Libmonster ID: VN-1214
Author(s) of the publication: V. V. BOITSOV

2015 was Vietnam's anniversary year. On September 2, the country celebrated 70 years of independence: the August Revolution of 1945 and the proclamation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. And another memorable date: 40 years have passed since the liberation of South Vietnam in 1975.

The publication of a scientific reference publication dedicated to these dates, edited by Candidate of Historical Sciences E. V. Kobelev , " Modern Vietnam. Handbook" (Moscow, IDV RAS, 2015, 366 p.) is timely and in demand.

The handbook was prepared and published by the Center for Vietnam and ASEAN Studies of the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The authors involved Vietnamese scientists not only from leading research centers and universities in Moscow-IDV RAS, IV RAS, ISAA MSU, the Museum of Oriental Studies, but also from other centers studying Vietnam - St. Petersburg University, Far Eastern University, as well as from such organizations as the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, the Russian Council for International Relations, etc. Trade Mission of the Russian Federation in Vietnam. Thus, 25 authors worked on the preparation of the handbook-qualified specialists of different generations, each specializing in their own field, and this is one of the main advantages of the publication.

The handbook consists of 8 sections, the last 6 devoted to the present and united by a common title - "Vietnam at the beginning of the XXI century". The titles of the sections indicate the authors ' desire to cover almost all aspects of the country's social life in the first decade and a half of the XXI century.

Section 1 "General characteristics" contains the following chapters:: "Administrative divisions of Vietnam", "Cities", "Ethnic composition of the population", "Languages, writing", "Religions: Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Islam and religious sects".

The chronological framework of section 2 "Historical overview" covers the periods from the ancient history of Vietnam (III-II centuries BC) to the beginning of the XXI century. The authors highlighted the main milestones in the historical development of Vietnam as a whole, including the politically and militarily difficult period of existence of two parts of the country - the DRV and the Republic of Vietnam. Not ignored and no less complex

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The post-war stage of Vietnam's development - 1976-1986, marked by a large-scale and dangerous socio-economic crisis.

The section ends with a chapter on the proclamation of the Doi moi policy, a strategy of renewal and openness, at the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (December 1986), and the first impressive results of its implementation. A sharp turn of the leadership of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to introduce elements of a liberal market economy and a multi-vector foreign policy based on the principle of "looking for partners in all azimuths" attracted the attention of researchers from all over the world - economists, political scientists, sociologists interested in the situation in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.

The main part of the reference publication - "Vietnam at the beginning of the XXI century" - opens with section 3 devoted to the socio-political system of modern Vietnamese society, in which the main role is played by the Communist Party of Vietnam, which has been ruling the country monopolistically since 1945. The authors show how from one party congress to another, the CPV pursues a policy of strengthening its authority and its role as a leading force in the country.

At the XI Congress of the CPV (2011), it was decided to position the party as the vanguard not only of the working class, but of the entire nation (p.98). The authors state the success of the political course of the CPV leadership aimed at building "market socialism with Vietnamese characteristics", and also draw an important conclusion that at present there are no serious political forces or opposition parties in Vietnam.

For our part, it should be noted that perhaps it was the specific nature of the reference book genre that prevented the authors from reflecting the complex, ambiguous trends emerging in modern Vietnamese society, which the CPV management is aware of and does not ignore. And she also did not allow me to comment on the existence of the only ruling party in the country, which causes a lot of criticism from the Western European scientific community.

Section 4 "Economic development" is the largest by volume. Here the reader will find data describing the sectoral structure of the Vietnamese economy, its financial and monetary system, and foreign economic relations. Many of the semantic parts of this section are presented for the first time in such a volume and with such details. Please note the paragraphs "Banking system", "Investment Policy", "State Budget", "Export of Vietnamese capital abroad" and other information that reflects the visible results of "opening the country" and its successful entry into the world community. The section is provided with tables, graphs, and diagrams - visual materials that make it easier to read and understand the above.

In section 5 "Social development", the authors focus on the phenomenon of social differentiation of the population, while simultaneously analyzing the system of state social protection, which is still in the process of formation. Detailed analysis of demographic development, migration from the country, and information about the Vietnamese diaspora abroad is provided using tables and diagrams.

