E. V. KOBELEV
Candidate of Historical Sciences
Far East Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Keywords: Vietnam, Hanoi University, Ho Chi Minh City, Army General Vo Nguyen Ziap
In 2015, Moscow and Hanoi solemnly celebrated the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Vietnam (January 30, 1950). On the occasion of this significant date, Vietnamese Central Television produced a documentary film, which for the first time showed the story that in 1958-1960 three first Soviet students studied at Hanoi University. a student. Among them was the author of the proposed essay.
I graduated from the famous Simferopol school in 1956 with a gold medal and, confident in myself, rushed to "conquer" Moscow - from childhood I dreamed of studying at Moscow State University. And my dream came true -quite easily I entered the newly opened Institute of Oriental Languages at Moscow State University (now ISAA MSU) in the Vietnamese language department.
COURSE - TO HANOI
In my school years, three words - Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, Dien Bien Phu - were constantly heard by Soviet people, they were constantly heard on the radio, and often appeared on the front pages of newspapers. The stories of journalists who visited Vietnam in the 1950s-first fighting against the French colonialists, and then happily inhaling the first breaths of peace and freedom - gave rise to images of a distant, romantic, attractive country in my mind.
There were six of us in the Vietnamese language group, all of us from school. We studied with great interest and, of course, dreamed, although without much hope (at that time it was very difficult to go abroad), that one day we would be able to visit the exotic "Country of the South" (as the teachers translated the name Vietnam for us)- to replenish our meager knowledge of its rich history. its history, its heroic people, and finally, experience" your " Vietnamese on the spot. So when, in the middle of 1958, I was suddenly informed by the
The school is famous for the fact that many outstanding figures of Russian and Soviet science and culture have taught and graduated from it. So, in the middle
of Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, on the central street named after Karl Marx, there is one amazing historical landmark. This is the city gymnasium No. 1, which three years ago celebrated its 200th anniversary. In the 19th century, the great Russian scientist Dmitry Mendeleev worked as a chemistry teacher at the gymnasium. Among the most remarkable graduates of the gymnasium, first of all, one should mention Academician Igor Kurchatov, a nuclear physicist.
. a school museum, almost entirely dedicated to Vietnam. Among the exhibits are photographs of the late 1960s, reflecting episodes of the US air war against North Vietnam; the book "Ho Chi Minh", published in 1978 by the Molodaya Gvardiya publishing house in the series "Life of Wonderful People" - a beautiful gift edition, only 300 copies were issued, and the total circulation of two editions of the book it made 200 thousand copies. Next to it are the same books about Ho Chi Minh, but already translated into Vietnamese and English; a copy of the Decree of the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on awarding the Order of Friendship to the author of this book, Evgeny Kobelev.
The dean's office of the Institute told me that I should urgently prepare for a trip to Vietnam to study at the University of Hanoi, this news sounded like a bolt from the blue for me.
Only later did I learn that the unexpected and very quick decision to travel to Vietnam was a result of the personal initiative of Ho Chi Minh, President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV). One of the most important joint documents signed after his first official visit to our country in 1955 was the agreement between the governments of the two countries on the education of citizens of the DRV in higher and secondary educational institutions of the USSR, which also provided for an annual exchange of students between the two countries.
In 1958, Ho Chi Minh returned to Moscow and once, in a conversation with a representative of the Soviet leadership, expressed regret that Vietnam had already sent 3 thousand of its students to study in the USSR, and the Soviet side still had none. And then the car suddenly spun very fast. Already at the beginning of September 1958, the first group of Russian students, consisting of three people: two from the Eastern Faculty of Leningrad University-Valery Panfilov and Vladislav Dvornikov, and one-the author of these lines - from the Moscow State University Institute of Oriental Studies, left Yaroslavsky railway Station by train on the route Moscow - Beijing - Hanoi.
The trip took no less than 19 days: We spent 7 days from Moscow to Beijing, 9 days in the Chinese capital, and three days from Beijing to Hanoi.
