Libmonster ID: VN-1221
Author(s) of the publication: A. S. ZAITSEV

Candidate of Economic Sciences

Retired Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

You can't recognize Vietnam now, it's different! " - a familiar owner of a Vietnamese restaurant proudly admonished me, where before leaving I wrapped up to taste pho soup, rich with homemade noodles and beef, to my taste, the best in our capital. Speaking to me in enthusiastic terms, not without nostalgic notes in his voice, about his recent vacation trip to his homeland, he, however, admitted that "it is still better to earn money in Moscow."

"AND LONG DISTANCES ARE SHORTENED..."

So, as I settled into the comfortable seat of a brand - new Vietnam Airlines Boeing 777-200 bound for Ho Chi Minh City, I began to look forward to seeing Vietnam, where I hadn't been in years.

There are more than 9 hours of non-stop flight ahead. I remembered how in the 60s it was possible to get to Vietnam from Moscow in only two days: first on a TU-104 to Beijing via Irkutsk, and then the next day on a low-speed TU-14 of a Chinese airline with two landings-to Hanoi. (Since 1969, our citizens have been flying to Hanoi and back, bypassing China via Tashkent and India.) I won't forget my first trip to Vietnam back in August 1961. I got to Hanoi by train (an expensive flight by plane was at that time the privilege of only the ambassador, trade representative and head of the representative office of the USSR State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations (SCEC). The entire trip by rail then took 12 days, including 5 and a half (via Chita) to the border with China, plus more than a day and a half to Beijing. Moreover, the next day, three and a half days through Chinese territory to Hanoi, and with the replacement of wheel pairs of railway cars twice on the border with China and Vietnam.

The business class service of the aircraft was generally a pleasant surprise, although it does not reach Singapore Airlines and the airlines of some of its other Asean counterparts.

IN THE SOUTH OF VIETNAM

Tansong Nhat International Airport, where we landed in Ho Chi Minh City, did not seem very busy. The trip to the Palace Hotel Saigon in the city center took a short time (I was surprised at first to return to the use of the former name of the city in the name of the hotel, which was excluded in the first years after its renaming in 1976).

The appearance of this largest economic, scientific and cultural center in Vietnam has changed dramatically. From the 67th floor of the observation deck of the city's tallest building, an impressive panorama of the metropolis with a fast-growing population approaching eight million and its suburban industrial zones opens up. They are home to the majority of large enterprises, many of them with foreign capital, including mainly export-oriented textile, footwear, shipbuilding plants and assembly plants for radio, electronics and computers. Ho Chi Minh City raised $ 1.59 billion in January-July 2011 alone. foreign direct investment 1.

Ho Chi Minh City accounts for a fifth of GDP, a quarter of industrial production, and 40% of Vietnam's total exports. Ho Chi Minh City's growing business appeal is also indicated by the fact that it has opened representative offices in the city.-

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There are about a thousand international organizations, NGOs, commercial companies and firms.

In January-July 2011, 1.8 million visitors visited Ho Chi Minh City. foreign tourists, mainly from the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea, China and Singapore. This is a 10% increase compared to the same period in 2010.2

Starting with the old part of the city, familiar from previous trips to memorable places, I saw firsthand how much prettier it was, became more elegant and well-groomed, especially its central quarters. I stood at a modest monument to the President of Ho Chi Minh City with a touching laconic inscription. Not far from it, the majestic (and impregnable, since the approaches to the monument are blocked by a pool filled with water around it) figure of the national hero of Vietnam, the famous commander of the XIII century, was again impressed. Jang Heung Dao. After walking through the ancient streets, I plunged into the crowded atmosphere of the Jade Emperor Buddhist Temple saturated with incense.

Looking ahead, I will say that in comparison with the capital Hanoi and other major cities of the country, the former Saigon looks richer, and the general atmosphere in it and the behavior of citizens is visibly more relaxed. Despite the rapid development of the North and the significant economic growth of the Central provinces in recent years, the differences between the South and other parts of the country, between the coastal sea zones and the border mountain areas, are equally obvious.

There can be no comparison with the shabby facades of famous hotels that could be observed in the first post-war years. Carefully restored architectural monuments left over from the colonial past. Unfortunately, the center of Ho Chi Minh City did not escape the "point" development, in my opinion, as in Moscow, disfiguring the appearance of the city, especially its historical part. When taking pictures, it was not without difficulty that I chose such an angle that the lens did not catch the "modern" glazed boxes of office, hotel and other buildings standing side by side or close behind them. This was not always possible.

