We’re so appreciate the opportunity to represent this unique book, because it is written by Doctor of Psychology, a professor of two universities situated on Baikal shores: Baikal State University of Economics and Law(Irkutsk) and Buryat State University (Ulan-Ude). It is worth to be said that recognition and the popularity of the work increased when in 2009 the author received the certificate of Irkutsk Oblast Book of Records in the nomination “The Most Enigmatic Book about Lake Baikal”.
The book itself is peculiar and remarkable. It might seem a commonplace to say that the book is written with great love to Baikal. There are few people who wrote about the lake without showing love to it. Yet the work is produced by a man, who was born, raised and went to school in three Baikal villages: Dubininо, Oymur and Baikal-Kudara. All the following years of his life he devoted to the protection of the lake; he spent the best time of rest and leisure in his life on its shores. It's possible to say with confidence that the whole life of A.D. Karnyshev is forever intertwined with Lake Baikal. He gets inspiration and joy in comprehension and study of this priceless natural phenomenon.
The title of the book emphasizes an unusual character of it: the Baikal is represented here as an unusual, distinctive and at the same time an international phenomenon. The diversity of the lake-sea is represented not only in its peculiar images and pictures, that are very dynamic and changeable, but also in the perception of people of different nationalities, from different geographical locations. Here a possible display of Lake Baikal in numerous guises is practically endless. It becomes even more mysterious, as each person sees and finds his own mystery in this unique natural phenomenon.
In accordance with the diversity of the lake itself, the book is formed as a multidimensional description. The reader will find data of historical, socio-economic, ethnic and psychological basis along with natural scientific information. While the natural world and physical phenomena of Lake Baikal are systematically described in the work by G.I. Galaziya “Baikal in Questions and Answers”, in the works of other authors and groups of researchers, the humanitarian aspect of life of the Baikal region is raised only slightly. Moreover it concerns the psychological aspect of the issue. How does a person perceive and understand Baikal? What feelings do specific features, sounds, colors, and other realities of Baikal arise in him? How can we influence a person to make him guard over the sacred sea in a more interested and even militant way? These and other questions are not idle at all. They are relevant for the present day but even more so, for the future.
The author keeps a traditional line according to which Baikal is animated, humanized, treated as a living being, a kind of companion with whom you can talk and discuss problems; and if you show compassion and sympathy to it, you definitely will get a reciprocal feeling. Since A.D. Karnyshev is a professional psychologist, Doctor of Psychology, he shows this side of human and Baikal interaction more specifically and in detail
The chapters devoted to recreation and health potential of the Baikal region are more practical and ecologically valuable, as well as tourist resources of the sacred sea and opportunities for their development, struggle for the nature protection of Lake Baikal; environmental education and upbringing. Analyzing the problems of the lake, the author introduces the concept of “ecological economics”, and supports it by an acute thesis: economy is to be ecological; and ecology is to be economical. The author’s applying to such psychological and economical categories as the image and the brand of Lake Baikal modernizes and actualizes these issues.
The ethnic and psychological analysis of a number of the Baikal realities is one more peculiarity of the book. It touches upon three main aspects. Firstly, it is the traditions, especially those of everyday life, beliefs and legends of indigenous peoples of the Baikal area, including the Russian old-timers, whose ancestors arrived to the shores of the lake almost 370 years ago. Indigenous ethnic groups of Baikal: the Buryats, the Evenki, the Russians managed to build on its shores such a community that was different not only by a natural occurrence in the natural world, but also by their understanding, cooperation, tolerance, and lack of xenophobia, which is so important nowadays. Secondly, the book deals with the contribution of scientific research, descriptions, other forms of development of the lake from the side of foreigners beginning with the first appearance of representatives of particular countries in the Baikal area. In this regard the Germans, Polish, Americans, Japanese, British, Mongols, Chinese, and many other representatives are more frequent. Thirdly, based on mutual influence and interpenetration of the two ethnic areas mentioned before, the book depicts the opportunities of using customs and traditions of different ethnic groups in improving ecological situation and environment preserving technologies in the Baikal region. At the same time, it is an attempt to systematize the communication resources of ethnic interaction in order to develop hospitality and conflict-free contacts in business and tourist areas in the region. There is no need to explain how important it is nowadays.
The reader will find a lot of references in the book – 373 resources. No other individual work can boast of such a large number of literature observed, not to mention the number of authors – scientists, writers, poets and simply ordinary people, everyone who is in love with Baikal. This peculiarity has at least three positive aspects. A.D. Karnyshev shows us a lot of different researchers, writers, and social activists’ works, whose authority is unquestioned. And this is a required tribute of respect and gratitude to those, who pioneered in the study of the Baikal, and recognition of their intellectual work. References also help to shift from speculative manner of giving the information that can be found in many other works in cases when authors do not really care about giving precise and proven facts, which can later prove harm to the image of the sacred lake. And, moreover, references may help the interested reader to find more detailed information sources, which can help to answer very particular questions.
Unlike many books, albums, atlases and other works representing Baikal, in his illustrations the author does not only use bright and impressive photos of nature, but also the paintings of artists, who from old times up to nowadays devote their works to the unique natural phenomenon and to the people that live on its shores. Along with the paintings throughout the whole book and in a separate illustrative part the reader will also find literary images of the Baikal, created by different authors. Many of the canvas, poems, songs, stories and other works of different authors, creatively made with taste and love, not only unveil the many faces of Baikal, its nature, feelings aroused and impressions made, but also help to understand that in artistic exploration of the lake also very impressive steps have been made. Simultaneously, the readers are introduced with names and works of artists, who live on the shores of the Siberian Pearl.
Many true words were said about advantages of this book. There are also some disadvantages
that can be in any more or less unique work. But let’s allow not to outline weaknesses. A reader likely will notice them and forgive us we hope… Forgive due to Baikal kindness and mercy and because its strengths outbalance defects.
In the introduction to the first two editions we wished the book a fortunate future. We wish the same for the third edition. Let the love to Baikal, which distinguishes the book, become mutual with its readers, move them towards a more persistent and responsible work to preserve the purity, unique nature of Nature’s distinctive representative – the sacred Siberian Sea of Baikal.
M. A. Vinokurov – the Rector of the Baikal National University of Economics and Law, Dr. of Economics, Professor, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation
S.V. Kalmikov the Rector of Buryat State University, Dr. of Pedagogocs, Pofessor, an associate member of Russian Academy of Education.
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