Of great interest is section 6 "Foreign Policy and International Relations", which opens with a description of Vietnam's geopolitical position. The authors, taking into account the current relations between Vietnam and China, largely due to their geopolitical position, consider the difficult situation in the South China Sea region (SCM) and state that territorial disputes in this region are one of the key regional security issues directly related to Vietnam.

In the context of the growing geopolitical rivalry in the region between the United States and China, the main task of Vietnam's foreign policy, according to the authors, is to protect the country's interests through a multi-vector foreign policy and, in particular, skilful maneuvering between the two "strongmen of this world". The authors state the unpredictable development of the problem of islands in the South China Sea and analyze the internal political situation, taking into account the widespread practice of pressure on "disobedient" countries, which results in internal destabilization and operations from outside "to change regimes" (p. 233).

However, such attempts to create a political opposition to Hanoi, according to the authors of the publication, are futile. In our opinion, this is

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the conclusion is quite reasonable, since it reflects the existing realities and the alignment of political forces in the country, as well as the possibilities of control and manageability of society by the CPV.

The authors reveal the diversity of Vietnam's foreign policy and create a panoramic picture of it. The seven-paragraph section covers Vietnam's foreign policy towards ASEAN, China, the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the European Union, Russia, and international organizations. As far as ASEAN is concerned, its role and significance for both the Southeast Asian region and Vietnam are shown, as well as the growing authority and role of Vietnam in this regional community (p.238).

When analyzing the relations of Vietnam with such countries as China and the United States, the authors, given the complexity of relations between these countries, quite understandably, could not avoid at least a brief historical review.

In the section devoted to Vietnam's relations with China, there is a special short story "Conflict problems that need to be resolved": that is, the authors do not seek to obscure the existing differences in relations between these two countries. Speaking about Vietnam's relations with the United States, the authors show drastic changes in this area after the end of the war and the liberation of South Vietnam in 1975. Political rapprochement was manifested, in particular, in the official visit in July 2015, for the first time in the history of Vietnam-American relations, General Secretary of the CPV Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong to the United States-a visit that opened a new stage in the development of Vietnam-US relations.

In the paragraphs on Vietnam's cooperation with various Asian countries, I would like to mention a fragment devoted to relations with Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Economic and cultural cooperation with these countries became possible after Vietnam proclaimed a policy of renewal and the construction of so-called market socialism. This cooperation, after several decades of stagnation, is now developing rapidly. Suffice it to say that over the past few years, Japan has consistently been one of Vietnam's top three trading partners, along with China and the United States, and is also one of the main investors: Japanese projects are being implemented in 48 of Vietnam's 63 provinces and cities (p.253).

The same can be said about Vietnam's relations with the Republic of Korea, which has become one of its largest economic partners, as well as a country that has filled Vietnam's cultural "field" with its cultural programs (TV and movies, music, fashion) (p.255).

As for Vietnam's relations with the European Union, the authors rightly emphasize the development of cooperation in the field of tourism, the humanitarian sphere, and in the field of education and science. At the same time, the EU supports the implementation of the Social and Economic Development Strategy of Vietnam for the period 2011-2020.

The section "Vietnam - Russia"completes the description of foreign policy and international relations. The authors emphasize the significance of a historical document - the Declaration on Strategic Partnership between Vietnam and the Russian Federation, signed during the first official visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Hanoi on February 28-March 2, 2001.

Further presentation of the material on bilateral Vietnamese-Russian relations is based on the principle of strategic partnership set out in the Declaration. These are partnerships in the political and diplomatic sphere, as well as in trade and economic cooperation, where the energy sector is highlighted, including the agreement on the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Vietnam, as well as the sphere of defense and security. Cooperation in the field of science, education, public organizations and tourism is highlighted separately (pp. 268-271).

The authors naturally recall the former comprehensive relations between the Soviet Union and the DRV/SRV and their long history. The publication contains material about current events, reflecting the feeling of appreciation of the Vietnamese side of the USSR for a significant contribution to the historical victories of the Vietnamese people. These events are symbolic - the grand opening of a monument to Soviet, Russian and Vietnamese servicemen who died in Vietnam in the line of duty (Cam Ranh, 2009), and the grand opening of another monument-on the island of im. Titov (Halong Bay, 2015) to the Soviet cosmonaut Herman Titov, who headed the Soviet-Vietnamese Friendship Society for about 20 years (p.271).

