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12 October 2010

98 years from the birth of Lev Gumilev

98 years from the birth of Lev Gumilev We are observing 98 years from the birth of prominent Russian historian – ethnologist, poet, translator, founder of the passionary theory of ethnogenesis, researcher of nomadic cultures of Eurasia, Lev Gumilev. He was born in Tsarskoye Selo on October 1, 1912. He was son of poets Nikolai Gumilev and Anna Akhmatova. As a child he was brought up by his grandmother in Slepnevo of Bezhetsk district of Tver gubernia.

From 1917 to 1929 he lived in Bezhetsk, and from 1930 in Leningrad. During the years 1930-1934 he worked in expeditions in the Sayans, the Pamir and in Crimea. From 1934 he matriculated at the department of history of Leningrad University. In 1935 he was expelled from the university and arrested, but after some time he was released. In 1937 he was reinstated at the university.

In March 1938 he was again arrested  as a student of Leningrad University, and sentenced to five years. This was on the same grounds with two other LGU students – Nikolai Erekhovich and Teodor Shumovskiy. He spent the term of his sentence in Norilsk camp and worked as a geology technician in a copper-nickel mine; after finishing his term, he was left in Norilsk without permission to leave.

In the fall of 1944 he voluntarily joined the Soviet Army, and fought as a private in the 1386th artillery regiment, which was a part of the 31st artillery division at the First Belorussian front; he was in Berlin at the end of the war.

He wrote verses on military themes.

In 1945 he was demobilized, reinstated at LGU, and finished in early 1946; then he went on as an aspirant of the Leningrad department of Institute of Eastern Studies of AN SSSR; he was again expelled with the justification of “because of discrepancy in philological preparation and the chosen specialty”.

On December 28 1948, he defended his dissertation to the degree of candidate of historical studies on the theme “Detailed political history of the First Turkic khaganate”, and was accepted as a scientific worker at the Ethnographic Museum of the Nations of USSR.

On November 7, 1949 he was arrested again, and sentenced by a Special committee to 10 years, which he spent at first in a camp of special purpose in Sherubai-Nura near Karaganda, later in a camp at Mezhdurechensk in Kemerovo region, in the Sayan Mountains. On May 11, 1956 he was rehabilitated due to lack of substance of the crime.

From 1956 he worked as a librarian in the Hermitage. In 1961 he defended his doctoral dissertation in history (“Ancient Turks of VI-VIII centuries), and in 1974, a doctoral dissertation in geography (“Ethogenesis and biosphere of the Earth”). On May21, 1976 he was denied the second degree of Doctor of geographic sciences. On May 15, 1990 at the meeting of the Section of synergetics of the geographical systems of RGO, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of his passionary theory of ethnogenesis, L.G.Kolotilo offered a proposal to have L.N.Gumilev elevated to the rank of an actual member of AN USSR. On the same day, the proposal was voted for on a “round table” on Leningrad TV in a program “Zerkalo"(Mirror), where L.N.Gumilev, A.M.Panchenko, K.P.Ivanov and L.G.Kolotilo participated. In the end, L.N.Gumilev was not elected as an academician of AN USSR.

In 1991 he was elected as an academician in Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RAEN). Until retirement in 1986 he worked in the Scientific Research Institute of Geography of the LGU.

He died on June 15, 1992 in Sankt-Peterburg; funeral service was held at Voskresenie Kristovo church by the Warsaw train station. He was buried at Nikolskoye cemetery of the Aleksandro-Nevskaya monastery.

Info from site “Pravye lyudi Rossii”, http://www.pravaya.ru


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