In addition to the significantly increased share of cars and mopeds, which recently put an end to the previous dominance of bicycles on the city streets, I would attribute the appearance of expensive foreign cars at prestigious hotels and restaurants to the" signs of the new time". At the entrances, not only retaining the former names of Majestic, Rex, Caravelle and other well-known five-star hotels, but also more modest, popular among local gourmets and tourists, restaurants of Vietnamese cuisine like Nam Phan or Hoavien, you can see parked "Bentley "and"Rolls-Royce". An indispensable attribute of evening feasts in the prestigious restaurants of the city are noisy companies of "golden youth", which I had to observe in the restaurants of famous hotels in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. As I was told, now, as in Moscow, the fashion of the local "golden youth" includes "Porsche" and similar brands.

I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City shortly before the 36th anniversary of the liberation of Saigon. And, of course, I couldn't wait to visit the former Palace of Independence (the"White House") of the puppet regime that had sunk into oblivion, the capture of which was the last point in one of the longest and bloodiest local wars of the XX century.

From the balcony of the upper floor of the palace, guided by a well-known historical photograph, I stared intently in the direction of the central gate, to the right of which, on April 30, 1975, the T-54 tank of the armored brigade of the Vietnamese People's Army (VNA), which broke into the courtyard first and became famous overnight, rammed the fence.

Walking towards it to get a closer look, I walked through the suite of halls of the palace. Compared to the beginning of the 80s, when I first visited this building, then renamed the "Palace of Unity", now the interior decoration of its elegant and tastefully furnished rooms has changed significantly. Yes, and the opportunity to see firsthand the legendary tank was not yet there. Now part of the premises that house the museum called "Palace of Independence-Witness of History" (as it was written on the entrance ticket) is rented out for conferences and banquets.

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Descending into the courtyard, I was the first to see the "native" shape of the tank, which was standing closer to the building, surrounded by a dense ring of tourists. When I got closer, I saw a group of tourists from China. On the tank's turret - number 390. From a sign near the pedestal, I learned that I was looking at a Chinese-made T-59 tank, which also participated in the storming of the palace by the 203rd Tank Brigade. And the tank I was looking for was a few dozen meters away. It was the legendary Soviet-made T-54V that first broke into the palace grounds. However, the number on his tower (843) was different from the pictures I knew from the pictures that flew around the world media in the first days after the liberation of Saigon.

The events of those significant days were recalled by a visit to another "landmark" that I remember from previous trips to Ho Chi Minh City - the underground bunker in the former residence of the last US Ambassador to the Republic of Vietnam, Graham Martin, who escaped by helicopter from the roof of the American embassy building on the morning of April 30, 1975.

On my first visit to this building, shortly after it became the residence of the Consul General of the USSR and later Russia in Ho Chi Minh City in June 1984, I wanted to see the very "Martin bunker". Although several years have passed since the end of the war, eyewitnesses of those historical events have preserved various details of the last days of Saigon on the eve of its liberation. For example, the intricate security system covering the surrounding houses and neighborhoods of the US ambassador's residence, reinforced after the liberation forces ' attack on Tansong Nhat International Airport. Mysterious rumors continued to circulate about the alleged existence of underground secret passages leading from the bunker to a specially protected area of the city. However, then the entrance to the bunker was tightly boarded up. I was dissuaded from entering, claiming that it was unsafe, since it might not have been completely cleared yet.

On my current visit, when I was invited to the residence of the Consul General of Russia in Ho Chi Minh City,I asked her new owner to show me the bunker. A few meters from the back yard of the house, we descended down narrow steep steps to a depth of more than two meters. Opening a massive metal door, to my disappointment, I found myself in an unremarkable room the size of a small room, the walls of which were lined with light tiles after the last renovation.

The famous picture of a tank that was the first to enter the courtyard of the former Independence Palace, but without a discernible number on the tower, I happened to see again among the exhibits of the Ho Chi Minh City War Heritage Museum, which contains chilling evidence of crimes during the Vietnam War against its people. From what I saw in the museum, including photos of the barbaric destruction caused by the US air Force rocket and bomb attacks on Hanoi and numerous physical evidence (the same ball bombs that are slightly larger than a tennis ball that are stored in museum cases, I brought with me as a souvenir when I returned to Moscow), memories of lived in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) during the war years.

