Libmonster ID: BY-2372
Author(s) of the publication: I. V. KOTENKO


International Center of the Roerichs

International Center of the Roerichs Keywords:conference "110 years since the birth of Yu. N. Roerich"

In October 2012, the International Scientific and Public Conference "110 years since the birth of Yuri Roerich"was held in Moscow at the International Center of the Roerichs (ICR). It was organized by the ICR with the support of the UN Information Center in Moscow. The event was co-organized by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the Tsiolkovsky Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, the Vavilov Institute for the History of Natural Science and Technology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the International Association of Peace Foundations, the International League for the Protection of Culture, the Roerich Charitable Foundation, and Master Bank. On the eve of this international forum, an exhibition of N. K. Roerich's paintings from private collections was opened.

The anniversary conference attracted a lot of attention of the scientific community. The event brought together well-known scientists from many countries of the world. More than 400 representatives from various regions of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Estonia, Mongolia, India, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Italy, and France took part in the conference. More than 30 scientific reports and presentations were made. Among the speakers were students and collaborators of Yu. N. Roerich-Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences E. P. Chelyshev, V. S. Dylykova-Parfionovich, Chairman of the Estonian Roerich Society K. A. Molchanova. Orientalists from different countries refer to the scientific works of Yu. N. Roerich. He became for them not only an example of an outstanding scientist, but also a moral guide.

In honor of the anniversary, a hall dedicated to Yuri Roerich was opened in the Roerich Museum. The ICR has released a complete edition of his book "On the Trails of Central Asia", based on archival materials.

page 57

The outstanding Russian orientalist Yuri Roerich (1902-1960) was the only one of the Roerich family who managed to return to his homeland and work for the benefit of the "Best Country" (as the scientist's mother Elena Ivanovna Roerich called Russia), although he was not allowed much...


The Roerich family was an amazing fusion of the unity of individuals. Each of its members left a significant mark on history.

Yuri Roerich is the eldest son of Nikolai Konstantinovich and Elena Ivanovna, unlike his younger brother Svyatoslav, who, like his father, became a world-famous artist, from early childhood showed a special interest in two things: archeology and tin soldiers.

Little Yuri began his first archaeological research in the Okulovka station area of the Novgorod region during his father's expedition. And Elena Roerich believed that her interest in military affairs, in particular, in the art of strategy, was transmitted to her eldest son on the paternal side from Tatar great-grandfathers. From them, the male part of the Roerich family took over the expressive cheekbones and the characteristic cut of the eyes. Perhaps this fact, in addition to their excellent command of Eastern languages and military affairs, later helped them to feel confident in Central Asia, where the Roerichs spent most of their lives.

Yuri Roerich always studied a lot and with pleasure. His versatile education began at home, where there was an atmosphere of creativity and support for high aspirations. In St. Petersburg, Yuri graduated from the famous K. I. May private Gymnasium, where an individual approach was applied to each student, and where Yuri's passion for the history of the Ancient East, especially Ancient Egypt, was encouraged. After the family moved to London in 1919, his interest in Oriental culture did not disappear, and he entered the School of Oriental Languages at the University of London in the Indo-Iranian department, and then continued his education at Harvard, studying in depth Indian philology. Nature has gifted him with a unique ability to learn foreign languages. Already at the age of twenty, Yuri Nikolaevich perfectly mastered the main European languages, as well as Sanskrit, classical Chinese and Hindi. Throughout his life, the scientist never stopped adding to his linguistic knowledge. As a result, Yu. N. Roerich could speak 30 languages, including the rarest dialects of Mongolian and Tibetan.


After leaving Russia, the Roerichs visited many countries around the world-Finland, England, the USA, France, and India... They considered Russia their first homeland, and India their second. Yuri Roerich's extraordinary predisposition to languages was fully revealed during the Central Asian expedition in 1924-1928, which was a true breakthrough in the study of Tibet and the Himalayas. During this expedition, a huge number of important discoveries were made, the significance of which is not fully appreciated today.

