On February 15, 2024 at the Russian House in Brussels, in the framework of the project “With Russian roots”, an event (evening of memory) was held dedicated to the Russian-Belgian family Blankov, who made a great contribution to the Russian-speaking community in Belgium.

Boris Osipovich Blankov was a famous surgeon and president of the Belgian Orthopedic Society, and before that, during World War I, a volunteer of the Russian Expeditionary Corps, fighting in the fields of Champagne.

During World War II, he fought in the armed resistance fighting fascism in Belgium.

He was called “the last Chekhov doctor”, he treated both his compatriots and fighters of the Belgian Resistance – Soviet soldiers and officers who had escaped from Nazi concentration camps.

In 1945 B.Blankov became one of the founders of the Union of Russian Patriots – the largest public organization of our compatriots of that time in Belgium and in Europe.

His son, Jean Borisovich Blankov, jokingly called himself a “traitor” – because he did not become a doctor or a mining engineer, as many in his family, but, having a passion for the Russian language, devoted his entire life to the study and promotion of Russian culture, history and literature.

Thanks to him, a long-time participant of the Novgorod archaeological expedition, the world learned about birch-bark letters and the high culture of the Russian Middle Ages. But Jean Borisovich considered his main work to be the translation into French of the Old Russian chanson de geste – the famous “Tale of Igor’s Campaign” (XII century), which took ten years of his life.

And there was also researching the works of Chingiz Aitmatov, Georgian authors – together with his wife Goldie, and much more…..

During the memorial evening the daughter of Zhan Borisovich Blakov, Raisa, who came from France especially for this purpose, shared her memories about her grandfather and father.

Professor of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Deputy Head of the Novgorod Archaeological Expedition E.A.Rybina, French publisher of the unique edition of “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” Mrs Leteler spoke in the video link.  The representative of the Embassy of Kirgiztan in the Kingdom of Belgium told about the close co-operation of J.B.Blankov with Chingiz Aitmatov and thanked the Russian House in Brussels for the initiative to hold such an event.

Documents provided to the Russian House from the personal family archive were presented by Raïssa Blankoff, daughter and granddaughter of our distinguished compatriots.