Stopping at the museum's stand dedicated to the international solidarity movement for the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people, looking for photos about our country, I thought that the memory of many thousands of my compatriots who went through the Vietnam War has not yet been fully paid.

The Vietnamese people, as I once again saw during my trip around the country, cherish the memory of Soviet and Russian military specialists who came to their aid during the difficult years of the war. This is evidenced by the memorial complex built in December 2009 in memory of Soviet and Vietnamese servicemen who gave their lives for peace and stability in the region. Among them are 44 soldiers of our country who died in the performance of their duty in Vietnam, whose names are engraved on the obelisk plaque. This complex was built on the territory of the former airfield of the Soviet Navy base (later - before its closure in 2002-the base of the Russian Pacific Fleet), now the Cam Ranh civil airfield, where I landed

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in 1987, during a visit to the naval base.

LOCOMOTIVE OF COOPERATION ON THE VIETNAMESE SHELF

Not far from Ho Chi Minh City on the seashore is Vung Tau, where the headquarters of the Russian-Vietnamese joint venture (JV) for oil exploration and production "Vietsovpetro" and the town of oil workers, inhabited by almost a thousand Russians, are located.\

I remember how difficult it was in the first years after Vietsovpetro was founded 30 years ago that the foundation was laid for a new promising branch of the Vietnamese economy - the oil and gas industry. I remember my first visit to Vung Tau on November 3, 1983 as part of a delegation, and my next visit there a year later on September 3, 1985, together with our government delegation, which participated in the celebrations on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the declaration of independence of Vietnam. I remember the launch ceremony of the first offshore stationary oil platform assembled by joint efforts of engineers and workers (from our side, as far as I remember, specialists from Azerbaijan prevailed, for whom drilling on the deep continental shelf was then a novelty). The success of the team of JV Vietsovpetro in the development of offshore oil fields was awarded the Order of Labor of the first degree.

In the changing conditions of the 1990s, Vietsovpetro successfully passed the test of the market and became a true locomotive of Russian-Vietnamese economic cooperation. Even in the difficult 1990s, this highly efficient joint venture generated hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends annually.3

Zarubezhneft and Petrovietnam, which were transformed into a joint venture (an intergovernmental agreement was signed in 2010 to extend its term of operation until 2030) , are an example of highly efficient multi-profile industrial cooperation between our countries.

DA NANG REVIVAL

Da Nang became unrecognizable. From a run-down village as I found it on my first visit in 1986, it has become a major industrial, commercial and transportation hub, driving the development of the entire economy of Central Vietnam.

Da Nang's rapidly growing modern road and hotel infrastructure, coupled with a favorable climate, attracts many foreign investors to Central Vietnam. The eye is caught by the wide highways stretching along the sea coast, clearly built "for growth", and, admittedly, not yet fully loaded, several first-class hotels.

There are 189 projects with foreign capital registered in Da Nang, mainly in Japan, the United States and South Korea, totaling about $3 billion.

The presence of Russian companies in the provinces of Central Vietnam is growing dynamically. Power Machines recently commissioned the Awuong and Pleikrong hydroelectric power stations, and we are also involved in offshore drilling operations in the water areas of Quang Binh and Quang Chi provinces.

For the first time, having fulfilled a long-held dream, I visited one of the main historical sights of Vietnam, located 100 km from Da Nang (Thu Thien Hue Province)-the imperial city of Hue on the banks of the Fragrant River, which served as the administrative center of Vietnam since the mid-19th century. The buildings of the once Forbidden City, garden huts and long covered terraces in the vast territory of the unique palace complex, where restoration work has not yet been completed, make an indelible impression. A half-hour drive from the imperial palace, it is worth visiting the impressive architectural harmony of the tomb of Emperor Min Mang.

With excitement, I examined the remains of an ancient citadel, inside which no more than a third of the former structures were preserved. After the fierce battle for Hue, which was liberated by units of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Vietnam and the VNA on January 31, 1968, during the Tet offensive (Lunar New Year's), it was in the epicenter of military operations for several months.

Together with the wounded participants of the battles for Hue and Khesan, where the US Marine Corps base was located, I, at that time the third secretary of the USSR Embassy in the DRV, ended up in the Hanoi Central Hospital, where I spent several weeks, falling ill with Botkin's disease. I will not forget the lively, heart-touching stories about the past battles of these heroic young guys (the number of amputees was amazing), with whom I became friends during my time in the hospital. This was the real, little-known truth about the war in the South of the country. Many of these meetings were held under the roar of exploding bombs and anti-aircraft cannonade in the bomb shelter, where we were brought or transferred after the air alarms from different departments during frequent air raids.