The authors aim to emphasize the specifics of Russian-Vietnamese relations and the traditions of friendship that remain at the present stage. They show the role of public organizations in these relations. In Vietnam, it is the Vietnam - Russian Friendship Society and the Association of Graduates of Soviet and Russian Educational Institutions, in Russia-the Russian-Vietnamese Friendship Society and the Association of Russian Veterans of the Vietnam War.

In the section "Vietnam in international organizations", the authors set out in chrono-

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The history of Vietnam's accession and its participation in numerous international organizations of regional and global scale is presented in a logical order. Vietnam has been actively cooperating with the IAEA since 1978, became a member of the APEC Forum in 1998, and joined the WTO in 2007. Vietnam actively cooperates with the UN (a member of the UN since 1977) and UNESCO.

Section 7 "Culture, Science, Education" is one of the largest in terms of volume (61 pages). It contains 14 paragraphs covering almost all genres of culture, and the science section includes unique data on traditional Vietnamese medicine (pp. 286-287). In our opinion, the section "Education" is very successful: it contains (perhaps for the first time) fairly complete information about the education system in Vietnam, which is very peculiar and complexly organized.

The paragraph about mass media, press and television is interesting. Numerous data provided by the authors demonstrate an unusually high rate of development of this sphere of social activity in Vietnam, including in social networks, on numerous websites and portals, in electronic newspapers, advertising, etc.

The next three sections - "Literature", "Theater" and "Music" - are devoted to traditional Vietnamese art forms. Having shown their evolution over several centuries, the authors note a tendency towards their gradual modernization and Westernization, which caused the emergence of new, modern literary and poetic genres, as well as journalism (pp. 293-296). The handbook provides an outline of literature from the period of independent Vietnam (since 1945) - separately for the North and South of the country. This can be fully attributed to two other types of art-theater and music. The authors show the transformation of the country's theatrical art, and note the numerous successes of Vietnamese directors and actors on the stages of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as abroad.

The music of Vietnam is represented in the UNESCO List of Tangible Cultural Heritage by seven objects (p. 305). This section contains very rare data that is available only to narrow specialists, and their publication in a reference publication will arouse great interest.

The authors ' success should also include paragraphs about fine arts and architecture. Lacquer painting, traditional and colonial architecture-great achievements of Vietnamese culture, rooted in the distant past-are shown with a detailed description of their gradual development. A paragraph about traditional architectural structures in Vietnam, especially the former imperial city of Hue (p.320), attracts attention. The entire Hue Palace Complex and the necropolis with its mausoleums are included in the UNESCO List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites.

Cinematography, a form of contemporary art, is also reflected in the reference book. The section devoted to museums makes a favorable impression. The material is carefully selected and systematized, and new museum additions are shown not only in Hanoi, but also in other cities of the country.

Paragraphs about sports and tourism are perceived as a sign of the new time. Vietnam, along with such Asian countries as South Korea and India, is interested in hosting major international sports competitions. As for tourism, it received accelerated development in the first decade of the XXI century. According to Vietnamese data, tourism revenues account for up to 5% of the country's GDP (p. 331). Finally, the section "National traditions" describes the oldest and most popular belief of the Vietnamese-the cult of ancestors at the family, community and national levels.

The reference book is provided with " Appendices "(section 8), which are so necessary in publications of this kind. First of all, it is a detailed historical chronology, public holidays, which describes in detail the most popular holiday - New Year according to the lunar calendar (p. 348). The section ends with a bibliography that includes 202 titles in Russian, various Western European and Vietnamese languages, as well as online resources.

It is worth noting the good printing performance of the publication. The content is available in Russian and English. The book is provided with a DVD-ROM that allows you to use the reference book with the help of computer equipment.

This scientific reference publication is aimed at practical organizations of the Russian Federation that are responsible for various aspects of cooperation with Vietnam, at scientific and educational institutions that study the East Asian region, at Russian business circles, tourists and, in general, at a wide range of readers who are interested in modern Vietnam.

The guide comprehensively shows Vietnam as we know it today.

V. V. BOITSOV, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Institute of Asia and Africa, Moscow State University


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V. V. BOITSOV, VIETNAM AS WE KNOW IT TODAY // Hanoi: Vietnam (BIBLIO.VN). Updated: 08.02.2024. URL: https://biblio.vn/m/articles/view/VIETNAM-AS-WE-KNOW-IT-TODAY (date of access: 19.04.2024).

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