Li Jingjie, male and from the Han ethnic group, born in December 1941, is a native of Pi County, Jiangsu Province and a member of the Communist Party of China. In July 1965, he graduated from the Russian department of Nanjing University. He is a researcher and PhD student advisor of the Institute of Russian, Eastern Europe and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, President of the Chinese Society of Russian, Eastern Europe and Central Asian Studies and the China Institute of China-Russia Relations, and a senior consultant of the China International Institute for Strategic Society. His academic expertise is in international politics. Since 1992, he has started to enjoy a special allowance awarded by the State Council. He is an honorary doctor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and an Academician of the Russian Academy of Social Sciences and of Russia's National Security Academy of Sciences.
Lifelong Struggle Fulfill Mission
For a long time, each exchange with my mentor, Mr. Li Jingjie, always feel that he “often makes the chest with vigor”, those simple words and profound ideas often inspire me. What kind of life experiences contribute Teacher Li to having vast knowledge, refined demeanor and an open heart? A sunny afternoon, I walked into the home of Teacher Li and talked freely with my teacher in a warm environment. Teahcer Li’s relaxed and natural discourse was filled with sincere and shined the light of wisdom.
Strugglingr Life, the Spirit of Hard Work
Pang Dapeng(hereinafter short for Pang): You started school before the founding of New China, right? You went on to the university, I think in that era it was a very hard and very great thing. What motivates you to go to school?
Li Jingjie(hereinafter short for Li): My life, though very plain, but still is not the same with yours. The parents of your generation from an early age created good conditions for you, at least you would not suffer from hunger and cold. I then did not have this condition. When I was a child, the state was very difficult and the family was also very difficult. My life could be said the struggling life, never stopped. One of my struggling power was to find answers to problems in my mind continuously. I think going to school could help me find the answers to these questions. But my family was too difficult to complete primary school, so found a good work for me, wanted me as soon as possible to work and helped to support the family. my work was a supplier in the supply and marketing cooperation which was a very good job at that time. But I could not be reconciled. I thought I should go to school and learn more knowledge, so I gave up the job. Later, due to my good achievements and each exam was excellent, from elementary, middle and high school to university, it was green light for me to study. One point could be sure, my life was very struggling and hardworking. Another struggling power was to get out of poverty. I was born when my father died a month later and the mother with three sons had gone through the hardships and suffering. Poverty and hardship developed me the spirit of arduous struggle when I was little. But getting out of poverty was not the main driving force. If I only thought of this point, I would go to the supply and marketing cooperation. The work of the supply and marketing cooperation was enough to make me out of poverty. When I was older, I gradually discovered that not only my family was poverty, our entire country and the nation were poverty, so my later goal was to revitalize the state and the nation.
Pang: You were in Nanjing University from 1960-1965 which three years were a difficult period for the country, there must have a lot of unforgettable memories?
Li: I was hungry from the third year in middle school until the sophomore. When I first entered the Nanjing University, because of the tremendous environmental changes from rural to urban, it was difficult to adapt and when I was freshman and sophomore, my academic results were just so so. My achievements straight up from the junior, when I was the senior, the teacher said I could listen to a fifth-grade class. I worked very hard at that time. I remembered, during the holidays, because I could not afford the train ticket, other students went home, I would stay in school to study. The best memories in the university was the library, especially the library at night, was filled and so quiet. I thought it was very mood, so I wrote a poem for that. Now I only remember one, “ the stars hold the dreams of youth”. Writing poems came from my love of literature. When I was young I liked the Chinese literature. Because the rural had poor conditions, I did not learn my maths, physics and chemistry well. I saw the lights until the age of 19, so a lot of physical knowledge about the power I always did not understand. In the college entrance examination, my first choice was Department of Chinese, East China Normal University that I could not be admitted; I was assigned to the Department of Foreign Languages, , Russian Language and Literature, Nanjing University. Learning a foreign language was not my ambition. I was born in a poor family, so I could better understand and appreciate the suffering life than the average person. I felt then that only the literature could reflect the difficulties and yearning for a better life, so the meaning of literature was high and only literature could save the society. Later, I learned Russian. Department of Russian, Nanjing University, emphasized the Russian literature courses.
