Формирование исторического подхода к изучению восточноазиатских кочевников в трудах В.П. Васильева (1818-1900)

Translated title of the contribution: Formation of a historical approach to the study of East Asian nomads in the works of V.P. Vasiliev (1818-1900)

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The article sets the task to consider the views on the development of East Asian nomadic societies in general and Khitans in particular, of an outstanding Russian orientalist of the 19 century V.P. Vasiliev. His work laid the foundation for the entire subsequent development of the historiography of East Asian nomads. Nevertheless, many of his ideas have remained unclaimed so far or are understood specifically.

Sources for writing this study were published works of the researcher, mainly devoted to the history and culture of the peoples of East Asia.

V.P. Vasiliev actually proposed a program for the entire subsequent development of East Asian oriental studies.

It is based on a number of principles. First of all, the civilizational approach, which from that time becomes apparent in the works of various scholars, as well as a comprehensive study of the history and culture of China and neighboring territories, an emphasis on cultural problems and topics, a consideration of the history of China is mandatory in the context of all East Asian history. This speaks not only of overcoming by him vulgar understanding of Eurocentrism and a civilizational approach, but also of the emergence in Russian Sinology of precisely a historical approach, as a scientific one, distancing itself from ideological schemes.

The monograph of V. P. Vasiliev is a significant contribution to the study of the history of the nomadic peoples of Central and East Asia. The practical task is to fmd out the prerequisites for the appearance of the Mongols. Vasiliev V. P. considers the so-called "pre-Mongol" period up to the 13 century. The main attention is paid to the intemal factors of the development of nomadic societies - the political structure, diplomacy and life of the Khitan, Jurchen and Mongol communities. The author for the first time so extensively examined one of the key topics of interest to him.

China, from the point of view of Vasilyev V.P., represents the only civilizing principle in East Asia. He constantly gives examples of beneficial Chinese influence.

The scientist was one of the first to make an assumption about the possibility of kinship between Khitans and Mongols. He finds evidence of this in the text of a 12th century Chinese historical work. "Khitan Go Zhi" (History of the Khitan State). In the appendix to his work, "History and Antiquities of the Eastern Part of Central Asia from the 10th to the 13th Century," he introduces the scientific translation of individual chapters from it.

Vasilyev V.P. overcame vulgar Eurocentrism, but did not abandon saddle-centrism and China-centrism. He worked within the framework of the idea of nomads as a specific and impasse system, which is based on the desire for aggression. He looks at the Khitans as those who began the movement towards general aggression. Their inner structure and culture interests him precisely as the "mechanism" of the formation of this aggression.

Thus, the activity of V.P. Vasiliev is an important factor in the formation of modern East Asian oriental studies. His creative heritage can be considered a program of development also modern oriental studies. It is only necessary to place an even greater emphasis on the study of accumulated historiography, and to carry out a rigorous and impartial analysis of the sources. The main thing is the reconstruction of the history of nomadic civilization in its entirety.
Translated title of the contributionFormation of a historical approach to the study of East Asian nomads in the works of V.P. Vasiliev (1818-1900)
Original languageRussian
Pages (from-to)151-156
Number of pages6
JournalВестник Томского государственного университета. История
Issue number66
Publication statusPublished - 2020



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