But this long and difficult expedition journey through Central Asia might not have taken place without Yu. Roerich, who took full responsibility for ensuring the safety of the expedition, where he was personally responsible for more than a hundred people, equipment and pack animals. His interest in military affairs and strategy, as well as his knowledge of dialects, allowed the expedition to move through the territories of nomads, who did not always meet uninvited guests kindly. Often risking his life, the young scientist was the first to go out to the nomads in order to start a peaceful dialogue. The stranger began to speak to them in their own language. This impressed them so much that the warlike nomads became good friends of the Roerichs. Moreover, the most experienced guides were chosen from the tribe to accompany travelers on their further journey. In this sense, the expedition's meeting with the Holocs was significant, and the scientist later wrote an essay about them, telling the world for the first time the details of the life of this hitherto closed tribe.

In the north-east of Tibet, the Golokas occupied a fairly large territory. Continuous tribal wars and constant attacks on caravans served as poor assistants in the work of the expedition. Yu. N. Roerich would later write about his first meeting with the nomads: "A number of favorable circumstances allowed me to enter into relations with these tribes, to study their language, customs, and especially their ethnic characteristics. This relationship began with an armed clash and continued over the course of a multi-day journey with a large Golok caravan en route to Lhasa during Roerich's expedition to Central Asia. " 1

Close communication with these tribes allowed the scientist to-

page 58

Their language, nationality, anthropometric data, religion and culture should be studied. He concluded that the Golok speak a unique mix of dialects, which makes it possible to distinguish their language into a separate group. Once again, it is necessary to emphasize that Roerich was the first European who managed to gain the trust of aggressive nomads who allowed him to enter their yurts, where he could study their everyday life, sacred rituals, and relationships.

The 1930s-1950s were an important stage in the knowledge and study of Asia and the East by scientists from Europe and the United States. History itself has shown that without understanding the philosophical, religious and historical roots of ancient civilizations, it is impossible to get a complete picture of the world. During this period, the works of Yu. N. Roerich were in demand in all developed countries, except Russia.

"Just as an Indologist, Sanskritist, Tibetologist, and Mongolist needs Yuri, who not only has a deep knowledge of the sources, but also knows the languages-an unprecedented combination, so necessary with the increased importance of Asia... How long will Yuri's works be hidden - "History of Central Asia", "History of Tibet", Tibetan dictionary, studies on dialects, on art, on our expedition, on animal style..."...The Asian Society now publishes a large work of Yuri (1200 pages), but in English. When is it in Russian?As a patriot, I am indignant. Everything for the Motherland! " (From N. K. Roerich's letter to I. E. Grabar, April 2, 1947) 2.

In his most famous scientific works, Yuri Nikolaevich argued that the ancient connection between East and West has been developing for centuries, and it is criminal to ignore or forcibly break this cultural and spiritual interpenetration. "Understanding the main ways of human development is a step towards understanding one's own personality. By turning to the past, we discover the present. " 3


Yu. N. Roerich regarded the new stage of orientalism as a necessary requirement of modern science, calling on colleagues to compile a "General History of the East", which would collectively consider the history and analyze the general features of the development of those countries that had previously been studied separately without generalizing conclusions. No less interesting are the works of the scientist related to the theory of the"great migration of peoples". He did not agree with the only point of view at that time that the migration of nomadic tribes, and not only them, was solely due to the fact that herds of domestic animals needed new pastures, and people needed fresh land for crops. Roerich asked other scientists: if we are talking about moving from place to place in search of, relatively speaking, food, then how to explain the phenomenon, which was called by experts "horde psychology", when peoples did not just move, but were "infected" with the passion for conquest? Not only the desert lands of Asia, but also the central countries of Europe were engulfed in an outbreak of spontaneous mutual invasions. The scientist called for this issue to be studied, first of all, the psychology of peoples. This would allow us to get closer to the causes and origins of such phenomena.