Pang: When did you transfer your research interests from literature to political science research?
Li: In the early 1960s, the Soviet Union and China debated. At that time, we published the famous “Nine Commentaries”. That time there was no television, every day I stood in the hall listening to the radio. “Nine Commentaries” was very ambitious and stirring. After hearing I felt Chinese people really stood up. In 1950s, a comprehensive study of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union was a “big brother” and China was the “little brother”. This cast a shadow in my young mind: Chinese people in the international community had still not completely equal status. Now, I dared to criticize the “big brother”. After listening to the broadcast of “Nine Commentaries” , I thought the Chinese people finally felt proud and elated and was equal with other big countries in the world. At that time, many intellectuals were so encouraging. Since then, I gradually became interested in the study of politics.
Pang: You were very keen on percepting and interesting in the social and political phenomena, why?
Li: When I was very young, I came in contact with some sharp social and political problems, so the reforming ideas came. There were three things had an important impact on my view of the world. The first thing was on the rural situation then. I then lived in rural areas, although rural areas were liberated, but there were still many unreasonable places. After implementing agricultural cooperatives in 1956, the farmers’ days were getting bad. Prior to this, farmers were free; after implementing co-operative, even the fair, visiting relatives and other private matters farmers had to got the approval of the production team leader. Rural cadres with low cultural level, did not know how to use their rights and even abused of power; the cursing masses phenomenon was common. After co-operative, the agricultural labor productivity had fallen and life of farmers was hard. I experienced deeply. The newspaper every day spoke the excellent situation and stressed the superiority of co-operative; farmers actually felt the no end “bitter”. The second thing was the anti-rightist struggle in 1957. When the anti-rightist movement began, I entered the high school in the county.When in the high school, I was a child, wasn’t I? But at that time, they caught a lot of high school students as the “rightists”. When the campaign began, mobilize us to provide comments to the leadership. The students felt that life was too hard, so they mentioned the views in this respect. As the results, the students giving more comments were labeled as “rightists”. Opening the criticism of the General Assembly, some students on the spot had been sent back to rural areas. I well aware that they were just students, but also very talented. However, their future was lost. Until now, when I think of them, my heart iss still very painful. Because I did not participate actively, I was considered as the “student who did not require political progress”. I saw the momentum was not good, so I went to XuZhou No.1 High School. Where the political environment was relaxed and they did not caught the high school students as “rightists”.
Pang: That is, in youth, you actually had two development clues, one from the literary preferences shifted to political science, and the second, “noticing the sufferings of the people” had been social life thinking derived from the reform-mind.
Li: It can be summed up like that. I always had the idea of reforming. The third thing affected me relatively large was the “Great Leap Forward” common telling lies and exaggerating. In the summer of 1958, our cultural and educational member summoned our high school students to the district government to mobilize us telling the good news to report within two weeks completing the literacy. Such ridiculous things were everywhere. So, I did feel that although we build the new society, society was not perfect and there were many drawbacks. When the “Cultural Revolution” began, I was still studying in the Soviet Union, returning by the end of 1966, I also actively participated in the campaign. I understood, at the time our Chairman Mao had also seen the problems of our society and it needed to be reformed. At that time, many people like me, from a positive understood the “ Great Cultural Revolution”.
I was born in a poor peasant family, from primary school to university; later I respectively studied abroad in three countries and was elected as the academician now. This was completely the “grace” from Communist Party and the new China for me. From junior high school, I began to enjoy the grants; after
Pang: It seemed high school and college impacted your life still very large.
