St Petersburg University and Jilin University have held a seminar “Current Problems of Social and Economic History of Russia in 19th-early 29th centuries” as part of the visit of the delegation of the Institute of North-East Asia ofJilin University.

The group from China comprised scholars in the history, economics, and politics Russia.

Founded in 1946, Jilin University is a leading national university in China governed by the Ministry of Education.

In the welcoming speech, the Director of the Centre for Chinese Studies and SPbU Professor Nikolai Samoilov said: “The oldest school of Chinese studies in Russia appeared in St Petersburg as early as the 18th century”, — said Nikolai Samoilov. — In 1854, when the University opened the Faculty under the Decree of Nikolai I, the University also opened a department of Chinese studies that focused on language, culture, history, and philosophy of China”.

Today, the University has incorporated the Chinese studies in a wide range of programmes: economics, philosophy, and law to name but a few, said Nikolai Samoilov. Chinese is open now to any students at the University.

“The Centre for Chinese Studies at SPbU is committed to join the efforts of everyone who focuses on China in various fields. SPbU has signed a number of agreements in research and student exchange with China and opens joint research projects. The University also opened a representative office in Harbin Institute of Technology”, — said Nikolai Samoilov.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who was an advisor of Peter the Great when he opened the Academy of Sciences and the University, as the archives have it, recommended to study China. The first exhibited objects from China in the Kunstkamera also appeared in the reign of Peter the Great.

Director of the Centre for Chinese Studies and SPbU Professor Nikolai Samoilov

The Director of the institute of North-East Asia of Jilin University Yu Xiao told that the Institute focuses on historical, political, social, and economic process in Russia, Korea, Mongolia, Japan, and North-East regions in China. Jilin University is actively collaborating with Moscow State University, mostly in translation of monographs in Russian and Chinese), said Yu Xiao, and Jilin University is interested in expanding collaboration with Russia, primarily St Petersburg University.

Professor Zhang Guangxiang, a leading historian in China who studies Russia, told us through how the science of history has been evolving in China in the 20th century. Unlike Russia where we had Chinese studies in the 18th century, China paid its attention to Russia only in the early 20th century. China’s political experience in the 20th century shows that China started to study the world’s history after the reforms of 1978 that were a response to the “cultural revolution”.

Today, the historians in China mostly focus on the USA and UK, said Professor Zhang, and only a few of them study Russia. We therefore are interested in expanding collaboration with Russia and attract young scientists, said Professor Zhang.

Professor and head of the Department of Modern History of Russia Mikhail Khodiakov delivered a report on how Russia has been developing a tradition to use its historical experience throughout the history by studying the Russian economic politics towards the regions in the 20th century. Denis Yanchenko, SPbU Associate Professor, presented a report on the economics of Russian in the 20th century, the economic, financial, and politica reasons for the October revolution, and reasons for breaking the economic ties between Russian regions after the WWI. Xu Jinqiu told about how the Russian history is approached in China.

The seminar also discussed the reports and opportunities for development of collaboration between the two universities. Professor Nikolai Samoilov suggested that our colleagues should join us to carry out the project “Contemporary China: Economics, politics, society” that provides the graduate students with an opportunity to have internship in China.

Our Chinese peers told about how they invite Russian lecturers to read lectures in China and suggested that the lecturers from SPbU should also visit their university to read lectures.