Reviews

Introducing the destiny of the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies (infra MIOS), the authors of this article based on archives material have been proceeding like detectives in their investigation of this institution’s closure on July 1st, 1954.  After some explanations on the 1920 decree taken by Lenin for the creation (in 1927) of the MIOS on the basis of the old Lazarev Institute, the authors quote at length a letter written in 1950 by Bobojon Ghafurov, the Chairman of the CP in the Tajik SSR, stating the failure of the MIOS and the low level of its graduated students.  Other criticisms stress the contradiction between the urgent need for specialists in Oriental studies, especially for diplomacy, and the inability to train them in the USSR.  As a result of which, as some would say, at the eve of decolonisation the Soviet scholarship had no specialist of Vietnam culture, but dozen of trainees on Uighur language.  Beside struggle for influence between mutually concurrent central administrations, financial criteria also contributed to press for reform (as suggested by the March 1953 report to Khrushchev asking to reduce the number of students).  The Council of Minister’s decision to close it (through its absorption inside the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, MGIMO) was taken in the first days of summer holidays, without consultation of the scientific community.  The responsibility of such a step is fully attributed to the erratic strategy of the central administration during the Khrushchev period.

Xavier Le Torrivellec, National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations, Paris
CER: I-1.2.A-44