In Beijing, the embassy put us up at the fashionable Guoji (International) Hotel, and in Moscow, before leaving, we were given a check for such a huge amount of Chinese yuan that this money was more than enough for a "beautiful life" and for daily excursions to the sights of the ancient Chinese capital. Moreover, we even managed to stay in Beijing until October 1 (the Day of the Proclamation of the People's Republic of China), and we witnessed a grandiose festive demonstration, saw Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, and other Chinese leaders on the podium of Tiananmen Square.
HANOI UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
In the early days of October, the first group of Soviet " luu hoc sink "(Vietn. - International students) stepped onto the platform of Hanoi's Hang Co Central Station. And the next day we are already sitting with interest in the first lesson and" with all our eyes " listening to the first Vietnamese teacher. This was the beginning of our studies at the History and Philology Department of Hanoi University.
In Hanoi, employees from the Ministry of Education welcomed us as guests of honor and settled us in a luxurious two - story mansion with a fireplace in the heart of the city-not far from the central square of Badinh, where Ho Chi Minh declared independence of Vietnam on September 2, 1945.
We studied in a separate building from the university classrooms. Our Vietnamese friends initially planned that we should complete a full 4-year course of study, but we convinced them that the most important subjects for us are those directly related to the language, history, and literature of Vietnam. Eventually, our training period was reduced to two years. We were given bicycles for free, although we received very large scholarships - about twice as much as even the salary of the country's prime minister.
HANOI IN THOSE YEARS...
In those early years, Hanoi was a quiet, patriarchal city. Early in the morning, just before dawn, we were already being woken up by the mournful shouts of junk barkers: "Ai co fiay kep hong, hop sua, long vit, an khong?" ("Who has torn shoes, tin cans, duck feathers, sell them?"). The famous 36 streets in the old part of Hanoi were still almost exactly the same as they were immortalized by the romantic writer Thath Lam. In the old days, there were shopping and craft rows here, so these streets still have names one more exotic than the other: street of Sails, street of Drums, street of Fish dishes...
For us, from the very first days, the most favorite street was Tahien, which was the center of very pleasant both spiritual and material food. First of all, it housed the national theater Chuong vang thu do (Golden Bell of the capital). On its stage, you could watch and listen to tuong-a cross between an opera and an operetta based on the plot of the great creation of classical Vietnamese literature-the novel in verse "Truyen Kieu "("The Story of the girl Kieu"), which tells about the sad fate of a highly educated and gifted woman in the feudal society of Vietnam at the end of the XVIII century. In December 2015, this famous novel was published in Hanoi in Russian, translated by Vasily Popov, and will soon go on sale in Russia.)
As the song goes, " youth gone... immortal", so today, from the height of my years, the most romantic and memorable period of my life seems to me the years of studying at the University of Hanoi.
Vietnamese is one of the most complex Oriental languages; it is tonal, and if, for example, Chinese has four tones, then Vietnamese has six. During the years of our studies at the Moscow State University's IVYA, there were no Vietnamese teachers there.-
therefore, each of us portrayed these six tones as best we could. In the first few days in Hanoi, we were naturally confused at first, and as a result, we often heard the wrong words that we wanted to say. How many ridiculous and even dangerous situations arose during conversations with Vietnamese friends, especially with girls, in the first months because of this!
Naturally, therefore, I remember that "holy" day for the rest of my life-it was somewhere near the end of our first year of study in Hanoi, when, to my surprise, I suddenly realized that I could already say everything I needed to say quite freely, and understand almost everything I needed to say. say my Vietnamese interlocutors. It was a truly indescribable, piercing feeling that the seemingly "completely impossible" had suddenly become a delightful reality.
A little over half a year after our arrival in Hanoi, we were lucky enough to see and hear President Ho Chi Minh in person. In the spring of 1959, students of Hanoi University and the population of the capital participated in a traditional Sunday tree-planting event around Lake Baimau. Quite unexpectedly for all of us, in the middle of Sunday, Ho Chi Minh appeared among the students and schoolchildren, threw out, as usual, a couple of joking, warm phrases and together with everyone began to loosen the ground for tree seedlings.
