Born on August 9, 1931, in Leningrad. In 1954, graduated from Leningrad State University, the Faculty of Oriental Studies, the Department of the History of Far Eastern Countries, the Section of the history of China. From 1954 to 1957, took a doctoral course at the Faculty. In 1957, was enrolled to the staff of the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies, the USSR Academy of Sciences (now the IOM RAS). In 1963, defended the PhD Dissertation, Sima Qian as a Historian of the Fall of the Qin Dynasty [Сыма Цянь – историк падения династии Цинь]. In 1991, defended the Habilitation Dissertation, 'Debate on Salt and Iron' as a Representation of the Chinese Culture during the Han Era [«Спор о соли и железе» – памятник китайской культуры эпохи Хань]. In 1980, was given the academic degree of a senior researcher. From 1986 up to 2014, a leading researcher. In 1960-70, a member of the Bureau of the Historical Section at the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies. In 1984-1991, headed the 'Han' Group at the Department of Historiography and Source Studies of China and Central Asia. From 1987, a member of the Bureau of the Oriental Commission at the Russian Geographiс Society, a member of editorial board of Strany i narody Vostoka (Countries and Peoples of the East) series, chief editor of two issues such as nos. 29, 32.
Major researches and papers by Dr J.Kroll are on the political and economic history of the Old Chinese dynasties such as Qin and Han, their ideology, political and juridical institutions, relations of China with Hsiung-nu from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE; the Chinese proto-science during the Han era including historiography (first of all, early 'pattern histories' such as Shih chi and Han shu and their sources), geography, economic ideas, and traditional metrology; philosophy during Han Era such as eclectic Daoism, Confucianism, Legism; literature and culture during Han Era including the dispute as a cultural phenomenon, and cultural concepts of space, time, particularism and universalism, unity, causality, etc. Moreover, he took part in the compilation of the catalogue of Chinese block-prints kept at the IOM and developed for it (in cooperation with other colleagues) the system of classification of books on the basis of the traditional conception of four kinds of literature; studied Hsieh hou yu proverbs belonging to Beijing folklore, and also the history of Russian Oriental studies (mostly Sinology) during the 20th century.
Published more than 150 papers, including about 20 in foreign languages.
From September 1989 to March 1990, took a training course in China. From September 1994 to May 1995, carried out researches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A member of the European Association of Chinese Studies (ЕАСS). Took part in its conferences held in Weimar (1998), Paris (1992) and Moscow (2002), as well as in the Scandinavian Seminar on Chinese Studies on Seili Island near Turku (1989), etc. Delivered a number of lectures in various universities of China, USA, Germany, Sweden.
Kroll J.L. Rudolf Vyatkin // The Grand Scribe's Records. Vol. V.1. The hereditary Houses of Pre-Han China, Part I by Ssu-ma Ch'ien. Ed. W.H.Nienhauser, Jr. Translators Weiguo Cao, Zhi Chen, S. Cook, Hongyu Huang, B.Knickerbocker, W.H.Nienhauser, Jr., Wang Jing, Zhang Zhenjin, Zhao Hua. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Prsee 2006.
Kroll J.L. Shih chi, Han shu and the Han Culture // Archiv Orientální. Quarterly Journal of African and Asian Studies. 3 volume 74 / 2006. С. 299-348.
Huan K'uan. Debate on Salt and Iron (Yen ti'eh lun). [Хуань Куань. Спор о соли и железе (Янь те лунь)]. In 2 vol. Tr. from Chinese, with introduction, notes and appendices by Yu.L.Kroll. Moscow, Vostochnaya Literatura Publishers 2001. 407 p. (Pamyatniki pismennosti Vostoka. СХХV, 1).
Страны и народы Востока. Выпуск XXIX. Борис Иванович Панкратов. Монголистика. Синология. Буддология / Ответственный редактор Б.И.Панкратов. СПб.: Центр “Петербургское Востоковедение”, 1998, 332 с.
Huan K'uan. Debate on Salt and Iron (Yen ti'eh lun). [Хуань Куань. Спор о соли и железе (Янь те лунь)]. Vol. 1. Tr. from Chinese, with introduction and notes by Yu.L.Kroll. St Petersburg, Peterburgskoe Vostokovedenie Publishers 1997. 416 p. (Orientala).
Вахтин Б.Б., Гуревич И.С., Кроль Ю.Л., Стулова Э.С., Торопов А.А. Каталог фонда китайских ксилографов Института востоковедения АН СССР. М.: ГРВЛ, 1973. В 3-х т.