The well-known scientist V.V. Radlov’s sixty years scientific activity has covered all areas of Turkology: dialectology, lexicology, comparative and historical phonetics, grammar of Turkish languages, textology and publishing of Turkish writing in Runic, Uighur, Arabic alphabets, as well as Turkish folklore, ethnography, history and archeology.
The student of the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Berlin V.V. Radlov was influenced by August Pott, an outstanding scientist in comparative linguistics, phonetics, a founder of scientific etymology. The renowned geographer and historian Carls Ritter played a considerable role in forming of his next scientific views as well. But moreover V. Shott had a special influence on the development of his scientific interests and the wish to be the specialist of the oriental science. V. Shott taught V. Radlov a lot of eastern languages as Mongol, Tatar, Manchu, Chinese, etc. Therefore V. Radlov had a great decision to devote himself to studying languages, history and culture of Turkic East nations. It was a reason to visit Russia. In summer 1858 in St.Peterburg he took the oath of allegiance and citizenship for Russia. After this Fridrih Vilgelm Radlov changed his name to Vasiliy Vasilyevich Radlov. Three days later 14 May, 1858 he got an official appointment of being a German and Latin teacher in mining school in Barnaul. In 1860 in summer V. Radlov had his first trip. Later he paid a lot of attention to the researching not only nations of Altay, but also other Turkic nations who lived in the nearest areas: South Siberia, Middle and Central Asia.
During his staying in Altay V. Radlov began to publish his scientific results of the trips. In the 1861-1863 his «Letters from Altay» were published in the German language; in the 1863-1864 he published his «Observations on the Kyrgyz» (Kazakhs – F.Yu.). Soon his papers as «Journey through Altay to the Teletskoye Lake and Abakan» (1865) and «Ethnographic review of the Turkic tribes of Siberia and Mongolia» (1883), devoted to the ethnic composition of the Turkic tribes of Siberia and Mongolia were published in German. This relatively not big work, containing extremely valuable conclusions on the ethno genesis of Turkic peoples, became a major event in the Turkic science and ethnography. During the period in the Altay V. Radlov made annually at least ten trips to such people as Altay, Teleuts, Shor, Kumandy, Tuva, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Abakan Tatars (Khakassia), West Siberian Tatars, Chinese. Besides in 1866, he began to publish the results of his research. In the same year, the first volume of his famous work «The Samples of Folk Literature of Turkic Tribes ...» was published. V.Radlov spent many years to collect samples of folk poetry of Altay, Baraba, Tyumen, Tobolsk Tatars, Kyrgyz, Uighurs, Crimean Tatars and other Turkic peoples of Russia. His fundamental works «Aus Sibirien» and «The Samples of Folk Literature of Turkic Tribes ...» have a great importance for researchers of Turkic folklore.
Certainly, V. Radlov became a specialist in Turkic philology in Altay because of his great interest of the dialectology, lexicography, lexicology, comparative and historical phonetics, grammar of the Turkic languages, ethnography and archaeology, folklore and the history of Altay and Western Siberia peoples.
In 1871 V. Radlov drove down to Saint-Petersburg to elucidate his afterlife in Barnaul, as well as for re-employment on continuation of the further scientific expeditions.
Coming to a stop on the way to Kazan, he had an invitation to assume an inspector post of Muslim schools of Tatar, Bashkir, Kirgiz people. Having made by cooperation it was a sudden suggestion of the inspector of Russian schools for christened Tatars, the teacher of a clerical academy prof. N.I. Ilmynskiy.
In Kazan the scientist involved in general linguistics. His activity and also collected materials in Altay gave him opportunity to search the mechanism of Turkic languages development. During the teaching experience at Kazan University V. Radlov had a great opportunity to attend the theoretical linguistic society, leading by Jan Baudouin de Courtenay. Later this society became the basis for Kazan linguistic school, and it had an important role in V. Radlov’s further activity.
