Vol 5, No 1S (2021)

Cover Page

Full Issue


Address to the Readers from Editor-in-Chief Vladimir Mazyrin

Mazyrin V.M.
The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):4-5
pages 4-5 views

Which Vietnam is Under New French Research Today?

de Tréglodé B.


In the 1960s and 1970s, the humanities and social sciences were largely at the service of an idealised quest aiming at the socialist revolution. In France, academic research on communism in the Third World countries was fuelled by anti-colonial guilt. The change came from within in the early 1980s, when the exodus of Viet Kieu and the security orientation of the country's reunification distracted some of the intellectuals who were “fellow travellers” (compagnons de route) from the triumphant narratives about this country in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1983, a book vividly presented the contradictions of this period experienced by specialists of Vietnam in France with regard to their present or past commitments with Vietnamese communist regime. The historian Georges Boudarel mentioned: “This publication is not a crusade, without complexes or taboos. It intends to place itself under the sign of mutual respect, plurality of points of view, coexistence and tolerance of opinions. These are not exalting slogans, nor are they flags to mount an assault. These terms lack panache and hardly rattle in the wind. But they sum up the hard experience of men. We will not hesitate to make them ours.”

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):6-10
pages 6-10 views

Scientific researches

Pre-Unification Transition in South Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh City Military Administration (1975–1976)

Lê A.


Using materials from the Vietnam’s National Archives Center No. 2, in particular the incomplete series of the Military Administration Committee’s weekly or monthly reports, as well as recently published archival documents from the Central Office of South Vietnam (COSVN), this paper aims to shed light on the issue of “Tiếp quản”, the transition of power in Saigon after 30 April 1975 from the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) to the combined Vietnamese revolutionary forces by studying the Ủy ban Quân quản Thành phố Sài Gòn – Gia định (UBQQSG), the Military Administration Committee for the City of Saigon – Gia Dinh.

This paper will start by examining what kind of challenge Saigon represented for the Vietnamese revolution and how the revolutionaries prepared to face it. Second it will tackle the issue of the presence of Southerners in the state apparatus for transition. Third, it will go over the main policies that the UBQQSG implemented, what resistance it confronted and how it struggled with issues of discipline amongst its assigned cadres. Finally, the article proposes an expansion of the dates in which the Vietnam War is generally examined by pushing back the end of the periodization to July 1976 and the official reunification of Vietnam.

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):11-22
pages 11-22 views

State Management of Social Media in Vietnam

Nguyen-Pochan T.T.


The development of Internet in Vietnam since late 2000s represents an unprecedented opportunity for economic growth; it also poses a major challenge to political stability insofar as its development has coincided with the emergence of civil society and the rise of the social media. Vietnamese social media has been studied by many scholars from different point of views. Yet, the organisational side of Internet gouvernance and its inherent vulnerability remain obscure in the literature. Our paper will scrutinize the state management dilemma of social media. We will overview the two-pronged strategy which alternates development with control vis-à-vis social media; then we will examine how several management and control measures are combined and how the boundaries may blur between the political and online public spheres, making the state’s digital governance vulnerable and uncertain. Our analysis is based on the state’s regulations and information published online by official and social media, and foreign news services.

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):23-33
pages 23-33 views

The Maintenance of Law and Order in the China–Vietnam Borderlands During the French Colonial Period (1896–1940)

Grémont J.


The item about border between China and Vietnam is not just a contemporary issue. Its building and its story takes its roots in the past and the colonial period played a major role. This article aims to analyse how the French colonial administration tried to keep order on the Tonkin border. First, the structure of the maintenance of law and order along the border is analysed to better understand how these diverse borderlands areas with a harsh climate and a multi-ethnic population resulted in many issues, giving birth to the challenges of law and order on border. Then, dynamics of cross border criminal activities are studied. The authority of these isolated French colonial troops in the borderlands is usually fragile. In front of this situation, the author will question the colonial administration’s response against the threat of cross border criminality. Military actions and police operations are mixed and order and law is kept thanks to an auxiliary force made up of local populations, the “partisans”, that is the real backbone to maintain law and order in the borderlands.

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):34-43
pages 34-43 views

The Role of Private Economy in the Socialist-Oriented Market Economy in Vietnam

Eglinger J.P.


The author discloses, through the prism of Vietnamese sources, the role of the private sector in the Vietnamese economy, showing that it has changed fundamentally during the 35 years of “Đổi Mới” implementation; analyzes its place in the structure of the Vietnamese economy and its evolution, as well as its position in comparison with two other sectors, namely the public sector and sector with the participation of foreign capital. The article, based on official Vietnamese sources, reflects the CPV's view of the private sector and the Communist Party's intention to use it in promoting the country's prosperity.

