Latvian Academy of Sciences
Winner of the Grand Medal of the Latvian Academy of Sciences in 2002
Toporov an expert in the world cultural history. Russian linguist. Member of
the Russian Academy of Sciences (1991),
Member of USSR Academy of Sciences (1990). Leading research associate at the
Institute of Slavistics and
Balcanistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Toporov was born on 5 July 1928 in Moscow. Graduated from the Department of
Slavistics of the Moscow University (1951), since finishing post-graduate
education in 1954 has been working at the Institute of Slavistics (now renamed
as Slavistics and Balcanistics) of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
V.Toporov is one of the most prominent Slavonists, Indo-Europeanists,
specialised in the issues of Baltic and Slavic genesis and history,
folkloristics, mythology, linguistics, poetics and literature science. Already
in 1958, in collaboration with Vyacheslav Ivanov, he put forward a new theory
on the origin and development of Baltic and Slavic languages,
and has made comprehensive studies of the history of these languages. He has
shown particular interest in toponymy, and explained many toponyms, including
Latvian ones. His interpretation of toponyms and hydronyms of Baltic origin
that were found in deep interior of Russia is especially interesting.
He is one of the most outstanding researchers of Prussian language,
authors of the multi-volume dictionary "Prussky yazik" ("Prussian
Language") (Vol. I-V, 1975-1989, to be continued). This dictionary
also uses examples of Latvian language and other Indo-European languages for
illustration of Prussian etymology issues.
The monograph "Sanskrit"(1960) jointly written by V.Toporov
and V.Ivanov has played an important role in Indo-Europeanistics. V.Toporov
has also studied Ancient Indian, Het, Tocar, Greek, Ilirian, Galind as well as
the languages of Central Asia.
V.Toporov is the author of 25 monographs and 1200 publications. The list
of his works contains the fundamental study
"Myths of World Nations", works on the classics of Russian
literature A.Pushkin, F.Dostoyevsky, A.Block, F.Tyutchev, etc.
Latvia appreciates his studies on Baltic (including Latvian) mythology
and folklore, on Latvian folk-songs. The co-operation between academician
V.Toporov and his colleagues in Latvia has a long and intense history, and it
still continues through joint research projects.
V.Toporov is the first winner of the A.Solzhenitsin Prize.
V.Toporov a world-wide known researcher has been the Honorary
Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences since 1990.