Scientific life in the Hungarian People’s Republic

Excerpt taken from Zoltan Halasz, Unkari: kuvitettu tietoteos [Hungary: an illustrated factbook], (1960), pp. 195-199. Translated by ML-theory.

This text by Halasz obviously only scratches the surfaces and leaves out such scientists as agrobiologist Dr. Sándor Rajki and geologist Elemér Vadász, and many others. However, it gives some information. When I have the time and some more resources I’ll try to create a page dedicated to the science of the Hungarian People’s Republic, similar to the one I’ve made about the USSR.



Hungarian scientific life has developed many world-renowned researchers, inventors and scientists. Examples of internationally famous scientists include Sándor Körösi Csoma, who wrote the first tibetan dictionary and grammar, skilled orientalists Armin Vámbéry and Aurél Stein, as well as Gábor Szarvas and Mór Ballagi, and other linguists who have researched related languages. The eradicator of puerperal fever, Ignác Semmelweiss is known in history as “the savior of mothers”, discoveries of Loránd Eötvös, developed further by his students, are used all over the world to measure gravity and for finding useful minable resources. Donát Bánki, who was one of the most significant engineers of his day, invented in 1892 together with János Csonka a carbonator. By using the turbine developed by him it was possible to utilize water power better than before. Károly Zipernovszky, Miksa Déri and Ottó Titusz Bláthy developed principles of energy transmission in transformers, and the first transformer station was put into operation by them. The electronic locomotive of Kálmán Kandón as well as the cylinder mill and first steam-powered earth cultivator of András Mechwart have became internationally renowned. Hungarian Oszkár Asbóth designed the first functioning helicopter.

Despite great successes, in the past the work of Hungarian scientists was hampered by countless factors and under capitalist conditions many valuable initiatives were ignored. The reform of Hungarian scientific life began only after the liberation of the country. In the opinion of the people’s democratic government, the economic development of the country and the tasks of the cultural revolution definitely required the reorganization of scientific life. For that reason, not without significant material sacrifices, material conditions for scientific research work were created, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, which had a glorious history but had largely lost its importance between the two world wars, was again made the leading institution of scientific life by entirely reorganizing its activities. Nowadays in the academy’s departments, in its institutes, as well as in the scientific research institutes of the ministries – in 119 research institutes in total – planned theoretical and practical research work is carried out, which succesfully continues and develops the work of Hungarian scientists of previous centuries.

Within the academy there operates a linguistic and literary section, and under its leadership the institute of literary history researches, first of all, questions of the history and development of Hungarian literature. The institute of linguistics is preparing a ten volume Hungarian dictionary.

The institute of economics, which belongs to the section of social-historical sciences, is studying in great detail the questions of socialist planned economy. Along with preparing textbooks for the highest academic levels, the institute of history researches the history of Hungary and the neighboring nations.

The section of mathematics and physics studies the most current questions of theoretical research and has often achieved internationally recognized results.

The recently deceased Frigyes Ries and Lipot Fejér as well as György Alexits and Alfréd Rényi and others, are internationally known in scientific circles because of their mathematical researches.

The head of the central institute of physics, academician Lajos Jánossy, has achieved results in researching the twofold nature of light, which have sparked great interest internationally. With the help of the Soviet academy of sciences, Hungary’s first nuclear reactor has been built into the same institute. Hungarian nuclear physicists are now attempting to independently build nuclear reactors and even nuclear power plants.

In the field of nuclear research Hungarian scientists and researchers can present a respectable list of achievements. At the second atomic energy conference in Geneva, ten proposals of Hungarian scientists were accepted, four of which dealt with the biological, one with agricultural, and four with measurement uses of radioactive isotopes, while one dealt with professor Lajos Imre’s patented new method of producing isotopes. Hungarian atomic energy committee’s special committee on applications of isotopes organized a meeting in the fall of 1958, where 33 lectures were given on the achievements of peaceful uses of nuclear energy in industrial, agricultural, biological and other research as well as in medicine.

The academy’s section on agricultural sciences deals in detail with problems of developing the Hungarian agriculture. Hungarian corn breeders have achieved beautiful results in creating new hybrids. In the field of veterinary science books written by Hungarian scientists are used as textbooks in universities and institutes of higher learning both in Hungary and abroad.

The biological and medical section as well as the biological group successfully research new methods of examination and treatment. Very noteworthy is the research in the effect of radiation on the organism as well as curing cancer tumors.

The section of chemical sciences also carry out theoretical and practical research. The work of the section has been significantly improved by a new central chemistry research institute. Simultaneously Hungarian researchers have achieved ever better results in creating synthetic substances, studying their properties and in the scope of their field of application.

From the members of the section on technical sciences professor László Heller has already twice with world-renowned inventions improved power plant technology. He has together with engineer László Forgó designed the so-called “dry cooling tower”, which solves the issue of water maintenance of heating and nuclear plants in water scarce regions. Previously his system for solving the active cooling of electric generators and improving their efficiency, has attracted worldwide attention. Professor Ottó Benedikt has designed a new type of diesel locomotive with an asynchronous motor, and academician Elemér Szádeczky-Kardoss has achieved significant results in his research on the ionization system of ore formation.

Internationally significant occasions of Hungarian scientific and technical life are the events organized by the more than thirty member organizations of the Union of societies of technical and natural sciences. In 1958 over forty foreign scientists and engineers participated in the Hungarian machine industry week, organized by the Scientific society of machine industry, during which lectures were given on the achievements and plans of Hungarian advanced machine industry, and noted foreign experts also gave presentations. More than a hundred foreigners took part in the 50th anniversary congress of Hungarian chemists, and there the best chemists of Europe met each other and discussed questions of chemistry of both “traditional” and synthetic substances. Hungarian precision mechanical industry and research are internationally highly regarded, so the international body for precision mechanics IMEKO has its headquarters in Budapest, and at its meeting in 1958 in Budapest nearly 800 scientists, researchers and engineers from different parts of the world were present. Along with the Hungarian academy of sciences the other center of Hungarian scientific life is the House of technique, which is the center of the Societies for technical and natural sciences. Inside its halls, in the meetings of specialty fields of the societies and at club evenings, scientists, researchers, practical engineers and advanced professional workers meet each other, and their joint work livens Hungarian scientific life and develops the industry and national economy of Hungary.


Soviet environmentalism in the Stalin era


There is a persistent myth that the USSR in the Stalin era was harshly anti-environmentalist. The research of historian Stephen Brain convincingly debunks this myth. Brain is a bourgeois anti-Stalin historian (who makes certain mistakes due to his pro-capitalist bias) but nevertheless, his main conclusion is correct and definitively proved: Stalin’s government supported strongly environmentalist policies.

However, Soviet environmentalism wasn’t the same kind of liberal-idealist environmentalism which existed in capitalist countries. It did not put any inherent spiritual or supernatural value on nature. Nor was Soviet environmentalism merely interested in conserving natural resources, like many western theorists. Instead the USSR saw the natural environment as something which offers economic, psychological and aesthetic value to human beings. Soviet environmentalism was tied to the deep humanism of Soviet socialism. The Soviets understood that humanity is not separate from nature, but is a product of nature, and deeply connected with nature.

Stephen Brain writes:

“Environmentalism survived and—even thrived—in Stalin’s Soviet Union, establishing levels of protection unparalleled anywhere in the world” (Stephen Brain, Stalin’s Environmentalism, p. 93)

“the Soviet Union in the 1940s went about protecting from exploitation more forested land than any other country in history. Accordingly, it is accurate to say that the Soviet Union developed a real and effective environmentalist program… Stalin emerges as a peculiar kind of environmentalist… his policies withdrew millions of hectares [of forest] from economic exploitation on the grounds that this would improve the hydrology of the Soviet Union. These millions of hectares were left more or less untouched, in keeping with the supposition that complex, wild forests best regulated water flows, and thus one may conclude that Stalin’s policies were steadfastly environmentalist—and because of the way they were carried out, preservationist as well.” (Stephen Brain, Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalinist Environmentalism, 1905-1953, p. 2)

“Stalin also actively promoted forest environmentalism for the benefit of the state, establishing levels of protection unparalleled anywhere in the world… Stalin’s environmental policies codified into law an assumption that healthy land was forested land and that deforestation represented serious environmental dangers to the state’s larger project of modernization, in the form of droughts, floods, hydrological disturbances, and crop failures… Forest protection ultimately rose to such prominence during the last six years of Stalin’s rule that the Politburo took control of the Soviet forest away from the Ministry of Heavy Industry and elevated the nation’s forest conservation bureau to the dominant position in implementing policy” (Song of the forest, p. 116)

However, “after Stalin’s death, the forest protection bureaus were demoted or eliminated entirely” (Stalin’s Environmentalism, pp. 97-98)

“Such an assertion, clearly, represents a significant revision to the existing consensus about Soviet environmental politics, which holds that Stalin’s government was implacably hostile to environmentalist initiatives.” (Stalin’s Environmentalism, p. 93)

“The concensus”

“the shortcomings of Soviet environmental policy [which actually took place in the revisionist period, not in the Stalin-era~MLT]… have been extrapolated into a sweeping conclusion that conservationist or preservationist awareness in the Stalin era was entirely lacking.” (Song of the forest, p. 4)

The revisionists actually carried out projects in the 1960s, 70s and 80s which had very serious environmental effects. The Siberian oil industry, the gas industry and the drying of the Aral sea by the revisionists are usually given as examples. However, in the Stalin era the USSR had a completely opposite policy. There is no link between the environmentally destructive policies of the revisionists and the Marxist-Leninist policies of Lenin and Stalin.

Immediately after the October Revolution Lenin had called for nationalization and conservation of forests:

“We must demand the nationalisation of all the land, i.e., that all the land in the state should become the property of the central state power. This power must fix the size, etc., of the resettlement land fund, pass legislation for the conservation of forests, for land improvement, etc.” (Lenin, The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution)

Lenin and Stalin already supported environmental protections in the 1920s:

“Lenin and Stalin called for aggressive afforestation at Party conferences in the 1920s” (Song of the forest, pp. 143-144)

However, in the Lenin and Stalin periods, the USSR did emphasize that humanity must use science to improve production, build industry, electricity etc. Statements were made, which emphasized that humanity changes the world. These statements were then twisted into supposed “evidence” of Soviet hostility towards nature:

“by the late 1980s, scholars of Soviet environmental history had documented a number of grave environmental problems in Russia, many of which had roots, or appeared to have roots, in the Stalin era. Soviet promethean proclamations from the 1930s, typified by Gorky’s famous dictum “Man, in changing nature, changes himself” and Ivan Michurin’s motto “We cannot wait for kindnesses from nature; our task is to wrest them from her,” strongly influenced this view, along with accounts of the mammoth engineering projects of the first Five-Year Plan. The failure to adopt meaningful emissions controls like those enacted in the West in the 1960s further reinforced the impression of Stalinist enmity toward nature.” (Song of the forest, p. 3)

“Ronald Suny’s discussion of the first Five-Year Plan provides a representative expression of this interpretation: “…insensitivity to the limits of nature was characteristic of capitalist industrialization as well, but in the Soviet Union general ecological ignorance was compounded by the bravado of the Communists…” So dominant is this interpretation that countervailing evidence has been unable to shake it” (Song of the forest, p. 4)

Stephen Brain shows in his paper that the so-called “consensus view” is false. This graph shows that protected forests (group I+II) were logged less and less over time, despite the fact total lumber harvests increased consistently. Group I forests could not be logged at all, and group II could only be logged at a sustainable rate and it had to be approved by the Sovnarkom. This demonstrates that the Soviets definitely prioritized the protection of these ecologically important forests:

In reality, the USSR under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin was not insensitive to the limits of nature or hostile to nature. In actuality: “the Stalinist political and economic system made meaningful economic and political sacrifices in the interests of environmentalism” (Song of the forest, p. 10)

Brain mentions numerous examples of researchers pointing out that the USSR in the 1970s was polluted, and they blamed it on Stalin. Brain says that the most sophisticated version of the consensus view—represented by Douglas Weiner—stated that there was some nature protection in the Lenin era, in the form of non-governmental nature preserve scientific stations, which debunked the claim that there was absolutely no kind of environmental protection. However, because these non-governmental preserves were abolished in the Stalin era when socialism was constructed, Weiner claimed this proves that “stalinism” is entirely hostile to environmentalism. This claim is fallacious. The nature preserves of the Lenin era prove that Lenin was not hostile to environmentalism. In the Stalin era the non-governmental nature preserves were abolished only because they were replaced by even more powerful state-enforced environmental protections and state-controlled nature preserves.

It is true that the USSR did not have emission controls like countries have today, and that is sometimes used as a criticism of the USSR, but this argument is illogical. In those years, emission controls did not exist in any country, and there were practically no environmental protections or laws in any capitalist country at all to speak of:

“Prior to the 1960s, environmental law did not exist as a discrete domestic and international legal category.” (A. Dan Tarlock, History of environmental law) except perhaps in the USSR, as we shall see further in this article.

“environmental law is a byproduct of the rise of environmentalism as a political force throughout the world [only] since the 1960s” (Tarlock)

For comparison, the US environmental protection agency was founded only in 1970. In the capitalist world there was no concept or understanding of the biosphere as something which needed protection:

“The science-based idea that the biosphere was a fragile system vulnerable to human-induced impairment only became widely accepted after World War II.” (Tarlock)

However, the idea of the biosphere was actually invented in the USSR by scientist V. I. Vernadsky, a student of V. V. Dokuchaev. The idea of nature being fragile and that it could be harmed by human action, was already researched and pioneered by Dokuchaev, and in the Soviet period by many of his students, such as V. R. Williams. Vernadsky elaborated his view in his book The Biosphere, which won a Stalin Prize in 1943.

Yet anti-communists have always dismissed these scientists or are completely ignorant of them. As a result they spread the interpretation that Stalin’s Soviet Union was hostile to environmentalism and sustainable practices:

“So dominant is this interpretation that countervailing evidence has been unable to shake it: William Husband’s recent survey of Soviet children’s literature from the Stalin era, for instance, revealed a multiplicity of encoded attitudes toward nature, with a “small but significant number” of books depicting nature in a nonadversarial way. Yet for Husband, such sympathetic portrayals of nature did not suggest a more complex attitude toward the environment, but instead represented only a failure of totalitarianism: “Stalinist-era literature,” he writes, “eluded the hegemony the dictatorship sought, and in so doing it demonstrated an important limit to political control in the USSR.” Although the English scholar Jonathan Oldfield recently pointed out the need for scholars to “move purposefully beyond broad understandings of the Soviet environmental legacy” in order to check a “tendency towards overly crude interpretations of Soviet environmental degradation,” the consensus remains basically unchallenged.” (Stalin’s Environmentalism, p. 95)

It is also wrong to claim that forests were protected only because of industrial or agricultural reasons, although those were priorities:

There are examples discussing the aesthetic and psychological benefits of the forests as well, from “a December 1917 editorial in the journal Lesnaia zhizn’ i khoziaistvo (Forest Life and Management) claiming that “the forest has always had . . . an enormous beneficial influence on the psyche and spiritual store of humans,” to the speech of a delegate at a January 1949 forest conference asserting that “the forest is an enormous moral force for our country.”” (Song of the forest, p. 10)

History of environmental laws in the USSR

Catastrophic clear cutting of Russian forests began during the first world war. Due to the terrible poverty and the needs of the war effort it continued during War Communism (1918-1921). During War Communism the Bolsheviks devised a plan to repair the damage caused to the forests, once peace was achieved. Here is a poster from the forest administration depicting this plan:

In the 1920s a debate arose between two rival schools of thought: “the conservationists”, followers of G. F. Morozov, and “the industrializers”, followers of S. A. Bogoslavsky. Morozov’s ideas had their roots in the theories of V. V. Dokuchaev, while Bogoslavsky relied on contemporary German theories.

Morozov’s supporters advocated sustainable practices and their position was favored by the Soviet government. However, during the first years of the First Five Year Plan, the ultra-left supporters of Bogoslavsky managed to label conservationists as bourgeois, and as people who hinder industrialization. Supporters of Bogoslavsky explicitly attacked sustainability as an outdated bourgeois concept, and stated that nature had to serve interests of industry without any limitations. Otherwise, man was allegedly subordinated at the mercy of nature, instead of nature being subordinated to a rational plan.

However, the ultra-leftists were used flawed undialectical reasoning. They did not correctly see humanity and nature in their inter-relation. The economic plan should be sustainable and take limits of nature into account, otherwise nature would be destroyed. This in no way meant subordinating the economic plan to blind natural forces. In fact, the ultra-left “industrializers” were advocating an idealist voluntaryist position which totally ignored material conditions and material limitations. The Marxist-Leninist position realizes that humanity is limited by material conditions, but can master material conditions more and more, and plan them rationally, thus becoming more and more freed from them, but never absolutely free from them.

Similar ultra-left tendencies raised their heads in other fields too during the first years of the First Five Year Plan. This is because the party and the working class had to focus on attacking Right-Wing views in those crucial years. However, the situation was soon corrected, and sustainable environmental policies gained the upper hand.

“In the 1920s, when representatives of the industrial bureaus advanced visions of a new, socialized landscape, with highly abstracted, regularized forests and logging quotas based on industrial demand, the party leadership sided with conservationists who championed traditional ideas such as sustainable yield. But later, in the 1930s, after industrialists and student activists succeeded in labeling such concepts as bourgeois, advocates of conservationism regained the upper hand by citing the theories of the pre-revolutionary soil scientist V. V. Dokuchaev, who linked the hydrological stability of Russia to the maintenance of permanent forest cover… After 1931, hydrological concerns became the justification for the creation of a vast forest preserve in the center of European Russia, at the time the largest in the world.” (p. 96)

1931 environmental regulations

“Stalin… personally initiated legislation predicated on the belief that Russia’s hydrology necessitated forest protection. Party archives show that on May 30, 1931, Stalin raised a topic for discussion, “On the order of cutting of timber,” requesting Sovnarkom to prepare “in a month’s term, a draft law about the absolute forbiddance of cutting timber in certain regions so as to conserve the water in other regions.” On July 15, Sovnarkom returned its draft law to the Politburo, and by the end of July 1931, Decree No. 519, dividing all the forests of the country into two zones – the forest-industrial zone, and the forest cultivation zone – became law.” (Stalin’s Environmentalism, p. 109)

“Regardless of which bureau controlled them, the forests in a one-kilometer belt along both banks of the Volga, Dniepr, Don, and Ural rivers were made off-limits to any logging whatsoever.” (Stalin’s Environmentalism, p. 109)

1936 environmental regulations

“The party leadership chose… in 1936, to strengthen forest protection further, by greatly expanding the zone of protection, and, with Stalin’s direct participation, by creating a powerful new administration to enforce the new regulations… in July 1936 a new agency was founded, the Main Administration of Forest Protection and Afforestation (GLO) whose sole duty would be to look after lands henceforth called “water protective forests.”…

Forbidden under threat of criminal responsibility was any cutting of the forest (aside from sanitary cutting) in vast zones lying
a) in a twenty-kilometer belt along the Dniepr and two of its tributaries, the Don and three of its tributaries, the Volga and ten of its tributaries, the Ural, and the Western Dvina;
b) in a six-kilometer belt along two tributaries of the Dniepr, four tributaries of the Don, five tributaries of the Volga, two tributaries of the Ural, and two tributaries of the Oka; and
c) in a four-kilometer belt along five tributaries of the Don, eleven of the Volga, one of the Bel’, and one of the Oka.

In the areas that lay outside these belts but still inside the basins of the rivers named above, logging was allowed, but this would be conducted by the GLO, and the harvest could not exceed the annual growth of the forests in question.” (Stalin’s Environmentalism, pp. 110-111)

“The 1936 law reached far beyond the scope of its predecessor… These protected zones were so extensive that they amounted to a majority or near majority of forest land in most oblasts of central Russia, and moreover, a significant percentage of total land in many oblasts… the initiative came from the very top of the party apparatus. As the deputy head of Narkomzem’s forest protection arm, V. M. Solov’ev, reported to a convention of foresters, “this unusual law, comrades—a turning point in forest management—was developed under the direct guidance and with the direct participation of Stalin himself.” (Stalin’s Environmentalism, p. 111)

1943 environmental regulations

“Soviet forest protection grew yet more robust… on April 23, 1943… dividing the nation’s forests into three groups, two of which were subject to protective measures. Into Group I went “the forests of the state zapovedniki, soil protective, field protective, and resort forests, [and] forests of green zones around industrial firms and towns”; in these forests, only “sanitary cuts and selective cuts of overmature timber” were allowed, with clearcuts of all types forbidden. Into Group II went all the forests of Central Asia and along the left bank of the Volga; here, only cuts less than or equal to the annual growth, “ratified by Sovnarkom,” were allowed. Group I and II forests remained under the control of the GLO. In Group III were grouped all other forests, on which no restrictions whatsoever were imposed.

