As part of the Vietnam Cross Days between MGIMO University and St Petersburg University, a student research seminar has been held. Young Orientalists presented their research related to various aspects of studying Vietnam.

Prior to the event, in keeping with the tradition, the early-career Russian researchers of Vietnam laid flowers at the Ho Chi Minh Monument that is located on the University campus.

For decades, Vietnam has been perhaps Russia’s greatest friend among ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries. It is very important for us to share experience and knowledge in the field we are all engaged in.

Petr Moskalev, Assistant Lecturer in the Department of the History of the Far East Countries

The programme of the seminar was developed by Valeriia Vershinina, an expert of the ASEAN Centre at MGIMO University. It included 15 presentations by students from St Petersburg University, MGIMO University, Moscow State University, National Research University Higher School of Economics, RUDN University, and Moscow State Linguistic University. The researchers discussed topical issues of Vietnamese history, economy, foreign and domestic policy, culture, and spiritual life. The students drew parallels with Russian history: for instance, the 15th-century Emperor Lê Thánh Tông’s reforms were compared with those of Peter the Great. They also contemplated how the assessment of different personalities in Vietnamese history is changing in historiography. There were also discussions on how Vietnam today is coping with modern challenges such as: economic pressure from neighbouring countries; cybercrime; and issues in exporting and importing.

A delegation of Vietnamese students spoke about their community in Moscow and its activities. In their presentation, the guests highlighted the celebration — National Day (Ngày Quốc Khánh) — where they will talk about the history of their country, its modern life, art, and way of life.

Professor Vladimir Kolotov, Head of the Department of History of the Far East Countries at St Petersburg University, spoke about: the development of Orientalism and Vietnamese studies in St Petersburg; and the aims of the Ho Chi Minh Institute at St Petersburg University, which he heads. ‘For 13 years now, we at the University have been celebrating Ho Chi Minh’s birthday on 19 May, and, remarkably, it is on this day that cherry trees blossoms in our courtyard under the windows of the Institute,’ added Vladimir Kolotov.

Professor Kolotov cited a quote from Sun Tzu’s ’The Art of War’ as the motto of the institute’s activities: ’If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles’. Building strong relationships requires systematic research into your partners, Vladimir Kolotov is convinced.