The study of the life of nomadic tribes fascinated Yuri Nikolaevich, the results were built into a coherent theory, which formed the basis of a new science - nomadistics, or nomad studies. The rich material collected by the Roerichs during the Central Asian expedition, and in particular the identical archaeological finds found in different regions of Central Asia, made it possible to trace the geography of nomad migration through numerous preserved burial mounds and burial grounds. Roerich collected and classified the types and forms of these ancient structures, which revealed to him their cherished secrets. Despite the fact that burial grounds were not excavated (according to local traditions, this is forbidden, and the Roerichs treated the beliefs of all peoples with great respect), external general signs allowed us to draw a number of important conclusions. In particular, that the tribes of Southern Russia and Chinese Turkestan communicated with each other. The so-called unified "animal style" in the symbolism of images on ancient utensils and weapons (drawings of totem animals, flowers, and certain ornaments) confirmed this idea. The work of the scientist "Animal Style" is still considered the standard of scientific research in this field.

Speaking of nomad studies, it should be mentioned that by developing this scientific field, Roerich continued the traditions of the historiosophical and geopolitical school, whose prominent representatives were the historian G. V. Vernadsky, the linguist N. S. Trubetskoy, and the geographer P. N. Savitsky, who worked in exile since the 1920s. Russia's identity as a historical and geographical area that is different from both Europe and Asia, but at the same time is closely connected with them.

In 1959, Yuri Nikolaevich met with Lev Gumilev in Moscow. They talked about Eurasianism and nomadic studies, about science in the USSR. Their views largely coincided. The main postulate in their scientific position was the resistance to blind imitation of the West with its technological and political expansion. Roerich was particularly outraged by the principle of "superiority" of one race over another, which had spread since the mid-19th century. This" principle "was most succinctly and scientifically formulated in his well-known work" Experience on the Inequality of Human Races " by J. A. Gobineau, who laid the foundation for racial historiosophy.

page 59


When the Roerichs settled in the Kullu Valley in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, on the initiative of Nicholas Roerich, the unique Himalayan Institute for Scientific Research "Urusvati" was founded in Bangalore in 1928, and Yuri Roerich became its director. The Institute consisted of three departments - archaeological, medical, natural sciences, and a museum for storing expedition finds. Researchers comprehensively investigated the colossal material that was collected during the Central Asian expedition, and regularly organized expeditions, work "in the field". The Institute collaborated with universities around the world, major scientists - Einstein, Vavilov, Millikan. With the outbreak of World War II, work at the Institute was suspended.

In 1947, after the death of Nicholas Roerich, Yuri Nikolaevich moved with his mother Elena Ivanovna to Delhi, and later to Kalimpong, where he directed the Indo-Tibetan Seminary and directed courses in Chinese and Tibetan. For his outstanding contributions to the study of the language, literature, history, archeology, and ethnography of Central and South Asia, Yu. N. Roerich was elected a member of the Royal Asiatic Society in London, the Asiatic Society in Bengal, the Geographical Society of Paris, the American Archaeological and Ethnographic Societies, and many others. But Yuri Nikolaevich did not receive recognition in his historical homeland to the proper extent...

Yuri Nikolaevich managed to return to Russia, or rather, to the USSR, only in 1957. Already a world-renowned scholar, he was appointed to the staff of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences as a senior researcher in the History of Philosophy and Religion Section of the Department of India and Pakistan. And only a year later he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philological Sciences. There were legends about Roerich's ability to work. It seemed that this person did not spend time at all on what is inherent in other people: on sleep, food, rest...

In less than three years spent in the USSR, Yu. N. Roerich created a school of Tibetology, which was practically destroyed during Stalin's repressions, laid the foundation for nomad studies, and supervised all Tibetological works in our country. He also managed to resume the publication of a series of scientific works and sources on Buddhist philosophy and culture, Bibliotheca Bud-dhica, and also for the first time in the USSR began teaching the Vedic language, which is the forerunner of classical Sanskrit. He considered it his life's work to compile a Tibetan-Russian-English dictionary with Sanskrit parallels, which, unfortunately, was published after the scientist's death.