The 1943 classification greatly expanded upon the protections provided by the 1936 law; the forests of entire oblasts, among them Moscow, Voronezh, Kursk, Smolensk, Vladimir, Tambov, Penza, Riazan’, Saratov, Rostov, and Stalingrad, were placed in groups I and II, protecting them, at least ideally, from all exploitation. Over time, the size of Group I forests grew tremendously, until they represented by far the world’s largest area so protected.” (Stalin’s Environmentalism, p. 114)

1947-1953 regulations and the peak of forest protection

“Stalin-era environmentalism reached its zenith in 1947 with the creation of the Ministry of Forest Management (Minleskhoz).” (Stalin’s Environmentalism, p. 115)

“the period of 1947 to 1953 indeed did represent a high point in Soviet forest management.” (Stalin’s Environmentalism, p. 117)

“forest protection in general, received more institutional support during the years from 1947 to 1953 than at any other time in Russian history.” (Song of the forest, p. 10)

Professor Viktor Nesterov of the Timiriazev Agricultural Academy wrote in Pravda on January 19, 1966 that:

“There is a pressing need for an all-Union forest management agency with its own system of subordinate organizations. … Specialists express the opinion that a USSR Ministry of Forestry could become such a competent agency. Incidentally, such a ministry existed from 1947 to 1953. During that time forest workers managed to do a great deal: The amount of sowing and planting of new groves was sharply expanded, and the trimming of the cutting areas was achieved everywhere. The ministry set up two hundred forest-protection stations outfitted with machinery. The annual volume of forest sowing and planting increased sevenfold. We are by no means thinking of idealizing the activity of this ministry, but the results of its work were apparent to everyone who had anything to do with the forests.” (quoted in Stalin’s Environmentalism, p. 117)

“in 1890 the soil scientist Dokuchaev experimented with shelter [forest] belts. During the Soviet period scientists continued to plant trees—millions of them—in order to increase agricultural productivity, particularly on the collective farms and in the wooded steppes of European Russia. The greatest impetus and plan for afforestation and reforestation were apparently Stalin’s; in 1948 he supposedly laid the groundwork for a fifteen-year project to plant trees on more than ten million acres… obviously the Plan benefited the Soviet Union” (Jack Weiner, The Destalinization of Dmitrii Shostakovich’s ‘Song of the Forests’, Op. 81 (1949), p. 214)

“Shelter forest belts have been planted already on more than 800,000 hectares, 306,800 hectares in this spring alone. An irrigation system for 122,000 hectares has been completed, for which it was necessary to build 8,000 irrigation pools and water tanks. The tasks for this year include planting of 700,000 hectares of forest and building of 7,587 irrigation pools.” (Kommunisti, no. 6, 1950, p. 387)

The destruction of environmental protections by the opportunists and Khrushchevite revisionists

“After Stalin’s death, the conservation bureaus fell from their prominent position” (Song of the forest, p. 117)

“The period when Minleskhoz dominated Soviet forest management, however, was brief. On March 15, 1953, six days after Stalin’s funeral, Minleskhoz was liquidated. With the functions of Minleskhoz transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture, forest conservation fell into deep decline. The number of workers assigned to forest matters in Moscow fell from 927 to 342 in the space of six months, a drop of 62 percent, and then to 120 workers after a year.” (Stalin’s Environmentalism, pp. 117-118)

Cybernetics in the USSR: A Marxist-Leninist Perspective

“The synapse is nothing but a mechanism… and must have its precise analogue in the computing machine.” (Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, p. 14)

“The synapse in the living organism corresponds to the switching device in the machine” (Norbert Wiener, The Human Use of Human Beings, p. 34)

“to say that thought is material is to make a false step, a step towards confusing materialism and idealism” (V. I. Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism)

“One day we shall certainly “reduce” thought experimentally to molecular and chemical motions in the brain; but does that exhaust the essence of thought?” (Friedrich Engels, Dialectics of Nature)


Cybernetics is a set of theories and practices developed mainly by American mathematician Norbert Wiener in the late 1940s. He invented his theories during WWII while working for the US military. Cybernetics is difficult to define exactly, but its supporters usually say it deals with “information”, “control” of processes, and it uses analogies which equate living beings and society to machines. For example, a cyberneticist might describe the functioning of a state as a kind of machine, or the functioning of the human mind as a calculator. The precise definition of Cybernetics and the precise meaning of cybernetic ideas will be discussed later in this article.

In 1952 Mikhail G. Yaroshevsky published an article in the Soviet literary gazette, titled “Cybernetics – “science” of obscurantists”. Other articles appeared, and cybernetics was heavily criticized in the USSR, finally being authoritatively labeled a reactionary pseudo-science in the 1954 Short Philosophical Dictionary. However, in the 1960s and 70s cybernetics became fully accepted in the revisionist USSR and was heavily promoted by the government, to the point that it was included in the khrushchevite party program and Khrushchev praised it as vital for building communism. The period of the early 1950s is therefore now described as the “anti-cybernetics campaign”.

This article investigates the significance of this “campaign”, the reasons why cybernetics was later accepted, and the supposed merits and demerits of cybernetics.


Let’s first discuss the Soviet criticism of cybernetics. Its worth quoting the full entry of the 1954 Short Philosophical Dictionary. Afterwards I’ll try to unpack its meaning:

“CYBERNETICS (from the Greek word meaning helmsman, manager) is a reactionary pseudo-science, which arose in the U.S.A. after World War II and which was spread widely in other capitalist countries. It is a form of modern mechanism. The adherents of cybernetics define it as a universal science of the connections and communication in technology, of animals and the life of society as well as of the “general organization” and direction of all processes in nature and society. Thereby cybernetics identifies mechanical, biological, and social correlations and laws with one another. As every mechanistic theory, cybernetics denies the qualitative specificity of laws in the various forms of being and of the development of matter, reducing them to mechanical laws. In contradistinction to the old mechanism of the 17th and 18th Centuries cybernetics considers the psycho-physiological and social phenomena no longer as analogous to the simplest mechanisms but to electronic machines and apparatus, whereby it equates the work of the brain with the work of an automatic calculator and the life of society with a system of electrical and informational communications. In its very essence cybernetics is directed against the materialistic dialectic, against modern scientific physiology, which was founded by I. P. Pavlov, and against the Marxist, scientific conception of the laws of social life. This mechanistic, metaphysical pseudo-science is most compatible with idealism in philosophy, psychology, and sociology.

Cybernetics makes particularly clear one fundamental trait of the bourgeois outlook, namely its inhumanity, its effort to turn the worker into an accessory of a machine, into an instrument of production and into a weapon of war. The imperialist utopia of replacing the living, thinking man, struggling for his own interests, with a machine in production as well as in war is characteristic of cybernetics. The instigators of a new world war use cybernetics in their dirty, practical affairs. Under the guise of propaganda of cybernetics in the countries of imperialism, scientists of various specialties are being attracted to develop new methods of mass extermination of people – electronic, telemechanical, automatic weapons, the design and production of which have turned into a large branch of the military industry of the capitalist countries.” (Short Philosophical Dictionary, 1954)

1. Cybernetics is not a science, therefore it is a pseudo-science

First of all Soviet marxists denied that cybernetics is a science. It does not have a precise subject-matter, a precise definition, and all supposed cybernetic advances have actually been discovered by other disciplines such as electronic engineering, computer-science, mathematics or physiology. Cybernetics overlaps with other sciences in a confused and arbitrary way. While a real “hybrid science” like biochemistry studies chemical processes involved in biology, cybernetics does not do anything comparable. Instead cybernetics is more like a worldview or a philosophical theory than a science.

Slava Gerovitch writes in his book about cybernetics:

“Cybernetics is an unusual historical phenomenon. It is not a traditional scientific discipline, a specific engineering technique, or a philosophical doctrine, although it combines many elements of science, engineering, and philosophy. As presented in Norbert Wiener’s classic 1948 book Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, cybernetics comprises an assortment of analogies between humans and self-regulating machines: human behavior is compared to the operation of a servomechanism; human communication is likened to the transmission of signals over telephone lines; the human brain is compared to computer hardware and the human mind to software; order is identified with life, certainty, and information; disorder is linked to death, uncertainty, and entropy. Cyberneticians view control as a form of communication, and communication as a form of control: both are characterized by purposeful action based on information exchange via feedback loops. Cybernetics unifies diverse mathematical models, explanatory frameworks, and appealing metaphors from various disciplines… physiology (homeostasis and reflex), psychology (behavior and goal), control engineering (control and feedback), thermodynamics (entropy and order), and communication engineering (information, signal, and noise) and generalizes each of them to be equally applicable to living organisms, to self-regulating machines, and to human society.” (Slava Gerovitch, From Newspeak to Cyberspeak: A History of Soviet Cybernetics, p. 2)

2. Cybernetics ignores qualitative differences. It is a vulgarizing theory.

This leads us to the second problem of cybernetics. It tries to be a universal science which applies equally to living, non-living, material and non-material, conscious and non-conscious, social and non-social fields. All of these areas are qualitatively so different that they cannot be equated. In order for the same law to truly apply in all these fields, the law must be extremely broad, akin to a philosophical generalization such as the laws of dialectics. Secondly, we would expect the law to function somewhat differently at qualitatively different levels of organization. However, cybernetics doesn’t heed any of these criticisms but instead imposes the same exact laws on all levels of existence.

“To sum up: the many automata of the present age… lend themselves very well to description in physiological terms. It is scarcely a miracle that they can be subsumed under one theory with the mechanisms of physiology.” (Wiener, Cybernetics, p. 43)

“there is no reason… why the essential mode of functioning of the living organism should not be the same as that of the automaton” (Wiener, Cybernetics, p. 44)

W. Ross Ashby writes in his book Introduction to Cybernetics that “the worker in any of the biological sciences”, “The ecologist”, “The economist”, “The sociologist”, “And the psychotherapist” all may want to apply cybernetic principles. Someone might argue that the same “simple mechanisms” of cybernetics are not adequate for these different fields. However, Ashby assures as that “This, however, is not so.” (p. 244)

In reality cybernetic “laws” are not laws at all, so it would be better to call them principles. These principles involve things like “loops” and “feedback”. According to cybernetics, everything transmits and reacts to “information” in loops: some kind of stimuli is received and it causes reactions. This process keeps going as a loop. Something like walking has often been used as an example by cyberneticists. As the process happens, the body receives new stimuli based on changing circumstances and corrects its actions based on this new information. This is called “feedback”. A process or “loop” which receives “information” and corrects itself according to “feedback mechanisms” is called “controlled” or even “self-controlled”.

These concepts are borrowed from actual fields of science or engineering, such as physiology, control engineering etc. They are often valid in their own fields, but cybernetics applies them arbitrarily to fields where they don’t belong, and applies them imprecisely. Principles describing the motion of mechanical machines are too crude to describe living beings, and principles describing the motion of non-conscious living beings are too crude to describe consciousness or society. Yet, cyberneticists have equated the media to a sensor which receives a stimuli from the people, and the president to a logic circuit which reacts to the stimuli.

“Cyberneticians combined concepts from physiology (homeostasis and reflex), psychology (behavior and goal), control engineering (control and feedback), thermodynamics (entropy and order), and communication engineering (information, signal, and noise) and generalized each of them to be
equally applicable to living organisms, self-regulating machines
(such as servomechanisms and computers), and human society.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 87)

Wiener understood the difference between life and death, conscious and unconscious, not as qualitatively different levels of organization of matter, but as only quantitative differences, different amounts of entropy, a term which he borrowed from physics and imposed on every other field.

Wiener “suggested that it was “best to avoid all question-begging epithets such as ‘life,’ ‘soul,’… and the like” and speak merely of the decrease of entropy in both humans and machines.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 90)

An example of how unscientificly, imprecisely and loosely Wiener operated with his concepts, and how deeply vulgarizing this method was, is that Wiener even equated organization with beauty and entropy with ugliness, and presumably it would therefore be possible to demonstrate that a work of art is more beautiful if it is more organized and less entropic. (On what basis do we consider something to be more organized? That Wiener did not say) Therefore beauty and aesthetic value itself would be reduced to mere numbers and quantities:

“For Weiner, the notion of entropy… became a measure of choice, randomness, and organization, with all the rich cultural connotations of these concepts, including beauty and melody.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 91)

The popularization of cybernetics in western academia relied on circular reasoning which Gerovitch describes in his book.

“The historian Geoffrey Bowker has described this circular process as a chief feature of the language of cybernetics. It served an important social function by supporting “legitimacy exchange” among scientists: “An isolated scientific worker making an outlandish claim could gain rhetorical legitimacy by pointing to support from another field—which in turn referenced the first worker’s field to support its claims. The language of cybernetics provided a site where this exchange could occur.” In Bowker’s words, the author of the “conditional probability machine,” A. M. Uttley, “used mathematics to support his physiology and physiology to support his mathematics, using cybernetic terminology to spiral between the formal properties of classification machines and the nature of the brain.”… [A similar trick was carried out by Wiener] On the first pages of his Cybernetics, Wiener suggested the computer as a model for the nervous system… A few pages down, he turned this analogy around and described the computer itself in neurophysiological terms… In another example, physiological homeostasis was conceptualized as a feedback-controlled servomechanism, while servomechanisms themselves were described in anthropomorphic terms. The historian Lily Kay argued that “signifying homeostasis as negative feedback and then resignifying such servomechanisms as organismic homeostasis amounted to a circularity.”” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, pp. 94-95)

Cyberneticians then expanded this method of false equivications to broad philosophical questions, and by using semantical tricks and logical fallacies came to their desired conclusions:

“First the cyberneticians asked grandiose questions: What is life? How do we know the world? What governs human behavior? Next they translated these questions into cyberspeak, then substituted for them much narrower versions that could be answered within a particular specialized field of study: mathematics, logic, control theory, or communication engineering. Then they said that these grandiose questions had now been “precisely defined.” After obtaining the answer to a “precisely defined” question, they claimed that it could be applied universally, far beyond the original specialized
field. Thus cyberspeak became a universal language for answering grandiose questions.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 96)

3. Cybernetics is a form of mechanism

The problem which was often emphasized by the Soviets is that cybernetics is a modern form of mechanism or mechanical materialism. As the dictionary states, the mechanical materialism of the 17th and 18th centuries equated people and nature to simple mechanical machines. Cybernetics equates everything to computers or electric calculators. This tendency is extremely widespread today and people have gotten so used to it that they hardly even question it.

However, it goes beyond simply equating living things and societies to dead machines. Cybernetics also sees everything mechanically, metaphysically, i.e. anti-dialectically. It reduces everything to simple “loops”, “feedback mechanisms”, “algorithms”, and “controls”. These loops, circuits and controls are all static and rigid, while reality is fluid, dynamic, complicated and contradictory. The only kind of development and change that cybernetics understands is feedback. It is blatantly evident that this worldview was developed by a bourgeois mathematician and not by a dialectical philosopher.

It is true that some revisionists have tried to explain feedback “dialectically”. Dialectics explains that things have self-motion, i.e. they develop due to their internal contradictions which develop towards something. Some revisionists have claimed that feedback can be understood as a dialectical contradiction. However, dialectical contradictions are not a simple process of action, reaction and another action. That is a simplification which characterizes them taking turns temporaly. In reality the contradictions mutually define each other at every single instant. Sometimes a reaction can simply be caused by an action, but their temporal causality can also be reversed, or they can both happen simultaneously.

To make this easier to understand let’s use an example. A commodity is a unity of two contradictory things, use-value and value. The contradictions exist within each other, and cannot be separated into any kind of action at moment 1 and reaction at moment 2.

Let’s take another example. In capitalism there exist such categories as wage-labour. This is a phenomenon created by capitalism and maintained by capitalism every day. However, labor is much older than capitalism. Chronologically it emerged much earlier. As such it could not be created by capitalism. The fact is that labor was the basis of capitalism just like capitalism is now the basis for wage-labor. Marx begins his analysis of capitalism with the analysis of the commodity, the product of capitalism. Yet, this product is also much older than capitalism. Capitalism is just as much the product of commodities as the other way around. Such a paradox is difficult to explain as a feedback mechanism.

Commenting on Zeno’s paradoxes Engels actually defined motion itself as a paradox and a contradiction. At one moment a body is located at point A and the next at point B. At each separate instance the body is stationary at some point which can be clearly mapped, and yet it is moving and not stationary. How to depict this using cybernetics?

4. Cybernetics is merely a vulgarization of real science

Cybernetics tries to explain phenomena similar to automation science, scientific physiology developed by I. P. Pavlov, laws of nature, society and thought discovered by dialectical materialism etc. However, cybernetics does it much more poorly than these other disciplines. In dealing with physiology cybernetics actually plagiarizes Pavlov, but distorts everything and dumbs it down by a factor of ten. This is understandable since Norbert Wiener had read Pavlov and was aware of his work, but lacked an adequate grasp of physiology or Pavlov’s theories. Wiener was a mathematician and if one only has a hammer, all problems look like nails.

5. Cybernetics supports idealism

Cybernetics is fully compatible with idealistic notions in sociology, psychology and other sciences. Wiener denied the material basis of cybernetic processes saying “Information is information, not matter or energy.” (Wiener, Cybernetics, p. 132)

6. Cybernetics depicts bourgeois inhumanity

Needless to say the capitalists would love to replace every worker with a machine. Machines don’t need to be paid wages, and most importantly they will not go on strike or rebel. Imperialists have also harnessed automated or semi-automated machines such as drones for their purposes. The imperialist dream is to have automated weapons systems, which will unhesitatingly commit any atrocity.

Someone might point out that Wiener used pacifist phrases, and eventually did not want to support the USA war machine anymore. However, we are interested in the objective significance of his theory, not his subjective opinion. Wiener actually began developing his theory of cybernetics after his career as a weapons researcher for the military. His attempt had been to create anti-aircraft guns with aim-assisting functions, and later he often claimed that this experience was crucial for the invention of cybernetics. It turns out the guns developed by Wiener did not work, he was fired and the project was ended:

“his anti-aircraft predictor did not work very well, and in January of 1943 his wartime project was terminated” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 61)

“[David] Mindell argues that “cybernetics… recast military control in a civilian mold”… some view it as an extension of military patterns of thinking and behavior into the civilian realm” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, pp. 54-55)

Defenders of cybernetics have sometimes asked “how can cybernetics be a dangerous weapon of imperialism, if it is also a useless pseudo-science?”. The last few sentences in the dictionary make this perfectly clear. Cybernetics itself is a pseudo-science, but it is used in propaganda to attract scientists into the field of automation in service of capitalism and imperialism. The media hype about cybernetics all turned out to be false. It did not create superhuman robots which would easily replace men. It did not create any such thing. However, it served the imperialists in an ideological campaign against marxism, as a form of sabotage inside the USSR, and as propaganda in favor of automatic weapons systems. It also served as reactionary utopian propaganda which claimed that all the societal ills of capitalism could be solved with the introduction of cybernetics – thus it prolonged the existence of capitalism and defended it from criticisms.


When Wiener’s book “Cybernetics” was published, it was immediately promoted heavily by the imperialist media monopolies. The media companies praised the book to high heavens claiming it to be an absolutely essential classic of our era:

“The Saturday Review of Literature noted that it appeared “impossible for anyone seriously interested in our civilization to ignore this book.” “It is,” the magazine commented, “a ‘must’ book for those in every branch of science.”” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 96)

After reading the book, I can conclude that it is mostly very low level “pop science”, with very little scientific merit at all. The book consists of stories about Wiener’s career, philosophical ramblings and analogies about how there is no difference between societies, humans, animals and machines.

Couple of chapters consist of mathematical formulae, which I cannot comment on. Those chapters make exactly the same conclusions and claims as the rest of the book. In any case, it seems these chapters were intended to impress non-mathematicians and make the book seem more “scientific” and smarter then it actually is. But why would we ask a mathematician to answer philosophical, social, or even biological questions? Yet it seems these chapters really did impress people, and made them think that this “smart mathematician” could answer all questions about life. Cybernetics promised simple solutions to big problems:

“A large portion of the book was occupied by complex mathematical chapters, which a broad audience could not possibly understand. These chapters, although “largely irrelevant,” fulfilled an important rhetorical function: they greatly impressed lay readers, thus conferring legitimacy on the bold claims made in a plain language in the rest of the book. Cybernetics promised solutions to a wide range of social, biological, and technological problems… Complex social and biological phenomena looked simpler… when described in cybernetic terms.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, pp. 96-97)

The massive propaganda campaign continued until cybernetics became universally accepted in the West:

“The popular press hailed digital computers as “electronic brains.” Scientific American published an accessible account of cybernetics under the provocative title “Man Viewed as a Machine.” The computer specialist Frank H. George threw a challenge to the readers of the English journal Philosophy: “You can’t tell me anything that your wife can do that a machine can’t (in principle). [sic!!]” Political scientists spoke of the “nerves of government.”… Business consultants began to sell “management cybernetics.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 97)

The effects of this campaign are still very much present today. Cybernetic terminology is still widely used in politics, sociology etc. In the field of genetics simplistic cybernetic terminology has become the norm, genes or dna are described as carriers of information, codes, or as blueprints:

“Molecular biologists conceptualized the gene as “the smallest message unit”… Biological specificity was “re-represented through the scriptural tropes of information—message, alphabet, instructions, code, text, reading, program. The narratives of heredity and life [were] rewritten as programmed communication systems.”” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 97)

Let us now deal with the history of cybernetics in the USSR.


A cyberneticist named Kopelev claims they were, but historian V. Shilov says that: “Kopelev’s story made in 1949 is hardly possible.” (Valery Shilov, Reefs of Myths: Towards the History of Cybernetics in the Soviet Union, p. 2)

The information about this is actually very conflicting. Perhaps some books were banned, but the sources don’t agree about this. The fact is that cybernetics books would have been available only in the foreign language libraries, for those who spoke foreign languages, and the general public or even most scientists didn’t care about them.

