The Outsider's Insight
Dr Boris Volkhonsky is a professional Indologist and a graduate of the Russian Institute of Asian and African Studies. He speaks Hindi, Urdu, Sinhalese, and reads Sanskrit. He has taught at Moscow State University and Russian State University for the Humanities, and completed secondments at universities in India, Sri Lanka, and the U.S. He began working as a freelance journalist in the years of perestroika, and in 1998 journalism became his profession. Since then, his work has appeared in print in publications such as Kommersant, Kommersant Vlast and Russia Journal. Since 2010, he has commented regularly on contentious issues in international affairs on Voice of Russia, focusing on South Asia. As a traveler with more than 30 countries under his belt, South Asia is closest to his heart and that is where most trips take him. Besides visiting Maldives and Pakistan, he has traversed the length and breadth of India: the Himalayas in the north, the temples of Tamil Nadu in the south, Kolkata and Puri in the east, and Rajasthan in the west. Before the outbreak of civil war in Sri Lanka, he managed to visit areas that subsequently became closed off to travelers for many years. On his journeys, he has encountered various extremes, sometimes staying overnight in fishermen's huts on bare sand or out in the open. Today, he heads a Russian think tank on Asia under the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies. Naturally, India and other South Asian nations occupy pride of place in his research.