Li: Yes. My growth should also be attributed to the culture of the school and teachers. After graduation, I had visited many universities abroad. Two schools left me a good impression: Ba Yi Ji junior high school and the later Nanjing University. A lot of basic natural science knowledge were the teachers in Ba Yi Ji junior high school taught me. Nanjing University's academic atmosphere was very good and often had a variety of lectures, I really could said I was roaming in the ocean of knowledge. At that time I studied the Russian language and literature, under the premise of the completing specialized courses, I chosed other courses and seminars to expand my knowledge. I had listened to Mr. Sun Shuping’s history of Chinese philosophy in the Department of Philosophy systemly. Nanjing University was indeed the cradle of knowledge.
Pang: During the “Great Cultural Revolution”, you returned from University of Irkutsk, the Soviet Union after studying, this period you began a formal academic study?
Li: After returning by the end of 1966, I was assigned to the International Liaison Department to work. The mandate entrusted to me was to train myself into a high-level Russian translation and prepared for the Central. However, the Sino-Soviet relations achieved the normalization until 1989; from youth waiting until the middle age, I had not met the oppotunity of being a senior translation. In June 1969, I was the decentralization of labor. In August 1971, after back from the “Seven Five” cadre school, I began research work in the real sense. Strictly speaking, my academic research began from this time which had been for 36 years. After the decentralization of labor, I felt losing too much time and the desire to learn was very urgent, so I learned very hard at day and night. The famous historian, Ye Huosheng was the teacher of my academic enlightenment. He was the Director of the International Liaison Department, was labeled a “capitalist roader”; he told me every day the history of the Party, the international communist movement history and how to make scholarship. This made a great impact on my academic progress and interaction with others. Another teacher was Liu Keming, 88 years old this year. He was the founder of our Institute. He was very diligent scholar, honest and kind, open-minded and a lifelong learning model.
Pang: Chinese Academy of Social Sciences was established in 1977, In 1980, Soviet Union and Eastern Europe Institute, the International Liaison Department transferred to our school. After the International Liaison Department transferring to Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, you worked in education in the United States Berkeley from October 1985 to October 1986; From May 1995 to March 1996, as an “outstanding talent” invited by the Japanese Ministry of Education, you engaged in research work at the Hokkaido University in Japan. Coupled with the learning experience in the Soviet Union, what kind of impacts did these three countries’ studying and life experience impact on your academic research?
Li: It should be said that there was an important influence on my thinking and academic. When learning or doing research in these countries, I observed the cultural characteristics, the way of social organization and people's way of thinking of these countries. In 1983, I visited the UK which was my first visit to the capitalist countries. Educating in the United States in 1985, my main observation was what was the capitalism in developed countries, including social structure, people's lifestyles and ways of thinking. In Japan, I paid great attention to the difference of Japanese capitalism and American capitalism. With these experiences, going back to study the discourse on “socialism” and “capitalism”, the experience was not the same. The Soviet Union, the United States and Japan were the three countries which had the most significant impact on China. These three countries’ studying and life experience not only helped me understand socialism and capitalism, but also was very useful for me to study international relations, especially the world power relations and Chinese foreign policy. It should be said from the beginning of 1985, I started face the world. During the United States for further study, because I worked very hard, got multi-award-winning, later many International Conference invied me to participate. In addition, when going abroad, I did feel not good because at abroad, the gap of all aspects were too great. Therefore, I was very pleased with Chinese economic development at this level.
Pang: Looking back and summarizing the traveled road, then, what life experience do you have?
Li: First, in the process of country's developing, as a member of the community, I always strived to complete every job seriously without wasting my time. The revival and prosperity of the country unite everyone’s hard working. There are many things could not be lived up to in a person's life, but the most could not be lived up to are for the state and the nation's responsibility. Second, man should be honest and integrity. Man should tell the truth, be not fraud, deeds accord with words, be honest to the country and comrades. Integrity is to ask to determine their own thoughts and actions based on its own merits. Third, when you encounter difficulties, do not shake and do not back down. Believe the truth, convince that the black and white will not always be reversed. Fourth, do anything, as long as working hard, sticking with it, we will be able to make achievements. Do not the grass is greener on that mountain high, should have the perseverance, if you look around and hesitate, finally come to nothing and complaining does not help. Fifth, the most important textbooks is the real living life. Only deep experience and understanding of the social reality life, can really do a good job in academic research.
