Yuri Knorozov, or how a scientist, who deciphered the Mayan writing system, has become a symbol of Russian-Mexican scientific cooperation. : Page 2 of 2
”V”: The Center’s activity is initially a complex work, its specialists work at the crossroads of history, philology, philosophy, culture, psychology and other sciences. Has the Center been assigned with representative and political functions?
GE: Yes, of course. Working in Latin America, whether we like it or not, we have to perform representative role, because the state of affairs in the whole Russian science and culture is estimated by us. As for the political functions... Let me give you an example. On July 3rd, 2007, during the official visit of the Russian President Vladimir Putin to Guatemala, at a joint press conference with Guatemalan colleague, the then Russian leader stressed that “Russia always treats the culture of the peoples of Latin America with attention and interest.” “One of our fellow citizen – Mr. Knorozov, who was born in the same city as me, St. Petersburg – deciphered Maya writing system and dedicated all his life to this work”, he said. The Russian leader expressed confidence that the scientific work of Yuri Knorozov became “a very serious and substantial contribution to the development of relations between our countries, first of all in the cultural field.”
Thus, the victory of the Russian city of Sochi as the host city of Winter Olympic Games in 2014 in Guatemala on July 4th of that year is partly the merit of Knorozov Center for Mesoamerican Studies. The Russian leader praised our work and expressed his gratitude to the Center.
”V”: In the conclusion of our conversation, could you summarize the results of Mesoamerican Research Center activity for the time of its existence?
GE: During 12 years, despite the difficulties, Knorozov Center for Mesoamerican Studies managed not only to preserve the unique Russian scientific school but also develop it and became a global brand, which was playing a significant role at the national and global scale. Our center is always promotes a positive image of Russia in Latin America.
We would like to note with regret that the U.S. academic institutions are trying to oust the only Russian school of Latin America studies from the territories within the Washington sphere of influence. Therefore, we must defend the scientific priorities of Russia in very difficult economic and political conditions in Latin America. Nevertheless, the Center expands the range of its partners not only from the scientific environment, but also from the private sector.
Despite the distance, separating us, the differences in cultural traditions and way of living, Russia and Mexico demonstrate the perfect example of cooperation in science, studying such area of knowledge that is of interest and is important for all humanity. Not for nothing do they say: “If a man does not embrace his past, he has no future.”