At the same time, the author introduces the idea that large Vietnamese private groups are “indebted” to political protection by the leadership of the country, emphasizes the existence of a “cronyism and patronizing” approach in relations between them. Thus, the private sector can therefore, contribute to economic development and the creation of economic champions but maybe not to a leveled playing field between sectors and within the private sector.

The paper aims at putting forward the fact that the State is actually piloting the private economy. In reality the Vietnamese authorities seem to adapt to it and take advantage of its development.

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):44-51
pages 44-51 views

Nhà Trọ, Rental Rooms for Fragments of Life. Temporary Footprint of Rural Migrants in Ho Chi Minh City

Jullien C.


In Ho Chi Minh City, private complexes of rental rooms designated in Vietnamese as nhà trọ form one of the cheapest housing stocks, targeting the working-class, including internal rural migrants. This article combines the insights of both migration and urban studies to analyze the occupation of the nhà trọ through the concept of temporariness. It addresses the tensions between present constraints and long-term plans of rural migrants as well as their translation into the occupation of the urban space. The method draws upon observations of rental housing and interviews conducted in two suburban neighborhoods of Ho Chi Minh City in 2020 and 2021, with migrants coming from deltaic and coastal rural areas of Vietnam. It is found that the nhà trọ provide housing for rural migrants who are in a long-term temporary situation, within a tight urban fabric with scarce opportunities for access to urban land ownership. Informants have moved to the city up to thirty years ago. Both the move and the duration are explained by multiple factors, from economic and social mutations to environmental pressures on the deltas and the coast. Relative job stability and trust-based interpersonal relationships in the city may strengthen over time, encouraging migrants to stay. Nevertheless, no matter how long they remain in Ho Chi Minh City, many migrants perceive their stay as temporary before a projected return to the hometown, where their permanent residence registration remains. The occupation of the nhà trọ observed, their adaptations, and the narratives of migrants reveal the relative nature of temporariness in migration and draw the contours of the spatial footprint of low-skilled rural migrants in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):52-65
pages 52-65 views

Building South Vietnamese Delta Settlements in the Whirlwind of Climate Change

Reinosa M.


Deltaic settlements worldwide are facing unprecedented challenges. This is especially the case in the Mekong Delta, where high population density, capital, and service provision increasingly intersect to expose vulnerable communities to the adverse effects of climate change. Due to a limited understanding of climate change, the presence of unique hydrological phenomena, and anthropogenic actions, the complex situation of the delta and its settlements has led to the implementation of inadequate architectural and urban solutions. This has caused abrupt socio-economic changes, shifting from an ecological integration mindset to a normative and disruptive approach resulting in the imposition of unsuitable models.

Community capacity, which includes low-cost, circular and reuse practices, can offer more ecological perspectives on sustainable building in the delta. Illustrating local in-depth environmental expertise, communities have developed socially and environmentally adapted construction cultures. This paper argues for an alternative paradigm in which cities and settlements promote and integrate local building knowledge to enable architectural and urban forms to play a leading role in the resilience of South-Vietnamese deltaic cities and to mitigate developmental impact on the environment.

Findings show a diversity of options and capacities at the local scale and flexibility in housing design. They also show that persistent gaps in policymaking and inconsistent perception of risk affects architectural and urban climate resilience. The discussion and conclusion advance the potential of local capacity in the building of South-Vietnamese deltaic cities, the need to integrate local knowledge and community capacity into policy, and the necessity to better assess local perception barriers to formulate localised, integrated and multisector policies to build resilient and sustainable South-Vietnamese settlements.

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):66-78
pages 66-78 views

Creating a “Micro-Colony” Within a Protectorate: The Example of the French Concession of Tourane (Đà Nẵng), 1884–1889

Le Galloudec S.


Although history ultimately favored the portuary development of Sài Gòn and Hải Phòng, it was Tourane (Đà Nẵng) that was the initial target of French colonial ambitions in the Indochinese peninsula. For over a century (1740–1858), its bay and territory had been the scene and the epicenter of Franco-British overseas imperial rivalries, a fact which actively fostered an entire set of colonial images about the site, which was quite often referred to as potential base to serve the interests of commerce and the Navy. Despite these ambitions nurtured over a long period, it was only after the conquest of Tonkin, thirty years after the Cochinchina expedition, that its territory was finally established as a concession: on 3 October 1888, the French were finally seizing juridical control of Tourane.