G. N. Povarov said that “in the Library of Foreign Literature one could get this book freely. There I read it. It was approximately in 1952–1953. So this book was not prohibited by censorship” [3, p. 12]] (Shilov, p. 2)

A.V. Shileyko claimed he had access to the book [Wiener’s “Cybernetics”] at a philosophical seminar in the early 1950s. (Shilov, p. 2)

V. A. Torgashev declares that “Wiener’s book “Cybernetics” published in 1948 was translated in USSR in 1949 (in fact its second edition appeared in the open sale only in 1958. However, the book was available in libraries earlier)” [7, p.48-49].” (Shilov, p. 2)

The notorious revisionist and defector Kolman seems to be the source of many of these myths:

“A. Kolman in the article published after his [defection to] the West wrote that he had read Wiener’s book due the help of some unnamed secretary (very important person!) of the Communist Party Central Committee. But in memoirs published 5 years later he told this story in another way – more extensively and heroically” (Shilov, p. 2)

Of course there would be nothing wrong in principal with refusing to publish cybernetics books, or to remove them from public libraries. The only reason cybernetics books should be and were available to some degree is so that people could criticize them.


Gerovitch claims in his book, that soviet philosophers were not knowledgeable on cybernetics, and many had not read Wiener’s books but only his interviews. He claims the campaign was based on ignorance and strawmen. However, it seems his source for these statements is Khrushchev’s secret speech and other similar statements at the CPSU 20th Party Congress, which slandered and attacked previous policies and rehabilitated cybernetics. So Gerovitch’s claim is not very credible right off the bat. Secondly, it is clear that the authors of the Philosophical Dictionary were knowledgeable, and their criticism is still fundamentally not different, let alone contradictory, with the criticisms made by the earlier supposedly “ignorant” soviet critics.

It is true that the criticisms of cybernetics evolved somewhat, but that is only natural. During intellectual discussion views always develop and evolve. Initially certain philosophers linked cybernetics with semantic idealism, but this connection was later dropped. Different authors pointed out different aspects of cybernetics, but the main point was always the same: it is a form of modern mechanism and idealism.

But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that some soviet critics really did not read Wiener’s book Cybernetics Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Indeed, it seems certain only some read it. Is it necessary to read Wiener’s book, in order to conclude that Cybernetics is idealistic and mechanistic? No, it is not necessary at all. The basic premises of cybernetics are fundamentally idealistic and mechanistic and it is completely unnecessary to delve into the intricate details of it to come to this conclusion.

However, I read Wiener’s Cybernetics, his later book The Human Use of Human Beings, as well as other influential cybernetics texts such as Design for a brain by W. R. Ashby and his textbook Introduction to cybernetics. These books are not worth reading. They are low quality philosophical ramblings and vulgar pop-science, with some mathematics thrown in. These books also did not change my perception of cybernetics one bit, but only confirmed what was already blatantly evident.

Gerovitch claims soviet critics took Wiener’s statements out of context, but the same controversial claims demonstrating mechanism (equating humans and societies to machines, to animals, to viruses etc.) and idealism (claims that “information” and “signals” are not material) are repeated numerous times in books by Wiener and also by Ashby, so this is not a case of taking quotes out of context or of mere slips of the pen on the part of Wiener.


Marxist philosophers certainly opposed cybernetics. This is made clear by the entry in the short philosophical dictionary. However, it was not considered a very important problem and the “campaign” against it was small:

“the campaign against cybernetics… was not of large scale – there were near ten publications… Anti-cybernetics articles were not published in the occasional press organs” (Shilov, p. 3) but in specialist technical journals, philosophy journals etc.

Shilov is confident he has the complete list of anti-cybernetic articles, and the list includes only 10. However, many of the 10 publications which Shilov lists as “anti-cyberneticist” did not even mention cybernetics. Even the famous article mentioned by every historian “Mark III, a Calculator” by Boris Agapov which ridiculed the Times article “Can Man Build a Superman?” did not directly mention cybernetics. In the opinion of historian Loren Graham there were only 3-4 articles against cybernetics:

“At the beginning of 1950s Soviet ideologists were definitely hostile to cybernetics, despite that the total number of anti-cybernetics articles was probably not more than three or four” (Loren R. Graham, Science, Philosophy, and Human Behavior in the Soviet Union, p. 272)

If we assume Shilov is correct and Graham is wrong, than this is yet another example of the shoddy quality of bourgeois research. It probably also indicates that the campaign against cybernetics was indeed small, since some of the articles were in publications too niche for Graham to even know about them. However, I think Shilov is exaggerating and trying to increase the number of articles to the maximum, at least by including both the dictionary entry (which Graham doesn’t include because it is not an article) and Agapov’s “Mark III” (which doesn’t mention cybernetics) as anti-cybernetic articles.

Shilov’s list of “anti-cybernetics” articles:

-Boris Agapov, “Mark III, kal’kuliator”, Literaturnaya Gazeta. 4 May 1950. P. 2.
-Mikhail G. Yaroshevsky, “Kibernetika – «nauka» mrakobesov”, Literaturnaya Gazeta. 5 April 1952. P. 4.
-Bernard E. Bykhovskii, “Kibernetika – amerikanskaia lzhenauka”, Priroda. 1952. 7. P. 125-127.
-Kirill A. Gladkov, “Kibernetika, ili toska po mekhanicheskim soldatam”, Tekhnika – molodezhi. 1952. 8. P. 34-38.
-Yu. Klemanov, “«Kibernetika» mozga”, Meditsinskii rabotnik. 25 July 1952. P. 4.
-Bernard E. Bykhovskii, “Nauka sovremennykh rabovladel’tsev”, Nauka i zhizn’. 1953. 6. P. 42-44.
-Materialist, “Komu sluzhit kibernetika?”, Voprosy filosofii. 1953. 5. P. 210-219.
-“Kibernetika”, Kratkii filosofskii slovar’. Moskva, 1954. P. 236-237.
-Theodor K. Gladkov, “Kibernetika – psevdonauka o mashinakh, zhivotnykh, cheloveke i obshchestve”, Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. 1955. 1. P. 57-67.


Cybernetics is a confused and badly defined “science”. As a result it was very often confused with computer technology and automation in general. As a result many people questioned the very existence of the campaign against cybernetics since computer technology was simultaneously highly developed in the USSR:

“Many problems are still the object of acute disputes… Was it [an] anti-cybernetics campaign at all?” (Shilov, p. 1)

P. L. Kapitsa, a conservative but skilled physicist from the tsarist days is a perfect example of this confusion. He argued that since computers are very important, it was a bad idea to attack cybernetics. As if the two are somehow the same thing:

“In 1962 Academician P. L. Kapitsa remarked caustically that … had our scientists back in the year 1954 paid attention to the philosophers, had they accepted that definition [of cybernetics as a reactionary pseudoscience] as a guide to further development of this particular science, we may safely say that our conquest of space, of which we are so proud and for which the whole world respects us, could never have been a reality, since it is wholly impossible to steer space vehicles without recourse to cybernetics.” (David Holloway, Innovation in Science-The Case of Cybernetics in the Soviet Union, p. 309)

Iurii Zhdanov, the son of the party theoretician Andrei Zhdanov, also makes the same mistake. He argued that Stalin always supported computer technology and as a result he did not oppose cybernetics:

“Iurii Zhdanov, the former head of the Science Department of the Central Committee in 1951-53, recalled in his memoirs: “While Stalin spoke against modern genetics, he never opposed cybernetics [by which Iurii means computer technology]. On the contrary, in connection with the space enterprise every effort was made to advance computer technology. In particular, our department had an assignment to help Academician S. A. Lebedev with the construction of the first machines of the BESM type (the High-Speed Electronic Calculating Machine [Bystrodeistvuiushchaia elektronnaia schetmaia mashina]). And that was done…”

The MESM, the first stored-program electronic digital computer in Europe, was already working in Kiev, and two more machines were under construction in Moscow… On 11 January 1950, following the first successful tests of the MESM, the government authorized two independent projects to build large high-speed digital computers: one at the Institute of Precise Mechanics and Computer Technology in Moscow (the BESM), the other at the Special Design Bureau No. 245, also in Moscow (the Arrow [Strela]).” (Slava Gerovitch, “Russian Scandals”: Soviet Readings of American Cybernetics in the Early Years of the Cold War, pp. 563-564)

Gerovitch states categorically:

“The myth that the anticybernetics campaign was a major obstacle to the development of Soviet computing has already been exposed… On the contrary, party and government authorities provided complete support to computing, control engineering, and communications engineering” (Slava Gerovitch, “Russian Scandals”, p. 566)

“Even though cybernetics was labeled in the Soviet press a “pseudoscience,” computers were not considered “pseudo-machines.” Soviet critics of the cybernetics campaign only branded as “idealistic” and “mechanistic” the use of man-machine analogies in the life sciences and the social sciences; they did not at all object to the use of computers for automation and scientific calculations, which were regarded as acceptable “materialistic” applications. The critics even called the invention of a computer a “real scientific and technical achievement” and argued that computers had “great value for the most diverse phases of economic construction.” Computers, they claimed, could make “calculations of any degree of complexity in the shortest possible time,” being capable of “completely flawless operation and procurement of results.”” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 142)

The USSR developed the first digital computers in Europe, the second in the world, and was at the cutting edge of computer technology in the Stalin era. Fields related to computer research and automation were rapidly being developed in the USSR exactly at the same time as the pseudo-science of cybernetics was condemned:

“it is possible to find in Soviet literature mention of the rationalization of mental labor and of thinking machines as early as 1926” (Maxim W. Mikulak, Cybernetics and Marxism-Leninism, p. 454)

“As early as 1934 the Soviet Academy of Sciences had organized a commission on remote control and automation. The year 1936 witnessed the introduction of the journal Avtomatika i telemekhanika. In 1950 the Institute for Precision Mechanics and Computer Technology came into existence; its chief function was to develop the practical aspects of programming. And it took three volumes to record the reports made in 1953, at the Second All-Union Conference on the Theory of Automatic Regulation, on the progress of automation and cybernation from 1940 to 1953. Excellent textbooks on servomechanisms and control systems were written by B. S. Sotskov (1950), G. A. Shaumian (1952), and E. P. Popov (1956).” (Maxim W. Mikulak, Cybernetics and Marxism-Leninism, p. 464)

David Holloway is an anti-communist historian, but he describes this accurately:

“a distinction was drawn between computer technology and the theories of cybernetics. The former was regarded as an important technological advance, while the latter were seen as a malignant ideological growth on the real science of automatic control. Second, the central focus of cybernetics was seen to be the analogy drawn between the brain and the computer; and particular exception was taken to the view ascribed to cyberneticians that the only feature distinguishing brain from computer is the former’s size and capacity. Cybernetics was condemned for attempting to transfer the laws of motion peculiar to some forms of matter to qualitatively different forms where other, higher, laws operate. It was mechanistic in its disregard for such differences; but in so far as it ignored, dismissed, or failed to solve the problem of human consciousness, it was held to leave the door open to idealism and clericalism. Cybernetics was seen as an excrescence on the decaying body of capitalism, reflecting its inhumanity, its aggression, and its fear of the proletariat. The fascination of the ‘thinking machine’ for the bourgeoisie lay, it was said, in the hope of substituting automatic machines for recalcitrant workers, or for pilots who might refuse to bomb peasant women working in the rice fields. Finally cybernetics was said to embody the vain hope that ‘the contemporary technocrats-the cyberneticians’ would be able, with the help of computers to effect substantial changes in the social system. But these ambitions were doomed to failure, for the fundamental problems of capitalist society were not amenable to technological solutions. It was the character of the economic system that determined the course of technological development, not technology that determined social development.” (David Holloway, Innovation in Science-The Case of Cybernetics in the Soviet Union, pp. 310-311)

“Soviet critics complained that the concept of feedback was much cruder than the Pavlovian concept of reflex. Moreover, cybernetics left open the question of the nature and origins of consciousness, which Pavlov was said to have explained by reference to speech, the ‘second signalling system’ which was peculiar to man alone. This had developed as a result of man’s involvement in labour and social interaction, with the consequent need for extensive communication between man. Further, in neglecting the content of speech, cybernetics denied an active role to man’s mental activity.

One of the Soviet critics went on to comment on cybernetics as a social theory. He argued that cybernetics, by claiming that man is not, in essence, different from a machine, played down the crucial fact that man lives in society. Hence it made no distinction between different socio-economic formations, and conceived of society merely as a complex mechanism, consisting of a certain number of elements, and subject to mechanistic laws such as that of feedback. By focusing on the structure of communications it ignored the laws of social development; by ignoring the content of social information it made it impossible to grasp ‘the essence of the phenomena of social life’. As a social theory cybernetics rationalized capitalist society by explaining social change in terms of improvement in ‘group information’, without reference to the mode of production. The crisis of capitalist production could be explained away as the self-regulating mechanism of the market. Because of the need for centralized control the cyberneticians argued that world civilization should be centralized-with its headquarters in Washington.” (David Holloway, Innovation in Science-The Case of Cybernetics in the Soviet Union, p. 311)

One of the main advocates of cybernetics, the notorious revisionist Aksel Berg claimed that condemnation of cybernetics had hindered computer research, but even anti-communist Holloway has shown this is completely false:

“In 1960 Academician Berg wrote that ‘it took such a long time to form a sensible attitude to cybernetics that undoubted harm was done to our science and technology ‘… Berg had referred to the way in which the fears of philosophers had held up the development of computer technology; but, as has been mentioned, computer technology was exempted from the initial attacks on cybernetics. In 1949 the first department of Computer Mathematics in the Soviet Union had been set up at Moscow University, and in the following year the Academy of Sciences established an Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering. Work on digital computers had begun in the late 1940s, and by 1953 several different computers had been completed.” (David Holloway, Innovation in Science-The Case of Cybernetics in the Soviet Union, p. 312)

“In the 1990s, the cybernetics boom was blamed for numerous shortcomings of Soviet science. “This doctrine, which called itself a science of control, chained the technological élan of a great nation,” wrote one commentator in a Russian on-line magazine. “Domestic science wasted immeasurable time and effort on the chimera of cybernetics, while the field of computer technology was deprived of full-scale funding.”” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 4)


Anti-communist Gerovitch finds it “paradoxical” that science actually developed much better in the Stalin era. There are two simple reasons why this happened: 1) the government gave more funding to science 2) the party gave more guidance to scientists and encouraged criticism of false and fruitless ideas. However, anti-communists have always called this guidance and criticism as something tyrannical which hinders science.

“this image of science suppressed by political interference is hard to reconcile with the impressive scientific achievements of the Stalinist era, which earned Soviet scientists a host of Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry. In the postwar period, scientific and engineering institutions and large-scale industrial and construction projects aimed at fulfilling Stalin’s ambitious plan of the “great transformation of nature” mushroomed, and the Soviet Union celebrated an unprecedented “cult” of science and technology. It was during this period that Soviet scientists built their first atomic and hydrogen bombs. Paradoxically, Soviet science appeared to thrive under Stalin’s totalitarian rule better than in the relatively liberal climate of the Khrushchev regime.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 5)

“[Loren] Graham has dispelled the popular myth of Soviet scientists’ being blinded by Marxist ideology and has shown how dialectical materialism, the official Soviet philosophy of science, was fruitfully integrated into the scientific outlook of many Soviet scholars.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 5)

“Although Soviet science enjoyed reform and looser ideological constraints under Khrushchev, it is worth noting that, strictly speaking, Soviet science may have accomplished more under Stalin… Under Stalin, Soviet physicists and chemists pioneered work for which chemist Nikolai Semyonov, physicist Igor Tamm, economist Leonid Kantorovich, and physicist Pyotr Kapitsa received Nobel Prizes decades later. Other Soviet scientists – including Igor Kurchatov, Lev Landau, Yakov Frenkel… and other world-renowned figures – also developed atomic and thermonuclear bombs, a lynchpin in Stalin’s rapid and forceful industrialization of the remnants of the Russian Empire from a backwater country into a global superpower in only a few decades… Many Soviet scientists successfully employed dialectical materialism as a genuine source of inspiration, not a forced ideology, in their scientific work.“ (Benjamin Peters, Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics, in Information & Culture Vol. 47, No. 2 (2012), p. 153)


The first stages

In the mid-1950s the revisionists supported cybernetic ideas being advocated. In 1955 a new edition of the Short Philosophical Dictionary was issued, where the entry on cybernetics was removed. In the late-50s cybernetics was no longer called a pseudo-science. However, Soviet scientists, philosophers and engineers still resisted the western pseudo-science. Because they could no longer condemn it as a pseudo-science, they merely pointed out that it did not have an original subject-matter and did not contribute anything that wasn’t already being performed better by actual sciences:

“Ernest Kolman… confirmed the nihilistic state of mind of some of his colleagues toward Wiener’s theory and other branches of Western science and revealed the continuing Soviet antagonism to cybernetics; its opponents no longer referred to the theory of control and communication in the machine and living organism as pseudoscience but now argued that it was identical with automation and therefore deserved no separate title to existence. It was apparent to Kolman from the sessions on automation sponsored by the Soviet Academy of Sciences in October 1956 and from the discussions held by the Moscow Mathematical Society in April 1957 that the very same engineers, technicians, and mathematicians who were furthering automation opposed Wiener’s cybernetics and that the narrow specialists in biology, physiology, psychology, and linguistics could not reconcile themselves to cybernetics because it represented a misalliance” of incongruous disciplines.”” (Maxim W. Mikulak, Cybernetics and Marxism-Leninism, Slavic Review Vol. 24, No. 3 Sep., 1965, p. 453)

In other words, real scientists opposed cybernetics even after the communist party had stopped condemning it and had adopted a tone of approval. The opposition to cybernetics was not simply imposed on the scientific community by any “tyrannical stalinist official”. The scientists opposed it even on their own.

“It is important to note, however, that it was not the philosophers alone who rejected cybernetics: In the arguments which were carried on about cybernetics some engineers, technologists and mathematicians, who were themselves doing both practical and theoretical work in the field of automatic systems, came forward as its opponents. They asserted that cybernetics had no right to existence as an independent science, that theories of automata were sufficient.” (David Holloway, Innovation in Science-The Case of Cybernetics in the Soviet Union, p. 314)


Cybernetics was heavily promoted in the USSR by Ernest Kolman who Benjamin Peters in his article “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics” characterizes as “a failed mathematician” (p. 159). Kolman, who saw himself as a philosopher of science was described as a “true stalinist” but in reality he was only a careerist. His commitment to marxism had always been self-serving and disingenuous. He was hardly someone defending the integrity of marxism from bourgeois pseudo-science and “had spent time in a Stalinist labor camp after World War II for straying from the party line in his interpretation of Marxism.” (Peters, p. 160). This is probably not the actual reason for his imprisonment, but in any case it suggests he was at best guilty of ideological deviations and in all likelihood guilty of crimes against the Soviet Union.

Later Kolman defected to Sweden where he openly rejected Leninism entirely and strongly criticized both Marx and Engels. Many of his stories about his past have also been debunked, so nobody should really trust him.

In the late 50s he began promoting cybernetics through writings and speeches. To give cybernetics some credibility Kolman actually linked it to the idealist revisionist Bogdanov, and revisionist traitor Bukharin:

“Along with Bogdanov’s tectology, Kolman also numbers Bucharin’s praxeology among the first beginnings of Soviet cybernetic research” (Michael Csizmas and Patrick McNally, Cybernetics, Marxism, Jurisprudence, Studies in Soviet Thought Vol. 11, No. 2 (1971), p. 90)

The other main supporter of cybernetics, Aksel Berg, also described cybernetics as a universal science of government similar to the ‘universal organizing science’ or tektology of Bogdanov, which also had a large influence on Bukharin:

“Berg actively used his huge influence and connections in the party and government to promote cybernetics as a universal “science of government,”” (Slava Gerovitch, “Russian Scandals”, p. 566)

Other revisionists, for example the East German Georg Klaus made the laughable claim that developers of cybernetics Ashby and Wiener both “produce… clearly recognizable dialectic and materialistic trains of ideas” (Kybernetik in philosophischer Sicht, p. 23, quoted and translated in Gotthard Günther, Cybernetics and the dialectic Materialism of Marx and Lenin, p. 8)

The trio Sobolev, Liapunov and Kitov

Together with Kolman and Berg, the originators of cybernetics in the USSR were mathematicians Sergei Sobolev,Aleksei Liapunov and computer engineer Anatoly Kitov. Together they wrote the influential early pro-cybernetics article “The Main Features of Cybernetics”. (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 173)

“In the autumn of 1954 Liapunov organized a “seminar on machine mathematics” at Moscow University. He did not limit seminar topics to purely mathematical problems, however. Liapunov… incorporated the entire range of cybernetic issues into the seminar’s agenda. Liapunov’s seminar met regularly for several years and served as a nexus of public exchange of cybernetic ideas… While cybernetics was still referred to in the press as a “reactionary pseudoscience,” the participants of Liapunov’s seminar openly discussed most recent Western cybernetic works” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, pp. 174-175)

During the discussion of the article “The Main Features of Cybernetics” by Sobolev, Liapunov and Kitov “The Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Voprosy filosofii, Mark Rozental’, objected to the use of the word memory with respect to computers, arguing that memory was a mental attribute. Kitov replied that memory was nothing more than “the ability to preserve information” and contended that “one should not be afraid of calling this thing memory both here and there [in men and machines].” “Why can’t we say memory but have to say storage device?” he asked. “The matter is to preserve a difference between man and machine,” Rozental’ explained. “The real difference is that man is a social being; he is formed under the influence of his [social] environment. There is no need to see a difference where it is not even tangible,” Kitov retorted.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 181)

“In October of 1958, speaking on cybernetics at the All-Union Conference on Philosophical Problems of Natural Science, Sobolev brushed aside the philosophical critique of cybernetics as utterly irrelevant:

“We [Sobolev and Liapunov] admit that we do not even understand some of these [philosophical] questions in relation to cybernetics… One cannot divide physics into materialistic physics and idealistic physics… There is no such thing.”