Yuri Nikolaevich died on May 21, 1960. For all those who knew and loved Yu. N. Roerich, his sudden death was perceived as a thunderbolt from a clear sky, as a tragedy, as an irreplaceable loss for Russian and world science. His student, the historian A. N. Zelinsky, wrote:: "The star of Yuri Roerich is comparable in its brilliance and significance for Russia to that of his great father, the world-famous artist Nicholas Roerich. He will remain in history one of the last Eurasians to shine in the sky of our steppe multinational culture."

* * *

To understand the importance of Yu. N.Roerich's contribution to world science and culture, you probably need to love Asia, the East and Russia, their original culture and spiritual history as much as he did. It is necessary to be able, like him, to plunge into the depths of the centuries and endlessly respect the heritage of our ancestors. But this talent is available to very few people.

Roerich Yu. N. 1 Goloki and their ethnic character. XV International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archaeology (continued). 5th meeting of the International Institute of Anthropology. Paris, September 20-27, 1931

Roerich N. K. 2 From the literary heritage. Moscow, Izobrazhitel'noe iskusstvo, 1974, p. 428.

3 Materials of the International scientific and Public Conference "100 years since the birth of Yu. N. Roerich". 2002. Moscow, ICR, 2003, p. 72.


Permanent link to this publication:

Similar publications: LBelarus LWorld Y G


Беларусь АнлайнContacts and other materials (articles, photo, files etc)

Author's official page at Libmonster:

Find other author's materials at: Libmonster (all the World)GoogleYandex

Permanent link for scientific papers (for citations):

I. V. KOTENKO, YURI ROERICH-KNIGHT OF CULTURE // Minsk: Belarusian Electronic Library (BIBLIOTEKA.BY). Updated: 05.01.2024. URL: (date of access: 25.07.2024).

Found source (search robot):

Publication author(s) - I. V. KOTENKO:

I. V. KOTENKO → other publications, search: Libmonster BelarusLibmonster WorldGoogleYandex


Reviews of professional authors
Order by: 
Per page: 
  • There are no comments yet
Related topics
Беларусь Анлайн
Минск, Belarus
113 views rating
05.01.2024 (201 days ago)
0 subscribers
0 votes
Related Articles
Фрагменты комментария к "Крыльям" Михаила Кузмина
an hour ago · From Ales Teodorovich
Что нужно знать новичкам при занятиях спортом?
2 days ago · From Беларусь Анлайн
4 days ago · From Елена Федорова
4 days ago · From Елена Федорова
4 days ago · From Елена Федорова
Catalog: Экономика 
4 days ago · From Елена Федорова
5 days ago · From Елена Федорова
7 days ago · From Елена Федорова

New publications:

Popular with readers:

News from other countries:

BIBLIOTEKA.BY - Belarusian digital library, repository, and archive

Create your author's collection of articles, books, author's works, biographies, photographic documents, files. Save forever your author's legacy in digital form. Click here to register as an author.
Library Partners


Editorial Contacts
Chat for Authors: BY LIVE: We are in social networks:

About · News · For Advertisers - Belarusian digital library, repository, and archive ® All rights reserved.
2006-2024, BIBLIOTEKA.BY is a part of Libmonster, international library network (open map)
Keeping the heritage of Belarus


US-Great Britain Sweden Serbia
Russia Belarus Ukraine Kazakhstan Moldova Tajikistan Estonia Russia-2 Belarus-2

Create and store your author's collection at Libmonster: articles, books, studies. Libmonster will spread your heritage all over the world (through a network of affiliates, partner libraries, search engines, social networks). You will be able to share a link to your profile with colleagues, students, readers and other interested parties, in order to acquaint them with your copyright heritage. Once you register, you have more than 100 tools at your disposal to build your own author collection. It's free: it was, it is, and it always will be.

Download app for Android