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On December 31, 2005, quite unexpectedly for everyone, the life of a wonderful man and scientist, head of the Department of Asian and African Literatures of the Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Philology, Professor Nikolai Ivanovich Nikulin ended.

Nikolai Ivanovich was born on October 3, 1931 in Moscow in the family of a worker. In 1949, he entered the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies at the Chinese department and specialized in Xinjiang, studying the Uyghur language. But in his final year, he took up the extremely difficult Vietnamese language on his own and attended lectures by Academician A. A. Huber on the history of Southeast Asia at Moscow State University. Knowing that the Soviet embassy in Hanoi does not have a single person who knows the country's language, N. I. Nikulin offered his services to the Foreign Ministry and was sent to the embassy as an intern, but very soon received the position of vice-consul. Since then, Nikolai Ivanovich's whole life has been connected with Vietnam. As you know, Russian Orientalists did not come to the attention of Southeast Asia for a long time, and the languages and culture of this region were not studied. In the 1930s, the sinologist Yu. K. Shchutsky compiled a textbook of the Vietnamese language and wrote a pamphlet "The System of the Annam Language" (Leningrad, 1936), but after his arrest in 1937, teaching of the Vietnamese language ceased. The formation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the establishment of relations with it required urgent training of experts in the Vietnamese language, history and culture of this country, and N. I. Nikulin took a very direct part in this work, working together with colleagues to compile the first "Vietnamese-Russian Dictionary", which was published in Moscow in 1961. Working in Vietnam, Nikulin improved in the language and became one of the best translators from Vietnamese. It was not for nothing that for many years he was assigned to accompany and translate visitors to our country the country of Vietnam's leaders.

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After returning from Hanoi, Nikolai Ivanovich continued to work at the Foreign Ministry and could have made a good diplomatic career, but he left such a prestigious organization, deciding to devote himself to studying Vietnamese culture. He entered the graduate school of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences, where, under the guidance of an excellent expert in Chinese poetry, Professor L. Z. Eidlin, he worked on a PhD thesis on the most famous Vietnamese poet Nguyen Zu (1765-1820) and his poem " Lamentations of a Tortured Soul (Kim, Van, Kyeu)", which is considered the pinnacle of ancient Vietnamese poetry and which literally every Vietnamese knows. N. I. Nikulin successfully defended his first study of Vietnamese literature in our country in 1961, and was awarded the degree of Candidate of Philological Sciences. On the basis of his dissertation, he also wrote the book "The Great Vietnamese Poet Nguyen Zu", published in 1965. After working from 1960 to 1964 as a researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Nikolai Ivanovich moved to teaching at the IIA-ISAA at Moscow State University, where he trained a whole group of Vietnamese scientists who are now working in various institutions.

Continuing to teach at ISAA and receiving the title of associate professor, and in 1969 professor, N. I. Nikulin began working at the Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1969, devoting all his energy to the study and promotion of Vietnamese literature that is practically unknown in our country. Having come to IMLI as a senior researcher and defended his doctoral dissertation on "National artistic traditions and interethnic relations in the development of Vietnamese literature" in 1974, Nikolai Ivanovich in 1975 headed the Department of Asian and African Literature of IMLI and remained in this post until the end of his life. Working tirelessly on the monuments of Vietnamese literature from different eras and publishing articles on various issues of the history of the studied literature, Nikolai Ivanovich prepared a large book "Vietnamese Literature: from the Middle Ages to the Modern Times: X-XIX centuries", published in 1977 and is the first systematic essay on the history of Vietnamese literature in our country. It examines both early epigraphic monuments, the origin of poetry, its connections with the Chinese poetic tradition and at the same time national identity, poetry in the regional literary language Hanwan, the reflection in literature of relations with Europe, and new educational trends in Vietnamese literature of the second half of the XIX-early XX centuries.

Nikolai Ivanovich was an excellent scholar who introduced us not only to interesting and original Vietnamese literature, but also to the folklore of many peoples of Vietnam, which before him could not be found even simple references in our literature. Gradually, the study of the oral traditions of the peoples of Vietnam (Viet, Muong, Bahnar, Ede and many others) became one of the main areas of his scientific activity. Thanks to his works, the Russian reader was able to get acquainted with the rich folklore heritage of these peoples: mythological, epic (just remember the epic of ede translated and researched by him), fabulous, anecdotal (funny stories about the highly learned Kuin). When the encyclopedia "Myths of the Peoples of the World" began in the 1970s, it was only natural that all the articles on Vietnamese mythology were entrusted to him. Under his direct supervision, IMLI carried out a number of research projects devoted to the comparative study of literature and folklore of the East.

Nikolai Ivanovich took an active part in the polysyllabic work on the "History of World Literature" as the author of sections on Vietnamese literature of all eras.

Nikolai Ivanovich's research has always attracted the interest of Vietnamese scholars, and many of his works have been translated and published in Hanoi, including the book "Literary Relations of Vietnam" (2000). As a true friend of the Vietnamese people, he was extremely popular in the country, all the newspapers in Vietnam published obituaries about him, and telegrams and letters of condolence continue to come to this day.

Nikolai Ivanovich was not only a good hardworking scholar and translator of Vietnamese literature, but also an exceptionally friendly and at the same time demanding leader. For thirty years, during which he headed the Department of Asian and African Literature, where there was always a calm, friendly, businesslike atmosphere, he found the right words for everyone and always tried to support the employee in his scientific endeavors. He was a leader and a friend, and everyone knew that they would find in him the most sympathetic companion, who would help with advice and protect if necessary. Everyone at the institute remembers with gratitude the times when he was chairman of the trade union committee and secretary of the party bureau, but only his family knows how difficult it was for him to fulfill these public duties. After working out in

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at the district committee, he came home, lay down on the sofa and stared at one point, not immediately coming to his senses. But he defended his employees from the unjustified attacks of the party authorities, but never complained, and was always nice and even at work. He easily took on all the organizational work not only in the department, but also in the Dissertation Council on Foreign Literature (as its chairman) and in the Academic Council of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (of which he was a member).

In recent years, Nikolai Ivanovich has been working on the monograph " Meeting traditional Vietnam and Modern Europe (on Vietnamese literary and journalistic monuments of the XVIII-early XIX centuries)", which his colleagues hope to prepare for publication in the near future.

It is said that a person is best known on trips and expeditions. Those who happened to be with Nikolai Nikulin in Vietnam, where he helped colleagues who did not know the language, or in Mongolia in the Middle Gobi, or on trips to the West and our North, will never forget the always calm, finding a way out of any situation dear Nikolai Ivanovich. He did not envy the success of his employees, but was always happy for his wards if they received awards or academic titles. An excellent expert in his field, an orientalist of a wide profile, a surprisingly friendly and caring person and a scientist who made a great contribution to our Oriental studies, such will remain Nikolai Ivanovich Nikulin in the hearts of his colleagues and numerous students.

FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES


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Personalia. In memoriam. NIKOLAI IVANOVICH NIKULIN (1931-2005) // Hanoi: Vietnam (BIBLIO.VN). Updated: 02.07.2024. URL: https://biblio.vn/m/articles/view/Personalia-In-memoriam-NIKOLAI-IVANOVICH-NIKULIN-1931-2005 (date of access: 15.07.2024).

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