Libmonster ID: U.S.-1545

Comp. by I. N. Vasilyeva-Yuzhin, Moscow: Rudomino Publishing House, 2007, 319 p.

The 200th anniversary of establishing contacts between Russia and Australia was widely celebrated in 2007 in both countries. Scientific conferences were held, and books dedicated to the anniversary date were published. Thus, on October 25-26, 2007, the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences hosted the 28th International Scientific Conference on the Study of Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, which was attended by the Ambassadors of Australia and New Zealand to the Russian Federation. The conference was dedicated to the 200th anniversary of contacts between Russia and Australia, the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and the USSR, and the 100th anniversary of New Zealand's acquisition of dominion status.

page 210
In preparation for the memorable date, scientists of the Institute of International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences have stepped up their study of Australia and published a number of books that explore various spheres of life on the "green continent". A. S. Petrikovskaya's monograph "Russian Echo in the Culture of Australia" (Moscow, 2002) and the first study on Australian culture in Russian science "Culture of Australia: XIX-XX centuries" (Moscow, 2007) are devoted to Russian-Australian and Australian-Russian literary and cultural relations. The economic development of Australia at the present stage is considered in V. Y. Arkhipov's book " Australia in the World Economy "(Moscow, 2005) 3. The second edition includes N. S. Skorobogatykh's university textbook " History of Australia "(Moscow, 2006) and her monograph " Milestones of the Constitutional Path of Australia (1788-2000) (Moscow, 2006), which examines the problems of the formation of the modern state system of the Australian Union and the evolution of its constitutional structure. The second, significantly expanded edition is the book " Russian Sailors and Travelers in Australia "(Comp. E. V. Govor, A. Ya. Massov, Moscow, 2007). A landmark event in the history of Russian-Australian scientific relations was the Russian-Australian collective monograph " Encounters under the Southern Cross: Two centuries of Russian-Australian relations. 1807 - 2007" (Ed. by A. Massov, J. McNair, T. Poole. Adelaide: Crowford House Publishing, 2007). In addition to A. Y. Massov, Russian authors include Yu. D. Aksenov, E. V. Govor, G. N. Kanevskaya, A. S. Petrikovskaya, and L. P. Moiseev.

The Russian " Australiana "was supplemented with a valuable publication made in the All-Russian State Library of Foreign Literature named after M. I. Rudomino" Australia in Russian perception 1807-2007. Impressions, images, and ideas." The initiator of the book, compiler and author of the preface is I. N. Vasilyeva-Yuzhina. In the preface, she thanked A. S. Petrikovskaya, a leading researcher at the Institute of Information Technology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, "for her highly professional help in working on this book." Philip Smirnov, the author of the design and original layout of the book, who exquisitely illustrated the text with drawings by Russian artists and decorated the cover with impressive photographs of Australian Aborigines, natural and urban landscapes, and a map of the Australian continent executed in the style of traditional Aboriginal painting, deserves another commendation.

The book under review is one of those works that are aimed at studying the ideas of one nation about another. Descriptions of someone else's way of life, a different culture, attempts to notice and explain the peculiarity of the national character of another people - all this says a lot both about the object of study and about the authors of texts who perceive and interpret what they see through their own life experience and established stereotypes of perception. Collected together, the testimonies of various authors provide insights into Australia and its people in the historical variability of perceptions of other people's way of life and culture. At the same time, these testimonies reflect the peculiarities of not only individual, but also national perception, and point to the peculiar features of national character that are manifested in the assessment of another people. One naturally comes to such conclusions when reading the texts that have been carefully selected and presented in this work, which is of undoubted scientific value.

The collection covers almost the entire period of Australia's existence-first as a British settlement colony, then as a dominion and independent state, which is becoming increasingly important in world economic relations and international relations. The book opens with a letter from L. A. Gagemeister, commander of the ship Neva, the first Russian ship to drop anchor in Port Jackson (now Sydney) on June 4, 1807. The work ends with excerpts from books published in 2006 (N. S. Skorobogatykh, Yu. L. Mazurov).

The author was faced with a difficult task-to select from a large amount of material on Russian-Australian relations those works that most clearly reflected the most significant moments in the history of relations between the two peoples and the perception of Australia by Russians. We can say that the goal has been achieved. In her introductory article, I. N. Vasilyeva-Yuzhina noted different periods in Russian-Australian relations and differences in the assessment of Australia by Russians from enthusiastic to extremely negative. The latter dominated the Soviet period and were associated with ideological, dogmatic postulates, mandatory and obsessive criticism of capitalism and bourgeois democracy, from which modern domestic science was freed.

3 For E. I. Urazova's review of this book, see: Orient (Oriens). 2006. N 4. pp. 215-217.

page 211
An interesting conclusion is that the Russian perception of Australia was dominated by a" romantic vision", which can be traced over two centuries and is noticeable even in purely scientific works. A respectful attitude and deep interest in Australia and Australians, a high appreciation of the country's democratic foundations, and a sympathetic understanding of the problems of the indigenous population ( Australian Aborigines) - all this was decisive in the Russian perception, which is confirmed by the published texts.

Unfortunately, partly because of the limited volume, but mainly because of the weakening of scientific ties between scientists from the European and East Asian parts of Russia, which occurred in the 1990s, as a natural consequence of the plight of Russian science, scientific libraries and the higher education system, the collection did not include the works of scientists from Siberia and the Far East, for example, the book by G. N. Kanevskaya " I am homeless, but on the outside...". Russian displaced persons in Australia (1947-1954) " (Vladivostok: DVGU Publishing House, 2006).

The author's undoubted merit is the inclusion in the anthology of not only scientific works, notes of navigators and travelers, but also materials of literary genres, which significantly enriched the characteristics of the Russian perception of Australia. Full-time and part-time acquaintance with the" green continent " inspired K. D. Balmont, V. Ya., Bryusov, E. A. Yevtushenko, I. A. Brodsky to create cycles of poems, and writers E. N. Zamyatin, A. T. Averchenko, N. K. Chukovsky, S. S. Narovchatov, D. A. Granin, Yu. M. Nagibin to write prose with Australian themes (short stories and travel essays). The book also presents the works of the best Russian translators. The texts presented in the book are accompanied by brief comments about their authors, explanations of forgotten terms, etc. This work of the compiler, which required considerable effort and data retrieval, deserves high praise.

A significant contribution to the anthology was made by E. V. Govor, a former employee of the Institute of Information Technology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, now working at the Australian National University. She wrote the essays " The first Russian publications about Australia and Tasmania "(p. 17-20), ""The celebrations are deserted in the mysterious wilderness...", or the Russian way to Australia" (p.286-292).

For specialists in Australian studies, students studying Australian history and the history of Russian-Australian relations, the book will become a useful tool as a collection of important documents; for the general reader, it may be an incentive to search and read the cited books, to expand knowledge about this unique and now not so distant country. There is no doubt that the book will occupy a prominent place in the domestic Australian studies, will contribute to the expansion of knowledge and interest in the "green continent".


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