Pang: Hard working to complete your commitments that is a true portrayal of your life.
Profound Knowledge, Theoretical Thinking
Pang: Engaging in research work for 36 years, what aspects do you think your academic researches focused on?
Li: My research work mainly in two aspects: First, when the research work started, on international relations, especially the current situation and prospects of the Sino-Soviet relations and the Sino-Russian relations I made in-depth analysis and objective predictions and put forward targeted and valuable policy recommendations, the relevant papers and internal reports should be able to stand the test of time. Especially for the Sino-Russian relations, there were important discourses in every stage of historical development. Second, the study of theoretical issues, especially the historical lessons of the failure of the Soviet Communist Party, earlier and more systematically gave some points in the country, the most prominent exposition was the relationship between socialism and capitalism. In addition, the formation and substance of the Soviet model theoretically made in-depth analysis. It now appears that the results of these studies are able to stand.
Pang: Yes, I am very familiar with these papers. But, on paper, the first researching aspect, the main representative papers, including the 1986 Sino-Soviet Relations and the Development Prospects, the 1988 Soviet Domestic and Foreign Policies in the Reform Period, the 1989 Gorbachev's Visit to China and a New Type of Sino-Soviet Relation, the 1994 Sino-Russian Relation in the New Era, the 1997 On Sino-Russian Strategic Cooperative Partnership, the 2000 Sino-Russian Strategic Partnership of the American Factors and 2007 Enter into the Sino-Russian Relation in the New Era, a lot of ideas and formulations of these papers had been widely recognized. The second researching aspect, the main representative papers, including the 1983 Soviet “Common Law” and Reforming Trends in Eastern Europe, the 1988 Reform in the Soviet Union and the Project Facing in International Community, the 1992 History Lesson for the Failure of the Soviet Communist Party, the 1997 Argument on Russian “Civilization Choice”, the 2001 The Fate of the Soviet Social Science – Talking from Stalin's Secret “conservation” and the 2006 “An Analysis of the Confrontation between the Soviet Union with the Capitalist World”, these papers, particularly discussing on the Soviet model of socialist and capitalist relations in depth, still had a strong practical and theoretical significant. In addition to these important papers, there were many internal reports we could not see, I felt sorry.
Li: There was an internal report written in
Pang: This study written in 1982 when the international environment was more complex and Chinese diplomatic strategy was at the strategic turning point. Was the debate more intensive in academic cycle?
Li: I was very worried about the country's foreign policy and worried about the impact on the “left” thinking. I thought a lot for a long time in every sleepless nights, finally I decided to put my ideas out. I wrote from the three o'clock in the morning to eight o'clock at night for five hours, wrote them all. In this study, I first proposed to improve relations with the Soviet Union. This involved discussing the Soviet Union was still a socialist country which was a very sensitive issue at the time. I put forward Chinese reform and development needs, must ease relations with the Soviet Union and develop relations with the United States with more power. On relations with the U.S., I did not agree the retrogression for the increased bilateral contradictions. Sino-US relations should not only be weakened but on the contrary, further strengthen and develop. China should not only absorb the advanced science and technology in the United States, but also absorb the outstanding achievements of their culture. I also proposed to develop friendly cooperative relations with Japan, emphasized should be an accurate judgment on the Japanese militarism, could not think because of this trend of thought and forces in Japan, then concluded that this country would be going to embark on militarism road.
Pang: These ideas seemed very common, but did need to have enough wisdom and courage. This study was also proved to be correct by practice, and in 1992 was named the scientific report of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. In addition to this research report, the 1992 The Historical Lessons of the Failure in Soviet Communist Party, could be said a peak in your academic research?
