese printed signs. We were taught by the diplomat, apparently, in the same way as twenty years ago he himself learned the language from the student Minin. Without any fuss, we optimistically moved forward to the Vietnamese peaks, following a guide who knew the road poorly.

Vladimir Ivanovich explained that the Vietnamese language has six tones, and the tone in which you pronounce a particular word changes its meaning. I must say that it was on the key that funny incidents later happened to many translators, even those who know the language well. For us, these keys were initially presented very roughly, so that later we had to relearn.

I don't want to be ironic about our teacher at all. He tried, and we tried. In any case, I still remember, six decades later, the first handwritten text that he gave us during our first hour of Vietnamese lessons. By the way, from this first text was born the nickname of Vyacheslav Karpov, which remained until the last days of his life. There is a compound particle in the Vietnamese language that is included in the words "health", "strength" - "man". They are pronounced in a "heavy" tone, and Slava made this sound even with some kind of roar, growl. Hence it went: Man Karpov.

In general, our Vietnamese group turned out to be very cheerful. Probably, because the guys were chosen peculiar. Marat Cheshkov was interested in the essence of each issue, hence his desire to engage in economics. Marian Tkachev was inclined to literature and art. And I think that's why he became a well-known translator of fiction from the Vietnamese language. Several editions have published his translation of the Vietnamese children's fairy tale "The Adventures of the Grasshopper Mena", an uncomplicated narrative, but worth other multi-page edifying opuses!

At first glance, Sasha Kalashnikov seemed withdrawn. By the way, he was the first of us to study the most specific problems of modern Vietnam, and in professional terms, he became a strong employee of NIKI-the Research Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. According to the distribution, together with him, we submitted documents to Ivan's graduate school. But while they were lying there, Kalashnikov was invited to NIKI, the Research Institute for Market Research of the Ministry of Foreign Trade. There, he "fell in love": he regularly published data and reviews of the Vietnamese economy in the Institute's Bulletin. The material signed by Kalashnikov did not need to be checked: Sasha always worked very carefully. From NIKI, he was the first of us to go on a business trip to Vietnam (an almost exceptional phenomenon at that time!), I think, at the very end of 1955, bringing us all a gift of Vietnamese-French dictionaries of Tao Van Tap. There was no limit to my happiness!

Several times he went on long business trips to the Hanoi trade mission, and then invariably returned to his NICKNAME.

Vyacheslav Karpov went through life in difficult ways. He skillfully pretended to know the language better than it really was, got on the radio, in the Vietnamese editorial office. But he did not become a translator there, he was engaged in literary processing, which he had a penchant for. Sometime in the early 60s, he flew to Hanoi with a trade union delegation as an interpreter. I managed to translate only one phrase at the airport: "Hello, good afternoon!", and then turned to the head of the delegation (I think it was V. V. Grishin) and modestly confessed:

"I don't speak much Vietnamese!"

Later, during the Vietnam-American war, he was sent to Hanoi as a Moscow Radio correspondent, but something went wrong there, and he quickly returned to his homeland.

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For all that, Slava was not without the gift of a humorist. The height of his resourcefulness and humor was his response to the party Bureau in the late 70s, when the exchange of party tickets took place. In the primary organizations, special attention was paid for some reason to two" sins "of the communist: first, to what was modestly called the "moral image", and secondly, to the individual's attitude to the mass production of the alcohol industry. In the latter, our friend had some difficulties. Not too happy personal life inclined him to friendship with the traditional comforter of the grieving Russian peasant. When the party bureau asked him how things were going "with this" at the present time, he answered with dignity, but evasively:

- I try to abstain!

The answer was considered quite sincere and worthy, and the party ticket was changed for him. With great joy, Vyacheslav "joined in" and only laughed at the warnings of friends about possible punishment.:

- No one will do anything to me, my party card has been changed! If they start a personal case, the district committee will say: where did you look? It will be worse for them!

