Relevant problems of current Vietnam in new collective research of Russian and foreign authors

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The review discusses the book written by Russian and foreign researchers, and dedicated for the 13th Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam held in late January – early February 2021. The book consists of three main parts containing 17 articles by authors from Russia, Vietnam, France and Japan. They show different aspects of the SRV current domestic and foreign policy, as well as of its social, economic and cultural development, also, in the historical aspect. It is noted that the regular congress of the ruling party of Vietnam is an important event, which summed up the results of the SRV development in 2016–2021 and determined the main perspectives of its development up to 2045.

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Kompartiya Vietnama: Novaya vekha v istorii (The Communist Party of Vietnam: A New Landmark in History). M.: IFES RAS, 2021. 282 p. ISBN 978-5-8381-0411-3


Problems of Vietnamese domestic and foreign policies, as well as the features of cultural, ideological and economic development are dealt with differently in domestic and foreign historiography, science and journalism. It is true for both the period of the country partition into two zones and unified Vietnam having recently celebrated its forty-fifth anniversary.

A special subject of consideration is the role of the Communist Party of Vietnam in the state’s social development on its way towards socialism. Up to now, the Communist Party is the ruling power in Vietnam and as a whole it is devoted to the traditions having been founded by the first President of Democratic Vietnam and the Party leader Ho Chi Minh.

Like the Chinese Communist Party, the CPV manages to control the transition from the Vietnamese command economy to a system of market relations. The past Congress is a strong message of the process.

The Publishing House of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies (IFES) RAS issued a collective research work timed for the 13th Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam held in January – February 2021. It is based on the papers of the International Round Table held in May 2021 in IFES RAS. Its participants were not only Russian researchers, but also those from Vietnam, France and Japan. For certain, such a collective of Vietnamists let the editorial board expand the range of views exposed in the reviewed book.

It is important that the editorial board fixes from the very beginning that the authors’ opinion does not necessarily coincide with the standpoint of the Center for Vietnam and ASEAN Studies IFES RAS led by Professor V.M. Mazyrin, the initiator of this edition. It continues the Center’s book series being prepared jointly with other Russian and foreign organizations investigating Vietnam.

The authors are 18 researchers who presented 17 articles. Three main parts let the reader get a comprehensive picture of current domestic processes, foreign policy, economy. ideology and culture of the SRV.

The first part contains five articles on Vietnam’s domestic and foreign policy. V.N. Kolotov (Saint-Petersburg) has analyzed the SRV development strategy using the published documents of the 13th CPV Congress. He divided his work into three parts, namely, the analysis of the existing threatens for Vietnam, determined by the Congress, the development of the strategy of their overcome up to 2045, the election of both the Party leadership and the government to carry out the resolutions. The position of Vietnam, in the author’s opinion, “is very complicated; so, they will have to execute the Congress’s resolutions and address the task of national security in the conditions of still acuter geopolitical contest between Beijing and Washington, at the same time being the main partners of current Vietnam” (p. 16). V.N. Kolotov does not exclude that “when it is a sudden change of external conditions”, The CPV leadership can choose “some other tactic and strategy” (p. 21) to achieve the set goals.

G.M. Lokshin (IFES RAS) has presented his analysis of the ideological component of Vietnamese Party documents. The author has limited the scope of the problems under consideration with the most important ones for current Vietnam. First of all, these are the themes connected with the attempts of some persons to discredit Marxism and with the sharpening of internal and external challenges, which the Party and government are facing now. Marxism-Leninism in its “Ho Chi Minh” interpretation, in G.M. Lokshin opinion, “as usual, performs the most important role in the CPV and Vietnamese society life. It is supported with the powerful propaganda and agitation means of the Party and government” (p. 34–35).

E.V. Koldunova (MGIMO ASEAN Center), P.Yu. Tsvetov (the Diplomatic Academy of the MFA), and N. Chapman (Japan) have described foreign policy factors in current Vietnamese theory and practice, first of all its multidimensional character. Thus, in E.V. Koldunova’s opinion, “Vietnam manages to cooperate efficiently with other ASEAN member-countries, significantly different, as far as their social and political systems are concerned, and build its dialogue with the broadest circle of its international partners, such as powerful US, China, EU, and Russia” (p. 42). P.Yu. Tsvetov’s analysis seems to be very interesting and informative in the aspect of comparison of foreign policy sections of several Vietnamese Party forums (p. 56–58).