30 kilometers from Da Nang in Quang Nam Province, I visited Hoi An for the first time, a well-preserved craft and trade museum city of the XVI-XVII centuries, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The old part of the city is unique, with the famous Pagoda on the bridge and the Quang Kong Temple, the oldest active temple built in the middle of the XVII century, completely preserved. By evening, as dusk descends and the old city blocks are lit up with colorful lanterns, the toy-like Hoi An is a mesmerizing, almost magical sight.

With the development of road infrastructure and construction

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first-class hotels in Central Vietnam are rapidly increasing the influx of tourists. The share of Russians among them is still very modest - a little more than 1 thousand, which, however, is twice as much as in 2009.

Da Nang is also becoming more attractive as a venue for international festivals and conferences, which were attended by numerous high-level Russian delegations last year.

A NEW LOOK FOR MILLENNIAL HANOI

I was particularly excited to see Hanoi, which I had first seen half a century ago, when I got off the platform of the capital's railway station in August 1961, and where I lived for two business trips for five years, including three military ones, and later visited Noi Bai International Airport many times until the end of the 80s-a worthy business card of modern Vietnam. Passing through its spacious halls, I remembered the small building of the former Zyalam International Airport, in the cramped premises of which during the war years, during air alerts, meeting and seeing off our comrades, we often sat without light by candlelight over glasses of Chuk Bat beer.

On the way to the hotel, I noticed how much the appearance of the city, which celebrated the 1000th anniversary of its foundation in October last year, has changed. From the 14th-floor window of the Hanoi Daewoo Hotel, one of the first built in the capital by South Korean investors, there was a picturesque view of Lake Thu Le, where pleasure boats in the shape of white swans scurried slowly.

I started exploring Hanoi from the old part of the city. He toured the famous monuments of ancient architecture, starting with the Temple of Literature, the Pagoda on one Pillar, and the Jade Mountain Temple on the Lake of the Returned Sword. I stopped, with the permission of a strict young military man, at the famous Badinh Square (I happened to stand on its podium in September 1985 during the participation of our government delegation in the celebrations on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the declaration of independence of Vietnam) and took a souvenir photo against the backdrop of the majestic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the presidential Palace, my dream is to meet the President of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (see photo on page 53).

MEMORY IS A STUBBORN THING

And of course, I was drawn to the streets adjacent to the Place Badigne, where I lived and worked in the distant 60s.

It turned out that all these houses connected with my previous work already had new owners. On my first business trip, the building of the former representative office of the SCEC had a sign of the embassy of an Eastern European country, and the building that used to be the Embassy of the USSR now houses the Ministry of Justice. The new complex of buildings of the Russian Embassy is now located in a less prestigious area far from the historical center.

Many other office and residential buildings occupied by us in previous years also passed to new owners. (While I share my regret over the refusal of the Russian side to use a significant part of real estate in the late 1990s and early 2000s, one of my embassy interlocutors described those premature actions on our part with a succinct maxim against the background of the current rise in bilateral Russian-Vietnamese relations: "We didn't make it!")

After passing the former building of our embassy, I drove along the well-groomed mansions where the embassies of Romania, Mongolia and Bulgaria were located during the war, which suffered from "pinpoint" strikes by American aircraft on bridges, highways and railways, thermal power plants and other life-support facilities of the capital.

I remembered how once one of the air-to-ground missiles turned the corner of a residential building where our military attache lived and was at that time, who escaped with small cuts on his face. The air wave pushed the shutters of the window into the interior of my room in the adjacent house, and when I returned from work, I had to spend a long time shoveling out the broken glass that had scattered on it.

On this visit, I visited for the first time the famous Hoa Lo prison, now turned into a museum. Built during the French colonial administration, it was used to imprison political prisoners, including at various times general secretaries of the Communist Party, and during the undeclared US air war against the DRV - American pilots captured during air raids on North Vietnam.

Among them was a US Air Force lieutenant, now Senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain. His flight suit with helmet and parachute is kept behind glass in the window of one of the museum's rooms. In this small room, I saw a group of American tourists of veteran age, who were constantly watching the screen of a monitor hanging in the middle of it, on which the chronicle of the war years was shown. In the eyes of the young American woman standing next to the veteran, pain and fear from what she saw on the screen were clearly read.