But we must not forget about the other. In 1956, someone somewhere decided to introduce modern Vietnamese poetry to the Soviet reader. Specialists in Vietnamese literature were still approaching this topic at that time. In ten years, serious research and articles by N. I. Nikulin and M. N. Tkachev will appear, but so far they have acted more on a whim. There was no mention of classical Vietnamese poetry, and good translations of it will appear later. At the same time, the compilers of this small collection wanted to present at least some of the poets who went through the War of Resistance that had just ended. I don't want to offend either the compilers or the poets who made translations based on our footnotes, but the book turned out to be quite ordinary. It was only later, especially during the years of the Second Vietnamese Resistance, that such recognized poetic masters as P. Antokolsky and E. Dolmatovsky were engaged in translating poems from Vietnamese, and strong professional translators also made the footnotes. In this first edition of 1957, the most striking and revealing of the essence of Vietnamese poetry of those years was, in my opinion, a poem by an outstanding Vietnamese poet of the XX century. To Huu:

People are like the sea,
Art is like a shuttle,
Floating in the open
Raging waves.
The boat has a long way to go,
But the sail is inflated.
Wind-party,
Parus-labor...
I found this poem and translated it by V. I. Karpov, simply put - our comrade Slavka.

Veronika Fedyushova worked in radio after graduating from university. There she "cut through" editorial abilities, and she moved to the Publishing House of Oriental Literature, where she worked all her life. By the way, it is to her that the Russian printing business owes the fact that it has a Vietnamese font: back in 1955. she made the necessary calculation of characters for casting this font in the Union.

Marat Cheshkov graduated from the Graduate school of Economics at Moscow State University, worked in Ivan, spent several years in Mordovia due to a clearly far-fetched accusation on a well-known political article, then defended his doctoral dissertation, wrote several serious, weighty works on the genesis of Vietnamese society and economics, and now deals with the problems of globalism.

In other words, Marian Tkachev and I remained" loyal " to Vietnam by the beginning of the twenty-first century.

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The first year of learning the Vietnamese language is associated with one acquaintance that had a significant impact on future specialists in Vietnamese studies. At one of our first classes, a young man, older than us, appeared, introduced himself as an external student (I think there were still such students at Moscow State University at that time), studied either in the third or fourth year, studied Urdu, but was forced to leave because he started a family. His name was Pyotr Alyoshin. Now I found out that there is a Vietnamese group at the history department, and I decided to study the Vietnamese language. I got permission from the dean's office.

He studied with us for a short time and then disappeared. One of our people accidentally found out that he was working in a radio station in a newly created Vietnamese editorial office, where two Vietnamese translators, Sean and Lam, had just arrived from Hanoi. He learns the language from them on-the-job.

We were a little jealous, and we forgot about him.

I had to remember when classes started in my second year. We were told that V. I. Rebane, for some reason, could no longer teach, and Pyotr Ivanovich Alyoshin, a translator of the Moscow Radio, would work with us on the language. However, this did not happen immediately. For perhaps a month or more, we would gather in the classroom assigned to us according to the schedule and independently repeat what we had learned in the first year, all two school hours four times a week. They came up with, for example, tooth-crushing numbers and pronounced them in Vietnamese: something like 129 237 486, etc., paying special attention to pronunciation. I must say that it is our "perseverance", apparently, had an impact on the leadership of the department. After all, it came to the point that we were even cautiously offered ("What can you do?") to move to any other department, but we resolutely refused. But this is-by the way!

The distance between us and the former Petya was established immediately. He taught strictly and did not give any concessions. He was probably telling us what he'd learned from Sean and Lam. First of all-and thank you to him forever - he gave us the pronunciation. We suffered for a long time, but still mastered this most difficult complexity of the Vietnamese language, all these six tones, all these diverse (but important!) shades in the pronunciation of vowels. We now have texts that are not yet printed, but already typewritten, with all the icons and vowels. So we got used to the modern Vietnamese vocabulary, and the vocabulary began to increase.

The second year also brought news: graduate students from various academic institutions, including the Institute of Oriental Studies, began to study together with us. Three of them (A. G. Mazaev, V. A. Zelentsov, and V. F. Mordvinov) were Turkologists, and one (A. P. Shiltova) was a Japanese woman .2 All of them, after graduating from the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies, the same one in Rostokinsky Proezd, in Sokolniki, were told: either go to graduate school in Vietnam, since it opens up, or-on all four sides, since there are a dime a dozen Japanese and especially Turkologists in the Union! No need to guess what choice they made.