…Sobolev did not use any philosophical arguments to refute the charge of idealism; instead, he claimed that philosophical terminology simply was not applicable to cybernetics.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, pp. 181-182)

One could ask, if the cyberneticians even admit that they do not understand philosophical questions or philosophical objections to cybernetic claims, how can they be so arrogant as to simply reject these criticisms without even understanding them?

Sobolev and Liapunov also clearly were not familiar with Lenin’s words that:

“no natural science… can hold its own in the struggle against the onslaught of bourgeois ideas and the restoration of the bourgeois world outlook unless it stands on solid philosophical ground. In order to hold his own in this struggle and carry it to a victorious finish, the natural scientist must be a modern materialist, a conscious adherent of the materialism represented by Marx, i.e., he must be a dialectical materialist.” (Lenin, On the significance of militant materialism)

Cybernetics is accepted officially by the Khrushchevites

Cybernetics was finally adopted officially by the revisionists at the 20th party congress, and adopted into the party program at the 22nd party congress:

“In 1961 the Central Committee began promoting cybernetics at the Twenty-Second Party Congress as “one of the major tools of the creation of a communist society.” First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev in particular promoted a far-reaching application of cybernetics.” (Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, Information & Culture Vol. 47, No. 2 (2012), p. 164)

“In 1958 an entry on cybernetics finally appeared in the additional volume 51 of The Great Soviet Encyclopedia… This article acknowledged Norbert Wiener’s pioneering role in the development of cybernetics and effectively legitimized this field in the Soviet Union. The author of this article was none other than Andrei Kolmogorov [famous mathematician and cybernetist]. A separate article, co-authored by Kolmogorov’s student, was devoted to Wiener…” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 151)

To rehabilitate cybernetics its supporters avoided discussing philosophical problems, instead going for a “neutral” technocratic approach. Cybernetics terminology was changed to hide its mechanistic character, the word “mechanism” was removed from all descriptions of cybernetics by its developers, Wiener’s “feedback mechanism” was renamed “the theory of feedback”. The revisionist authors emphasized the theoretical nature of cybernetics to distance it from American pragmatism. (Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, p. 156)

By the 1960s the revisionist leaders had decided that cybernetics was so important, that it should be given its entire division in Soviet science. Keep in mind, the entire scientific establishment in the USSR consisted of only three large divisions: physico-technical and mathematical, chemico-technical, and biological. The revisionists claimed that the fashionable western pseudo-science was as important as these major divisions of science!

“In the later 1960s the Academy of Sciences of the USSR vaunted cybernetics as an entire division of Soviet science, one of only four divisions.” (Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, p. 167)

Things became even more ridiculous, when revisionists began arguing that really all the other fields should be subordinated under cybernetics, and seen as mere subcategories of it:

“Others waxed extravagant in arguing that even the remaining three divisions – “the physico-technical and mathematical sciences, chemico-technical and biological sciences, and social sciences” – could be read, without much conceptual violence, as subfields of the overarching expanse of Soviet cybernetics, given its ecumenical commitment to stitching together the mechanical, the organic, and the social: a totalizing mission begun with Wiener’s attempt to analogize (in his subtitle to his 1948 Cybernetics) “the animal and the machine” and later (in his subtitle to 1950’s The Human Use of Human Beings) “cybernetics and society.”” (Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, p. 167)

Cybernetics departments kept multiplying like viruses. Cybernetic were created for everything imaginable. Cybernetic psychology, cybernetic geography, cybernetic economics. What’s next? Cybernetic art and cybernetic cuisine?

“Adopting this broad view institutionally, the Academy of Sciences originally categorized cybernetics into eight sections, including mathematics, engineering, economics, mathematical machines, biology, linguistics, reliability theory, and a “special” military section. With Berg’s influence on the Council on Cybernetics, the number of recognized subfields grew to envelop “geological cybernetics,” “agricultural cybernetics,” “geographical cybernetics,” “theoretical cybernetics” (mathematics), “biocybernetics” (sometimes “bionics” or biological sciences) , and, the most prominent of the Soviet cybernetic social sciences, “economic cybernetics.””(Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, p. 167)

Cybernetic legal theory was added, and naturally the new western fad “semiotics” developed by bourgeois linguists and idealist philosophers, was thrown in and given its own department:

“By 1967 the range of sections had expanded to include information theory, information systems, bionics, chemistry, psychology, energy systems, transportation, and justice, with semiotics joining the linguistic section and medicine uniting with biology.” (Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, p. 167)


Leading cyberneticists were reactionaries who had been fighting against genuine science:”In July 1954 Sobolev published an article in the leading Party organ, Pravda… Using dogmatism as a euphemism for the Stalinist legacy in Soviet science, Sobolev specifically attacked the schools of Lysenkoist biology and “Pavlovian” physiology” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 164)
Cybernetics became a haven for all kinds of idealists and revisionists, pseudo-scientists in all fields from psychology, linguistics to law and natural science:

“Sheltering a huddling crowd of unorthodox sciences, including “non-Pavlovian physiology (‘psychological cybernetics’), structural linguistics (‘cybernetic linguistics’), and new approaches in experiment planning (‘chemical cybernetics’) and legal studies (‘legal cybernetics’),”” (Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, p. 167)

The acceptance of cybernetics did not only mean that a useless pseudo-science was adopted in the field of automation or eletronics. It served to promote pseudo-science and to attack real sciences in many other fields, particularly in physiology, but also psychology, biology etc.
“Cybernetics began to serve as an institutional umbrella for various unorthodox research trends previously suppressed by dominant Stalinist schools… “biological cybernetics” (genetics), “physiological cybernetics” (non-Pavlovian “physiology of activity”), and “cybernetic linguistics” (structural linguistics).” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 8)

In 1960 “there appeared an article by Ljapunov and Sobol’ev, ‘Cybernetics and Natural Science’, in which the thesis of acquired inheritance was rejected” and the authors attacked michurinism and defended mendelism by saying that “classical genetics is in agreement with cybernetics.” (Michael Csizmas and Patrick McNally, Cybernetics, Marxism, Jurisprudence, p. 94)

“Problemy kibernetiki, for example, published papers on the application of cybernetics to genetics, thereby providing a haven for geneticists.” (David Holloway, Innovation in Science-The Case of Cybernetics in the Soviet Union, p. 327)

Pavlovian physiology was not compatible with cybernetics, and therefore it had to be destroyed. The council setup to maintain Pavlov’s work was dissolved:

“Of the more specific objections raised to cybernetics, that based on Pavlovian theories about higher nervous activity no longer carried the same force, since the Pavlovian orthodoxy had been greatly weakened in the mid-1950s… The Council on the Problem of the Physiological Teaching of Academician I. P. Pavlov, which had been set up to ensure that the resolutions of the 1950 Conference were enforced, seems to have held its last meeting in 1953. See Vestnik Akademii Nauk 0953, 6), 6I-2.” (David Holloway, Innovation in Science-The Case of Cybernetics in the Soviet Union, p. 331)”The frontiers between physiology and engineering are those where cybernetics has had most effect on the conduct of research, and here the situation was more complex. Cybernetics was condemned as incompatible with Pavlov’s theories; consequently the reaffirmation of Pavlovian teaching in 1950, and the subsequent purge of those who had attempted to revise his work, provided a powerful obstacle to cybernetics. One of those purged in 1950 exemplifies this clearly. In the 1930s P. K. Anokhin… had introduced into the physiology of the nervous system the idea of the ‘return afferentation’ of the results of an action to the actor-almost identical with the concept of feedback. This work, however, was condemned for conflicting with the Pavlovian theory of the reflex arc. Anokhin had attempted to rehabilitate his own work in the light of cybernetics:

When cybernetics appeared on the scene and when I began to talk of our Soviet priority in the theoretical treatment of physiology, friends told me: ‘Give up talking about that!’ It’s alright to outstrip a scientific discovery by eleven years, but we don’t advise you to outstrip bourgeois obscurantism by eleven years. In as much as research in physiology was held up it was by the stress on Pavlovian orthodoxy, and only at second remove by the attacks on cybernetics.” (David Holloway, Innovation in Science-The Case of Cybernetics in the Soviet Union, pp. 312-313)

“Nikolai Aleksandrovich Bernshtein (1896–1966), who would later play the leading role in Soviet “physiological cybernetics.” Throughout his career, Bernshtein spoke openly and consistently about his disagreement with Pavlov’s doctrine of conditional reflexes… As early as 1934, Bernshtein proposed to replace the classical Pavlovian concept of the “reflex arc” with a “reflex circle.”” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, pp. 44-45)

“Bernshtein… disagreed with Pavlov conceptually and did not even attempt to portray himself as an orthodox Pavlovian, became a prominent target of ideological criticism… His critics… accused him of attempting to “belittle” Pavlov’s significance. Furthermore, since Bernshtein cited foreign [imperialist] authors, he was charged with “kowtowing before foreign scientists” and “anti-patriotism.” The critics also attached to Bernshtein’s doctrine the usual labels: idealism (for using mathematical analysis) and mechanicism (for regarding the human body as a self-regulating mechanism). They even accused him of holding onto the “false theory of mutations” (i.e., genetics). At the 1950 “Pavlov session,” critics alleged that he knew “neither the letter nor the spirit of Pavlov’s teachings.”” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 46)

“The “father of Soviet cybernetics,” Aleksei Liapunov, had developed a longterm friendship with a number of leading Soviet geneticists since the early 1940s, when he was involved in a controversy between Kolmogorov and Lysenko over the validity of statistical analysis in the interpretation of genetic experiments. In the late 1940s, Liapunov organized a kruzhok (a “circle,” a home study group)… he offered informal courses on genetics and the theory of probabilities and statistics, which were not taught to biology students at the university. Risking his position as a Party member and a researcher at a closed institution working on classified projects, Liapunov often invited persecuted geneticists to give guest lectures and transmit their “forbidden knowledge” to this select group. Geneticists… seized this opportunity… Such prominent biologists as Dubinin, Romashov, Sakharov, Timoféeff-Ressovsky, Zavadovskii, and Zhebrak spoke at the meetings of Liapunov’s kruzhok.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 183)

Liapunov was involved in signing the anti-lysenko letter of 94 reactionary scientists in 1955 which was expanded in 1956 to the so-called “letter of 300”.

“Liapunov signed the addendum and took an active part in soliciting signatures from influential Soviet scientists; in particular, he managed to obtain Sobolev’s support” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 184)

“Liapunov’s propagation of cybernetic ideas was closely connected with his defense of genetics.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 186)

“The cybernetics movement began to spread over a wide range of disciplines. “Biological cyberneticians” challenged the Lysenkoites in biology; “physiological cyberneticians” opposed the Pavlovian school in physiology; “cybernetic linguists” confronted the traditionalists in linguistics. The opponents of dominant schools in various fields began speaking the language of cybernetics.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 204)

“As the historian Mark Adams has demonstrated, genetics “hid under protective language: to cognoscenti, such terms as ‘radio-biology,’ ‘radiation bio-physics,’ and ‘physico-chemical biology’ functioned as a kind of protective mimicry, serving as euphemisms for both orthodox genetics and molecular biology.” Genetic research was conducted not in biological institutions (which were controlled by the Lysenkoites) but under the roofs of physical and chemical research institutes. One of the code names for genetics in this period was cybernetic biology.” (Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 211)

“In October of 1958, at the All-Union Conference on Philosophical Problems of Natural Science, Aleksei Liapunov and Sergei Sobolev delivered a paper in which they portrayed [mendelian] genetics as an implementation of the cybernetic approach in biology” (Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 211)

“Liapunov became the head of the Biological Section of the Council on Cybernetics; as the editor of the series Problemy kibernetiki… he published works on genetics. In particular, Liapunov helped his close friend Nikolai Timoféeff-Ressovsky [a mendelist who had defected to Germany and worked for the Third Reich]… to resume active research and publications after returning from Stalinist labor camps. Timoféeff-Ressovsky’s first lecture after his return to Moscow was given at an informal gathering in Liapunov’s apartment… Thanks to Liapunov’s efforts, however, this article, written in collaboration with the geneticist Raisa Berg, appeared in the fifth volume of Problemy kibernetiki in 1962. To justify this publication, Timoféeff-Ressovsky and Berg injected a few cybernetic terms in their article.” (Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 212)

“Speaking at the 1962 conference, the leading specialist in pattern recognition, the mathematician Mikhail Bongard of the Institute of Biophysics, argued that Pavlovian reflex theory, if subjected to a cybernetic test, failed to explain pivotal physiological mechanisms” (Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 222)

“Bongard argued that reflex theory was clearly not adequate for explaining higher nervous activity… Instead, Bongard argued, one must look for a solution by building cybernetic models.” (Newspeak to Cyberspeak, pp. 222-223)

“Sobolev, in particular, argued that there was no limit to the applicability of notions of cybernetics to living organisms: “In cybernetics, a machine is defined as a system capable of accomplishing actions that lead to a certain goal. Therefore, all living organisms, and human beings in particular, are in this sense machines. Man is the most perfect of all known cybernetic machines. . . . There is no doubt that all human activity manifests the functioning of a mechanism, which in all its parts obeys the same laws of mathematics, physics, and chemistry, as does any machine.” Pavlovian physiologists tried to oppose this trend, but they could hardly resist the thrust of the cybernetics wave.” (Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 224)


Ever since the rise of Khrushchev, the Soviet revisionists had tried to create a “less political” technocratic system. Western imperialist ideas were not seen as questionable by the revisionists, instead they were embraced in the hope of gaining somekind of pragmatic usefulness. Khrushchev’s corn fiasco, which attempted to transplant American hybrid corn into the USSR is only one notorious example. The technocrats also encouraged Soviets to not criticize Western imperialist “innovations”, and as a result doctrines like cybernetics, “brutalism” in architecture etc. were imported from the West to the USSR. The technocrats wanted optimal pragmatic solutions, and considered them “non-ideological”—their use of brutalism being a prime example. But brutalism is also a prime example of how this kind of supposedly non-ideological system is actually completely ideological. Brutalism, an imperialist Western trend, replaced Socialist Realism in architecture.

Lenin said:

“to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn aside from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology.” (Lenin, What is to be done?)

The revisionists gleefully accepted “pragmatic” technocratic solutions very similar to right-deviators of the past, such as Bukharin and his use of Bogdanov’s “universal organizing science”:

“In the 1960s, “optimal planning and control” became a motto of the cybernetic movement. Soviet cyberneticians assumed that the main problem of the Soviet economy lay in the inefficient mechanisms of data collection, information processing, and control, and offered a solution based on mathematical modeling and computer-aided decision making. They believed that computers produced a politically neutral, “optimal” solution” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 256)

“In the late 1960s, cybernetic ideas were incorporated into the writings of a leading Party theoretician,
the philosopher Viktor Afanas’ev… Adopting terms from cyberspeak, Afanas’ev began talking of “social information” and “the scientific management [upravlenie] of society.”… During the early anti-cybernetics campaign, Soviet critics had attacked cybernetics for being a “technocratic theory.” Now the ideological attitude toward technocratic aspirations of cyberneticians was completely reversed. In 1967 the authors of the fifth volume of Cybernetics—in the Service of Communism wrote with pride that “the view of society as a complex cybernetic system with a multi-dimensional network of direct and feedback links and a mechanism of optimization, functioning towards a set goal, is increasingly gaining prestige as the main theoretical idea of the ‘technology’ of managing society.”… Berg’s Council on Cybernetics played a crucial role in the ideological rehabilitation of the legacy of Aleksei Gastev and other Soviet pioneers of the [bourgeois anti-communist theory of] “scientific management” movement of the 1920s.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 285)

As Lenin had said, belittling Marxism would of course lead to it being replaced by bourgeois ideology more and more.


First in the Khrushchev era cybernetics was fully rehabilitated:

Under A. Berg’s leadership a philosophical section was created “to reconcile cybernetics with dialectical materialism by adapting dialectical materialism to cybernetics. Philosophers loyal to cybernetics duly accomplished this task. First, they managed to incorporate the concept of information into the canonical list of categories of dialectical materialism.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 258)

“Cybernetics occupied a prominent place in the fundamental five-volume Philosophical Encyclopedia, published in 1960–1970. The philosopher Aleksandr Spirkin, head of the Philosophical Section, served as Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the encyclopedia, and he secured the publication of an 11-page article on cybernetics. (The article on mathematics was only 6 pages long.) The encyclopedia also included as separate entries such terms as control systems, information theory… thus turning them into philosophical categories. The encyclopedia article on cybernetics fully reflected the new domination of cybernetic discourse over the old philosophical clichés [i.e. over marxism]. The first draft, written by Ernest Kolman, was mildly critical of cybernetic claims, but after a discussion at the Philosophical Section of the Council on Cybernetics it was forcefully rejected. Kolman emphasized the “qualitative differences” between humans and machines, and argued that cybernetic devices did not have consciousness and therefore could not think. Cybernetics supporters brushed such formulations aside… The new version, which was eventually published, placed no philosophical limits on cybernetics” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 259)

In the Brezhnev era this went even further:

“Afanas’ev quickly translated the basic principles of operation of the Soviet government into cyberspeak… The government, the Communist Party, and other political and public organizations constituted the controlling subsystem, while the economy, science, and other social activities made up the controlled subsystem. The Party, “the most important element of the scientific control of socialist society,” played, of course, the role of the chief controller” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 285)

Thus the brezhnevites reduced even Marxism to cybernetics, the Marxist theory of the party and state was now being replaced by bourgeois pseudo-science!

“the Party principle of “democratic centralism,” for example, could easily be interpreted as control by means of feedback.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 286)


Naturally, Western imperialist economic theories were also studied by the revisionists, and they experimented with market mechanisms. Revisionist theories were also rehabilitated. Khrushchev had created the system of de-centralized regional planning. The Kosygin-Liebermann reforms of 1965 introduced profitability or the profit-principle as the guide for enterprises (which had explicitly been condemned by Stalin in his “Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR). Cyberneticists also suggested de-centralized planning.”The idea of indirect centralization, introduced by [cyberneticist] Viktor Novozhilov, was based on a mathematical theorem stating that the equilibrium point in a many-person non-coalition game would be an optimum. Applying the results of game theory to the Soviet economy, economic cyberneticians argued that the central government did not need to impose specific output quotas on individual enterprises; instead, it could set “optimal” prices and investment efficiency norms, then allow individual enterprises to make their own decisions. If the criteria of economic performance were properly formulated, the independent activity of individual enterprises should lead to the fulfillment of the national plan. In contrast to the accepted view, economic cyberneticians argued that the ideal of “optimal planning” could be achieved by a radical decentralization of economic decision making and a regulated use of the market mechanism:

“The finding of an optimum may take place in a decentralized way, i.e. the equilibrium point, or optimum, can be found as a result of an exchange of information between economic organs, each of which independently solves the problem of optimization guided by its own individual (local) criterion of optimality. . . . In this way, it is possible to use the market mechanism for organizing the process of the decentralized working out of the optimal plan.”” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 274)

“Describing the Soviet economy in quintessential cybernetic terms, Novozhilov argued that the market mechanism was equivalent to the feedback principle:

By now it is already widely known that cybernetics justifies khozraschet [the profit-principle] as the compensator of randomness in a planned economy. A socialist economy is a very complicated system subject to the activity of a multiplicity of random factors and not lending itself to description in full detail. The control of such systems is possible only on the condition that there exists a self-regulator with feedback… the market mechanism is such a regulatory mechanism… The detailing, correction and fulfillment of the plan must be regulated by khozraschet.”” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 275)

Novozhilov argued that rational planning was impossible and that a socialist economy was impossible without a mindless “self-regulator” and that this regulator must be the market.

The cyberneticians tried to refute Marxism and considered value to be entirely irrelevant when it comes to prices. That is an anti-marxist statement in line with unscientific vulgar economics.

“Economic cyberneticians strongly emphasized their reliance on “objective” computation and “objective” valuations. Contrasting their approach with the traditional discourse of Soviet political economy, which was loaded with ideological formulas borrowed from the Marxist theory of value, they strongly asserted the discursive autonomy of economic cybernetics from political economy: “[The Marxist concept of] value and objective valuations are two completely different and incommensurable things. Value is a category of political economy and objective valuations are an algorithmic formula for the calculation of equilibrium prices in an optimal plan. [footnote 82, chapter 6”]” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 275)

The arrogance of the revisionists was shown by the fact that they assumed cybernetics must be correct, and since political economy doesn’t fit with cybernetics – so much the worse for political economy, it must be thrown into the trash. Keep in mind that this was being argued by Kantorovich, who himself was not an economist at all, but an engineer. Glushkov was not an economics expert either, but a mathematician:

“Sharply criticizing orthodox economists at a 1959 session of the Academy of Sciences, Kantorovich argued that the impossibility to translate their theories into cyberspeak made the shallowness of these theories self-evident” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 276)


In the 1960s cyberneticists advocated building a nationwide network of computers, which could be used to plan the economy. Of course, this would’ve meant their distorted view of planning with market mechanisms. This project was supported by all cyberneticists, but its main architect was Glushkov.