Li: Right. In order to write this paper, I buried study for eight months, re-read a lot of Marxist classics and re-researched a number of significant historical events. On the basis of deep research, I proposed a challenge to the traditional theoretical perspectives. In the past, the point of view of regarding the country which could not build the socialism without the necessary materials and cultural conditions as “rightist opportunism”, through my in-depth study, my conclusions were on the contrary, this view was the real Marxist point of view. Socialism in the Soviet Union had problems, because it was the hastily built without the necessary materials and cultural conditions and it had deficiencies. I also raised the problem of how to maintain the advanced nature of the Communist Party. In my opinion, the key to the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a serious problem in the self-building of the Communist Party. The lessons of failure of the Soviet Communist Party, the Communist Party should be always invincible, must first be forever young in terms of ideology. Emancipating the mind which was not the momentary political needs, but the nature performance of the communists’ dialectical materialism world outlook. The important reason for the failure of the Soviet Communist Party lied in the long-term not dealing with the problem of good intellectuals well.
According to both positive and negative historical experience of socialist countries, I thought the reform should start from the economic sphere and the political reform should be with economic reform. Political reform was correct or not, should regard as a standard on whether or not to promote economic development. However, in the situation of not fundamentally changing the economic system, we must not disrupt the political system. The real democratization was the result of the reform, rather than the way of implementing all reforms.
Pang: I could be seen that in the theoretical and practical significance, this paper described the eight major theoretical issues which still had fresh vitality. I thought your paper published in 2006, An Analysis of the Confrontation between Soviet Union and the Capitalist World was on the basis of The Historical Lessons of the Failure of the Soviet Communist Party in 1992, a lot of the theoretical leves had a new further discussion.
Li: Soviet confrontating with the capitalist world had its deep historical roots. In the ideological aspect, they were each other's “enemy”. To understand the intrinsic motivation Soviet confrontating with the capitalist world, we must first understand the CPSU theoretical basis. Contention and confrontation of the Soviet Union and the United States were concentrated in three areas: ideology, geopolitics and the arms race. US-Soviet confrontation ended with the failure of the Soviet Union. The failure of the Soviet Union left us with a profound historical lessons and inspirations.
CPSU on capitalism, the theory of relations of socialism and capitalism, including many contents that was a complete system. However, the core of this theoretical system was on “Time” theory and the theory of the “general crisis of capitalism”. A long time, these two theories had a decisive influence on Soviet foreign policy. If, from the First World War to the late 1950s, the Soviet Union on the theory of “Time” and “general crisis of capitalism” were basically in line with the realities of the world, then, later more and more divorced from the reality of the world, because no matter the world capitalism or the world socialism or the Third World, had taken place in a profound change. In the new historical conditions, the theory of the CPSU “Time” and “general crisis of capitalism” turned into something of idealism and dogmatism.
Pang: Your research is focused on two levels, Sino-Russian relations and the theoretical issues, was it relate to your basic view on this area?
Li: Yes. I studied the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, that is, Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia should and must had a large development, which was determined by the needs of the importance of the region, as well as the cause of Chinese reform and modernization.
First of all, at the turn of the century, the world situation had a profound and dramatic changes. Drastic changes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union disintegrated made the total collapse of the pattern of the polar opposites formation of the world after World War II, towards a multipolar world. We chould see, the collapse of the old world pattern was caused by the drastic changes in Eastern Europe and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. However, the new world structure had not yet formed, the world was still in a turbulent transition period. Now Russia had been weakened compared with the Soviet Union, but it was still a major world power, one of the “pole” in multi-polar world. What is the world situation in the future, what kind of international environment we would face, these would largely depend on the development prospects in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In short, whether the collapse of the old world pattern, or the formation of a new world pattern was closely related with the development and changes of our studying object of Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Secondly, the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries were socialist countries; socialist construction of more than 70 years’ Soviet Union and over 40 years’ Eastern European countries had provided valuable practical experience and theoretical wealth for the human exploration of the new model of social development. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe were the most important historical events in the late 20th century of human society. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe made the international communist movement and the cause of socialism unprecedentedly strict damage. However, this was a good thing, because it could from a negative aspect educate world communists and people of all countries. Historical experience had proved that the revolution suffered a setback at a low ebb period which was a new revolutionary theory and ideas bred and matural period. Withstanding the shock caused by this drastic changes, people had begun to calm down and seriously consider the true meaning of this drastic changes in the development of human society. Comprehensive and systematic collection of the historical data of Soviet Union's rise and fall and deep and scientific analysis of deep-seated reasons caused by this drastic change, correctly summing up historical experiences and lessons, to provide fresh ingredients, enrich and develop Marxist theory of Marxism, further to put a new realm of Marxism and scientific socialism, ensure a more healthy development of the socialist cause with Chinese characteristics which were the history given China's social scientists, especially those of us engaging in the research scholars in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a glorious and sacred mission.