If my memory serves me correctly, P. I. Alyoshin also taught here in the third year. And this is a good thing, because it was through him that we still somehow got acquainted with the modern Vietnamese political and economic vocabulary. He even sometimes brought us some not-so-regular Vietnamese newspapers from the radio, and we read them, focusing on political and economic articles. As for other topics, for example, everyday life or culture, here we not only swam, but simply sank, especially since there was not and could not yet be at least some very simple dictionary.

2 V. A. Zelentsov and A. G. Mazaev have already passed away. V. F. Mordvinov has finished his service as Deputy Chairman of the State Economic Commission, I have no information about him. A. P. Shiltova works at the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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And life was more and more insistently poking our noses into the truth that without a tongue, we can't go anywhere. Back in the second year, B. N. Zahoder, the head of a seminar on the history of the East, told us Vietnamese students to choose something about medieval Vietnam for ourselves, because "this period in the country's history is unfamiliar to him." He immediately directed us to the East Office of the Historical Library. Second-year students were not allowed in, but at the suggestion of a professor of Moscow State University and one of the founders of this office, we were unconditionally accepted. There we got acquainted with the famous Khmyrov collections, but "for business" in Russian, they turned out to have only one suitable book with the funny title "Collection of Annam, Chinese and Tonkva jokes" published in 1818. The rest of the literature was entirely in French and English, even if you shouted" Guard!".

So the fate of Orientalists at the Moscow State University Faculty of History was intertwined with the Western language. Painfully intertwined, awkward! It was good for those few of us, even from Muscovites, who went to school with "advanced language skills", even better if this language turned out to be English. And what should our provincial brother, who was learning a Western language somewhere in Tsarevokokshaisk, and not English, but German, do?

As for us Vietnamese students, we were initially assigned to a group of beginners learning English. A month later, someone decided that since Vietnam was a French colony, it would be better for us to learn French rather than English. We were transferred to the "French" group, which was attended by students from the Department of History of the USSR. I will not say that we personally, in order to catch up, studied the language, delving into dictionaries and all sorts of self-help books in our free time from lectures and seminars. Not at all! We, too, were decent "nets" and, skipping classes, did not suffer and did not suffer from conscience.

Once, our whole group of us cried to the associate professor of Indology, the most sympathetic person A.M. Osipov, that, they say, we should write term papers, but there is no literature in Russian! He told us that we should learn languages. Someone deliberately sighed: and what, they say, to do if the ability to speak languages is absent?! He then said:

- Do you think languages are given abilities? He turned his back on us and slapped his ass:

"That's what they do!

We had a lot of fun, but we remembered what "grandfather" told us (such an affectionate nickname from the "easy hand" of V. N. Moskalenko was "fixed" for Alexander Mikhailovich for years because of his spatula beard).

In the study of French, we soon caught up and even surpassed the "historians of the USSR": the need forced, and classes in the Eastern language, apparently, somehow attracted to the Western language. But all the same, they didn't know the Western language well, they didn't even reach the level of "I can explain myself".

In the third year, two serious events occurred, which again affected our future professional activities. But first I would like to say a little about how the study of Eastern countries was organized at the History Department of Moscow State University.

There was a general course on the history of the countries of the East, starting from ancient times. Knowledge was put into our heads by those who were and still are the pride of Russian Oriental studies: V. I. Avdiev, B. N. Zakhoder, I. M. Reisner, A. F. Miller, A. L. Galperin, A. A. Guber, A.M. Osipov. Of course, the course was not taught, for example, on ancient Indonesia, but was limited to China and India. Similarly, in the Middle Ages, priority was given to the Arab East, Iran, the Caliphates, etc. As for other Asian countries, they were limited to India, China, Turkey and Japan. In modern times, the range of countries expanded, but since most of them had already become or were becoming colonies, or

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if they were dependent, then this circle was also limited. If we talk in general about modern history, then the countries of Southeast Asia almost completely fell out of sight in the pre-war period. Perhaps this was fair, because it was impossible to embrace the immensity.

Later, in hindsight, they realized that it would be more useful, for example, to take a special course on Southeast Asian countries in order to compare and contrast, than to pass the history of Uzbekistan and the peculiarities of the national liberation movement in India. But it was believed that an Orientalist should necessarily know the history of one of the Asian republics of the USSR, and a Far Easterner should know the nature of the national liberation movement in India, while a Middle Easterner should know the history of the Chinese revolution. There are no words, and it was useful, but still!