The computer network (known as OGAS) was supposed to link each production facility, each warehouse and each shop to a network which would connect them to computer centers. These centers would track the amounts of products and resources and carry out necessary calculations. The plan eventually failed because of its impracticality. It would’ve been astronomically expensive. There were also bureaucratic problems, as different government organs, both civilian and military, would’ve had to share information and even share the same computers.

In principle a computer network for economic planning is not a bad idea, but its also not a universal panacea, or a magic fix, like the cyberneticians claimed. They believed that the only problems in the revisionist Soviet society were problems of optimal organization. They believed that all problems could be solved through technology, which is deeply misguided. The truth is that 1) problems of the revisionist Soviet society could have been solved even without such a computer network, and 2) such a computer network on its own would not have solved the problems.

Let’s discuss what exactly the computer network was intended to achieve.

“Glushkov indeed admitted that his project for a nationwide network of computation centers would cost more than the space program and the atomic project put together.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 278)

Yet, how much more could be achieved if these massive funds were put into other projects? The cost of the project strongly hindered it from being completed, but we must also ask if the project itself even made any sense. The idea of a fully computerized planning system, where every factory, enterprise, warehouse and shop are connected to computer networks sounds very good. It would improve efficiency because people wouldn’t need to write as many reports, wouldn’t need to make calculations in their head, and the computer would tell people how to organize scheduling of shipments, organize construction etc. more efficiently.

But we must ask, if there is an industrial plant which uses technology of the 1930s, 1940s or 1950s, is adding computers to the plant really the best use of resources? Doubling the budget could massively improve the technology used in heavy industry. Hydraulics were being improved, coal boilers were used but gradually diesel generators became more prevalent. Electronics replaced mechanics. These kinds of improvements helped the Soviet economy grow massively in the post-WWII era, and also allowed for growth of the productive forces in the West. Computers would have improved production much less, but their cost would have been astronomical. It simply wouldn’t make sense. Imagine for the sake of argument that a computer improves efficiency by 10% so that we need 9 people to do what previously required 10. By giving every collective farm new better tractors, repairing old tractors, or by giving miners new drills, construction workers new excavators, would “free up” much more labor, much more cheaply.

Buying a computer in the 1960s, just so that a warehouse – let alone a simple shop – could track its inventory, would be madness, when the computer would cost so much that we could hire the necessary personnel to check the inventory 100 times over. Nowadays the situation is different. Computers and networks are cheap, wages are high, and it is more difficult to improve production through inventions in heavy machinery. But we shouldn’t impose our modern context back to the 1960s.

“Several pilot projects aimed at the development of small-scale computerized systems for production control and information management at individual factories had little success. “Optimal” control yielded poor results when the technology of production was old and obsolete, as was often the case at Soviet factories. At a metallurgical plant in Dneprodzerzhinsk, the use of computers to control a technological process saved minutes, while hours were wasted because of inefficient technology, faulty sensors, and lack of coordination among the stages of production. Glushkov admitted that any potential profit from management-information systems was also lost because of constant interruptions in supply and the inefficient organization of the industry as a whole. “Optimal planning and control” turned into a pure mathematical abstraction.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 278)

It is quite funny to hear anti-communists like Gerovitch, and revisionists like Glushkov lament the supposedly bad state of the Soviet economy. They talk about “old machines”, meaning machines less then 20 years old. In heavy industry it is common and often even rational to use machines for 15 years. They were talking about interruptions in supply etc. and blamed it all on “communism”. But these problems were never unique to the USSR. The same exact issues are part of production, a fact of life, even today in the most high-tech capitalist countries. Their complaints simply show how out of touch with the reality of production these cybernetic utopians were.

In the factory where I work, there is constant massive inefficiency due to “human errors”, due to shipments of raw materials not arriving on time, due to bottlenecks because of bad planning or due to mistakes, due to unpredictable breakdowns of machines, due to repair staff being too busy, due to constant problems with faulty raw materials etc. etc. And yet, all the inventories are tracked by computers automatically. A custom-built computer system is used for calling repair crews (often times they don’t respond to the computer system, so workers have to walk to their office physically, or call them on the phone). At best, the computer automatically tells us if we are running out of materials – but that wouldn’t be very difficult for a human to do. The computer tracks how many orders still need to be fulfilled, it tracks the production quotas of workers etc. which is a legitimate help, but not something revolutionary. Perhaps the most innovative thing is that the computers automatically track error messages from machines in the production process, which can alert managers that there is a problem in production. But often times these systems don’t work – or it is entirely redundant, because the workers themselves always immediately recognize the problem themselves.

This is not to detract from the usefulness of computers. Computers serve useful functions, and they should also be used to aid economic planning.

So what would’ve been the appropriate use for computers in the 1950s and 1960s in the USSR? Computers should’ve been used as massive calculators, to calculate the most difficult problems which humans practically could not do. They should’ve been used in science and in every field where mathematics is needed. Military and scientific computers should be allocated based on the needs of various institutes, so that smaller institutes might get their own smaller computers, or many institutes would share one big computer. This, in fact, is exactly what was done in the late Stalin-era.

Eventually, automatic information collection and processing, and telecommunication could be used, when it became economically viable i.e. cheaper and more useful. Instead of trying to spread computers everywhere, they should be centralized because they were so expensive and scarce. There was also a lot of room for the economy to grow even without computers. In the late Stalin-era the USSR was attempting to massively increase agricultural yield through mechanization and agricultural practices, to massively increase industrial production by building new plants, equipping them with new machines etc., and trying to improve education through numerous ambitious projects. To accomplish these necessary and extremely rewarding tasks (which the revisionists never fulfilled) computers had only very limited applicability, but they were put to good use for scientific problems, military ballistic calculations, weather forecasting etc.

“Glushkov argued that, unless the processing of economic information was automated, by the mid 1980s nearly the entire adult population of the Soviet Union would be engaged in planning, accounting, and management.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 281)

This is simply a gross exaggeration. It also assumes that the cybernetic de-centralized planning system was not an economic plan at all. In reality the cybernetic “plan” included increased market mechanisms.


“Cyberneticians, who aspired to make other scientific disciplines more objective by “cybernetizing” them, could hardly agree, however, on exactly what cybernetics meant.” (Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 246)

Cyberneticists couldn’t even agree on what cybernetics is. It was becoming very evident that this “science” was sterile and had reached a dead end. Years went by, and the task of explaining what this new “science” was, remained unfulfilled:

“the internal discord among mathematical cyberneticists swelled, suggesting anything but a unified front. Leading Soviet cyberneticists defined the field in dramatically different terms: Kolmogorov fought to claim information as the base of cybernetics, whereas Markov preferred probabilistic causal networks, Lyapunov set theory, and Iablonskii algebraic logic. In 1958, only three years after their initial article, Kitov, Lyapunov, and Sobolev published an article outlining four more definitions of cybernetics in the Soviet Union, emphasizing the dominant study of “control systems,” Wiener’s interest in “governance and control in machines, living organisms, and human society,” Kolmogorov’s “processes of transmission, processing, and storing information,” and Lyapunov’s methods for manipulating the “structure of algorithms.”” (Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, p. 166)

Like true cosmopolitans they romanticized the American founder of cybernetics and appealed to him as some kind of mythic authority. All these claims about the efficacy and clearness of cybernetics were totally fictitious. Just as fictional was the status of Wiener as an authority:

“Igor Poletaev, a leading Soviet information theorist… argued in 1964 against the then-plastic understanding of cybernetics. He legitimated his call for disciplinary coherence by invoking the iconic and mythically clear foreign founder, Norbert Wiener, claiming that “‘terminological inaccuracy’ is unacceptable, for it leads (and has already led) to a departure from Wiener’s original vision…” (Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, p. 166)

“Poletaev continued, “the specificity of the cybernetic subject matter completely disappears, and cybernetics turns into an ‘all-encompassing science of sciences,’ which is against its true nature.”” (Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, p. 166) However, in reality, this confusion precisely is the true nature of cybernetics.

“The mathematician Nikolai Timofeef-Ressovsky, a practicing cyberneticist, once put the same sentiment in lighter terms… he replaced the Russian word for “confusion” or “mess” with the term “cybernetics,”” (Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, p. 166)”In 1961, a Soviet philosopher concluded from a survey of the methodological problems of cybernetics that… cybernetics is connected with dialectical materialist philosophy as its natural and necessary world-view basis.”, Even in 1961, and certainly in the late 1950s, this was little more than a pious hope, and it was not until some years later that serious philosophical analysis of cybernetics was under way. Moreover, the initial arguments about cybernetics had shown great differences of view about its relationship to dialectical materialism.” (David Holloway, Innovation in Science-The Case of Cybernetics in the Soviet Union, p. 329)

Computers and automatic information processing had never been criticized and had always been supported in Stalin’s USSR. However, the revisionists now falsely gave all credit for computer technology to cybernetics, even though it had had nothing to do with it. By doing this they dishonestly gave cybernetics a veneer of being practically useful and having some contributions to science.

But at the same time they actually demonstrated that cybernetics is not a scientific discipline at all. Although the cyberneticists could never define what exactly cybernetics is, it was agreed that it was supposed to be some kind of universal theory dealing with information, and not merely a theory of computer automation. By equating it with computer automation they totally undermined the claim that cybernetics was a new independent discipline with its own subject-matter:

“What is most interesting about the use of the term cybernetics is the way in which it now came to embrace computers and automatic control systems, which had been excluded from the attacks on cybernetics. This usage undoubtedly created some difficulties for the advocates of cybernetics by drawing attention away from the general theory of control processes and focusing it on computers. But it was also of the utmost importance in helping to legitimate cybernetics. For the practical usefulness of computers was being more clearly realized in the Soviet Union, and military and space successes were claimed by the advocates of cybernetics as evidence of the practical value of their science.” (David Holloway, Innovation in Science-The Case of Cybernetics in the Soviet Union, p. 318)

“Undoubtedly many Soviet scientists saw in cybernetics and the traditional theory of control and communication a duplication of effort since the traditional theory was well established before Wiener’s entrance into this area… Soviet philosophers have not as yet established to their own satisfaction any clear relationship between Wiener’s theory and the other sciences, nor have they sharply delineated the area of operation for cybernetics.” (Maxim W. Mikulak, Cybernetics and Marxism-Leninism, pp. 457-458)

“The Rumanian scholar I. N. Belenescu pinpointed the following characteristics of matter in motion: (1) all motion exists in time and space; (2) all forms of motion involve the interactions of things and events; and (3) all forms of motion contain within themselves contradictions and a unity of contradictions, and a unity of continuity and noncontinuity. In his estimation Wiener’s cybernetics did not possess any particular form of motion of its own; therefore, it could not be treated as a science in the same sense as physics, chemistry, or biology. Pursuing Belenescu’s thinking to its logical conclusion, Ukraintsev, in 1961, did not anticipate that cybernetics would make any new discoveries or establish any new laws of moving matter.” (Maxim W. Mikulak, Cybernetics and Marxism-Leninism, p. 458)

By the 1970s the emperor had absolutely no clothes left. Nobody could explain what cybernetics even is, but somehow it included absolutely everything and absolutely nothing:

“cybernetics had grown to a nearly all-encompassing size… By the 1970s seemingly little more than a name (kibernetika) and a common interest in computer modeling held together this loose patchwork of institutions, disciplines, fields, and topics.” (Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, p. 167)

By the 1980s cybernetics, a term which nobody can define, and which not many people remember today, was discarded:

“By the 1980s the term “cybernetics,” which, although no longer new, had failed to mobilize consensus, diffused in relevance to the point that it gave way to the rise of its replacement, “informatics.”” (Benjamin Peters, “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics”, p. 167)

Cyberneticists claimed they would make everything precise but in reality their own system was incredibly confused and meaningless:

“The computer came to symbolize a new spirit of rigorous thinking, logical clarity, and quantitative precision, contrasting sharply with the vague and manipulative language of Stalinist ideological discourse [sic]… Soviet cyberneticians sought a new foundation of scientific objectivity in the rigor of mathematical formulas and computer algorithms and in the “precise” concepts of cybernetics… they put forward a computer-based cybernetic criterion of objectivity as overtly non-ideological, non-philosophical, non-class-oriented, and non-Partyminded. The cyberneticians aspired to bring computer-based objectivity to the entire family of the life sciences and the social sciences by translating these sciences into cyberspeak.” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 8)

And how did the cybernetic project fulfill its goals and promises? It turned out to be an utter failure.


Kolman defected to the West, but things did not necessarily go any better there—quite the opposite. Norbert Wiener himself had become disgusted with American militarism and how his ideas were used. He became more and more pessimistic over time. As a stupid liberal he hoped for some kind of “third way” between capitalism and socialism.

The other leading American cybernetics pioneer Claude Shannon wrote already in 1956:

“[Information theory] has perhaps been ballooned to an importance beyond its actual accomplishments. Our fellow scientists in many different fields, attracted by the fanfare and by the new avenues opened to scientific analysis, are using these ideas in their own problems. . . . It will be all too easy for our somewhat artificial prosperity to collapse overnight when it is realized that the use of a few exciting words like information, entropy, redundancy, do not solve all our problems.” (Claude Shannon, “The Bandwagon”, quoted in Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 98)

“Eventually, Shannon withdrew from the public eye and refused to speak about his “information theory.”” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 98)
Many of the founders of Soviet cybernetics themselves were totally disappointed. Liapunov abandoned his position already in the 1960s:

“Liapunov began to distance himself from the fussy activity of [Berg’s cybernetics] council… Liapunov, the accepted “father of Soviet cybernetics,” declined to write for the series Cybernetics—in the Service of Communism… As one memoirist put it, after Liapunov’s departure “the center that had unified cybernetics disappeared” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 263)

In the 70s the long time linguistic cyberneticist, structural linguist “Mel’cuk… no longer wanted to play the cybernetics game. He even called one of his own articles on the connection between cybernetics and linguistics “showy and shallow.”” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 281)

“Igor’ Poletaev (a close associate of Liapunov and the author of the first Soviet book on cybernetics), who had once fought to legitimize cybernetic research, bitterly told his friends in the 1970s: “Now it is I who will say that cybernetics is a pseudo-science.”” (Gerovitch, Newspeak to Cyberspeak, p. 289)

Soviet Science in the Lenin-Stalin era (work in progress)



Note: I realize this page describes many scientists also from the pre-revolutionary period. This is because progressive, revolutionary, democratic and materialist scientists from the pre-revolutionary period served as the inspiration and foundation for Soviet scientists. Countless great scientists worked in pre-revolutionary Russia, but they faced persecution or did not receive necessary support. Many great scientists such as K. A. Timiryazev became communists and others like I. P. Pavlov and V. I. Vernadsky supported the revolutionary democrats, and read their works. Still others did not delve into politics, but supported materialist views through their scientific work.

“Only conscious organisation of social production, in which production and distribution are carried on in a planned way, can lift mankind above the rest of the animal world as regards the social aspect, in the same way that production in general has done this for men in their aspect as species. Historical evolution makes such an organisation daily more indispensable, but also with every day more possible. From it will date a new epoch of history, in which mankind itself, and with mankind all branches of its activity, and especially natural science, will experience an advance that will put everything preceding it in the deepest shade.” (Friedrich Engels, Dialectics of Nature)

“no natural science and no materialism can hold its own in the struggle against the onslaught of bourgeois ideas and the restoration of the bourgeois world outlook unless it stands on solid philosophical ground. In order to hold his own in this struggle and carry it to a victorious finish, the natural scientist must be a modern materialist, a conscious adherent of the materialism represented by Marx, i.e., he must be a dialectical materialist.” (Lenin, On the Significance of Militant Materialism)

“To expect science to be impartial in a wage-slave society is as foolishly naïve as to expect impartiality from manufacturers on the question of whether workers’ wages ought not to be increased by decreasing the profits of capital.” (Lenin, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism)

“Contrary to idealism, which denies the possibility of knowing the world and its laws, which does not believe in the authenticity of our knowledge, does not recognize objective truth, and holds that the world is full of “things-in-themselves” that can never be known to science, Marxist philosophical materialism holds that the world and its laws are fully knowable, that our knowledge of the laws of nature, tested by experiment and practice, is authentic knowledge having the validity of objective truth, and that there are no things in the world which are unknowable, but only things which are as yet not known, but which will be disclosed and made known by the efforts of science and practice.” (Stalin, Dialectical and historical materialism)


Soviet science was rooted in the progressive materialist traditions of Russia and the world. Materialist philosophy and natural science in Russia begins in the 18th century with M. V. Lomonosov (1711-1765), the son of a peasant, who contributed to all fields of science and also to poetry and literature. The materialist trend in philosophy was continued by the writer A. N. Radischev (1749-1802), who brought it to the 19th century.

M. V. LOMONOSOV (1711-1765) (polymath, universal genius)

Mikhail Lomonosov lived long before the Soviet Union, but deserves mention because he was recognized as the greatest Russian scientist in history. Lomonosov was a universal genius, contributing to practically every field of science: chemistry, biology, physics, minerology, optics, astronomy, as well as history, art and linguistics. He founded modern geology and influenced the formation of the modern Russian written language. Among his discoveries were the atmosphere of Venus and the conservation of mass in chemical reactions. His work was profoundly materialistic. Lomonosov came from a peasant family and originated materialist philosophy in Russia. He was also the first significant Russian scientist. His scientific and philosophical ideas were not recognized in his own day.

In 1940 the Moscow State University (which Lomonosov had founded) was renamed to Lomonosov University.

The great Soviet geologist A. Fersman said about Lomonosov:

“Dozens of books and hundreds of articles were written about Lomonosov; the most prominent investigators, scientists, writers and poets devoted their best pages to the analysis of this giant of Russian thought and it is still impossible to exhaust this subject, because the genius of Mikhail Lomonosov, this Arkhangelsk pomor was so great and profound…

Courage, resolve and daring bordering on stormy fantasy, a thirst to know everything, down to the root of things and to the source of all sources, and a capacity for profound philosophical analysis in combination with a brilliant ability to conduct experiments, without which he could not think of science, were some of Lomonosov’s traits. And whereas seven cities of antiquity debated the honour of keeping Homer’s grave, more than a dozen different sciences and arts arc lighting for the main heritage’ of Lomonosov: physics and chemistry, mineralogy and crystallography, geochemistry and physical chemistry, geology and mining, geography and meteorology, astronomy and astrophysics, regional science and economics, history, literature, philology and engineering. To be sure, Lomonosov was, as Pushkin was wont to say: a “whole university’’ in himself.” (A. Fersman, Geochemistry for everyone, pp. 347-348)

“Geochemistry for everyone” by A. Fersman contains information on Lomonosov’s work on chemistry, geology, minerology etc. especially the chapter “From the history of chemical ideas”.

“Lomonosov, Mikhail Vasilyevich (1711-1765). Lomonosov was a great Russian scientist, poet, founder of materialistic philosophy and natural science in Russia. The son of a peasant-Pomor from the village of Denisovka, near Kholmogory, Arkhangelsk province. Lomonosov from an early age passionately strived for knowledge. In 1730 he left for Moscow and, having overcome many difficulties associated with his peasant origin, entered the Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy there. In 1735 he was sent to the Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, and after a while abroad, from where he returned in 1741. The Academy of Sciences with its foreign dominance did not recognize Lomonosov as a scientist for a long time. Only in 1745 he was approved as professor of chemistry.

The materialist tradition in the development of advanced Russian philosophy and science originates from Lomonosov. Lomonosov’s scientific activity was distinguished by its versatility. Lomonosov’s achievements in the field of chemistry and physics are especially significant. Lomonosov’s great scientific feat is the discovery of the law of conservation of matter and motion as a universal natural law and its theoretical and experimental substantiation. Already in his first natural-scientific works, Lomonosov comes to the conclusion about the constancy of matter and motion. Lomonosov gave a detailed substantiation of the law he discovered in 1748: “All changes occurring in nature occur in such a way that as much as is added to what is added, the same amount is subtracted from the other. So, as much substance as is added to one body, the same amount is taken away from another … This law of nature is so universal that it also extends to the rules of motion.” Later, Lomonosov substantiated this law in the work “Discourse on the hardness and fluidity of bodies” and in other works. The law of conservation of matter is rightfully called the Lomonosov Law. Lomonosov proved this law experimentally by weighing substances before and after a chemical reaction. Lomonosov’s position on the conservation of motion was confirmed in the concrete form of the law of conservation of energy after almost a hundred years. Thus, Lomonosov has priority in discovering the universal law of conservation of matter and motion, which lies at the foundation of modern natural science, especially physics and chemistry. Justifying the proposition about the non-destructibility and non-creation of matter and motion, Lomonosov thereby defended the indissolubility of matter and motion. The law of conservation of matter and motion Lomonosov came to the motion of particles of matter.

