The famous historian Lev Gumilev – the son of legendary poets Nikolai Gumilev and Anna Akhmatova. In his youth he was subjected to repression and visited the camps. As a scientist himself is most known for his passionary theory of ethnogenesis and research of the East.

Lev Gumilyov was born on 1 Oct 1912 in St. Petersburg. He was the only child of their parents. In 1918, Akhmatova and Gumilyov divorced. Then the Civil war began. Father Leo was last seen in 1921 in Bezhetsk. Soon the poet Nikolai Gumilev was shot by the Bolsheviks (he was accused of involvement in anti-Soviet conspiracy).

In the future, the child with the paternal grandmother. In 1929 graduated from the school, Gumilyov Lev moved from Bryansk to Leningrad to her mother. Live he was in a communal apartment in the fountain house, where his neighbors were stepfather and his numerous relatives. Because of his aristocratic origin Gumilev had trouble with admission to higher education.

Lev Gumilyov: biography, interesting facts

In 1931 Lev Gumilev enrolled in courses in geological expedition. Then followed a long journey to the East of the country. That's when he formed the interests that have defined Gumilyov as a historian and scientist in General. The young man visited Tajikistan, in the Baikal area. In 1933, after returning from the expedition Lev Gumilev was in Moscow.

In see of the young man became friendly with the poet Osip Mandelstam, who considered him "an extension of the father." Then Gumilev began to work in the literary field he has translated poems by poets of different nationalities. In the same 1933 the Lev was first arrested (arrest lasted 9 days). The problem was the unreliability of the writer. Affected origin and social circle. His patron Osip Mandelstam would soon be arrested.

In 1934, Lev Gumilev, despite the status of the disenfranchised, he entered the Leningrad University, where he chose the history Department. As a student, a young man lived in poverty and misery, often go to a natural hunger. His teachers were bright and honored scientists: Vasily Struve, Solomon Lurie, Eugene Tarle, Alexander Yakubovsky and others. His main teacher and mentor Tolstoy believed sinologist Nikolai Kuhner.

After the return from a new expedition Gumilev was arrested for the second time. Was 1935. On the eve of the Leningrad Kirov was killed, and the city began mass repression. During the interrogation, Gumilev admitted that his public talks were worn anti-Soviet character. Together with him were arrested the stepfather Punina. The men stood up Anna Akhmatova. She convinced Pasternak to write a pleading letter to Joseph Stalin. Soon Punina, and Gumilev was released.

Because of the arrest of Leo was expelled from the University. Under the patronage, however, he became a member of an archaeological expedition investigating the ruins of the Khazar cities of Sarkel. Then Gumilev was restored at LSU. However, in 1938, in the midst of repression, he was again arrested and this time sentenced to 10-year sentence in the Gulag.

Norilsk camp was the place where he was serving his conclusion, Lev Gumilyov. Biography of a young intellectual, was similar to many other biographies of his contemporaries in the same environment. In the camp, Gumilev was, along with many scholars and thinkers. The prisoner was assisted by his teachers and comrades. So, Nikolai Kuhner sent Gumilev books.

Meanwhile, the Great Patriotic war. Many of the campers wanted to get to the front. Gumilev was in the red army in 1944. He became anti-aircraft gunners, was involved in several offensive operations. His army entered the German city Altam. Gumilev received medals "For victory over Germany" and "For taking of Berlin". In November 1945, free military already returned to Leningrad.

A new term

After the war, Gumilev got a job as a firefighter in the Institute of Oriental studies. This position is allowed to engage in the rich library of the Academy of Sciences. Then Gumilyov at the age of 33 he defended the thesis on the theme of Central Asian terracotta figurines. In 1948 it was the turn of the thesis of the Turkic Khaganate. The life of a scientist settled in for a while.