With a purely country-specific aspect, we Vietnamese scientists were not doing well at first. In all the other Eastern countries, "schools" had already existed for decades or more, and studies numbered in dozens of volumes. The very element that is commonly called "life and morals" was present in language classes, and even in general lectures. Just remember I. M. Reisner's brilliant lectures on India! We, Vietnamese programmers, simply did not have such material, and somehow we did not know how to search for it in libraries. Later, while working in Ivan, I found in the Institute's library quite a few very interesting ethnographic and geographical descriptions, memoirs and essays in French, which were still uncut. Consequently, their first Russian reader was me. The same thing happened almost half a century later, when the library of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs found interesting folios that were not used by the reader until then, telling about the activities of Catholic missionaries in Vietnam. We should have read them when we were students! But no one even hinted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a scientific library, and we ourselves turned out to be lazy and uninteresting.

Knowing that P. I. Aleshin communicates with Vietnamese people every day, we asked him to tell us what they are like and what they say about their country, about the war. He didn't have much to say, and it was obvious that he wasn't particularly interested in it himself. Only once, when the subject of Ho Chi Minh was mentioned, did he say admiringly:

"He's over sixty, and he plays volleyball!"

One day, at the very beginning of the third year, Ekaterina Matveyevna, the department's laboratory assistant, gathers us together and, choking with excitement, announces:

- Tomorrow Alexander Andreevich will come!

So we got to know the long-awaited A. A. Huber better. It was long-awaited not because he didn't want to meet us, but because he didn't have an in-depth specialization in the country until the third year. And only he, the only major specialist in the Union for Southeast Asia, could carry out such a specialization.

We were sitting in a shabby classroom near the back stairs of the history department, and Alexander Andreevich shared with us his thoughts on how he imagined a special course called the new and recent history of Vietnam. He said bluntly that without our help, it would be difficult for him to teach us. They don't know the language, and they won't be able to use historical literature in Vietnamese, and there will always be one. So we will have to write the history of Vietnam together, and it will be a long process, because the Vietnamese themselves must understand and write it. To put it bluntly, this was an optimistic statement, since the victory at Dien Bien Phu and the 1954 Geneva Conference were still a long way off. But that wasn't what surprised us. We were simply amazed at how this elderly man, a world-famous scientist, speaks to us not just as students, but as colleagues in a common cause. Of course! Work together on the history of Vietnam! It was both frightening and encouraging-

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valo. I think that since that day we have taken a much more serious approach to everything that had to do with" our " Vietnam.

Fifty years have passed since that not at all exalted, but rather purely businesslike, everyday conversation, and I now know that we firmly remembered everything that Alexander Andreevich said to us then. We went our separate ways, each of us chose a different path, but we all had a happy professional fate - to be contemporaries of the most difficult and heroic period in the history of the country under study. We were not just witnesses and recorders of events: each of us, doing our own specific work, contributed some grain to the assistance that the Soviet state provided to the struggle of the Vietnamese people, a struggle that the whole world respectfully recognized as fair.

At the same time, Alexander Andreevich entrusted our brother with an optimistic duty not only to comprehend, but also to search for literature on Vietnam in Moscow libraries. Since it was mainly about modern history, we limited ourselves to this period, leaving out those publications that appeared before 1930, that is, before the creation of the Communist Party of Indochina. But even here, literature was monstrously scarce. In Russian: translations from French of Andre Violli's " Indochina, soe!", Madeleine Riffaut, I. P. Podkopaev's compilative geographiz pamphlet "Vietnam", A. A. Guber's lectures at the Academy of Social Sciences under the Central Committee of the CPSU, V. Ya.Vasilyeva's already mentioned monograph" Indochina " - that's probably all. It was later that the Leninki special archive found separate articles in the Kommunisticheskiy Internatsionalny magazine. Publications of French and Vietnamese "bourgeois authors" about the Vietnam War were not available in the Union libraries for obvious reasons, 3 and in the DRV Marxist historical science has not yet "formed"!