Under the impression of visiting the prison, I decided to look at the memorial stele installed after my last visit at the place where the above-mentioned J. P. Morgan, who parachuted out of a Soviet-made plane shot down by a rocket, was captured.McCain. I remember very well that October day in 1967, when after the end of the air raid alarm, we rushed to the lake in the center of the city, where the downed pilot landed. He was already surrounded by the Vietnamese military, who were the first to arrive

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his entourage and those who captured the prisoner, whose efforts managed to push back the pressing crowd and prevent lynching*.

The stele was not immediately found, although it stood on the edge of a busy road that separates two lakes - Chuk Bat and Ho Tay. Young couples scurrying past on mopeds and bicycles did not hide their surprise when I told them that "somewhere nearby there is a memorial stele at the site of the capture of the downed American pilot." Only one elderly Vietnamese man, a security guard at the entrance to a restaurant across the street from the stele, pointed at it.

In the center of a stone stele on the shore of Lake Chuk Bat, a grieving female figure in white stood out with her head down and her arms outstretched. To the right of the monument were carved a star and USA, and to the left - an inscription in Vietnamese: "On 26.10.1967 at Lake Chuk Bat, military personnel and residents of the capital Hanoi captured alive John McCain, a lieutenant in the US Air Force, the pilot of the A4B1 plane shot down over the Yen Phu power plant. It was one of ten planes shot down on the same day."

Skirting the lake of the Returned Sword, I found myself at another landmark of the Vietnamese capital - the famous hotel "Metropol". Rebuilt in the early 90's and once again renamed, this time to the five-star Sofitel Metropole, it bore little resemblance, except for the preserved facade, to the once famous luxury hotel throughout Asia, where monarchs, heads of state and government of many countries stayed.

During the war years, almost all our delegations stayed here. I remember meeting cosmonaut G. S. Titov in November 1966 in a hotel room during his second flight to Vietnam. Having just returned from a trip around the country, he spoke with bitterness and pain about what he had seen: the barbaric destruction of cities and villages as a result of American air raids, and spoke enthusiastically about the heroism of the Vietnamese people, who would certainly win in the just struggle for the unification of their homeland. Subsequently, I had the opportunity to meet Herman Stepanovich more than once at events organized by the Society of Soviet-Vietnamese Friendship, the Central Board of which he headed for 25 years.

But never before or since have I seen him so agitated and angry as he was in a Hanoi hotel on his return from a tour of the provinces of warring Vietnam.

Throughout the war years, this hotel, which by that time had been renamed Unity, along with the neighboring Mir, remained the most visited (and only open to foreigners) places for young diplomats of the Soviet embassy and observers of the international control commission (which included Poles, Indians and Canadians).

Both of these hotels were associated with the name of the acclaimed classic spy novel, the author of "The Quiet American" Henry Graham Greene. (As you know, the main action of this novel took place in Saigon, and most of it was written by the author in 1951 in Hanoi.) Graham Greene liked to sit in the Pax Bar, which was the name of the Mir Hotel at the time, when, as he wrote in The Quiet American, he "could still be comfortably moldy in Hanoi" and "didn't want to drink at the Metropole with French officers and their wives and girls."

Over Armenian brandy at the shabby bar counter of the Metropole (a drink that had replaced the famous French brands used by previous hotel guests during the war years), we spent a lot of time talking to the writer Julian Semyonov, who had flown to Hanoi at the height of the American air raids in late 1967 as a special correspondent for the newspaper to cover military events and in this hotel. He then told me about his long-standing plan to write a spy novel in the spirit of "The Quiet American" and for this purpose was going to visit the places described by the English writer in his novel.

I remember how on the last evening before the departure of Julian Semenov to Moscow, he repeated that the trip to Vietnam had once again convinced him of the prophetic character of "Ti-


* For more information, see: Zaitsev A. S. Paul grokhot bomb / / Asia and Africa today. 2011, N4 (approx. ed.).

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hot American." After all, back in the early 1950s, Green predicted the inevitable consequences of escalating US intervention in Indochina, which ultimately led to their direct involvement in the Vietnam War.

