“Readings in memory of B. N. Melnichenko and S. E. Trifonov” is the title of Russia’s first international scientific conference of Thai and Laotian Scholars. The Readings provide a rare opportunity for its participants to share the results of their researches on the languages, history, politics and culture of Thailand and Laos.

The idea to hold the Readings was inspired by the sincere desire of the organizers to honor the memory of outstanding Soviet and Russian orientalists - Boris Nikolaevich Melnichenko (1935–2018) and Sergey Evgenievich Trifonov (1960–2019). The contribution these scholars have made to the Thai Studies in Russia, to the promoting understanding and enhancing friendship between the peoples of Thailand and Russia can hardly be overestimated.

The researches of Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor Boris N. Melnichenko are widely known among Russian Orientalists and Thai scholars. Being both a scientist and a talented teacher, Professor Melnichenko devoted his life to academic researches and teaching at the Faculty of Asian and African Studies of Leningrad State University (later — St. Petersburg State University). The scope of his academic activity, sphere of his expertise and his personal commitment to his work are really impressive. While composing numerous training courses, seminars and Special courses on History, Historiography, Geography, Ethnography and Economics of Thailand, he also taught courses on History of China, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam and other countries of East, Southeast and Central Asia. Among academic researches of Professor Melnichenko there are more than 90 publications, including five monographs (three of them are co-authored).

Sergey Evguenievich Trifonov obtained his degree in Philology and Thai Language at Leningrad State University, the Faculty of Asian and African Studies in 1982. Immediately upon his graduation, he proceeded to work as an interpreter at the USSR Embassy in Laos. Upon his return, S. E. Trifonov was invited to develop Thai Studies at the University and to teach courses on the Thai and Lao language and translation at the Faculty of Asian and African Studies. In addition to being an interpreter and language teacher Sergey Trifonov was a co-author of several monographs on the variety of aspects of Thai Studies including the book “King Chulalongkorn in Russia. 1897” (co-authored with Boris N. Melnichenko), a detailed research, based on archival documents. Of particular note are the efforts of Sergey E. Trifonov on establishing contacts and arranging Student Exchange programs with the major universities in Thailand. Moreover, his contribution to the forging and advancement of contacts and friendship between Russian and Thai people was added by his work at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Thailand in Moscow and the Consulate in St. Petersburg, the Thai community.