The second "blow" was dealt to us at the end of the school year by our Pyotr Ivanovich Alyoshin. He refused to teach us the language 4 . Just like after the first year, we were left to our own devices. Only then did we wait patiently for the authorities to find us a teacher, and we repeated, repeated, repeated what Vladimir Ivanovich Rebane had taught us. Now the determined Marat Cheshkov suggested that we act on our own.

To begin with, we went to the newly opened Vietnamese Embassy in Moscow-a nondescript one-story mansion somewhere in Arbatsky lanes. The most surprising thing is that the policeman allowed us to go there, although everything happened even before the thaw. We were met by a Vietnamese man who spoke very little Russian, and we didn't dare say anything in Vietnamese. It was Nguyen Tien Thong, the interpreter for Ambassador 5 . Marat, slowly articulating, told him who we were and where we came from, and outlined the request for a teacher. Thong was very surprised that the history Department of Moscow State University studies Vietnamese (which, by the way, indicates the limited capabilities of the embassy or the laziness of its employees in studying the host country) and promised to pass everything on to the ambassador.

We reported at the department that we went to the embassy and were received favorably. I think an official letter from the faculty to the embassy was written. As if

3 I do not know if there are many of them now, especially in Vietnamese, but in the late 50s we visited Hanoi and discovered interesting works published in the puppet state of Vietnam by Hoa Bang, Tran Chong Kim, Dao Zui An and other authors

4 P. I. Aleshin has become one of our best" written " translators from Vietnamese and especially into Vietnamese. When the 55-volume collected works of V. I. Lenin were translated into Vietnamese at the request of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, he was one of the most active participants in this long-term and truly great work.

5 Later, in the 70s, Nguyen Tien Thong became an ambassador, head of the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

page 154

whatever it was, but by the beginning of the new academic year, we had a teacher, a Vietnamese, a graduate student of the Timiryazev Academy Le Zuy Thuok 6 .

Now we have truly learned what a living language is, not "distilled" phrases from textbooks, but the most "everyday phrases" that border on slang. After all, while teaching us, Thuok also learned by himself. Of course, he did not give any scientific justification, since he was very far from linguistics, but he stopped:

"They don't speak Vietnamese like that."

He couldn't explain why they didn't say it, so we took it on faith and memorized how to say "Vietnamese". This is probably why, after graduating from the university, with all our non-scientific knowledge of the language, we were probably the only ones who could explain ourselves quite decently in the language of the country we were studying.

Those who followed us, a year younger, received more serious language training from the scientific side - Tonya Barinova, Degas Deopik and Ivan Shchedrov.

In our fifth year, we were taught the language by another Vietnamese graduate student, Nguyen Si Quoc, a more strict and intelligent person than Thuoc. But we were no longer afraid of him, no longer ashamed of our language lapses, and it was actually a simple Vietnamese grain grower, Le Zui Thuoc, who helped us in this.

Probably, somewhere accurate statistics are stored, how many Vietnamese citizens studied in Soviet universities, technical schools and vocational schools, and in Hanoi, probably, it is calculated how many students "passed through the hands" of Soviet teachers who worked in the DRV-SRV and acquired a profession from national professors and associate professors who were educated in the Soviet Union. But these statistics hardly take into account the uplifting spiritual charge that these thousands of Vietnamese and hundreds of Soviet people received from mutual communication!

In my opinion, in 1982 our Embassy in Hanoi proposed to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to hold a meeting of Vietnamese graduates of Soviet universities. The proposal was enthusiastically supported, which in itself indicates the level of relations between our countries at that time. This could not have happened before October 1964!

The hall of the embassy club was, as they say, packed! When I, the host, addressed the audience in Russian and Vietnamese, the audience shouted:

- Speak Russian!

This was hardly an expression of "distrust" for my Vietnamese pronunciation. Like my comrades, I was never deceived when, at the tenth or twentieth minute of acquaintance, the interlocutor with some "overlap" began to admire:

"Oh, how well you speak Vietnamese!

Needless to say, " The East is a delicate matter!" But our Vietnamese colleagues did not resort to such compliments, and if necessary, they asked again, clarified, corrected mistakes, often and not without friendly "teasing". We paid them the same amount. By that time, I had already worked in Vietnam (in the second "race") for five years and I had to conduct serious and even sensitive official one - on-one conversations - and nothing, I managed! I was proud then, and I am proud now, that when my good friend and boss at that time, Ambassador B. N. Chaplin, asked me how I knew the Vietnamese language, his interlocutor from the International Department of the CPV Central Committee answered:

- We always understand what he wants to tell us! I don't pretend to do more than that!

