Born December 12, 1943 in Polyarny, the Murmansk district. In 1946 moved to Leningrad/St Petersburg with his family. In March 1967 - graduated from the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Leningrad State University, and was admitted to the doctoral program at the Leningrad/St Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies. In 1974 defended his PhD dissertation, Some Issues of Comparative Studies of Mahabharata [Некоторые проблемы сравнительного изучения “Махабхараты”]. From 1993 up to 2005 - headed the Department of South and South Eastern Asian Studies, as a leading researcher of the Institute. In 2003 defended the Habilitation dissertation, Mahabharata, the Epic of Ancient India. A Historical Typologycal Study [Древнеиндийский эпос “Махабхарата”: историко-типологическое исследование]. From June 2005 works at thу Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera).
Major research interests include Sanskrit studies, Indian epic Mahabharata (from 1967 takes part in the project of its full translation from Sanskrit into Russian), religions of India such as Vedic religion and Hinduism; comparative studies of epics and folklore; theory of religious studies; influence exerted by Indoiranian and Indian cultures upon the culture of peoples who inhabited the territories of Russia in the ancient times.
Wrote about 200 papers, including translations from Mahabharata (along with S.L.Neveleva) and a number of entries on Vedic religion and Hinduism included into the dictionary Hinduism. Jainism. Sikhism [Индуизм. Джайнизм. Сикхизм] (Moscow: Respublika 1996). For more than 15 years studied the history of Russian Oriental studies. It resulted in the monograph People and Fates. A Bibliographic Dictionary of Orientalists, the Victims of Political Terror in the Soviet Era. 1917-91 [Люди и судьбы. Биобиблиографический словарь востоковедов – жертв политического террора в советский период. 1917-1991]. St Petersburg: Peterburgskoe vostokovedenie 2003, 496 p. (Along with M.Y.Sorokina.)
Took part im many conferences - on Sanskrit studies such as those in Weimar 1979, Leiden 1987, Wien 1990, Krakow 1993, Helsinki 2003; on Indian epics such as those in Dubrovnik 1997, 1999, 2002; on Asian archaeology such as those in Helsinki 1993, Bonn 2003; on problems of modern South Asia such as those in Copenhagen 1996, Edinburgh 2000; etc. In 1995 was invited by the Asiatic Society of Bengal to work at Colcatta for 6 months; in 2000-2001 worked at the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden; from January to May 2004 delivered lectures at Saskatchewan University, Sastatoon, Canada. Published a number of papers in foreign academic periodicals and collections of papers. Many academic projects run by Y.V.Vassilkov were granted by both Russian and foreign trusts and foundations.
During many years worked as a lecturer at the Faculty of Oriental Studies and the Philosophical Faculty of St Petersburg University, the High Religious And Philosophical School, the Oriental Institute; delivered cources of lectures at the European University at St Petersburg, the Academy of Pedagogical Mastery, the Theatre Institute. Was a member of the editorial board of the magazine Kulturologiya. The Petersburg Journal of Cultural Studies, 1992-1996, and The Russian Humanitarian Encyclopedic Dictionary [Русский гуманитарный энциклопедический словарь], 1993-1997, published 2002, in which edited the section of the history of science and for which wrote 90 entries such as Oriental Studies [Востоковедение], The Asiatic Museum [Азиатский музей] and biographies of many preeminent Orientalists. A member of the editorial board of the magazine Acta Orientalia Vilnensia, published by Vilnius University. Took part in the preparation of the agreement between St Petersburg and India for cooperation in science and technology, and helped to fulfill statements of the agrement.
In 2003, at the World Sanskrit Conference, held in Helsinki, Y.V.Vassilkov was appointed a regional director of the International Association of Sanskrit Studies, IASS.
( the entire list as a *.pdf file)
Śabdaprakāśa. Proceedings of the Zograph Readings 1 [Шабдапракаша. Зографский сборник. Выпуск I]. Ed. by Y.V. Vassilkov and S.V.Pakhomov. St Petersburg 2011. 315 p.
Пословицы и поговорки Северной Индии / Сост., пер. с хинди и урду и коммент. А.С.Бархударова, В.М.Бескровного и Г.А.Зографа. Сопровод. ст., словарь и указ. Г.А.Зографа. Издание подготовили Я.В.Васильков и Н.В.Гуров. СПб.: Центр «Петербургское Востоковедение», 1998. 384 с. (Серия “Orientala”).
Стхапакашраддха / Сборник статей памяти Г.А.Зографа. Под ред. Я.В.Василькова и Н.В.Гурова. СПб.: «Петербургское востоковедение», 1995. 512 с.
Mahabharata. Book 8. Of Karna (Karnaparva) [Махабхарата. Книга восьмая. О Карне. (Карнапарва)]. Tr. from Sanskrit, with introduction and notes by Y.V.Vassilkov and S.L.Neveleva. Moscow 1990 (Pamyatniki pismennosti Vostoka, XCI). 326 p.
Mahabharata. Book 3. The Forest Book (Aranyakaparva) [Махабхарата. Книга третья. Лесная (Араньякапарва)]. Tr. from Sanskrit, with introduction and notes by Y.V.Vassilkov and S.L.Neveleva. Moscow 1987 (Pamyatniki pismennosti Vostoka, LXXX). 799 p.