L.N. Gumilev's Biography

Lev Nikolaevich Gumilev (October 1, 1912 – June 15, 1992) was a Soviet and Russian scientist, historian-ethnologist, doctor of historical and geographical sciences, poet, and Persian language translator. He is the founder of the theory of ethnology.

Gumilev was born in Tsarskoe Selo on October 1, 1912. He was the son of poets Nikolai Gumilev and Anna Ahmatova. In his childhood he was brought up at his grandmother’s at Slepnevo Manor in the Bezhetsk district of Tver province.

From 1917 until 1929, he lived in Bezhetsk. From 1930, he lived in Leningrad. From 1930 to 1934, he worked on expeditions to the Sayan Mountains, in Pamir and in Crimea. From 1934, he started to study in the history department at Leningrad University. In 1935, he was expelled from the university and arrested, but after a while he was released. In 1937, he was readmitted at LGU.

In March 1938, he was again arrested while still a student at LGU and condemned for five years. After serving his term he left for Norilsk, working as a technician-geologist in a copper-nickel mine, after which he left without a departure right. In the autumn of 1944, he voluntarily entered the Soviet Army. During the war he was a private in the 1386th antiaircraft-artillery regiment at the First Belarus Front, after the war in Berlin.

In 1945, he reentered LGU, which he finished in the beginning of 1946. He began postgraduate study at the Leningrad branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies USSR, where he studied philology with the intention to select a specialty.

On December 28, 1948, he submitted a dissertation at LGU for candidacy for the study of historical sciences. He was accepted as a research assistant at the Museum of Ethnography for the People of the USSR.

On November 7, 1949, he was arrested and condemned by a special committee for ten years to a specialized camp in Sherubai-Nura near Karaganda, then to a camp in Mezhdurechensk in the Kemerov region, in the Sayan Mountains. On May 11, 1956, he was rehabilitated for good behavior while incarcerated.

He worked as a librarian at the Hermitage starting in 1956. In 1961, he delivered a thesis for a doctorate degree in literature (Ancient Turkish), and in 1974, a thesis for a doctorate degree in geography (Ethnogenics and the Biosphere of the Earth). On May 21, 1976, he refused an award for a second degree for a doctorate of geographical sciences. Until his retirement in 1986 he worked at the Geographical Scientific Research Institute at Leningrad State University.

Gumilev died on June 15, 1992, in Saint Petersburg. His burial service was held in the Church of Christ’s Revival at the Warsaw station. He is buried at Nikolski Cemetery at the Aleksandro-Neva Monastery.

In August 2005, in Kazan, a monument was erected for Gumilev in connection with Saint Petersburg Days and the millennium celebration for the city of Kazan.
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