I was not offended by the use of "you"either. For many in the audience, I remained just a Moscow student or an aspiring junior researcher from the time of the 1957 Moscow Festival of Youth and Students. So I - in Vietnamese-agreed to speak-

6 Le Zuy Thuok became Director of the 1st Agricultural Institute of the DRW. I met him in Hanoi in 1982 ."

page 155

I can only speak Russian and was happy to give the first word to my first Vietnamese language teacher, Le Zui Thuok! I would very much like to hope that our first teacher of the living Vietnamese language continues to teach future agronomists at his institute.

Now, after tumultuous and difficult decades, all this is remembered as a romantic film seen a long time ago. But everything was real: friendship, mutual understanding, and contempt for, sorry, often stupidly laid by politicians on both sides of the border: Russian here, Vietnamese there.

Now, when Moscow and Hanoi have mutually crossed each other off the" list " of priorities, when signed contracts are easily violated, when, as they say, "not for a pinch of snuff" we have abandoned the excellent base in Cam Ranh, replacing everything with political chatter, the only "capital" in relations between our countries is still those citizens of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, who studied in the Soviet Union and who still has the kindest feelings for our country and its people. But will we be able to properly "use" it?

However, let's return to the brighter period of our student years.

At the beginning of the fourth year, A. A. Guber warned quite seriously that the course work should be treated with all attention, since it is possible that you will have to make a diploma on its basis. Of course, all our term papers were on the most up-to-date issues, but they didn't touch on the DRV yet. This was reserved for the fifth year, for the diploma. And for good reason! Marat, in my opinion, took up the Vietnamese national bourgeoisie, Karpov - the working class, Marian Tkachev - the intelligentsia, Kalashnikov-agricultural relations in Cochin, Veronika Fedyushova - the authorities.

For my work, I got the topic "Agricultural relations in North Vietnam during the period of French rule". Maybe the term paper was called differently, but its direction and meaning were exactly the same. I sat down in the Lenin Library to study the French economists Robekin, Guru, and others. Pierre Guru especially helped me with his study "The Peasants of the Tonkin Delta". May God grant us to write as he did!

At the end of our fourth year in Vietnam, an event occurred that, it seemed to us, not only put him among the most promising countries to study in the East: literally, the battle of Dien Bien Phu, in Northwestern Vietnam, where the French Expeditionary Force suffered a crushing defeat, thundered deafeningly over the world. The victory of the national liberation forces was confirmed by the decisions of the international Geneva conference, which ended in July 1954.

There were real prospects for establishing and fully developing direct cooperation with North Vietnam, and this already concerned us personally: after all, specialists with knowledge of the Vietnamese language will be required, that is, we! Life, as it always happens, quickly put the dreamy students in their place, but more on this below.

In the meantime, we decided to address the problem, which at first was very self-confidently considered insignificant, but which, as it turned out, required no less than several years to "clear up". Question: How do I write Vietnamese names in Russian? It was easier for our Chinese and Korean colleagues: someone and somewhere had already given them the appropriate philologically sound instructions. We did not have such "senior comrades", and the Vietnamese themselves wrote names in their press as God would have it: either two-syllable names separated by a dash, or both syllables with a capital letter, etc. Journalists who were ignorant of Vietnamese philology followed the path of least resistance - if necessary, they simply transcribed them into Russian from the Latin alphabet, since the Vietnamese have long used a slightly modified Latin alphabet.

page 156

Once we ventured and wrote a letter to the most democratic newspaper of those times - Literaturka: put things in order, they say, at least in writing the names of Vietnamese leaders, otherwise instead of the general secretary of the Central Committee of the PTV Truong Tin, some mythical Truong Shin appears in Soviet newspapers! I don't know if anyone noticed this letter, but six months later, in the materials of the XX Congress of the CPSU, Pravda referred to him as Cheung Tin (at least that's it!), and explained in parentheses: Truong Shin. Already before the Moscow Festival of Youth in 1957, all the existing Vietnamese artists gathered at the Institute of Oriental Studies and, after much discussion, agreed to write Vietnamese names and titles uniformly in their works.