Third, Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asian countries were in the process of transferring from one social system to another social system, which most countries also at the same time experienced a process of building an independent state. Although these countries had different the path of reform and target mode with China, however, due to China and these countries had the same ideology and social system, the evoluting experiences and lessons of these countries still had the reference of the reality on Chinese socialist reform and development. It chould be sure, reforms in these countries, regardless of success or failure, all would have a major impact. So, follow-up study in these countries’ reform and development processes, sum up experience and lessons learned from that was an another important historical task of social scientists.
Fourth, Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia countries with vast territory, large population and quite developed economy, science and technology provided a broad practical space for Chinese opening up strategy. Especially Russia and Central Asian countries were Chinese neighbors; Russia was our most powerful neighbor, occuped a very important position in Chinese national security strategy. So, maintain good-neighborly friendship and mutually beneficial cooperative relations with these countries was directly related to Chinese security and development. Deeply and systematically study the conditions of these countries, as well as Chinese relations with these countries to promote Chinese development of friendly relations and cooperation with these countries, create a peaceful and cooperative international environment for Chinese reform and modernization, especially good surrounding environment, and provide theoretical support and policy advice which were the bounden tasks of social scientists.
In short, the evolution of the world's strategic situation, the development of the theory of Marxism and scientific socialism, China's national security and the modernization cause, were all calling for Chinese social scientists, first and foremost our researchers, strengthen the Russia,Eastern Europe and Central Asia studies. Therefore, the Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian studies, should not only be weakened, but also should be strengthened, should be a big development.
Pang: What does the basic forefront question of the profession specifically refer to?
Li: First, study the history of the prosperity of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe. The rise and fall problem of the Soviet Union was not only whether a multi-ethnic country could maintain national unity, territorial integrity and long-term stability, but also essentially involved how to uphold and develop Marxism, what was socialism and how to build socialism and how the Communist Party to improve its ability to and other basic theoretical issues. Second, study system conversion and foreign relations of Russia and Eastern Europe, Central Asian countries. This problem actually involved in the former socialist countries toward modernization, democratization, and how it fit into the contemporary world and universal significance.
It should be noted that in the study of international issues, there were two problems in the discipline of work. First, the interference of the “left” tendencies and ideas, the object of study was often politicized. Second, some researchers were lack of objective and scientific approach and often attempted to find examples of their own views and stand from the history of the Soviet Union, could not seek truth from facts.
Pang: Reading your article, I often feel the full sense of responsibility for the revitalization of the nation and the state. I often feel similar thinking with your exchanges. You raised your own conclusions as a scholar on Sino-Russian friendship from generation to generation, the reunification of the motherland, national security and other issues, with a lot of considerations. What conditions are required do you think in order to become a qualified scholar?
Li: To become a qualified international scholar, four points must be done. First, should have a profound theoretical basis. Ignore the guiding role of the theory, lack of in-depth theoretical analysis, the results of their research tend to stay in the sake of discussion and the level of piled materials. In addition to the need of mastering the theory of Marxism, but also acquiring the relevant theory, such as the study of international politics, strategic studies, military science, economics and other theories. Second, knowledge should be profound. For example, study politics, must have the knowledge of economic, cultural, and military; Research the current must also know the history; study Russian, also should understand the United States, Japan and other countries. Third, we should be concerned about and understand Chinese. As a Chinese, concerning and understanding of the development of their own country, one helps to produce the passion in the work of the study, and second, help to form the coordinate system for the foreign study. Fourth, the foreign language should be better. Only be good at the foreign language, can gain first-hand materials, and enter into the people’s life in the countries studied.
