The delegation of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam arrived in St Petersburg to lay flowers at the foot of the monument to the first president of their country, Ho Chi Minh. It is located in the University grounds. As part of the visit programme, the delegation got acquainted with the activities of the Ho Chi Minh Institute of St Petersburg University.

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In his welcoming speech, Sergey Andryushin, the Deputy Rector for International Affairs said that St Petersburg University is the only place in Russia where a monument to the outstanding Vietnamese leader has been erected. ‘This became possible thanks to the fact that for decades the Vietnamese language and culture of Vietnam have been studied at St Petersburg University. The University is a leading centre of Vietnamese studies not only in Russia but also throughout the world,’ said Sergey Andryushin.

We cooperate with many leading universities and centres in Vietnam, including the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics. It was in collaboration with it that we managed to establish the Ho Chi Minh Institute at St Petersburg University.

Sergey Andryushin, the Deputy Rector for International Affairs

Vladimir Kolotov is a professor at St Petersburg University and the Head of the Department of the History of the Far East Countries. He spoke about the University’s projects dedicated to the study of Vietnam and Southeast Asia as a whole. He said that the first scientific works on the grammatical structure of the Annam (Vietnamese) language were written in the early 1930s by the famous orientalist Julian Shchutsky. It was he who first began to teach Vietnamese at Leningrad University. At present, the Ho Chi Minh Institute of St Petersburg University is developing in several areas. In addition to education, they include public diplomacy and analytics. St Petersburg University teaches Vietnamese studies and Ho Chi Minh studies. Also, a number of books have been published, including a textbook on the phonetics of Vietnamese and the most complete biography of Ho Chi Minh in Russian.

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Vladimir Kolotov noted that the Ho Chi Minh Institute of St Petersburg University is a centre for improving Russia–Vietnam relations. For example, the University collaborates with the Museum of the History of Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex. Last year, the faculty of St Petersburg University and its alumni initiated the creation of the exhibition ‘Treasures of the Red River: Archaeological Collections from the Museums of Vietnam’. It was dedicated to the culture of the four ethnic groups in Vietnam, and was exhibited at the Hermitage.

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In the field of analytics, one of the most important projects of orientalists at St Petersburg University is the Eurasian Arc of Instability. Each October, leading experts from the expert community gather at the University for a conference on the “Eurasian Arc of Instability and Safety from East Asia to North Africa” to summarise the preliminary geopolitical results of the year. Last year, scholars from St Petersburg University presented an interactive map that shows the configuration of the system of arcs of instability: as the old conflicts weaken, new trouble spots appear on it.

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On behalf of all members of the delegation, Colonel-General Do Kang, deputy chief of the Chief Political Directorate of the People's Army of Vietnam, thanked the University for its warm welcome. He stated that it confirms the mutual trust and the high level of Russia–Vietnam relations. ‘I was glad to listen to your presentation on the history and development path of the Ho Chi Minh Institute of St Petersburg University. I believe that your papers on our president are in line with current scholarly trends. According to UNESCO, Ho Chi Minh is an outstanding cultural figure who has an influence not only in Vietnam, but around the world,’ said comrade Do Kang. ‘Thank you for working with the National Academy of Politics on research into the ideology of Ho Chi Minh. The events that you hold are of particular importance. I hope that the Ho Chi Minh Institute of St Petersburg University will further strengthen and develop joint work with research institutions in Vietnam.’

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