In 1949, Gumilev was again in the camp. This time the reason for his prosecution was that, on the one hand, in the "Leningrad case", and on the other, the pressure on the mother of the historian, Anna Akhmatova. Leo was sitting in a camp before XX Congress of the CPSU, and was followed by rehabilitation. Anna Akhmatova devoted son poem "Requiem" of Soviet repression. Gumilev's relationship with her mother was extremely complex and contradictory. After his final return from the camp, Lev Nikolayevich had several run-ins with Anna Akhmatova. Anna Akhmatova died in 1966.

Interesting facts

The first three years at liberty Gumilev was a senior researcher of the Hermitage library. At this time the scientist was treated with its own working drafts, written in the camps. In the second half of the 1950s, Leo talked a lot with orientalist Yuri Roerich, the founder of the Eurasian theory, Pyotr Savitsky and Georgy Vernadsky.

The first article Gumilev was published in 1959. The scientist had a long time to deal with prejudice and suspicion in the scientific community to his personality. When the proceedings finally began to get into print, they immediately earned universal recognition. Article of the historian appeared in the journals "Bulletin of ancient history", "Soviet Ethnography", "the Soviet archeology".


The first monograph of Lev Gumilev's book "the Huns", the manuscript of which he brought to the Institute of Oriental studies in 1957 (it was issued three years later). This work is considered a cornerstone of the creativity of the researcher. It was first founded, the ideas that later Gumilev developed throughout his scientific career. This contrast between Russia and Europe, explanation of social and historical phenomena of the natural factors (including landscape) and the earliest reference to the concept of drive.

The greatest recognition of the work "Hun" got the scholars and sinologists. The book immediately noticed the main Soviet sinologists. At the same time, it is the first monograph Gumilev found a principled critics. Further work of Leo Tolstoy has caused the opposite evaluation.

Russia and the Horde

In the 1960s the theme of domestic medieval history has become Central to the work that was published by Lev Gumilev. Ancient Russia was interested in it in many ways. Scientist to begin with, that conducted a study on "the Word about Igor's regiment", giving it a new date (the middle, not the end of the XII century).

Then Gumilev took up the topic of Genghis Khan's Empire. He was interested in in the harsh steppe of Mongolia has any state won half of the world. The Eastern hordes Tolstoy devoted the book "the Huns", "Hunnu in China" "Ancient Turkic peoples", "Searches for an imaginary Kingdom".

Passionality and ethnogenesis

The most famous part of the scientific legacy of Lev Gumilev, theory of ethnogenesis and passionarity. The first article on this topic was published in 1970. Gumilev called passionarity sverhzaryadnogo human activity in its desire to achieve a particular goal. Historian put this phenomenon on the doctrine of the formation of ethnic groups.

The theory of Lev Gumilyov said that the survival and success of the people depends on the amount of it with drive. The scientist did not consider this factor only, however, defended its importance in the process of formation and displacement of ethnic groups competitors.

Contribution to Eurasianism

As a thinker Gumilev considered a supporter of Eurasianism – the philosophical doctrine about the roots of Russian culture, rooted in the fusion of European and Asian nomadic traditions. While the scientist in his work is not about the political side of the dispute, what was noticeably different from many adherents of this theory. Gumilev (especially at the end of life) have been critical of Western borrowings in Russia. At the same time, he was not the enemy of democracy and a market economy. Historian only believed that the Russian ethnic group, because of their youth, lagging behind the Europeans and therefore not ready to adopt Western institutions.

Recent years

With the beginning of perestroika in the Soviet press appeared again the poetry of Nikolai Gumilev. His son was in contact with the "Literary newspaper" and "Twinkle", helped to collect materials and even read the works of the father at public events. The publicity increased the circulation of books and of Leo Tolstoy. In the last Soviet years was published many of his works: "Ethnogenesis", "Ethnogenesis and biosphere of the Earth", etc.

In 1990 the Leningrad television recorded half a dozen lectures of the historian. It was the peak of his lifetime's popularity and fame. The following year, Gumilev became the Academy of natural Sciences. In 1992 Leo moved the operation to remove the gallbladder. As a result, it opened massive internal bleeding. The last days of life the scientist had been in a coma. He died on 15 Jun 1992 at the age of 79 years.