In those years, the Baimau area was a desolate and swampy wasteland; now, almost six decades later, the lake is surrounded by a vast, well-maintained park named Unity. In recent years, when I come to Hanoi, I always find time to drive past this park and remember the days of my youth, my first spring in the Vietnamese capital and, of course, my first meeting with President Ho Chi Minh.
On the eve of the summer of 1959, the Ministries of Education of our two countries were negotiating for quite a long time about where to spend our summer holidays. Of course, we were already homesick and eager to go there, but in order to save money, it was decided that we would stay in Vietnam. And soon we were brought to the mountain resort of Tamdao, just a few dozen kilometers from Hanoi. It turned out that this is an amazing place where the maximum temperature is 20-25 degrees all summer round.
Tamdao is a small village of wooden buildings and bungalows, in the middle - a large swimming pool with mountain cold water, a volleyball court, a spacious dining room with Vietnamese and European cuisine. Around and above in the mountains-an exotic jungle with an abundance of monkeys and predatory animals. In the darkest parts of the forest, the branches are full of black leeches that jump on the body and suck on it.
MEETING THE DIEN BIEN PHU HERO
We had a landmark meeting in Tamdao. The hero of Dien Bien Phu, General of the army Vo Nguyen Ziap and his wife came there to rest. The first night we met for dinner, he suddenly asked us to teach him and his wife Russian. For a whole month, we had great pleasure communicating with this great man every day. He asked us to teach him Russian songs as well. And in the late 1970s, when he was in Moscow on an official visit, I witnessed him sing "Get Up, the country is huge!"in Russian at one of the meetings with our generals.
When we returned to Hanoi from Tamdao, Vo Nguyen Ziap invited us to his home for a friendly dinner, and then regularly sent us gifts every holiday, especially a huge dish-like banh chung-a sticky rice cake wrapped in banana leaves.
I didn't see him again until three decades later. In 1990, the 100th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh's birth was celebrated, and in accordance with the decision of UNESCO, an international conference "President Ho Chi Minh - Hero of National Liberation of Vietnam, major cultural figure"was held. It was held on April 29-30 in the building of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on Badinj Square. It was attended by representatives of 34 countries and about a thousand Vietnamese scientists, writers, and public figures.
As the author of the non-fiction book "Ho Chi Minh", I also received an invitation to participate in this conference. Back in Moscow, I prepared the report "Ho Chi Minh-patriot, revolutionary, man". Having worked a lot as a translator in my youth, I dreamed of one day speaking in Vietnamese myself at an official event. And now the opportunity finally presented itself. When I went up to the podium and began my speech by saying that I had graduated from the History and Philology Department of Hanoi University many years ago and that I would therefore be making a report in Vietnamese, the audience greeted my words with a storm of applause.
The chairman of the organizing committee of the conference was already aged, but still full of young enthusiasm, Army General Vo Nguyen Ziap. He was sitting in the center of the podium, and when I finished my speech, he left the table, came up to me and kissed me hard. The applause of the audience, the flash of cameras, the ubiquitous reporters with microphones prevented me from asking.-
Ask the general if he remembers our meetings in Tamdao in 1959, and then at his home in Hanoi. Looking into his smiling eyes, I didn't have time or couldn't read in them whether he recognized me or not - after all, so many years had passed since that first meeting.
General Vo Nguyen Ziap lived not only a glorious life, but also a long one. He was born in 1911, and died on October 4, 2013 - at the 102nd year of life! I have a long - standing friendship with one of the most popular newspapers in the South of Vietnam, Tuoi tre (Youth), and I, at the request of the editorial board, wrote for them memories of my meetings with the famous general, which were published on the pages of the newspaper a few days after his death.
THE STUDENT DOES NOT LIVE BY STUDYING ALONE
In the second year of our studies, about 10 students from China and other socialist countries came to Hanoi. And then at the general council it was decided to create a national team of international students in basketball. Two weeks later, we were invited to participate in the national championship of the DRV, but before that we were offered to pass the standards for running, jumping and throwing grenades.