Pang: Have any suggestions for our young scholars?
Li: Many years’ practice shows that, as a expert in the field must have the following basic requirements: master the basic theory and professional theory of the discipline; be familiar with the history of the development, current status and literature of the discipline; be able to participate in the frontier of contention. Second, the soul of the research is innovation. To make our topics with scientific value, we must be aware of what our predecessors and contemporaries have done and what they are doing. We can not repeat what the predecessors have done, also can not repeat others are doing, otherwise our research work can only be in the low-level duplicated, so we will lose the value of self-existence. In this sense, on scholarship principle, I appreciate the “profound knowledge”. The research work requires innovation, but in fact, research innovation is difficult to determine a topic and needs to see a lot of information in order to find out the regularities. Two truly original thesis in one year are not very simple. The more written, the more duplication, in fact, the real essence of it just are a few paragraphs. Now academics pursue the quantity, not quality. This tendency is very bad. Of course, I do not deliberately belittle the academic monographs, on the contrary, I think the systematic knowledge and theoretical system, can only clear the form by a monograph. Third, the researchers should have arguments, become a camp, a “home”, must have the courage to pursue truth, not only in books, but the truth and the science. Keep the scientific conscience, do not jump on the bandwagon.
Be Friendly to the Citizens in World, Hold the Concept of Services
Pang: I remembered that when you were the director, you stressed that managing legacy needed to clear development goals. You put forward our development goals should be run into a world renowned and the highest research institutions of Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe; Train a number of impactive academic experts at home and abroad as well as famous academic; Introduce a number of scientific researches with important academic value and practical significance ofn the subject building and national decision-making; fully utilize the advantage of basic research and multidisciplinary and comprehensive study, the gradually form the Russian Research Center, Research Center in Central Asia and Eastern Europe Research Center. What are your basic principle and realistic path followed by this fundamental?
Li: It is a long-term planning. We should first clear the object of Institute of Services Research: First, the central, second, the society, the two can not be neglected. To provide Central service is providing information for the central decision-making, to provide factual and theoretical basis as well as policy recommendations; for social services is just for the development of Marxism, to improve the national culture, to promote understanding of our people of Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, to provide advisory services for the real sector.
For this, basic and applied research should be combined, basic research as the main, which should be the characteristics of the research work in the Institute. Basic research should focus on theoretical and systematic characteristic. Theoretical characteristic one refers to providing the theories, the second refers to using the theories. The so-called theories, is to study on a basis of collation and processing of the wheat from the chaff, discriminating, procing from the one to the other, from the outside to the inside, making a scientific sampling, in order to propose new concepts and theories. The so-called use of the theory, is a ready-made theory or method as a guide and weapon from a higher level of macro-look at the study object to a in-depth analysis in order to grasp the whole, essence, the inner relation and the law of development. Scientific research rising to the height of the theory is the leap and the end result of the research process. Systemic nature refers to the unity of the study of history and reality. The study of history and reality study are a pair of contradiction. If only there is the study of history, no reality research, or only reality research, no historical research, then the system is incomplete, or not systematic.
In addition, rely on basic research, actively carry out applied research and countermeasures of the macroscopic, strategic and forward-looking. Research Institute is different from the government departments and its affiliated research institutions; it mainly not develops concrete proposals on current events, but raise problems concerning the overall situation and development direction, put forward the idea of macroscopic, strategic decision-making, applied implementation of the idea. This requires that researchers have a deep theoretical foundation, profound knowledge, the far-sighted vision and a high degree of political responsibility.
Pang: When your are the director, our Institue trains and brings up a young or middle age as the main expert groups. Many researchers reflect that you are very love talents. How do you think about the problem of talents?