Lomonosov is the founder of chemical atomistics, revealing the atomic-molecular structure of matter. He believed that “corpuscles” (molecules) are composed of the smallest particles – “elements” (atoms). “Corpuscles,” wrote Lomonosov, “are homogeneous if they consist of the same number of the same elements connected in the same way … dissimilar when their elements are different and connected in different ways or in different numbers; the infinite variety of bodies depends on it.” Lomonosov’s understanding of heat as a mechanical motion of “corpuscles” is based on the law of conservation of motion. In Reflections on the Elastic Force of Air, Lomonosov developed the theory of the structure of air on the basis of molecular-kinetic concepts that played a huge role in the further development of science. Lomonosov resolutely fought against anti-scientific views, which in the 18th century. dominated in natural science, for example, against the metaphysical concept of “caloric.”

In Reflections on the Cause of Heat and Cold, Lomonosov wrote that “there is a sufficient basis for heat in motion. And since motion cannot occur without matter, it is necessary that a sufficient basis for heat lies in the motion of some matter.” Lomonosov expresses ingenious ideas that various natural phenomena are caused by different forms of motion of matter. Lomonosov laid the foundation for a completely new science – physical chemistry, linking physical theories and research methods with the solution of chemical problems. Lomonosov paid considerable attention to the development of the mining and metallurgical business. In the field of geology, he first put forward the idea of development.

He investigated the wealth of the subsoil of Russia, found out the conditions of navigation along the Northern Sea Route. A supporter of the heliocentric theory in astronomy, the multitude of worlds and the infinity of the universe, Lomonosov was the first to discover the air atmosphere around Venus and, in opposition to the teachings of the church, admitted the possibility of life on other planets. He basically correctly explained the causes of climate change on earth, the presence in the North in the frozen layers of the earth of the remains of animals and plants that are not characteristic of the conditions of the North. Lomonosov predicted that at high air densities, deviations from the Boyle-Mariotte law should be found. Lomonosov was the first to introduce in chemistry the method of quantitative (weight) reception as a systematic method of research, and invented a number of instruments for use in navigation, meteorology, geodesy, physics, chemistry, etc.

Lomonosov solved the main question of philosophy materialistically. With his research, he made a breach in the metaphysical worldview that prevailed at the time; on a number of issues Lomonosov pursued the idea of development. At the same time, due to the limited knowledge of that time, he considered mainly mechanical laws and properties of nature. He considered the main properties of matter to be extension, force of inertia, impenetrability, mechanical motion. Lomonosov contrasted the materialistic view of atoms to the idealistic monadology of Leibniz, which he sharply criticized. Rejecting Leibniz’s spiritual monads, Lomonosov called corpuscles “physical monads.”

Lomonosov’s views contain elements of dialectics. He already considers the world around us as constantly changing and developing. In his work “On the Layers of the Earth,” he talks about the changes and evolutionary development of the plant and animal kingdoms, puts forward a bold theory about the plant origin of peat, coal, oil, amber, an evolutionary theory of the origin of soils. Lomonosov considered motion as “eternally” existing. In his work “On the heaviness of bodies and on the eternity of the primary movement,” he writes: “… the primary movement can never have a beginning, but must last forever.”

Lomonosov developed a materialistic theory of knowledge. He proceeded from the fact that the source of knowledge is the external world, which affects the human senses. He was a staunch opponent of the Cartesian idealist theory of “innate ideas” and Locke’s “inner experience.” Lomonosov spoke in favor of combining experimental data with theoretical conclusions. He condemned those who divorced cognition by reason from sensory perceptions, who metaphysically opposed synthesis to analysis. In the theory of knowledge, Lomonosov assigned a large place to experience, understanding the latter in a narrow sense, in the sense of a scientific experiment and sensory perception of objective reality. Lomonosov sharply criticized the idealist theory of the so-called “secondary qualities,” arguing that “secondary qualities” exist as objectively as primary ones.

“With Lomonosov,” wrote Belinsky, “our literature begins.” Lomonosov was the founder of Russian grammar. Thanks to Lomonosov, a new grammar based on living Russian speech came to replace the dead, scholastic schemes of the old grammar. As a poet, Lomonosov performed primarily with poems in which he called for the development of the arts and sciences in Russia, for the spread of Enlightenment among the Russian people.

For a number of years, Lomonosov waged a stubborn struggle for the creation of domestic science, he did a lot for the development of natural science in Russia, for combining advanced science with practical tasks. Lomonosov was the first Russian scientist to receive the title of Academician. He was the founder of Moscow University (1755) and advocated the transformation of the Academy of Sciences. Lomonosov fought against the clergy, sharply castigating the ignorance of the priests. As a historian, as a patriot, he fought against the distortions of Russian history and against the dominance of the reactionary “German party” in the Academy of Sciences. Lomonosov loved his people dearly; he believed in the great future of the Russian people. The last edition of Selected Philosophical Works of M. V. Lomonosov was published in 1950.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)


A. A. KAVERZNEV (1748-1787, evolutionist, biologist)

Afanasy Avvakumovich Kaverznev was a Russian pre-revolutionary biologist, who was among the first scientists to suggest that species have evolved.

“long before Lamarck, the doctrine of the evolution and variability of species was systematically presented by the Russian scientist Afanasy Kaverznev. However, Kaverznev’s book Philosophical Discourse on the Rebirth of Animals was published during his stay in Leipzig in 1775 in a small edition in German, and the author considered it necessary to keep silent about it, knowing that its content would not meet with sympathy in reactionary circles in Russia. The book and its author were forgotten and remained unknown to this day.” (The article “Lamarck” in Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

K. A. TIMIRYAZEV (1843-1920) (Botanist, Physiologist, Darwinist)

Timiriazev was the biggest defender of Darwinism in Russia and was a true communist and a true scientist. As someone who deeply understood Darwinism, he was among the first to strongly criticize the reactionary Malthusian aspects in Darwinism. Timiryazev also was quick to recognize that the scientific merit of mendelism was extremely exaggerated, and that mendelism was used to attack Darwinism.

“Kliment Arkadievich Timiryazev (1843 – 1920) – great Russian scientist, biologist, fighter for Darwinism, the founder of the modern doctrine of photosynthesis. Imbued in his youth with the revolutionary democratic ideas of the great Russian thinkers of the middle of the 19th century, Timiryazev devoted all his scientific and social activities to serving advanced science and the working people.

For his progressive convictions, Timiryazev was persecuted by the Tsarist government. Beginning in 1894, he was under constant surveillance by the secret police. Under the influence of revolutionary ideas and the ever-growing labor movement, Timiryazev, even under Tsarism, came close to the ideas of socialism. While he was never a member of any party, his reputation as a sympathizer with revolutionary ideas was such that in 1917 workers of the Moscow-Kursk railway elected the 75-year old Timiryazev as their deputy to the Moscow Soviet, and in 1918 fellow revolutionary-minded scientists made him a member of the Socialist Academy. The People’s Commissariat of Education appointed Timiryazev a member of the State Scientific Council.

Timiryazev appeared in the press exposing the insolent slander of the Anglo-American imperialists against the Russian people, and exposed the imperialist, predatory goals of the campaign of “14 states” against the young Soviet Republic. On April 27, 1920, VI Lenin wrote to Timiryazev: “I was delighted to read your remarks against the bourgeoisie and for Soviet power.” Lenin had in mind Timiryazev’s book Science and Democracy, in which the scientist called people of science to unity with the working people. The last words of Timiryazev, uttered by him a few hours before his death, show that the great scientist had come to the conclusion that, of all sides fighting in the Russian Civil War, the Bolsheviks were the only one with a definite program for the improvement of the lives of the Soviet peoples: “The Bolsheviks pursuing Leninism, I believe and am convinced, are working for the happiness of the people and will lead them to happiness … Convey to Vladimir Ilyich my admiration for his ingenious solution of world problems in theory and in practice. I consider it a pleasure to be a contemporary of his and a witness to his glorious work. I bow to him and want everyone to know about it.”

In his philosophical views, Timiryazev was a staunch materialist, waging an irreconcilable struggle against idealism. In his writings, he subjected to devastating criticism the line of idealism in philosophy, starting with Plato and ending with the philosophizing squires of imperialism (Bergson, Mach, James and others). In his research, Timiryazev was guided by the “historical method” containing a number of elements of materialist dialectics – the recognition of the universal connection and development of phenomena in nature, the struggle of opposites, causality, necessity, etc. Timiryazev was a remarkable popularizer of science. His books “Charles Darwin and His Teachings,” “Historical Method in Biology” and others are still the best presentation of Darwin’s theory. Timiryazev’s book “The Life of a Plant” is also very popular. Timiryazev made a significant step forward in comparison with Darwin with his truly materialistic interpretation of the development of the organic world.

Unlike the so-called “orthodox” Darwinists, Timiryazev considered the most important factors of evolution not to be intraspecific struggle, but to the external environment, which changes the organism, heredity, which reinforces these changes, and selection, which gives the organisms an expedient form. The organism and the environment are considered by him in an indissoluble unity. In this regard, he highly appreciates the positive side of Lamarck’s teachings – about the dependence of organic forms on the environment. “Only the combination of this side of Lamarckism with Darwinism promises a complete solution of the biological problem,” Timiryazev wrote.

He recognized that the variability of organisms is due to their adaptation to environmental conditions. He was the first to put forward a provision on the body’s requirements for environmental conditions. By his indication of the alternation of stages of development in plants, Timiryazev emphasized the presence of qualitative transformations in the ontogenetic development of the organism. This position was subsequently developed by I.V. Michurin, who created the theory of staged development of plants. Timiryazev recognized the possibility of not only sexual, but also vegetative hybridization, and also pointed out the great importance of cross-pollination of plants. He sharply criticized Weissmannism and Mendelism for recognizing the existence of a special substance of heredity, allegedly not amenable to the influence of the environment. The works of Timiryazev in the field of the study of photosynthesis were of great importance for the development of biology.

Timiryazev proved that this phenomenon, like the phenomena of inorganic nature, is subject to the law of conservation of energy. Thus, he dealt a crushing blow to the “vitalistic” doctrine of a special “vital force” allegedly inherent in animals and plants. Timiryazev does not limit the task of biology to the knowledge of the laws of development of animals and plants, but raises the question of a conscious change in organic forms. He argues that science should teach the farmer how to grow two ears where one used to grow. Timiryazev wrote the work “Agriculture and Plant Physiology,” in which important provisions of agronomic science were developed.

Before the Revolution, Timiryazev was able not only to defend the materialistic core of Darwinism, but also to develop it further, preparing a qualitatively new stage in the development of biology – the Michurin doctrine.

This is an outstanding achievement of the great Russian biologist and thinker. For many decades Timiryazev stood at the head of the advanced materialist biology in its struggle against the reactionary, idealistic direction represented by all kinds of anti-Darwinists, Weissmannists, vitalists and other “ists” and “logs,” as Timiryazev himself called them. Timiryazev sharply condemned the vulgar transfer of biological laws to the field of social phenomena. In 1937-1940. The Works of KA Timiryazev were published, vols. 1-10; in 1948-1949 Selected Works were published.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

The Life Of The Plant by K. A. Timiryazev
“Mendel” (article for encyclopedia “Pomegranet”) (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
“Luther Burbank” (article for encyclopedia “Pomegranet”) (in Russian, but auto-translate works)

The Baltic Deputy (1936) A very good movie inspired by the life of Timiryazev.

The great Soviet biologist T. D. Lysenko said:
“Eminent biologists, like V. O. Kovalevsky, I. I. Mechnikov, V. M. Sechenov and particularly K. A. Timiryazev, defended and developed Darwinism with all the passion of true scientists.” (The Situation in the Science of Biology,1948)

V. O. KOVALEVSKY (1842-1883) (Paleontologist, Darwinist)

Vladimir Onufrievich Kovalevsky carried out important scientific work and translated many works of Darwin into Russian for the first time. His brother Alexander Kovalevsky, an embryologist, was also a significant materialist scientist.

On the Osteology of the Hyopotamidae by V. O. Kovalevsky

A. O. KOVALEVSKY (1840-1901, embryologist, Darwinist)

Alexander Onufrievich Kovalevsky was an important materialist scientist.

“Alexander Kovalevsky, the famous embryologist… trained the students to have clear materialist ideas…” (A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, p. 74)

I. I. MECHNIKOV (1845-1916) (Zoologist, Immunologist, Darwinist)

Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov was also deeply influenced by Darwin’s work and helped propagate it. He discovered phagocytes and received a Nobel prize in physiology in 1908 for his work on immunity.

“Nikolai Umov, the physicist, and Alexander Kovalevsky, the famous embryologist… trained the students to have clear materialist ideas, taught them to seek in the external world for the causes of internal changes, as Sechenov had done when he proved that the external world determines the character of the higher nervous activity of animals and man, as Mechnikov and Pasteur had done when they explained the role of the external world in the origin and spread of diseases.

The higher course students remembered how Mechnikov had once begun one of his lectures with the words:

“There is a disease which causes restriction in man’s field of vision. First he sees everything round him, then what might be called blinkers form round his eyes. Finally he can only distinguish one shining point in front of him.”

Mechnikov said no more for a moment but narrowly watched his audience. Then he concluded:

“If some scientists voluntarily inflict this disease on themselves, by concerning themselves only with their own narrow speciality, their own subject of observation, one can definitely forecast that they will create nothing truly great or truly important for humanity.”” (A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, pp. 74-75)

“Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov (1845-1916) – an outstanding Russian biologist, one of the founders of microbiology, comparative embryology and pathology; the theorist of Darwinism, who creatively developed this doctrine. Mechnikov’s worldview was formed under the influence of revolutionary, anti-serfdom sentiments and advanced ideas of the great revolutionary democrats of the 1860s. Mechnikov was one of the progressive leaders of Russian materialistic science and a fighter against ideological reaction in science.

He made a huge contribution to the development of zoology, embryology, microbiology, pathology, anthropology, Darwinism, etc., in the field of zoology, he described new species of annelids and sucking ciliates, and also developed biological methods to combat insects harmful to agriculture (bread beetles), which was carried out by infecting their larvae with a fungus (green muscardine). Together with A.O. Kovalevsky, Mechnikov is the founder of evolutionary embryology.

He is the author of remarkable works on the study of the embryonic development of various groups of animals (sponges, hydromedusa), insects, etc. As a result of these studies, general patterns of embryonic development of various groups of animals were established, their genetic relationship and unity of origin were proved. Thus, a great contribution was made to the creative development of Darwin’s teachings. Mechnikov also creatively developed Darwin’s theory on the issue of inflammation and immunity. Based on twenty years of research, Xi created a coherent phagocytic theory of inflammation and immunity. Before Mechnikov, the phenomena of inflammation were explained through Virchow’s metaphysical theory of cellular pathology. Virchow was an enemy of Darwinism and fought against its spread in science.

Mechnikov, on the contrary, proved the fruitfulness of the ideas of Darwinism and its historical method in the development of problems of pathology. Ardently promoting and defending Darwinism, Mechnikov, however, did not approach it dogmatically. He criticized the reactionary Malthusian idea of overpopulation, adopted by Darwin to explain the reasons for the struggle for existence and selection. On questions of the theory of knowledge, Mechnikov opposed idealism and metaphysics. He rejected the religious-priestly teaching about the soul and its immortality. “Science,” he wrote, “cannot admit the immortality of the conscious soul, since consciousness is the result of the activity of the elements of our body that do not possess immortality.” Mechnikov criticized various forays of obscurantists in science: vitalists, spiritualists, teleo-iatics like Gustave Le Bon, Oliver Lodge and other mystics.

He passionately fought against the “fashionable” reactionary philosophers – James, Bergson, Hartmann, Nietzsche, considering them the most harmful ideologists of unscientific reaction. The difficult working conditions resulting from constant persecution by the ruling circles of Tsarist Russia forced Mechnikov to emigrate abroad. He lived in a foreign land for 28 years. However, living far from his homeland, he remained its ardent patriot and did not break close ties with his friends who were in Russia. He was an ardent champion of the emancipation of women, advocated for women’s education, for the social rights of women.

Mechnikov covered socio-political issues from the wrong positions. He mistakenly believed that only science is the decisive force for eliminating social evil and injustice. Fighting against political and ideological reaction, he did not see the real forces of social development and did not understand the laws of society. He approached the interpretation of social problems from idealistic and positivist positions. The main works of Mechnikov: “Studies on the nature of man” (1903), “Studies of optimism” (1907), “Forty years of searching for a rational worldview” (1912), the collection “On Darwinism.”” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

Works of Mechnikov:
Immunity in infective diseases
The experimental prophylaxis of syphilis [with Maisonneuve & Roux]
The prolongation of life : optimistic studies
The new hygiene : three lectures on the prevention of infectious diseases
The nature of man : studies in optimistic philosophy
On the comparative pathology of inflammation (Lectures delivered at the Pasteur Institute in 1891)
Embryologische Studien an Medusen. Ein Beitrag zur Genealogie der Primitiv-organe

M. F. Kashchenko (1855-1935, zoologist, Darwinist)

Mykola (Nikolai in Russian) Feofanovich Kashchenko was a Soviet professor of zoology and comparative anatomy and rector of Tomsk University, academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (1919). He was a student of Z. I. Stretsov, corresponded with I. V. Michurin.

“I warmly welcome the regional meeting on fruit growing. I see the development of horticulture in Siberia in the breeding of my Siberian varieties from seeds using my methods. My wish is to widely use the experience of Siberian gardeners Kashchenko, Olonichenko, Krutovskyi, Lysavenko, and Lukashchev. I hope that Siberia will have its fruits and berries”. (I. V. Michurin’s letter to a Siberian fruit growing conference)

“Along with Timiryazev, who at that time carried out the creative popularization and development of Darwin’s evolutionary theory in Moscow, Professor M. F. Kashchenko of Tomsk University also defended Darwinism in distant Siberia.

In lectures on the course of zoology, in public reports, in the press – wherever there was an opportunity for this, M. F. Kashchenko promoted the foundations of Darwin’s teachings.

Among the preserved archival materials and printed works of M. F. Kashchenko are his articles and the texts of reports devoted to Darwinism. In them, the author acts as a consistent defender of Darwin’s teachings, expresses deep faith in a great future and the flourishing of creative Darwinism.

M.F. Kashchenko always emphasized the multifaceted nature of Darwin’s teaching, its importance for the flourishing of biological science. In his speech delivered at a solemn meeting at Tomsk University on 22.11.1909, M. F. Kashchenko said: “Charles Darwin devoted his entire life to the development and proof of his theory. At the same time, he developed many very important questions related to the idea of ​​natural selection, such as protective coloration, sexual selection, the origin of cultivated plants and domestic animals, and the origin of man. So, next to the main theory of natural selection, he created several additional theories, and therefore the whole set of his teachings is quite truthfully called Darwinism.”

Developing certain propositions of Darwin, M.F. Kashchenko talks about the harmfulness of the dogmatization of this teaching, about the future development of its ideas. “It would, of course, be very naive to think,” writes M.F. Kashchenko – that Darwin revealed everything to us. On the contrary, very, very much of the development of the living world needs further study and clarification, and of course there will be many new theories that will open up new horizons for us.”

Mykola Feofanovych Kashchenko was a representative of creative Darwinism. He devoted his entire conscious life to the study of the animal and plant world, and especially to its change in accordance with the needs of society.” (Academician N. F. Kashchenko is an outstanding Michurinist biologist) (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

“M.F. Kashchenko supported the views of Darwin, Timiryazev and Michurin about the possibility of vegetative hybridization. In this regard, speaking of the “breeding of new cultural breeds through hybridization,” he wrote in 1914: “I am trying to create large-fruited varieties of nightshade by simple sequential selection. But this does not prevent, of course, simultaneous breeding of new varieties from the same material in a different way, namely, through hybridization, which sometimes gives something completely new and original. I combined an ordinary black nightshade with a blue eggplant, and a yellow-fruited variation of a black nightshade with a red eggplant, and the second time the combination was carried out both sexually and by the so-called graft hybridization.”” (Academician N. F. Kashchenko is an outstanding Michurinist biologist) (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

“Being a supporter of the theory of transmission of acquired characteristics by inheritance, he writes: “accidental traumatic injuries are not inherited, but prolonged and subtle influences are transmitted.”” (Memories of M.F. Kashchenko) (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

Very informative sources on M. F. Kashchenko’s life:
Academician M. F. Kashchenko is an outstanding Michurinist biologist (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Memories of M.F. Kashchenko (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

A. N. SEVERTSOV (1866-1936, biologist)

Aleksey Nikolaevich Severtsov was an influential Soviet biologist, founder of the evolutionary morphology of animals.

Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1920), Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1925), Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (1925), founder of the Russian school of evolutionary morphologists . The Institute of Evolutionary Morphology and Ecology of Animals of the USSR Academy of Sciences is named after him.

T. D. Lysenko and I. I. Prezent promoted Severtsov’s legacy and protected it from distortions.

(often called ‘Lysenkoism’)

I. V. MICHURIN (botanist, plant-breeder)

Before the October Revolution Ivan Michurin lived in economic difficulties which hindered his scientific research. He still created countless new plant varieties and American corporations tried to hire him. However, he did not want to leave his homeland. After the revolution his scientific work began on a bigger scale. He developed a truly materialist concept of heredity and had a deep and creative understanding of Darwin’s discoveries. Afterwards he was attacked by the capitalists, aristocratic scientists and out-of-touch dogmatists.

“Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin (1855-1935) – a great biologist who raised Darwinian scientific biology to a new, higher level. A new, higher stage in the development of the materialistic science of living nature is associated with the name of Michurin. Michurin’s life is divided into two sharply different periods – pre-revolutionary and Soviet.