I still remember that day with a slight shudder. The competition was held in a small deserted area along the bank of the Red River. In an effort to show my best, I misjudged my strength and threw the grenade directly into the yard of a peasant fisherman. Fortunately, the courtyard was empty at this point, although usually in Vietnamese courtyards you could always see a lot of children mal mal less.
Of course, we didn't have a lot of basketball skills, but we did have a lot of growth! We had a Chinese man named Kat (Back) in our defense, under 1 m 90, so it was extremely difficult for the Vietnamese attackers to pass through him to the ring. I played as a right winger, also quite tall, so as a rule, I passed quite easily to the ring. In short, we started winning one match after another.
But here is a meeting with the team of the Hanoi Medical Institute. Out of habit, picking up the ball, I boldly fly to the ring and suddenly run into a defender under 1 m 90, and even with unusually long arms. The effect was devastating. Naturally, we shamefully lost this meeting. The last match was held in mid-May at a temperature of +40 degrees and humidity of 96%. Our basketball players, including, of course, myself, wrung out their jerseys 5 - 7 times, as if after washing. Of course, we also lost this match, and in the end we took an honorable third place.
My second year at the university began with a noticeable sense of accumulated nostalgia. And suddenly-oh, a miracle! I receive an unexpected message - Marian Tkachev, our teacher of Vietnamese literature at the IIA, is coming to Hanoi as part of a delegation of writers. Even then, he was a well-known translator of Vietnamese literature. Outwardly, he bore a striking resemblance to the poets of the Silver Age - long, almost waist-length wavy black hair, huge black eyes, instead of a tie, most often a bow tie...
For a week after his arrival, we spent every evening with my favorite teacher in the guest house of the Vietnam Writers ' Union on the banks of the picturesque Hale Lake, where we settled the delegation.
One evening, Marian suggested that I visit what he called "the most colorful" Vietnamese writer, Nguyen Tuan. We climbed a creaking staircase to the second floor of an old Hanoi house near the central station. We were met by a very colorful man, also with shoulder-length gray hair, and I sometimes found it difficult to understand him-he spoke the language of the "phu si" -Vietnamese Confucian intellectuals of the late 19th century.
Only later did I learn that Nguyen Tuan is a well-known veteran writer, a master of realistic storytelling, whose prose resembles something between Kuprin and Bunin. From that first meeting, Nguyen Tuan and I became great friends. In the mid-1960s, when I came to Hanoi for the second time, already for work, he was a frequent and welcome guest in my TASS office on Khao Ba Kuat Street.
In 2005, on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the birth of Nguyen Thuan, a complete collection of his works was published in Hanoi for the first time, most of which were written by him before the August Revolution of 1945. And in 2010, fans of the writer widely celebrated the 100th anniversary of his birth, not only in Vietnam, but also in Russia.
Another significant event of our" get-togethers "in the writers' house, although not quite serious, but remarkable in its own way. The first night we visited Marian, he opened the bar door in the living room with a regal gesture, and we saw many bottles of famous French wines-Chablis, Bordeaux, Beaujolais... In those years, in post-war Vietnam, still reeling from the devastation, such a sight could not even be imagined. And the background of this "splendor" was as follows.
According to Vietnamese friends, at the beginning of 1954, when the French expeditionary force was surrounded in the mountains near Dien Bien Phu, the French government, in order to raise the morale of its soldiers and officers, decided to re-establish a military base.-
It is important to send a ship to the port of Haiphong with the best French wines and other stronger drinks. But while the ship was heading for Vietnam, agreements were signed in Geneva to end the Indochina war and withdraw French troops.
The contents of the ship were naturally requisitioned by the Vietnamese authorities. And since one of the main points of the political program of the revolutionary government of Ho Chi Minh was declared the fight against alcohol consumption, tens of thousands of bottles of first-class French wine, which fell out of the blue, were placed in a warehouse in the port and were not even allowed to sell. It was only after a few years that the authorities decided to use the stocks of this valuable alcohol at official receptions in the presidential palace, at meetings with foreign delegations, and then opened its sale in a diplomatic store.