Li: Talents are the key to scientific research work. To cultivate and foster young researchers and academic leaders is a top priority. I have always stressed to take various measures to enable them to become experts in various disciplines at an early date, and after long and hard work, some of whom become academic masters and even more famous. For this, the Institute first, in accordance with the principle of “add what we lack”, strengthens the training and upgrading of existing staff; second, strictly in accordance with the principle of putting quality before quantity and do talent introduction work well. We can not demand researchers perfect, can not expect that they are all models. As long as they abide by the Constitution and laws, dedicate to carry out scientific research with knowledge and culture, we should respect him, support him and actively create the conditions for his development. For the young researchers concentrating on scientific research institutions, having already been successful and the development of promising, we should implementing preferential policies on topics and learning opportunities to promote rapid growth. For the researchers who have outstanding achievements and outstanding contributions, we should not only give them reward, but also the exceptional promotions. For the survival and development of the Institute, we must adopt such policies and practices, without these we have no other ways. In this respect, we should have a firm attitude to strive for the understanding and support of the comrades.
Pang: You not only in personal academic research stressed the importance of information, also attached great importance to our academic and research building. You repeatedly raised: build a modern research base.
Li: Library materials and information are the basis of the research work. Library materials and information are like plane trees, researchers are like phoenix; if we have the plane trees, we are not afraid of the phoenix not flying.
Pang: I think that as leaders, the idea of your managing Institute is the word “service”. What are your experience and insights?
Li: The subjects of Institute are experts and scholars; they are engaged in scientific research which is the creative work. Face such groups, the nature of this work, we must establish the concept of leadership is service, establish and adapt to this system. The function of leadership is basically the service, rather than the command, direction, nor asking everthing. The service is for the achievements and talents to create the conditions. These conditions can be divided into hard environment and soft environment. The so-called hard environment for researchers is to strive for more issues and funding, to open up more internal and external communication channels, to create a more convenient and comfortable working conditions. The so-called soft environment is for researchers to be able to think independently and creatively to create a relaxed environment. In this environment, researchers can freely explore their minds at ease without any pression play to their wisdom. Only when we have such a hard environment and soft environment, we can be possible to get talents and excellent results quickly. On the contrary, as mentioned, if there is no such an environment, scientific thinking will be choked, the Institute will gradually wither and ultimately collapse. Therefore, assessing the performance of Research Institute, chamber and bureau leaders, first look at what he has done, how much he does, well or not for creating a hard environment and soft environment as a researcher.
Respecting knowledge and talents which is summed up as a major policy by our party from the “left” painful lessons for 20 years. Only to respect knowledge and talents can mobilize the enthusiasm of the researchers and prosper the cause of the Institute. Respecting knowledge and talents first is the issue of leaders. As a leadership of senior intellectuals gathered Institute and Laboratory, also should have this quality.
As a leader, I always told myself: first, should unity. Lack of unity, there will be friction and mistake both Institute and things. Second, should be pragmatic. More practical, less empty talk. Third, should be fair. Act in strict accordance with the laws and institutions, non-discriminatory, not cross people in personal likes and dislikes and not engage in a small circle. Fourth, democratically manage the Institute, be good at listening to all kinds of advices. Fifth, should be creative and have the pioneering spirit.
At the end of the interview, I unconsciously exchanged with Teacher Li for over four hours. Walking on the lighted street, the warm smile of Teacher Li is still in front of me and the excellent rigor has been deeply imprinted in the mind. I think that Teacher Li mentioned the scholarly spirit “sitting a cold bench for decades” and “grinding sword for a decade” and the writing spirit “dull remarks and die” should be the style of studying and writing for our young researchers to follow.
Pang Dapeng, male, born in 1976, Associate Researcher in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He had studied at Shandong University and the Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, received the MS and PhD degrees. He was the post-doctoral in political science of Renmin University of China. Mainly engage in Russian studies.
(Translated by Xu Jin)
(Translated by Xu Jin)
Editor: Wang Daohang