“There is nothing more permanent than the temporary, and nothing more temporary than the permanent.”
This aphorism rings with optimism when applied to the history of the origin of humanities studies in the Novosibirsk Science Center. The Permanent Committee of the Presidium of the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences – established at the end of 1958 and headed by a Novosibirsk local, Doctor of Philosophy I.I. Matveenkov – actually proved to be temporary.
Destiny ruled otherwise. In those far-off and glorious 1960s, the humanities in Siberia were represented by prominent scholar’s such as the historian and the archaeologist, a Full Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences since 1964 A. P. Okladnikov (1908-1981); the philologist and the ethnographer, an Associate Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences since 1964, V.A. Avrorin (1907- 1977) (both previously worked in Leningrad); and a philosopher and an Associate Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences since 1970 G.A. Svechnikov (1918-1974) from Moscow. Those were the scholars who first carefully and unobtrusively transformed the Permanent Committee into the Industrial History Department of the Institute of Economy and Industrial Engineering (1961), and then developed this strange formation into an entirely autonomous Department of Humanities (1965). The decisive role in the development of the Humanities was played by Academician A. P. Okladnikov.
Thus, only one decisive step remained to approach an event which, as we know now, would determine the fates of hundreds of humanities scholars from various regions of Siberia and the Far East. This happened in 1966, when the family of Novosibirsk research institutions was extended by a newly-formed Institute of History, Philology and Philosophy. Within this new institution, A. P. Okladnikov, V.A. Avrorin, and G.A. Svechnikov solidly established and fostered each of their areas of expertise. These academics are now esteemed as great forerunners and founding fathers of the four currently independent basic humanities research institutes in the Asian part of Russia.
Prominent specialists in Siberian studies worked under the guidance of A.P. Okladnikov, V.A. Avrorin, and G. A. Svechnikov. Some of these specialists had already won acclaim in both Russian and Western scholarly communities, while other promising scholars were still on the way to become heads of various specialized departments of the Institute. Ardent enthusiasts, they worked hard for the next two decades to ensure the success of outstanding research projects in Siberian humanities: the publication of the voluminous “History of Siberia”, “History of the Working Class in Siberia”, “History of the Peasantry in Siberia”, and “History of Russian Literature in Siberia,” as well as the unique series “Folklore of Siberia and the Russian Far East”. The fact that the voluminous “History of Siberia” and the series “Folklore of Siberia and the Far East” were awarded the State Prizes proves a high standard of the publications. The Institute owes its success largely to such scholarly luminaries as linguists E. I. Ubriatova, V. M. Nadelyaev, S.N. Onenko; the ethnographer E. M. Toshchakova; historians N. Y. Gushchin, L. M. Goruyushkin, G.A. Dokuchayev; and literary experts Yu. S. Postnov and A. B. Soktoyev. Unfortunately, these outstanding scholars are now deceased. Together with A. P. Okladnikov, V. A. Avrorin, and G. A. Svechnikov, these great minds laid the foundations of the Humanities Education in Novosibirsk State University, a citadel of science “ow nurturing future generations of academics in history, archaeology, philology, and philosophy.
In 1990, the Institute of History, Philology, and Philosophy was transformed into an integrated structure named the United Institute, with A. P. Derevianko, a Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, appointed a General Director. This was a kind of scholarly confederation comprised of the institute of History (first headed by an Associate Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences L. M. Goryushkin, and presently by an Associate Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences V. A. Lamin), the Institute of Philology (first headed by an Associate Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences A. B. Soktoyev, and presently by an Associate Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences E. K. Romodanovskaya), the Institute of Philosophy and Law (first headed by an Associate Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences V. I. Boiko, and presently by Doctor of Philosophy V. V. Tselishchev), and the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography (headed by a Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Academician) A. P. Derevianko).
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IAET SB RAS) was organized by the Decree of the
Presidium SB AS USSR No. 591 dated December 26, 1990 as a part of United Institute of History, Philology and Philosophy.
In 2001, at the turn of the new century and millennium, the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography left the “confederation” to become a fully independent research institution. It continues, however, to keep count of its years with the United Institute as part of it.
In accordance with the decree of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences No. 83 of March 20, 2001, the Institute was separated from
the United Institute of History, Philology and Philosophy as a legal entity.
The main scientific topics is the study of cultural and historical processes in antiquity and the Middle Ages, New and Modern times on the territory of Eurasia:
problems of initial settlement, evolution of culture, economic activity and human habitat in the Stone Age;
problems of ethno and cultural genesis, paleoanthropology; reconstruction of ethnosocial processes in Metal Ages and the Middle Ages;
the history of the first class formations; connection between ancient and medieval cultures of North, Central and East Asia and adjacent territories;
traditional culture, ideology and social organization of the indigenous population of Siberia and the Far East, the traditional material and spiritual culture of the Russian population of Siberia,
modern ethnic processes in the Asian part of Russia;
survey and restoration work to preserve the historical and cultural heritage.