If during the day we spent all our time studying, then at first there were problems with evening leisure. There was no television at that time, and once a week we went to watch movies in the embassy club (and once, when the embassy was preparing a meeting in the club with high-ranking Vietnamese guests, we translated the cartoon "Peter and Little Red Riding Hood"into Vietnamese for this meeting). We also had rare trips to Nha hat lon, Hanoi's Bolshoi Theater, to watch the Soviet-directed plays "Lyubov Yarovaya" and "Kremlin Chimes", as well as to Tahien Street in the Golden Bell of the capital.
As you know, according to the Geneva Agreements of 1954. Vietnam was temporarily divided into two parts along the 17th parallel, with the North under the control of the DRV government led by Ho Chi Minh, and the South under the control of the regime led by the American protege Ngo Dinh Diem. According to the agreements, the authorities of both regions had the right to regroup their forces, and everyone could move from one part of the country to another. Naturally, tens of thousands of members of the Workers ' Party of Vietnam (PTV) and former partisans moved from the South to the North. Their families remained in the South, because, as noted in the agreements, general elections were to be held within two years and the temporarily divided country would be reunited.
Once in Hanoi, the southerners soon formed the Union of Compatriots of the South and their own club, where meetings of former war veterans and concerts of amateur artists were held on weekends. Once we stopped by the sound of music and met some very interesting people in this club. They told us how long and hard they had fought in the mountain jungles of the Tainguyen Plateau and in the reedy channels of the Mekong Delta, and how they longed for their wives and children, who were, in fact, far behind enemy lines. We became friends with the Southerners, and from that day on we often spent our evenings at their club.
In mid-January 1960, an announcement appeared at the club's gates that a festive concert would be held on January 30 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of relations between the DRV and the USSR. When we came to this concert, we were immediately seated at the presidium table, and the host introduced us and constantly addressed us as official Soviet representatives. We were terribly embarrassed, it was all new to us, we were far from politics at that time. But, of course, it was nice to feel like the plenipotentiaries of their country thousands of kilometers away.
As mentioned above, due to the fact that we were the first, the attitude of the Ministry of Education of the DRV and the university teachers towards us was, to put it mildly, very merciful. However, towards the end of our studies, our Vietnamese friends suddenly showed unusual firmness, telling us that they would not let us go back home without final exams. There were four exams: grammar of the Vietnamese language, phonetics of the Vietnamese language, and two essays on ancient Vietnamese literature and modern Vietnamese literature.
As for phonetics, this exam was not particularly difficult for me personally - already in the first year of my studies, at my request, my teacher and friend Nguyen Fan Canh personally worked with me at home. 6 years later, when I was already working as a TASS correspondent in Vietnam, the "cultural revolution" that broke out in China spread to the Chinese diaspora in Hanoi. Their daily newspaper in Hanoi regularly published all sorts of nasty things about the Soviet Union and its leadership. To keep abreast of all these publications, I regularly called the newspaper in Vietnamese, and sometimes only at the end of our conversation the interlocutor suddenly discovered to his horror that he was talking to a foreigner, or worse-to a Russian.
Written exams are another matter. Although by that time we were already quite fluent in Vietnamese, read books and newspapers, translated articles from newspapers and magazines at the request of the embassy, but no one had to write large, and even special texts in Vietnamese, of course. When the written exam started, I quite easily coped with the ancient literature, which I loved very much, but with modern literature there was an unexpected slip.
In those years, my favorite contemporary writer was Wu Chong Fung, the author of the wonderful satirical novel "So do" ("Red Number,
or a Happy fate"), somewhat reminiscent of the" Twelve Chairs " by I. Ilf and E. Petrov. I read it several times with pleasure and was, as they say, in the topic. I wrote an essay about this novel selflessly, it turned out many pages, but in the end... I got a "Troyak". What's the matter?