After stopping by a hotel I hadn't been to in years, I decided to try the Henry Graham Greene cocktail advertised in the tourist avenue. The cocktail named after the English writer turned out to be a daiquiri. Its contents were vaguely similar, except for the presence of Cuban rum, to the classic recipe for Ernest Hemingway's favorite drink, compiled by himself in the popular Havana restaurant-bar Floridita. There I took a keepsake photo with a bronze figure of a famous writer sitting at the bar and bought a branded T-shirt of the establishment with a signature recipe for "daiquiri" on the back. (I reproduce it exactly as it says on the T-shirt: "lime juice, 1/2 sugar syrup, 1 1/2 Havana club 3-year-old white rum, 5 ml Marrasquino liqueur and crushed ice.)

In the menu presented to me by the Sofitel Metropole bartender, below a painted portrait of Mr. Green, I read that daiquiri was the famous writer's favorite drink and that he was "often seen at Le Club Bar reading and eating the signature Blanquette de veau at lunch.

"BECAUSE WE HAVE A MEMORY AND A PAST..."

On a trip around the country, talking with Vietnamese people of different ages, mostly young post-war generation, I was interested to compare my impressions with the distant 60s-80s.

The first reaction of my interlocutor, who heard in response that I was from Moscow, - " Ah, Lienso!", brought me back to the distant past, when this word (collective from Lien - union, co - initial letters" Soviet") in the DRV called everyone who came from the Soviet Union. How firmly, I was surprised, this appeal to the inhabitants of our country has entered the lexicon of more than one generation of Vietnamese, having long retained its original friendly warmth and closeness. As I have seen, the old Vietnamese proverb has not been forgotten, which we often heard during the peaceful pre-war years, when the Soviet Union provided comprehensive technical and economic assistance to the DRV in restoring and developing its economy, and during the years of repelling American aggression, and not only on solemn occasions, when it was a question of protecting the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. friendship and cooperation between our countries and peoples: "If you drink water, remember the source."

This is exactly what the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, said during his visit to Vietnam in October 2010 at a meeting with graduates of Soviet and Russian universities: "... everyone passes everything through their memories. We are who we are precisely because we have a memory and we have a past. The past of our peoples and states is friendship and mutual assistance, especially during the period when Vietnam was fighting for its independence. " 4

Is it not to this genetic memory that we are not least indebted for the fact that, having overcome the difficult period of the 1990s at considerable cost, we managed to prevent further erosion of the foundation of Russian-Vietnamese cooperation, created by mutual long-term efforts over the previous six decades since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries?

The reduction of our presence in Vietnam at that time could not but affect the previously leading positions of the Russian language, which in recent years has thoroughly replaced English, and not only in business communication. This situation objectively reflects the significantly increased role of other countries that have become Vietnam's main trade and economic partners in recent years. In 2010, Russia's share in the total volume of Vietnam's trade turnover was 2.4%, despite a noticeable increase in bilateral trade over the past year, which reached $2.44 billion.5

The changes that have occurred are especially noticeable after a long absence. I heard the first words from Vietnamese people in broken Russian before flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang from the vendors in the souvenir department of a modern supermarket opposite my hotel. Before that, both the flight attendants of the Vietnamese airline on the plane making regular flights to Moscow, and the hotel staff tried to speak only in English. I didn't find Russian among the four foreign languages (English, French, Chinese, and Japanese) that local guides use to conduct guided tours of the Palace of Independence - Witness to History Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. At the hotel in Da Nang where I was staying, the staff recruited by its owner in his native Singapore barely spoke clumsy English, did not speak Vietnamese, and responded only to Chinese. In many cases, my Vietnamese, which I had forgotten due to lack of practice in recent years, helped me out on the trip, and it immediately gave out, especially in the South, the northern accent I had learned at the institute.

In addition to the Vietnamese press, the English-language newspaper Viet Nam News and the weekly Timeout were distributed in major cities in airport waiting rooms, and Viet-My (Vietnam-USA) magazine, published in English and Vietnamese, took the place of the popular and widely distributed paper-based Vietnam magazine in Russian in the past). After searching for news on all-Vietnamese television channels, I found on one of them half-hour editions of the latest news only in English and French. In the repertoire of the largest cinemas in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, there were no Russian films, and Hollywood production prevailed. During my stay in them were shown the information that passed a year ago according to the Russian ec-

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Ranam is an American comedy "Meet the Fockers-2" and a Chinese action film "Shaolin".

