The symposium ‘The Spiritual Heritage of Ho Chi Minh – 50 Years Later’, organised by the Committee for External Relations, has been held in St Petersburg.

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The symposium participants were greeted by the Governor of St Petersburg Alexander Beglov, the Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev, and Politburo member and Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Võ Văn Thưởng.

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In his welcoming speech, Alexander Beglov noted that the City administration and the Vietnamese delegation had reached an agreement on erecting the second monument to Ho Chi Minh in St Petersburg. The first monument to the leader of the Vietnamese national liberation struggle is located at St Petersburg University.

It was here in St Petersburg that comrade Ho Chi Minh discovered Russia. Last year, we celebrated the 95th  anniversary of his first arrival at Petrograd. That event laid the foundations for our long-term friendship. Over the years, Russia–Vietnam friendship has grown into a strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Governor of St Petersburg Alexander Beglov

The Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev spoke about how the University has been implementing projects focused on the study of Russian–Vietnamese relations, the history, culture, economy and politics of Vietnam, and the Vietnamese language. Thus, at present, St Petersburg University offers 21 academic programmes with a Vietnamese component. A unique school of teaching the Vietnamese language has been developed at the University. In 2010, a scientific and educational project ‘The Ho Chi Minh Institute’ was launched together with the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics. Additionally, the academic staff and alumni of St Petersburg University initiated the exhibition ‘Treasures of the Red River – Archaeological Collections from the Museums of Vietnam’, which is held at the State Hermitage Museum.

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‘In 1854, the Faculty of Oriental languages was established at St Petersburg University. Today, it is called the Faculty of Asian and African Studies, with over 90 oriental languages, including Vietnamese, being taught there,’ explained Nikolay Kropachev. ‘In fact, it was in Leningrad that, for the first time in the Soviet Union, the Vietnamese language started to be taught. The first textbook of the Vietnamese language by the outstanding Russian orientalist Julian Shchutsky was published at the University. Later, the leading Vietnamese linguist Professor Nguyễn Tài Cẩn laid foundations for teaching the Vietnamese language and became instrumental in training academic staff who would carry on developing Vietnamese studies in St Petersburg. Today, the third generation of his students teaches at St Petersburg University.’ Nikolay Kropachev expressed the hope that in the future the number of academic programmes with Vietnamese components will continue to grow; and students from Vietnam will therefore choose the University as the place of study more often.

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For his part, the representative of the Vietnamese delegation, the Head of the Propaganda and Political Education Department of the Party Central Committee, Võ Văn Thưởng, thanked the Governor of St Petersburg and the symposium organisers for the warm welcome and wished everyone success in their work.

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The symposium ‘The Spiritual Heritage of Ho Chi Minh – 50 Years Later’ was part of the cross year of Russia and Vietnam 2019 dedicated to mark the 70th anniversary of Vietnam – Russia diplomatic ties in 2020, as well as the 25th  anniversary of the signing of the treaty on principles of friendly relations between the Russian Federation and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. St Petersburg is the undisputed leader among the Russian regions in the number of events held in the framework of the cross year.