A. A. Guber defined my thesis as "Agrarian reform in the DRV". The topic is quite modern, since this reform was in full swing and the end of it was not yet in sight. But the law on agrarian reform existed. Alexander Andreevich gave me his translation from French. Of course, I didn't have any interpretations or explanations of the law at my disposal. Thank God, Vietnamese newspapers began to arrive, and they had the heading "Kai kat juong dat" ("Agrarian Reform"). That's where I picked up the material bit by bit.

As you know, a certain kind of people are lucky! It was at this time that a large group of Vietnamese people who had come to study at the natural sciences departments of Moscow State University were placed in our hostel on the Leninsky Hills. They did not speak Russian, as they say, nor boom-boom, and we, with our minimal command of the language, became a revelation for them. For us, at first, it was very pleasant, and then quite exhausting communication with native speakers began. But our friends had plenty of political literature in Vietnamese, including the Law on Agrarian Reform and all sorts of guidelines for its implementation. And most importantly, Vietnamese applicants themselves at some stages participated in the implementation of this reform in different provinces of the North and told how and what was done. Of course, we didn't understand everything in their stories, but we still understood the main thing. With their help, I also translated the Law on Agrarian Reform - directly from the Vietnamese language, and not from the French translation, which in some cases clarified even some of the fundamental provisions. The rest, as they say, became a matter of technique and perseverance.

Meeting with" ordinary " Vietnamese-not teachers, not diplomats, but yesterday's soldiers, and just young boys and girls-brought something new to our understanding of Vietnam, which was formed during the years of study.

There was no regular information from Vietnam in those years: our correspondents simply did not work there. Therefore, the sources for getting acquainted with the daily life of this distant country were rare photos in newspapers, even rarer shots of documentaries, single translations into Russian of reports (for some reason, most often from Polish): Vietnamese notes by V. Zhukrovsky and E. Kobzday). It was they who created a certain image of the people-heroes, knights without fear or reproach. Meetings with Vietnamese people and many years of working in this country have convinced us that-yes, Vietnam is like this, but it is not like that at all. And which one?

Let someone else answer this question, I don't dare!

Diploma - diploma, but somewhere at the beginning of the second semester among the Easterners started talking about distribution. Someone started a rumor in the course that not only from the general departments, but also from the Department of Oriental Studies will be assigned to the school - history teachers. It was then that we remembered all of Mihfil's promises at the beginning of our student career. That is, no one believed in possible trips to the country for an internship for a long time, did not hope for an excellent distribution, but everyone was interested in why they still did not provide at least a minimal opportunity, even if not for everyone, to work in their specialty. We put the question to the dean's office. And the main slaughterers were nominated

page 157

Vietnamese people, because we certainly could not object that specialists with knowledge of the Vietnamese language are not needed.

We actually forced the dean's office to hold a meeting with us about the distribution and conducted it according to the scenario we had written. I was assigned to express my complaints, since I was not in elected positions, I was not listed as a registered speaker, and therefore I was the voice of the people. All my questions were answered by the representative of the dean's office Araksya Biglyarovna (last name, I confess, I forgot!) she chuckled:

- Do you think that Vietnamese people are needed everywhere?

She told us directly that we would have to go to school to work, that the Eastern language for us is like German or French for those who studied at the Department of Modern and Contemporary History, which is destined to be followed to secondary school to teach the younger generations.

This is how we realized that the dean's office doesn't care much about whether such specialists as us, Vietnamese students, and our fellow students with other Eastern languages are needed anywhere. The rescue of drowning people was the work of the drowning people themselves! And then they announced the decision not to give free distribution in 1955, which meant: settle in as best you can! Now it was necessary to sign the distribution and be sure to go to the place of future work.

However, all these concerns had to be postponed until the defense of the diploma. If I remember correctly, it was held in April. All of them defended themselves well, and all of them were recommended to graduate school (it was pleasant, although it didn't have any practical significance!).