OUR FRIENDSHIP IS 10 THOUSAND YEARS OLD!*

However, with the dynamic development of business, scientific and cultural contacts between our countries, the situation is steadily changing.

In the decade since the signing in 2001, The Declaration on Strategic Partnership between Russia and Vietnam (this policy of deepening strategic partnership with Russia was confirmed by the XI Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam held in January 2011) and its provisions implemented in high-tech projects, primarily in the field of electric power, oil and gas, information technology and communications, have brought our bilateral cooperation to a qualitatively new level.

An important event was the entry into the Vietnamese market of the Russian Gazprom, which is producing oil and natural gas on the Vietnamese shelf and has established a joint operating company with Petrovietnam Corporation, Gazpromviet, which will develop fields in Russia as well. The implementation of a large-scale high-tech project opens up far-reaching prospects - the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Vietnam with the participation of the Russian state corporation Rosatom**.

In a tough market environment with ever-increasing competition from major trade and economic partners of Vietnam, maintaining the previous high bar in key areas of cooperation between our countries requires new approaches and strenuous efforts from Russian partners.

There is still a high level of interest in our culture and art in Vietnam, and representatives of the Vietnamese intelligentsia, most of whom were educated in our country, play an important role in maintaining it.

Over half a million residents of the country speak Russian. Currently, about 5 thousand citizens of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) study in Russia.

Days of Russian and Vietnamese Culture are regularly held in our countries (in November 2010, for the first time in three cities at once - Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang, the Days of Russian Culture in Vietnam were held with great success). The Russian Center for Science and Culture in Hanoi makes a great contribution to strengthening cultural ties between our countries, and I had a chance to meet its director, who is an enthusiast in his field. Work continues on the construction of cultural and business centers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Moscow and Moscow Houses in these Vietnamese cities.

* * *

In the narrow framework of a short trip, of course, it was not possible to fit much of what was planned.

But even the little that we managed to see and learn leaves a strong impression. First of all, it depends on what has been achieved as a result of the hard-working and talented people of Vietnam. The country's progress on the path of reforms aimed at creating a modern socially oriented economy is taking place in difficult conditions, not fully overcome the consequences of the global financial and economic crisis, a noticeable decrease in the rate of foreign investment inflows, a continuing high level of inflation, and a shortage of electricity. The Government is trying to solve these and other problems through a set of measures to support the real sector of the economy, including through affordable lending, metered-scale liberalization of production conditions, and tax breaks.

The trip to Vietnam further strengthened my conviction that the Vietnamese people are successfully coping with the tasks set, steadily approaching the moment when Vietnam, which has a population of one hundred million, will not only be on a par with its neighbors, the already elderly "new economic tigers" in Southeast Asia***, but also, perhaps, will be able to reach the same level of social and economic development. and leave them behind.

Ho Chi Minh City-Da Nang-Hanoi,

February-March 2011

* "10 thousand years" - in Vietnamese, as in Chinese (vansui) and Japanese (banzai, i.e. banzai), translates as " Long live!", " Hooray! "(editor's note).

** For more information, see: Goncharuk A.V. Nuclear Power engineering of the People's Republic of China after Fukushima in this issue of the journal (editor's note).

*** The" Four Asian Tigers", or" East Asian Tigers", are the fast-growing economies of South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which showed high rates of development from the early 60s to the "Asian" financial crisis of the late 90s. In the future, the" four new Asian tigers " were called the economies of Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, which have developed very rapidly in recent years (editor's note).

1 Vietnam Briefing. Vietnam Attracting More FDI Projects. 22.08.2011 http://www.vietnam-briefing.com/news/vietnam-attracting-fdi-projects.html/

2 Vietnam Business & Economy News. Ho Chi Minh City foreign tourists up 10 percent -http://www.vneconomynews.com/2011/07/ho-chi-minh-city-foreign-tourists-up-10.html

3 Federal and consolidated budgets / / Kalabekov I. G. Russian reforms in figures and facts. Moscow, Rusaki, 2010 -http://kaig.ru/reform.pdf

4 Website of the President of the Russian Federation. Meeting with graduates of Soviet and Russian universities. Hanoi, 31.10.2010 - http://kremlin.ru/transcripts/9386

5 Website of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation. Foreign trade of the Russian Federation by major countries in January-December 2010 - http://www.customs.ru/index2.php?option=com_content&view=article&id-13926:-2010-&cat id=125:2011 - 02 - 04 - 16 - 01 - 54&Itemid=1976


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