Before the 1917 Revolution Michurin lived and worked, conducting all the experiments at his own expense, without any encouragement. His deeply popular business – the development of new varieties of plants – he spent on a tiny personal plot at his own risk and fear. His ingenious ideas were not recognized under Tsarism. American businessmen, having found out about the wonderful new varieties of fruit plants he had bred, offered him to move to America. But the great patriot refused this offer.

The Revolution gave him the opportunity to develop his scientific and practical work. Michurin’s site was transformed into a huge nursery. Scientific research institutes were created that developed and introduced Michurin’s ideas into agricultural practice. In 1934 Michurin wrote: “The dream of my whole life is coming true: the new valuable varieties of fruit plants that I have bred have moved from the experimental plots not to individual rich kulaks, but to the massifs of collective and state farm orchards, replacing low-yielding, bad, old varieties.”

If Darwin only explained the laws of the organic world, Michurin created a scientific theory about the ways of changing this living world. In his scientific work and worldview until 1917 Michurin directly developed the militant materialism and democracy of the great Russian scientists and revolutionary democrats of the mid-19th century. After 1917 he illuminated and solved the problems of agrobiology.

Michurin said that the roots of natural science lie in nature, that natural science is spontaneously attracted to dialectics. In the preface to the third edition of the book “Principles and Methods of Work” Michurin wrote: “For dialectics there is nothing final, absolute, sacred once and for all. On everything and in everything it reveals the stamp of inevitable disappearance, and nothing can resist it, except for the Continuous process of becoming and destruction, endless ascent from the lowest to the highest.” This principle is always the basic principle in my work, passing like a red thread through all my numerous experiments, which I put in the improvement of existing and in the breeding of new varieties of fruit and berry plants.” Always and in everything Michurin was guided by the idea of development. Each individual, he wrote, develops to the fullness of its specific properties, and then gradually loses them, grows old and, finally, dies. The species changes in the same way as everything in nature – “everything flows, everything changes.”

Michurin was convinced of the omnipotence of science and practice, of the possibility of knowing nature and mastering all the secrets of the formation of species. He constructed his theory as a consistently scientific theory, but reconciled with no concessions to idealism. Michurin considered the organism in close connection with the conditions of its existence, recognizing the decisive importance of the exchange of substances between the organism and nature. He contemptuously rejected the idealistic intricacies of the Weissmannists, Mendelists and Morganists with their unknowable “things in themselves,” with mysterious mystical genes, with the exaltation of randomness in science and practice, and with all his work he refuted these ideas. As a true revolutionary in science, he was not afraid to point out the weak and erroneous sides of Darwin’s teachings. Michurin creatively developed the biology of Darwinism.

The greatest experimenter, Michurin created and developed scientific methods for the conscious management of plant life and the practical transformation of living nature. The teaching created by Michurin includes:

1) the theory and methods of artificial hybridization (sexual and vegetative, intraspecific and distant),

2) the theory and methods of directed education of organisms,

3) the theory and methods of artificial selection. All these three aspects of Michurin’s doctrine constitute an indissoluble unity and are an example of the creative application of dialectics to understanding the essence of heredity and the variability of organic forms, to the practice of breeding new varieties of plants in the interests of socialist society.

Michurin devoted his whole life to the working people. He considered his nursery a workshop for the creation of new varieties that would more fully meet the “needs of the working people.” “My achievements are in a classless socialist society,” Michurin wrote in 1932. Our goal, he said, “is to alter the properties of plants in a direction desirable for working people.” Michurin formulated the task of biological science: “We cannot wait for favors from nature; it is our task to take them from her. “

Implementing this revolutionary principle, Michurin devoted his entire life to reworking the nature of plants. The creation of new varieties cost Michurin decades of hard and systematic work. His main method, as he himself wrote, consisted in a constant “striving forward, in strict verification and restructuring of experiments.” More than 300 new varieties of fruit and berry plants were developed by the great scientist. But his most valuable legacy is his theory, Michurinist biology.

He was not a communist, yet he was grateful to the Soviets for the conditions they created for his work. He always wanted to see his work become accessible to the people, and since this happened only in his old age under the public education system established in the USSR, he thanked the Soviets for this. “The Bolshevik Party and the Soviet government,” he wrote, “did everything for the prosperity of the work I had begun.”

Michurin was a patriot of his homeland. Even before the revolution, he condemned those scientists and leaders who pinned all their hopes in improving Russian gardening with help from abroad. “It’s a shame,” he wrote, “to think that all the best can be obtained only from abroad.”” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

Michurin (1948) A nice Soviet film about the life and career of I. V. Michurin. Click the CC button for subtitles.

T. D. LYSENKO (1898-1976, agrobiologist)

Trofim Lysenko developed many scientific theories and concepts which became highly useful. His early research on vernalization and the theory of phasic development were recognized by the scientific community. Lysenko developed and applied the discoveries of Michurin. He opposed all idealism, dogmatism and separation of theory from practice. For Lysenko, practice was always the criterion of truth.

Lysenko came into conflict with snob-scientists who did not want to focus on real life problems. Lysenko came into conflict with the supporters of mendelian genetics (so-called ‘orthodox genetics’ invented by the Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel). For this reason Lysenko is attacked today. His critics claim that “Lysenko did not believe in genes”. However, this is a falsehood. Lysenko disagreed with the mendelists’ idealist definition of genes. For the mendelists, heredity (genes) were totally separate and isolated from the organism, they could not be influenced or altered by changes to the organism or to its living conditions. The genes were conceptualized as indestructible – even immortal – by idols of the mendelists such as August Weismann. Lysenko could not agree with these idealist, metaphysical and mystical notions.

For Lysenko, heredity was a more complicated interaction between the chromosomes and the DNA, the entire organism, and its environment. The heredity of an organism cannot be reduced to isolated genes, and these genes cannot be seen as unchanging. Lysenko produced significant discoveries. He helped reduce effects of plant-disease, contributed significantly to preventing famine during WWII, demonstrated the harmful effects of inbreeding in agriculture and combated distortions of darwinism. Lysenko promoted the theoretical developments of Michurin, Timiryazev, V. R. Williams and others, and systematized them to what he called Michurinist Agrobiology, or Soviet Creative Darwinism. Lysenko and his colleagues invented new agricultural techniques, new plant varieties and considerably improved agricultural yields.

Lysenko disagreed with the idea that animals evolve purely individualistically. He said that mutual aid of animals of the same species living in the same group or herd, is just as important (if not more important) than competition. Lysenko’s view was shared by the great Darwinist Timiriazev, but it is considered heretical by western “neo-darwinists”.

Lysenko also disagreed with the notion invented by western mendelist Thomas Morgan, that evolution and heredity are completely random. Lysenko said there must be reasons and laws governing evolution, mainly environmental factors, and heredity must also be influenced by the environment. Lysenko said that if heredity was completely random, we could never breed any plants or animals. His opinion was shared by Michurin who famously said: “We cannot simply wait for favors from nature, we have to wrest them from her”. Michurin meant that agriculturists must use scientific methods to breed new plants, instead of merely waiting for results from the supposedly random processes. For all these reasons Lysenko was attacked by his opponents.

Lysenko strongly opposed using western inbred corn, because it was unsuitable to Soviet conditions, unsustainable and risky. He was proven correct when Khrushchev’s attempt to use western inbred corn in the USSR failed completely. Western farming methods have been shown to be risky, prone to pests without constant use of massive amounts of poisons, and ecologically unsustainable.

Later I will write a full article about Lysenko (with sources) and debunk many of the myths about him.

T. D. Lysenko earned the following awards:

-Order of the Red Banner of Labor of the Ukrainian SSR (1931)
-Stalin Prize of the first degree (1941) – for the well-known work on the summer planting of potatoes and planting potatoes with freshly harvested tubers.
-Stalin Prize of the first degree (1943) – for the scientific development and introduction into agriculture of a method of planting potatoes with the tops of food tubers.
-Hero of Socialist Labor (1945)
-Stalin Prize of the first degree (1949) – for scientific research in the field of advanced Michurin biological science, summarized in the scientific work Agrobiology, published in 1948.
-I. I. Mechnikov Gold Medal of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1950) – for outstanding works in the field of biology and the development of creative Soviet Darwinism, which led to the most important practical results in agriculture.
-Medal “For Labor Valor” (1959)
-8 Orders of Lenin
-Medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”
-Medal “In memory of the 800th anniversary of Moscow”
-Jubilee medal “For Valiant Labor (For Military Valor). In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

The Great Force (1950) is another nice film about Michurinist biology.

Land In Bloom by V. Safonov (pdf) (archive) (An excellent and entertaining history of biological sciences from before Darwin to Soviet Science. Recommended reading)

(book by Alliance ML. This book has a lot of good information and debunks many lies about Lysenko. It is one of the better books available on the topic. However, the book also makes many mistakes, relies on bad, unreliable capitalist sources, and in particular gets the section on Lepishinskaya entirely wrong – and only due to relying on bad sources!)

The Fundamentals of Michurin Biology by V. N. Stoletov (Audiobook)

I.V. Michurin – The Great Remaker Of Nature by A. N. Bakharev

The philosophical significance of the theoretical legacy of I.V. Michurin by A. A. Rubashevsky (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

Fly-lovers and human-haters by Prof. A. N. Studitski (Russian) (English)

Works of Lysenko:
Agrobiology: essays on problems of genetics, plant breeding and seed growing
Theory of Vernalization (1935)
Plant Breeding and the Theory of Phasic Development of Plants (1935) with I. I. Prezent
Intravarietal Crossing and Mendel’s so called “Law” of Segregation (1938)
Hereditary Constitution
Controlling the nature of plants (1940)
Converting Winter Wheat (1940)
Degeneration of Potatoes (1943)
Improving potatoes by culture
Vegetative Hybrids (1946)
Soil Nutrition of Plants (1953)
Distant Hybrids (1954)
Sunflowers and Broom Rape (1954)
Hybrid Maize (1955)
Soviet Biology: Report to the Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1948)
New Developments in the Science of Biological Species (1951)

Works of Michurin:
The results of sixty years of work (1949) (text) (archive) (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Principles and methods of work (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Breeding new cultivated varieties of fruit trees and shrubs from seeds (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Selected Works of Michurin (English) (Russian)
Seeds, their life and preservation (1915)
The Orchid Lily (1915)
Pyrus elaeagnifolia (1915)
Noodle Squash (1925)
Improving pear trees by layering (1929)
Layering Tubes (1929)
Vegetative Approximation (1929)
Age and condition of parents (1929)
Frost-resistant Peaches (1929)
High Atmospheric Pressure (1929)
Breeding Apples
Vegetative Pear (1932)
Short-Season Grapes (1934)
Selection of Seedlings (1934)
Actinidia varieties (Kiwi fruit)
Hybridizing (1952)
Pear grafted on Lemon (1952)

Hansen on Michurin and Tsitsin (1941)
Liang: China’s Achievements in Michurin Genetics (1959)
Konstantinova: Michurin methods, alfalfa (1960)

Works of Luther Burbank: (An American plant-breeder, who was widely respected in the USSR)
Luther Burbank (biography) (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Luther Burbank. Wilbur Hall. Harvest of life (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Selected Works of L. Burbank (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Beach Plum, Prunus maritima (1901)
Crinums (1912)
California Poppies (1914)
California Poppies part 2 (1914)
Burbank, Wilks: Shirley Poppies
Walnuts (1914)
Giant Winter Rhubarb (1914)
Raspberry-Blackberry Hybrids (1914)
White Blackberry (1914)
Raspberry x Strawberry Hybrids (1914)
Domesticating the Camassias (1914)
Heuchera micrantha, curled leaf (1914)
Corn Selection – Illinois (1914)
Fatherless Beans (1914)
Shasta Daisies (1914)
Stamen Counters (1914)
Stoneless Plums (1914)
Plum hybrids with Prunus maritima & P. besseyi (1914)
Sunberry (1914)
Hybrids of pears with apples, quinces (1914)
Papago Sweet Corn (1919)
Sorghum Pop (1920)

Smith: New Winter Rhubarb (1903)
Harwood: Burbank’s California Poppies (1905)
Bland: Burbank’s Winter Rhubarb (1915)
Howard: Burbank the Pariah — of Scientists (1945/6)


M. V. Ritov. Selected works (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
The Green laboratory by B. Dizhur (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
In The World Of Soviet Science by Oleg Pisarzhevsky

Finnish works on Michurinism:
Darwin and the continuers of his work by Erkki Rautee (translated by myself)
On living matter and its transition to cell form by Heikki Kuusinen (translated by myself)
Capitalism threatens humanity with starvation by A. Hulkkonen (translated by myself)
“Excerpt against eugenics” (translated by myself)

O. B. LEPESHINSKAYA (1871-1963, Michurinist microbiologist)

Olga Borisovna Lepeshinskaya was a michurinist biologist who studied the development of cells. She demonstrated how cells developed during their lives, and how living matter organized itself. Laureate of the Stalin Prize of the first degree (1950), Academician of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR (1950). Recipient of the Order of Lenin (1946) and Order of the Red Banner of Labor.

There is an article on Lepeshinskaya in In The World Of Soviet Science by Oleg Pisarzhevsky

A. N. STUDITSKY (1908-1991, Michurinist medical biologist)

Alexander Nikolaevich Studitsky was a Soviet histologist, doctor of biological sciences, laureate of the Stalin Prize (1951) and recipient of the Order of the Badge of Honor. Studitsky particularly studied regeneration and wound-healing. He applied michurinist teachings to his work and demonstrated their validity in practice: he successfully regenerated muscles from minced tissues, and managed to re-grow completely healthy avian bones from small fragments.

Studitsky’s achievements are impressive but they’ve been acknowledged even by modern-day capitalist researchers, for example:

Relationship Between the Tissue and Epimorphic Regeneration of Muscles, Carlson
The Regeneration of Skeletal Muscle – A Review, Carlson
Types of Morphogenetic Phenomena in Vertebrate Regenerating Systems, Carlson

List of some scientific papers and articles by Studitsky

A. N. BAKH (1857-1946, biochemist)

“Bakh, Aleksei Nikolaevich. Born Mar. 5 (17), 1857, in Zolotonosha, Poltava Oblast; died May 13, 1946, in Moscow. Soviet scientist and revolutionary figure; academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (AN SSSR) (1929); Hero of Socialist Labor (1945). Founder of a school of Soviet biochemistry.

Bakh’s father was a technician. In 1875 Bakh entered the University of Kiev, from which he was expelled in 1878 for participation in student political activities. He was exiled to Belozersk for three years. When he returned to Kiev he entered the People’s Will organization. Beginning in 1883 he lived underground and did revolutionary work in Yaroslavl and Kazan. He gave lectures to the workers and popularized K. Marx’ economic teachings. On the basis of these lectures he wrote the book Hunger the Tsar (1883). After 1885 he lived as an émigré in France, the USA (1891–92), and Switzerland, and did scientific work. From 1905 to 1918, Bakh adhered to the Socialist Revolutionaries.

In 1917, Bakh returned to Russia. In 1918 he organized the Central Chemical Laboratory of the All-Russian Council of the National Economy of the RSFSR, which later became the L. Ia. Karpov Physicochemical Institute. Bakh was director of the institute until the end of his life. In 1920 he founded the Biochemical Institute of the People’s Commissariat of Health. In 1928 he became the head of the All-Union Association of Workers of Science and Engineering. In 1935, Bakh and A. I. Oparin organized the Institute of Biochemistry of the AN SSSR. Bakh was its director. (In 1944 the institute was named after him.) He was president of the D. I. Mendeleev All-Union Chemical Society (beginning in 1935). Between 1939 and 1945, Bakh was academician secretary of the Division of Chemical Sciences of the AN SSSR.

According to Bakh, the uniqueness of the living world in a chemical sense lies not so much in the peculiarities of its composition as in the diverse chemical transformations that are continuously going on in living organisms. Bakh’s attention was drawn to three basic problems of biochemistry: the chemism of carbon assimilation by green plants, which is the basis of the formation of organic substances in nature; the problem of oxidation processes that take place in the living cell, particularly the chemism of respiration; and the study of enzymes (enzymology). In his work on the assimilation of carbon dioxide by green plants, Bakh gave a new explanation of the nature of the formation of sugar in the process of carbon dioxide assimilation. He viewed the assimilation of carbon as a combined oxidation-reduction reaction that occurs by means of components of water. Proceeding from this point of view, he showed that the source of the molecular oxygen that is given off during assimilation is not carbon dioxide, as was formerly believed, but water.

Studying the role of peroxides that are formed during assimilation, Bakh arrived at a clarification of the nature of oxidation processes (1893–97). He gave final formulation to the peroxide theory of slow oxidation, according to which the energy necessary to activate molecular oxygen during spontaneous oxidation is supplied by the body being oxidized. These properties are possessed only by chemically unsaturated bodies that enter into interaction with the oxygen in the air and activate it. The activated oxygen interacts with the substance being oxidized and forms peroxide. The peroxide theory acquired special significance in the development of concepts on the chemism of respiration.

Bakh showed that oxidation is based on a series of enzyme oxidation and oxidation-reduction reactions that follow each other sequentially in a long chain of chemical transformations. He created new experimental methods for the investigation of enzymes. These methods are still used in both experimental and practical work at clinics, experimental stations, and factory laboratories. The results of Bakh’s work in enzymology are used in modern industrial biochemistry in the production of bread, beer, tea, and tobacco, in the retting of flax, in salting fish, and so forth.

Bakh was a deputy to the First Convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He won the Lenin Prize (1926) and the State Prize of the USSR (1941). Bakh was awarded four Orders of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.

Sbornik izbrannykh trudov. Leningrad, 1937.
Zapiski narodovol’tsa, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1931.

Aleksei Nikolaevich Bakh. Moscow, 1946.
Bakh, L. A., and A. I. Oparin. Aleksei Nikolaevich Bakh: Biographicheskii ocherk: K 100–letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia, 1857–1957. Moscow, 1957.” (The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1979, article by A. I. OPARIN)

A. I. OPARIN (1894-1980, Michurinist biochemist)

Alexander Oparin was a biochemist who studied the origins of life from non-living matter. In 1924 he presented the hypothesis that life has emerged through the chemical evolution of carbon based molecules in the so-called ‘primordial soup’. Throughout his career Oparin further developed this idea. He showed convincingly how life emerged naturally without the need for any kind of supernatural creator. Oparin refuted both idealist vitalism and mechanistic models, and defended the correctness of dialectical materialism.

Oparin received the following awards:

-Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1944)
-Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd class (1945)
-Hero of Socialist Labor (1969)
-5 Orders of Lenin (1953; 1964; 1967; 1969; 1974)
-Lenin Prize (1974)
-Medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”
-Medal “In memory of the 800th anniversary of Moscow”
-Jubilee medal “For Valiant Labor (For Military Valor). In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
-A. N. Bakh Prize
-I. I. Mechnikov Gold Medal
-Lomonosov Gold Meal

There is an article on Oparin in In The World Of Soviet Science by Oleg Pisarzhevsky

Works of Oparin:
The Origin Of Life (1952)
The Origin Of Life (1955)
The origin of life on the earth (1957)

“Oparin, Aleksandr Ivanovich. Born Feb. 18 (Mar. 2), 1894, in Uglich. Soviet biochemist. Founder of a scientific theory on the origin of terrestrial life. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1946; corresponding member, 1939). Hero of Socialist Labor (1969).

Oparin graduated from Moscow University in 1917 and subsequently worked in a number of institutions of higher learning and research institutes. From 1942 to 1960 he was head of the subdepartment of plant biochemistry at Moscow University. In 1935, together with A. N. Bakh, Oparin organized the Institute of Biochemistry at the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He was deputy director of the institute until 1946, when he was made director. From 1948 to 1955 he was academician-secretary of the department of biology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Oparin’s main works deal with biochemical principles of processing plant raw materials, enzyme activity in plants, and the origin of life on earth. He showed that biocatalysis is the basis of the production of a number of food products, and he developed the principles of Soviet technical biochemistry. Oparin’s first remarks on the origin of terrestrial life were made in 1922, and his book The Origin of Life was published in 1924. According to Oparin, life originated on earth as a result of the evolution of carbonaceous compounds.

Oparin became the president of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life in 1970, and he has been its honorary president since 1977; he also is an honorary member of the academies of sciences of Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic, Cuba, Spain, and Italy. He is also a member of the Leopoldine German Academy of Researchers in the Natural Sciences. A recipient of the Lenin Prize (1974), the A. N. Bakh Prize, and the I. I. Mechnikov Gold Medal, he has been awarded five Orders of Lenin, two other Soviet orders, and several foreign orders and medals.

Izmenenie deistviia enzimov v rastitel’noi kletke pod vliianiem vneshnikh vozdeistvii. Moscow, 1952.
Vozniknovenie zhizni na Zemle, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1957.
Zhizn’, ee priroda, proiskhozhdenie i razvitie, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.
“Istoriia vozniknoveniia i razvitiia teorii proiskhozhdeniia zhizni.” Izv. AN SSSR Ser. biol., 1972, no. 6.

A. I. Oparin, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1964. (AN SSSR: Materialy k biobibliografii uchenykh SSSR: Ser. biokhimii, fasc. 6.)” (The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1979)

ISAAK PREZENT (1902-1969, Michurinist, Philosopher)

Prezent was one of the most important michurinist philosophers of science and a close collaborator of T. D. Lysenko. Doctor of Biological Sciences (1930), Academician of VASKhNIL (1948). He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1943).