The second part consists of seven articles and is devoted to the CPV social and economic policy in current Vietnam. The economic aspect has been well reflected in the Congress’s documents. The article by V.M. Mazyrin seems to be the most significant one. The author has analyzed the economic component of the CPV activity. In his opinion, currently Vietnamese economy is a mixed picture of both obvious successes and contradictions. He believes that nowadays it is not easy to the Vietnamese leadership to maintain economic growth rates, to overcome the disbalances existing at the macro-level, and to combine methods of extensive and intensive development in it. Also, V.M. Mazyrin emphasized a clear, in his opinion, contradiction between the CPV “socialist provisions” and “capitalist transformation” of current Vietnamese economy (p. 93–94).

The Vietnamese researcher Nguyen Quoc Hung has observed a complex of main problems connected with the SRV economic integration into the world economy. According to his evaluations, the agreements on free trade, recently signed by Vietnam with a number of foreign states, are very important to the country’s economic growth. Their realization must improve the SRV position due to new business and investment opportunities, conditions for sustainable development (p. 109).

In her publication E.S. Burova (IFES RAS) has analyzed the CPV agrarian policy. In her opinion, as a whole, every development goal of the Vietnamese agrarian sector, set in the Congress’s documents, contribute to the SRV movement to the sustainable agriculture. However, Vietnam “has not yet stepped on this path, but is at the stage of comprehending the new reality” (p. 122).

The French researcher J.-Ph. Eglinger has observed the place of private capital in Vietnamese economy, and A.R. Dolinina (MGU ISAA) has described new food consumption methods in the SRV.

S.V. Ryazantsev [Institute for Demographic Research (IDR) RAS] has evaluated the demographic factor in the 13th CPV Congress’s documents. In his opinion, “the demographic goals set by the SRV authorities are well-grounded and attainable, because their realization is closely linked with the tasks of social and economic development and presupposes serious investments in the country’s human capital” (p. 166).

M.N. Khramova (IDR) RAS) has given her evaluations of the process of Vietnamese labor migration to Russia. She believes that the regions of the Russian Far East have undoubtful, but not yet completely realized potential for Vietnamese migration” (p. 181).

The final part of the book contains five articles and is devoted to different problems of the SRV cultural policy. E.V. Nikulina (IFES RAS) has described the tendencies to represent the Vietnamese Party forum which received wide Vietnamese and foreign media coverage. She mentions a great interest shown by the authors who describe the work and resolutions of the Congress. At the same time, foreign observers consider “the solution of the crucial contradiction between capitalist economic development of the country and the Party control of the Vietnamese people, young, energetic and susceptible to various trends” (p. 193) to be the crucial and hard task for the ruling party in Vietnam in the nearest future.

In their article M.A. Shpakovskaya and Nghiem Ba Tri (RUDN) have described the SPV current youth policy. T.Yu. Teplyashina (France) has shared her vision of the practice of patriotic education of Vietnamese youth. Her article is based on the results of field research carried out in March – June 2020 with the participation of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union in Can Tho.

O.V. Novakova (The Institute of Asian and African Studies) has analyzed “The Theses on Culture” (published 1943), one of the basic documents which had determined the features of cultural construction in Vietnam for many years. In her opinion, the continuity of the CPV work in the field of cultural policy depends on the fact that its leaders were bearers of the ideas originated in the traditional society of North Vietnam (p. 236).

I.V. Britov (HSE University) has described the CPV role in Vietnamese literature development in “the period of Renovation”.

The book has the Appendix with the lists of the CPV CC Politburo members elected at the Plenum held on the last day of the Congress, as well as of the SRV Standing Committee of the National Assembly and SRV Government.

This edition can be of interest not only to representatives of the RF practical institutions connected with the SRV, but also to teachers, post-graduates and students of Russian Universities, first of all, to historians, political scientists, regional experts, and specialists in international relations. The problems formulation will attract attention of specialists abroad, also, in Vietnam.


About the authors

Igor N. Selivanov

Kursk State University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6660-4419

D.Sc. (History), Professor, Head of the Chair of World History

Russian Federation, 5, Kirov str., Kursk, 305000


Supplementary files

Supplementary Files
1. Kompartiya Vietnama: Novaya vekha v istorii (The Communist Party of Vietnam: A New Landmark in History). M.: IFES RAS, 2021. 282 p. ISBN 978-5-8381-0411-3

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