His first resumptive works on his collected materials was written exactly in Kazan period. Availability of large factual material on nearly all Turkic languages at his disposal gave him to sum up his observations about phonetic and grammar constructions of Turkic languages. Participating in linguistic circle, having information on works and theoretical reasoning of circle’s members, taking interest in questions of general linguistics, disputing over different questions of language theory inspired V.Radlov to speed up the generalizing of collected linguistic material. Under big influence of Kazan linguists Radlov’s famous work «Phonetics of North Turkic Adverbs» was written and published in Leipzig in the German language. V. Radlov considered his work as continuation of Otto von Böhtlingk’s famous work. Many contemporaries called Radlov’s book as an epochal transaction. «Phonetics of North Turkic Adverbs» will always be define as the first considerable step in comparative studying of phonetic in history of Turkic languages study.
In Kazan period V. Radlov wrote another work «About the Cuman Language…», where the basic issues of the Kipchak language’s phonetics on the memorial «Codex Cumanicus» were considered. This work became the scientist’s first beginning in investigation of old written memorial of Turkic peoples.
The last work of Radlov’s, created in Kazan period, was «Aus Sibirien» on materials on archeology, history and ethnography collected during his travelling in South Siberia, East Kazakhstan, Altay etc. The significant place in his works as « Aus Sibirien» and in other were allocated to the ethnogenetic processes related to the forming the Turkic peoples of Southern Siberia. Sooner this work was published in German in 1884 in Germany, and it was two-volume book titled as «From Siberia».
7 November, 1884 V. Radlov was elected as an ordinary academician of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in History and Antiquities of the Asian peoples and he left for St. Petersburg. In St. Petersburg V. Radlov had a scientific work intensively on further research of Turkic languages and cultures. He published more than 50 works on Turkology, keeping having his scientific trips and expeditions. He continued to systematize carefully his numerous linguistic and folkloric materials collected in the Altay, focusing on comparative phonetics and grammar of Turkic languages.
In St. Petersburg V.V. Radlov continued his work on the compilation of the Turkic languages dictionary. V. Radlov wrote in the introduction to «To Experimental Dictionary…» the followings: «In 1859, started off the research of Tatar dialects of Altay I began to collect not only works of folk art from the very beginning but also some lexical material, which was later complemented by materials from different Turkic dictionaries. That was the beginning of the compilation of the famous «To Experimental Dictionary of Turkic Dialects» (St.Petersburg, 1893-1911).
V. Radlov made a great contribution in studying the monuments of Ancient Turkic writing. In 1891 there was an expedition of the scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences to Orkhon, leading by academician V.Radlov. The results of the expedition gave a great opportunity to scientists of the entire world to try to decrypt these mysterious inscriptions. At the same time «Atlas of Mongolia’s Antiquity» began to publish under the editorship of V.Radlov. It included the description and reproduction of a great number of Orkhon and Yenisei inscriptions. Soon there were three editions of «Ancient Turkic Inscriptions of Mongolia», comprising the description and explanation of the Runic alphabet’ signs, the text, the transcription and the translation of inscriptions in honour of the Kul Tigin. [Szherbak 1971: 56-57].
V.V.Radlov is considerd to be a pioneer of Uyghur science too. In Kazan V.V.Radlov had some information about the memorial of the Uyghur written language «Qutaqdu Belik» of Yusuf Balasaguny. In 1889, he published his paper on «Tochtamish and Timur-Qutadgu’s hononary letters», began to publish «Qutaqdu Belik» and in 1891 his second edition was edited. From 1913 he started to publish the parts of «Golden shine» («Altin yarik»). In 1904, V.Radlov accomplished his work on «Monuments of the Uyghur language», but this work was public just in 1928 by S.E.Maslov.
V.V.Radlov took an active part in the activity of numerous organizations: Many foreign scientific consortiums, alliances, societies as well many universities esteemed for honor to have V.Radlov as their own honorable fellow. He was award to plentiful Russian and abroad rewards. The prominent scientific kept after him more than rich scientific gem and spiritual heritage for many Turkic people and tribe of modern Russia.