Oh, West is West, East is East, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God′s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of
(Rudyard Kipling. The Ballad of East and West)
The Problem of relations between peoples and different cultures has been important for me since my childhood as I have always lived in an environment of people having different ethnic identifications, in various cultural environment. My friends belong to different peoples, cultures, live in different countries.
I was born in Krasnoyarskyi region, in Siberia, in the family of the deported Kalmyks. I grew up in Astrakhan, where my ancestors had lived before the deportation. My life has developed on a boundary of two cultures - Russian and Kalmyk, which existed in the context of the Soviet, and nowadays – the Russian culture. My native city is Astrakhan. It is a place, where East and West stand face to face.
The Statement about incompatibility of West and East, about impossibility to understand each other, as if proclaimed by Kipling is one of the widespread cliches of mass consciousness. But I think, the famous writer and poet meant absolutely different thing. If the epigraph to the Ballad and the Ballad itself read up to the end, it is clear, that the position of Kipling is opposite. He wrote how they can understand each other in interpersonal dialogue, how the twain shall meet in understanding such values – as honour, dignity, boldness, friendship, life. My field is the communication of people of Eastern and Western cultures and different ethnic identity and how they understand each other. I think it is one of the purposes of the Fulbright Program. I am going to investigate the ideas of work within the American Kalmyks community. The American Kalmyks emigrated to the USA from Germany 50 years ago. The Kalmyks live densely in the USA and try to preserve themselves as a nation. I am interested, if they have preserved their traditional ideas about work in their consciousness and how these ideas correspond to the ideas of work existing in the American culture. I suppose the American Kalmyks have preserved their unique culture, which is Buddhist by origin.
I am lucky to have graduated from the Philosophy Department of Leningrad State University in one of the most beautiful cities of the world - St.-Petersburg. I lived and worked in Siberia after graduating, as I was willing like to return to Siberia. I taught and carried out sociological research, studying the notion of work. I got PhD in Novosibirsk State University in famous Academgorodok – it is the town of Siberian scientists and students. Now I work at the Samara State University. Samara is a big city on my favourite river Volga. In the 18 century the Kalmyks lived in the Samara region. The city of Stavropol on the Volga (nowadays Togliatty) was founded as a fort for the Kalmyks.
In Samara I defended the Doctor's dissertation.
I am also engaged in the research of interethnic and intercultural relations, problems of Higher education. This research was supported by the Soros Foundation and by the Humanities Scientific Foundation of Russia.
I spend my free time with my son and his cousins, cycling in the Zhigouly Hills, swimming, sunbathing, baking potatoes in the embers. In fact, I prefer outdoor activities with children to sewing and knitting, though I enjoy these as well. They help to relax after working on the computer for long hours. I also like traveling, because it helps to understand and respect customs and traditions of other peoples.