The irrepressible Marat Cheshkov after the defense said that now, while there is time, we need to run around in search of those cherished addresses where there is an extreme need for specialists with knowledge of the Vietnamese language. To begin with, a list of organizations where, in our opinion, Vietnamese programmers were needed was compiled, and their" call-in " and bypass was started. It was a long list, but only two organizations were not included: the Ministry of Defense and the KGB. Not because we didn't want to work there, but because we understood that there was nothing to do, they wouldn't take us anyway!

In the first line, of course, was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where, as we knew for sure, there were no specialists with knowledge of the language yet. At the Foreign Ministry, we were showered with contempt, no more. We went and called without losing hope. Araksya Biglyarovna was right in many ways! Perhaps specialists with knowledge of the Vietnamese language were needed in some places, for example, in the same central media agencies. But there were already their own people sitting there, sometimes barely speaking only the Western language, which by the standards of that time, apparently, was quite enough. Why take it from the outside? In my opinion, they were only interested in us on Moscow radio and promised to send us applications.

Then we decided to talk straight with A. A. Huber.

He listened to us, did not promise anything, but said that he would definitely come to the distribution.

It was a pleasant, sunny day, and we were waiting for Alexander Andreevich in the morning at the corner of the house No. 5 on Herzen Street. We waited and didn't enter the faculty. He appeared, waving his briefcase cheerfully, and asked if the dean was there. They said that Artemy Vladimirovich was already here, but the meeting of the distribution commission had not yet begun.

"Wait," he said, and headed for the dean's office.

No one will ever know what the two professors were talking about. But after a while we were invited to the dean's office, not alone, as we were supposed to, but all together. :

"Tell you what, the Vietnamese. I believe that directing you to school is like chopping wood with a golden axe. There are no applications for you yet, but we will do our best to get them. In the meantime

page 158

sign the distribution to the most remote areas, so as not to deprive your friends of decent places.

We did just that. They immediately agreed to go to the Amur Region, and Veronika Fedyushova and her husband even agreed to go to Sakhalin.

And we went to wait for applications.

Perhaps it was the case that the applications came almost simultaneously, and we decided together who should go where. So, V. Karpov and Veronika appeared on the radio, Marat became a candidate for postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Economics, A. Kalashnikov and I had to go to the entrance exams at Ivan's postgraduate school, which means we had to compete, and Marian Tkachev was sent to a boarding school for Vietnamese boys as a kind of tutor.

Everything would have been fine, but we had to cancel our previous distribution to the Ministry of Higher Education and confirm new applications for us there. So Marat Cheshkov and I went to the Ministry to see the head of the Department, Comrade Nozhko. He received us, asked us what and why, and quickly resolved the issue with all applications, except for Ivanovo 7, remarking sarcastically:

- And Alexander Andreevich is the head of your diplomas?

When the answer was yes, he immediately called the Graduate School Department of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences and asked if YVES AHn had been allocated places in the Vietnamese language graduate school.

Apparently, he was reassured there, because he chuckled cheerfully:

- Wow, they didn't cheat! "And signed our applications." I must make a reservation that the economic manager A. Kalashnikov, relying on some decisions, got the hoists that we were supposed to use in the Ministry, and I spent the whole summer in Moscow on this money.

On the appointed day, A. Kalashnikov and I went to the mandate commission of the USSR Academy of Sciences, which was headed by Professor G. D. Sanzheev, known for writing letters to Comrade Stalin on linguistics.

Having learned that we are not philologists, but historians, Gamba Dantsaranovich was indignant and exclaimed:

- But how will you pass linguistics?

Some woman reassured him: nothing, they say, they will pass! Then it turned out that it was Zav. Department of Postgraduate Studies of Ivan M. N. Kirpsh.

In short, the documents were accepted, and we went home to read Professor Chikobawa's Introduction to Linguistics.

I don't remember how, but I was suddenly called to IVAN in "such and such a room". When I arrive, a rather stern woman greets me and says:

- Why don't you come to work? Since yesterday, you have been assigned as a senior research and technical officer in the Information department. Here's the order, read it, sign it, and go to this department to see Levin.

"Hooray!" - I rejoiced in my heart, - so, no philological postgraduate studies, we will work!

And I went to see Zalman Isaakovich Levin, an Arabist by training, a pleasant peasant and a great lover of Beranger songs.

7 A. A. Guber was the director of Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
in those years.


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