Latvian Academy of Sciences

Vladimir TOPOROV
Winner of the Grand Medal of the Latvian Academy of Sciences in 2002

Vladimir 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.

Vladimir 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.

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