As a conceded territory, Tourane was essential to French colonial and imperial designs. The focal point of political and economic ambitions, it was both a gateway and a means to prepare and support the French colonial project in Indochina. A hybrid and previously unknown template, the conceded territory model designed for, and from, Tourane indeed allowed the French to implement new strategies to tighten colonial rule in Indochina.

Offering an unprecedented analysis on the creation of the French concession of Tourane at the end of the 19th century, this research examines the political context during which it was conceived, the work and conclusions given by the commission in charge of studying its borders and jurisdiction, and the steps taken by the colonial administration in order to seize definitive control of a strategic territory inside what was then left of the Đại Nam Kingdom. All in all, comparing Tourane with others treaty ports, it shows how and why its territory stood out as a “micro-colony” in a protectorate territory (Annam-Tonkin).

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):79-91
pages 79-91 views

An Imagined Worship: Localities and Creation of Representations in Contemporary Đạo Mẫu

Senepin C.


The worship of the Four Palace [Tứ Phủ], recently named Đạo Mẫu [Mothers Godesses’s Religion] can be found in Vietnam and is mainly present in the Northern part of the country. After years of prohibition and stigmatization, this Four Palaces are inscribed as Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Unesco in December 2016. The worship and its possession ritual [lên đồng] were mostly analysed in Hanoi by Western and Vietnamese researchers. In this article, the author proposeses an analysis of the dynamics of the Four Palaces outside Hanoi, linked to the semantic transformation taking place within the worship. The importance of the locality and how specific places can create singular discourses about the deities, the mediums and the devotees are emphasized in this communication. The author demonstrates that the Đạo Mẫu community is imagined. Nevertheless, the author analyses how the locality can modify the representations and the perceptions of the spirits embodied by the medium, depending on the localisation of the speakers. This paper also highlighted the consequences of the heritagization on the vocabulary and the contemporary practices, and how it can change the ones that are considered unorthodox. In this analysis the author also mentions the significance of those discourses inside the social medias, mostly on Facebook, which is one of the contemporary challenges of the worship.

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):92-102
pages 92-102 views

The General Buddhist Association of Vietnam 1951–1964 (Tổng Hội Phật Giáo Việt Nam): A Forgotten Step Towards the 1964 Buddhist Church

Cousin-Thorez G.


This paper provides an overview of the Buddhist community in the 50s and 60s, addressing the creation of the first national Buddhist association: the General Buddhist Association of Vietnam (Tổng Hội Phật Giáo Việt Nam, GBA). Most academic works sum up the GBA to the date of its foundation by three regional delegations of Buddhists believers in May 1951, and its participation in the political crisis of 1963, the so-called Buddhist Crisis. Its genesis, the internal structures of this first national association, the philosophy and new national narrative of its leaders, their conflictual and distant relationship with secular power and other Buddhists group, remains largely unknown. Providing a new set of contextual elements, this analysis of the GBA’s history will contribute to our understanding of Vietnamese Buddhism history in the 20th century, in its continuities and inconsistencies. Essentially a failed first attempt to build a Buddhist “church” the history of the GBA is highly revealing of the long-standing aspirations of its creators and should be understood as a transitional step between early reform movement and the 1964 UBC. Emphasizing on cultural, social, and political matters, this paper is mainly based on barely used primary sources available in Vietnam.

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):103-113
pages 103-113 views

Academic events

pages 114-118 views


Everything on Bamboo. Review on the book by Đinh Trọng Hiếu & Emmanuel Poisson “Le bambou au Vietnam. Une approche anthropologique et historique”

Thomas F.


The review is given for the book “Bamboo in Vietnam. An Anthropological and Historical Approach” by Đinh Trọng Hiếu and Emmanuel Poisson. The book is richly illustrated with old engravings and lithographs. It is a kind of encyclopedia that describes in detail the whole range of uses of bamboo in the life of the Vietnamese.

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):119-121
pages 119-121 views

New Vietnam Through the Eyes of Its People. Review on the book by Benoît de Tréglodé “Vietnamiens. Lignes de vie d’un people”

Jammes J.


The review is given for the book “Vietnamese. Lifelines of a People” by Benoît de Tréglodé. 26 interviews with Vietnamese men and women of different ages and places of residence, professions and social status create a portrait of the Vietnamese people, a picture of their current life, character, beliefs and culture.

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):122-123
pages 122-123 views

A Selection of Books on Vietnam Published in France since 2000

de Tréglodé B.


A Selection of Books

The Russian Journal of Vietnamese Studies. 2021;5(1S):124-127
pages 124-127 views

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