It turns out that in the early 1930s. Woo Chong Fung, with the best of intentions, published an article in which he called on Stalin and Trotsky to make peace, as enmity between them, in his opinion, weakens the world revolutionary movement. But in those years, for the Communist Party of Indochina (CPIK)created by Ho Chi Minh in 1930 Stalin was, of course, an unquestionable authority. It was with his approval that the CPIC was accepted into the Comintern and participated in the main Congresses of the Comintern. In January 1950, the USSR was among the first to recognize the DRV and provide it with the necessary military assistance and political and diplomatic support, thanks to which, ultimately, a historic victory was won at the battle of Dien Bien Phu and the Geneva Agreements on the restoration of Peace in Vietnam were successfully signed.
It is clear that after the publication of this notorious article, Wu Chong Fung was called a "reactionary" writer in the CPIK propaganda materials, with all the ensuing consequences. Unfortunately, I didn't know that when I was writing an essay about his novel "Red Number". Thank God, today in Vietnam, which is on the path of renewal, Vu Chong Fung is a recognized classic of Vietnamese literature, his works are regularly reprinted, studied in schools and institutes.
INSTEAD OF AN EPILOGUE
So, the final exams are over, Hang Co station is back, the vast expanses of China and Siberia are again outside the train window, and here I am again in my native Moscow. And then, suddenly, the awakening from two years of sweet sleep began, which became truly terrible. First of all, the size of the scholarship has been reduced - almost 10 times compared to what we received in Hanoi. In addition, after the usual free life, an incredible hassle began. I was two whole years behind my groupmates, and in order to catch up with them and get my MSU diploma with them, I had to pass all the exams and credits for two missed courses, plus exams and credits for the current 5th year.
And in such a nervous situation, I suddenly receive very pleasant news -I am invited to be a simultaneous interpreter at the XXII Congress of the CPSU (October 1961). Before that, delegations from Vietnam, a former colony of France, listened to translations into French at party, Komsomol, and trade union events in our country. But this time the organizing department of the Central Committee decided to stop torturing Vietnamese friends with the language of colonialists.
Since it was not clear which of our Vietnam specialists was ready for simultaneous interpretation, a group of 6 people was created. As the congress progressed, it was gradually reduced, and in the end, there remained a "trinity" that seemed to meet the basic requirements of simultaneous interpretation: MGIMO teacher Idalia Alyoshina, MGIMO graduate student Grigory Lokshin, and I, a 5th-year student of the Moscow State University's IVY Institute.
For two weeks, we literally worked hard. They tried as hard as they could, trying to translate it into Vietnamese (tonal!) There are numerous verbal pearls of N. S. Khrushchev - "we will show you Kuzka's mother", "we also did not beat flies with our nostrils at that time"," our method is milking cows with a herringbone " and dozens of others.
But, of course, the most important test for us was the upcoming welcoming speech by the head of the PTV delegation, Ho Chi Minh. After much deliberation, our supervisor from the Central Committee's organizing department decided to entrust me, still a student, to translate the speech of the Vietnamese leader; apparently, the crucial role in this choice was played by the fact that I was, after all, a graduate of the University of Hanoi.
Towards the end of the congress, a representative of the organizing department asked Ho Chi Minh to evaluate our first experience of simultaneous interpretation. I will never forget how Ho Chi Minh, after giving a brief description of each of our translators, said the following about me personally:: "Chang thanh nien ta so giong tram va noi nhu nguoi Ha Noi thi dich tot" - " A guy who has a baritone voice and speaks like a Hanoan, translates well."
It remains to add that Ho Chi Minh himself knew Russian very well (in the 1920s-1930s, he worked and studied in Moscow for a total of about six years), so he pronounced the last paragraph of his welcome address to the delegates of the XXII Congress of the CPSU in Russian.
It was on such a high note that "our Hanoi universities" ended, and preparations for independent working life began. And all three of us, the first Russian students in Vietnam, started it in different ways, but at a rather honorable level. So, Valery Panfilov became an associate professor, and then a professor at Leningrad University. Vladislav Dvornikov worked in the military attache of the Soviet embassies in Hanoi and Phnom Penh (Cambodia). I was first a TASS correspondent in Hanoi during the first years of the US aggression against the Vietnamese people, and then the head of the Pravda newspaper's Indochina office.
But this is still to be told.
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