Embryo Culture (1948)
Vegetative Tomato Hybrid (1948)

И. В. Мичурин и его учение, Презент, Исаак Израилевич [I. V. Michurin and his doctrine, Isaak Prezent]

G. V. PLATONOV (1918-2006, Michurinist, Philosopher of science)

I. E. GLUSHCHENKO (1907-1987, agrobiologist)

Doctor of Agriculture Science; Professor; Director, Laboratory of Plant Genetics, Institute of Genetics, USSR Academy of Science, since 1939; member, All Union Lenin Academy, of Agriculture Science, since 1956. Order of Red Banner of Labor; two Stalin Prizes, 1943, 1950. Member of the Communist Party since 1938.

ВЕГЕТАТИВНАЯ ГИБРИДИЗАЦИЯ РАСТЕНИЙ [Vegetative hybridization of plants] (1948)
The importance of vegetative hybridization to understanding the heredity of plants (1950)
Glushchenko: Polyfertilization (1957)

N. I. NUZHDIN (1904-1972, agrobiologist)

Graduated from the Yaroslavl Pedagogical Institute in 1929, employee of the Institute of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR since 1935. Received the Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1945). In 1949-1952 he headed the Department of Zoology at the K. A. Timiryazev Agricultural Academy in Moscow.

D. A. DOLGUSHIN (1903-1995, agrobiologist)

Agrobiologist and selectionist. Doctor of Agriculture Science since 1936; full member, All-Union Lenin Academy, of Agriculture Science, since 1948. Stalin Prize, 1941; Order of Red Banner of Labor.

V. N. STOLETOV (1906-1989, agrobiologist)

The Fundamentals of Michurin Biology by V. N. Stoletov (Audiobook)
List of some scientific papers and articles by Stoletov

N. V. TURBIN (1912-1998, agrobiologist)

Oddities of Segregation (1948)
List of some scientific papers and articles by Turbin

I. D. KOLESNIK (1900-1953, agrobiologist)

Ivan Danilovich Kolesnik graduated from the Poltava Agricultural Institute (1931), researcher at the Research Institute of Fruit and Berry Farming of the Ukrainian SSR (1931-1935), senior researcher at the Ukrainian Institute of Selection (1935-1938), experimental base of the All-Union Agricultural Academy of Agricultural Sciences “Gorki Leninskie” (1939-1941), All-Union Agricultural Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1941-1946). At the same time, in 1942-1946, deputy head of the Main Directorate of the Vegetable Rubber Industry of the People’s Commissariat of the Rubber Industry of the USSR.

Since 1946, director of the Research Institute of Natural Rubber, since 1947, head of the laboratory of mass-production experiments of the All-Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Candidate of Agricultural Sciences (1937), Academician of VASKhNIL (1948).

I. D. Kolesnik was awarded the Great Gold Medal of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (1939), the Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1940), the Stalin Prize (1943) and the medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War” (1946)

“As far as the hill sowing of kok-saghyz is concerned, I only suggested the idea. For the elaboration and practical application of this method credit must be given to Stalin Prize winner I. D. Kolesnik and to the collective-farm members of Kiev Region.” (Lysenko, Why bourgeois science is up in arms against the work of Soviet scientists, Agrobiology, p. 511)

B. P. TOKIN (1900-1984, agrobiologist)

Boris Petrovich Tokin was a Soviet biologist, doctor of Biological Sciences (1935), rector of Tomsk University, founder of the Department of Embryology (1949) of Leningrad State University named after A. A. Zhdanov. President of the Leningrad Society of Nature Testers (1966-1984), creator of the doctrine of phytoncides. Hero of Socialist Labor. Laureate of the Stalin and State Prizes.

He was born in 1900 in the Mogilev region, Belarus, in the family of an apprentice craftsman. From the age of 10, he began working in a printing house as a sorter. In 1918 he graduated from the Volsk real school. He participated in the Civil War 1917-1922 and joined the RCP (b) in 1918. He did party work throughout 1921-22 and served in the Red Army in 1923-24. At the same time studied at the medical faculty of the 1st Moscow University, then moved to the biological department of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics. He graduated from the University in 1930. From 1929 he worked as a senior researcher at the Laboratory of Experimental Biology at the Moscow Zoo. Then, without leaving work at the zoo, he studied at the graduate school of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

In 1928, B. P. Tokin proposed the term “phytoncides” (from the merger of ancient Greek φυτόν (plant) and Latin caedo (kill)) for toxic volatile substances of some plants with antimicrobial properties (bactericides of plant origin). Later he would earn a Stalin Prize for this research.

In the 1930s Tokin opposed the theory of O. B. Lepeshinskaya and put forward his own theory of cell ontogeny as its development between two divisions. In the 1930s he was the director of the K. A. Timiryazev State Biological Institute. In June 1936, Tokin was appointed rector of Tomsk State University, but was fired in 1937, expelled from the CPSU (b) and arrested in February 1938. A year later he was released and rehabilitated.

From March 1939 he worked at the Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology of Tomsk State University. In 1941, he initiated the creation of the Tomsk Committee of Scientists, which brought together university staff for scientific research to help the army. During the Great Patriotic War Tokin developed further ways of using plants for anti-microbial and medicinal purposes, to help alleviate the shortage of medicines.

From 1945 to 1955 Tokin worked in the Institute of Experimental Medicine (VIEM) and was the professor and head of the department of embryology of the Leningrad State University. In 1950 he became a laureate of the Stalin Prize.

Tokin attacked reactionary mendelism-morganism. At the beginning of 1950, Tokin also sent a letter to the CC of the CPSU(b), where he reported that the secretary of the Jewish Masonic lodge, Professor D. N. Nasonov, professors P. G. Svetlov, A. A. Brown, A. D. Brown and certain others had formed a conspiratorial nationalist zionist group (see the section on Svetlov).

In 1966-1984 he was the president of the Leningrad Society of Naturalists (LOIP).

He earned the following awards:
-Laureate of the Stalin Prize of the third degree (1950) for the scientific work “Phytoncides” (1948)
-Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1957)
-Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1961)
-Order of Lenin (1967)
-Hero of Socialist Labor (1971)
-Order of the October Revolution (1980)
-Honorary citizen of the city of Volsk, Saratov region
-Various medals

P. O. MAKAROV (1905-1975, Michurinist cytologist)

Pyotr Osipovich Makarov was a Soviet biologist and cytologist, corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (1950), laureate of the I. I. Mechnikov Prize (1950). Member of the CPSU since 1942.

P. O. Makarov graduated from the biological department of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of the Leningrad University in 1928. From 1936 to 1941 he was Associate Professor of the Faculty of Biology at Leningrad University. In 1939 he defended his doctoral thesis on the problem of general and cellular anesthesia. From 1941 to 1944 he participated in the Great Patriotic War. He was the head of the department of general biology of the Leningrad Sanitary and Hygienic Medical Institute (1944-1960), professor of the department of general and comparative physiology (1945-1948), head of the laboratory of cytogenetics (1948-1960) of Leningrad University. In 1950 he was elected a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences. Makarov was the head of the Department of Cytology and Histology of the Leningrad University from 1960 to 1967.

P. O. Makarov was the author of over 120 scientific papers, including 2 monographs, mainly on cell morphology and physiology. About 20 dissertations were prepared under his leadership, including 2 doctoral dissertations. He served as chairman of the board of the Leningrad society “Knowledge” .

Makarov opposed reactionary mendelist idealist pseudo-science. In 1949, in Leningrad, he gave a public lecture entitled “The Failure of the Cytological Foundations of Weismannism-Morganism”, published in 1949 by the Leningrad Society “Knowledge”.

Makarov earned two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor and was given the I. I. Mechnikov (1950) prize for the collection “Against the reactionary Morganism-Mendelism”

F. K .TETEREV (1906-?, biologist)

Filipp Kuzmich Teterev, biologist, doctor of biological sciences (1961). He worked with I. V. Michurin in his nursery, graduated in 1932 from the Michurin Fruit and Vegetable Institute . Member of the Great Patriotic War. For many years he worked at the All-Union Institute of Plant Industry. Author of many varieties of cherries, cherries, honeysuckle. Laureate of the Stalin Prize (1950) and awarded 2 Orders of the Red Banner of Labor as well as medals.

“The level of biological sciences in the USSR is unprecedented as a result of applying the teachings of Michurin and the work of his great students: Professor Tsitsin, Professor Lysenko, Teterev, Kardon, Williams, Maksimenko and others.” (Kurt Morgenstern, The Soviet materialist biology of Michurin)

“The breeder Teterev realized Michurin’s wish to cover the almond kernel with the flesh of a good cherry instead of a worthless shell. He succeeded in crossing the almond with the cherry. Other researchers succeeded in growing an oil fruit tree, the Amokade, for the Russian south. Their tasty fruits contain 40% oil and nine vitamins. A very great breeding achievement is the Komsomol strawberry. It has large fruit, is ready to ship, produces large yields, has an excellent taste and achieves full harvests.” (Kurt Morgenstern, The Soviet materialist biology of Michurin)

A. A. AVAKIAN (1907-1966, Michurinist Biologist)

Colleague of T. D. Lysenko. Graduated from Yerevan Agricultural Institute (1931). He worked as an agronomist-cotton grower at the Sardarpat state farm of the Armenian SSR (1931-1932). Postgraduate student of the All-Russian Research Institute of Plant Growing (1932-1935). Senior researcher, head of the department of genetics of the All-Union Research Institute of Selection and Genetics (1936-1939). Head of the genetics department of the experimental base of the All-Union Agricultural Academy of Agricultural Sciences “Gorki Leninskie” (1939-1941). Head of the Laboratory of Plant Genetics at the Institute of Genetics of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1941-1944). Senior researcher, head of the potato department of the Moldavian Agricultural Complex Experimental Station of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Moldavian SSR (1944-1946). Head of the laboratory of genetics, and. O. director, senior researcher at the experimental base of the All-Union Agricultural Academy of Agricultural Sciences “Gorki Leninskie” (1946-1966).

Doctor of Agricultural Sciences (1941)
Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1946)
Full member of VASKhNIL (1948)

Avakian was awarded the following prizes:
Laureate of the Stalin Prize (1941, 1951)
Order of Lenin (1949)
Order of the Badge of Honor (1939)
Small Gold Medal of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (1939)

I. K. MAKSIMENKO (1907-1976, biologist)

Ivan Kyrylovych Maksymenko, breeder scientist, geneticist, doctor of biological sciences, professor, member of the Academy of Sciences of the Turkmen SSR (since 1959), Hero of Socialist Labor (1965), Honored Worker of Sciences of the Turkmen SSR, Honored Agronomist of the TSSR.

He was awarded the Order of Lenin (1965), three Orders of the Red Banner (1944, 1950, 1957), two orders of the Badge of Honour (1949, 1954), I. V. Michurin Gold Medal (1961), medal “For Labor Valor” (1952) and other medals.

“The level of biological sciences in the USSR is unprecedented as a result of applying the teachings of Michurin and the work of his great students: Professor Tsitsin, Professor Lysenko, Teterev, Kardon, Williams, Maksimenko and others.” (Kurt Morgenstern, The Soviet materialist biology of Michurin)

“The researcher Maksimenko succeeded in cultivating cotton in a wide variety of colors that are lightfast and washable. It is not yet possible to foresee what opportunities this will create for the textile industry.” (Kurt Morgenstern, The Soviet materialist biology of Michurin)

“The main areas of scientific research are selection and seed production of cotton. He revealed the regularities of hereditary changes in cotton plants during remote hybridization and developed methods for accelerating the breeding process. I obtained a number of thin-fiber varieties with a compact habit of a bush, which are distinguished by high yield, early ripening and good technological qualities of the fiber. For the first time in the USSR, he brought out varieties of cotton with naturally dyed fiber, which was a strategic raw material during the German-Soviet war (camouflage made of natural brown and green cotton could not be recognized from the air). The author of valuable varieties of fine-fiber cotton” (Wikipedia)

M. A. OLSHANSKY (1908-1988, agrobiologist, Michurinist breeder)

Mikhail Alexandrovich Olshansky was a Soviet agrobiologist, agronomist and breeder.

Olshansky was born to a poor family in Ukraine and graduated from the Maslovsky Institute of Breeding and Seed Production in the Kyiv region in 1928. He became a Candidate of Agricultural Sciences, Professor (1936), Academician of the All-Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1948). In 1960-1962, he was Minister of Agriculture of the USSR. Member of the CPSU (b) since 1932. He retired in March 1965, when Michurinism was overthrown by the revisionists.

On July 14, 1964, Olshansky wrote a letter to the Central Committee of the CPSU and N. S. Khrushchev, criticizing the reactionary morganist and anti-communist Zhores Medvedev, and demanding that Medvedev’s “streams of dirty slander” against T. D. Lysenko be stopped.

Olshansky worked at numerous research institutes and also in the Supreme Soviet. He published around 100 scientific papers. He created valuable new varieties such as Kenaf No. 5136; cotton “Odessa-1”. The website of the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences states that this variety “is distinguished by high yield, early maturity, fiber yield and length, and bolls size.”

Olshansky received the following awards:

Large silver medal of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (1940)
Stalin Prize of the second degree (1941) – for the breeding of the cotton variety “Odessa No. 1” for new cotton-sowing areas
Medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945” (1945)
Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1948)
Order of Lenin (1949)
Stalin Prize of the first degree (1951) – for the scientific and production development of issues of the nesting method of sowing forests.

N. V. TSITSIN (1898-1980, botanist, biologist)

Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1939), VASKhNIL (1938; vice-president in 1938-1948). Twice Hero of Socialist Labor (1968, 1978); Laureate of the Lenin Prize (1978) and the Stalin Prize of the second degree (1943).

“Academician Tsitsin, by crossing wheat with couch grass, produced a new variety of perennial wheat that is impervious to drought. In a conversation he had with Academician Tsitsin, Comrade Stalin said: “Be bolder in your experiments, we will support you.” (A History of the USSR, ed. A. M. Pankratova (1948) vol.3, p. 380)

Hansen on Michurin and Tsitsin (1941)

K. A. MESHCHERSKAYA (1909-1991, pharmacologist)

Kira Alexandrovna Meshcherskaya was a Soviet biologist and pharmacologist, doctor of medical sciences, professor. Her husband was the noted scientist, Order of Red Star winner, D. M. Steinberg.

Meshcherskaya was born on June 10, 1909 into an aristocrat family in Smolensk province. Having received a home education, then a secondary education in a Soviet school, Kira Alexandrovna studied at the 2nd Leningrad Medical Institute from 1926 to 1931. After graduating from high school, Meshcherskaya was sent to work as a doctor at the health center of a mechanical plant in Kemerovo. Returning two years later to Leningrad, from 1933 to 1935 she worked as a junior researcher at the All-Union Institute of Experimental Medicine (VIEM). At this period she was fired from her job in connection with administrative actions against her aristocratic family. However, she was transferred to other work and demonstrated her loyalty to the Soviet power and communism. She worked for a year at the Kazakh Research Institute for the Protection of Motherhood and Childhood (Alma-Ata ), then for another year as a district pediatrician in Leningrad, without leaving scientific studies, which she devoted to her free time from her main work.

After defending her Ph.D. thesis at Leningrad University (specialty: biology) in 1937, she was accepted as an assistant at the Department of Pharmacology of the Pediatric Medical Institute and began preparing her doctoral dissertation, which was interrupted by the Great Patriotic War. Meshcherskaya volunteered for the front.

In June 1941, she was drafted by the City Military Commissariat of Leningrad into the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army. During the Great Patriotic War, she served as a battalion doctor, head of the sanitary service of a separate sanitary battalion, chief toxicologist of the 23rd Army (Leningrad Front). She used coniferous tincture in the army as an antiscorbutic agent. She proved that when using the mud solution of Gorky Lake on the 15th day of treatment, complete healing of wounds occurred. When this solution was used orally at a dose of 0.5 ml per 100 grams of water for 14 days, the ulcerative surfaces of the stomach healed. During the war, K. A. Meshcherskaya received four military ranks, was awarded orders and medals, and was demobilized with the rank of major in the medical service. She joined the CPSU(b) in 1943.

After demobilization, Meshcherskaya returned to teaching at the pediatric institute. After defending her doctoral dissertation in pharmacology in 1947 on “Analysis of the toxic effect of potassium ions and its features in different periods of animal growth (On the problem of age-related physiology)”, she worked as a senior researcher at the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research Institute (Leningrad). Then she headed the department of pharmacology of the Chelyabinsk (since 1949) and the departments of biology and pharmacology of the Blagoveshchensk (since 1952) medical institutes. In both universities she was vice-rector for academic and scientific work. From 1968 to 1986 she headed the Department of Pharmacology at the Vladivostok State Medical Institute.

Professor K. A. Meshcherskaya was engaged in active social work, she was the permanent chairman of the Primorsky branches of the I. P. Pavlov All-Union Society of Physiologists and the society of pharmacologists; was the chairman of the Primorsky biomedical section of the All-Union Society “Knowledge” etc.

Her war medals and other awards are numerous. Among others, they include:
Order of the Patriotic War II degree, April 6, 1985
Order of the Red Star, October 2, 1943
Order of the Badge of Honor
Military Merit Medal, November 6, 1942
Medal “For the Defense of Leningrad”, June 1, 1943
Medal “For the victory over Germany”

D. M. STEINBERG (1909-1962, entomologist)

Dmitry Maksimilianovich Steinberg was Soviet entomologist, doctor of biological sciences, professor (1949). His first wife was the noted scientist, fighter and Order of the Red Star winner K. A. Meshcherskaya.

Born in 1909 in St. Petersburg, D. M. Steinberg is the son of composer M. O. Steinberg, and grandson of composer N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov. He graduated from the Faculty of Biology and Soil Science of Leningrad State University in 1930. From 1931 he worked at the All-Union Institute of Plant Protection, taught at the Department of General Biology of the 2nd Leningrad Medical Institute. In 1941-1945 he was on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War, volunteering for a division of the people’s militia. At the same time, in 1942-1944, he was the head of the department of general biology of the 2nd Leningrad Medical Institute, which he headed after the death of P. P. Ivanov (1878-1942).

In 1945-1962 he worked at the Zoological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Leningrad:
in 1949-1953 he was the head of the expedition to study the fauna of the steppes of Western Kazakhstan and the deserts of Turkmenistan; in 1954-1959, the deputy director of the institute for science; since 1960, head of the laboratory of experimental entomology and theoretical foundations of biological control of insect pests and vice-president of the All-Union Entomological Society.

D. M. Steinberg is the author of about 40 scientific papers on taxonomy, morphology and physiology of insects; problems of diapause, cold resistance and phytoperiodism in insects; issues of biological factors in the fight against insect pests.

D. M. Steinberg earned the Order of the Red Star (1944), Medal for the Defense of Leningrad, and the Order of the Badge of Honor (1953)

B. G. IOGANZEN (1911-1996, agrobiologist, ecologist)

Bodo Germanovich Ioganzen was a Soviet biologist, one of the founders of the development of ecology as a science in the USSR. Doctor of Biological Sciences (1944), Professor (1945).

Born in 1911 in Tomsk in the family of a famous ornithologist, entomologist and phenologist, professor G. E. Iogansen. In 1928 B. G. Iohanzen entered the zoological department of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of TSU, in 1932 he graduated from the university with a degree in ichthyology and hydrology. In 1932-1935 he worked as a researcher, head of the scientific department of the West Siberian Fisheries Station in Tomsk. Since 1934, the scientific and pedagogical activity of B. G. Ioganzen began at TSU as an assistant to Professor M. D. Ruzsky. In 1935, he was approved with the academic rank of associate professor and appointed acting head of the Department of Ichthyology and Hydrobiology of TSU. In 1936 he defended his Ph.D. thesis on the topic “Morpho-biological features of cyclostomes of Siberia”. At the same time, in 1935-1941, he worked at the Biological Research Institute at TSU. In 1940-1942 and in 1944-1987 he was the head of the Department of Ichthyology and Hydrobiology of TSU. For more than 30 years he was the head of the faculty of TSU: Faculty of Biology in 1939-1942, 1944-1948, then Faculty of Biology and Soil from 1954-1964 and from 1973-1985.

For about 20 years he lectured on Darwinism. From June 26, 1964 to January 26, 1971, he was the rector of the Tomsk State Pedagogical Institute (the first head of the institute with this title of position), in 1971-1972 vice-rector of the TSPI for scientific work.

Ioganzen is the author of about 800 scientific papers and was given two Orders of the Badge of Honor and a Silver medal of VDNKh (the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition, the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy of the USSR).

Ioganzen was a defender of Michurinist materialist biology. Reactionary L. N. Medvedev stated that “in the late 80s, B. G. Ioganzen and E. D. Logachev… tried to revive Lysenko’s… ideas” (L. N. Medvedev, “Pseudoscience enters education”)

S. S. PEROV (1889-1967, Michurinist biochemist)

Sergei Stepanovich Perov was a Soviet scientist. The main works in the field of biochemistry, physical and colloidal chemistry and lactology. He was the founder of a new branch of biochemistry, the biochemistry of protein substances. Professor (1930), academician of the All-Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1935), Doctor of Chemical Sciences (1936). Perov spoke at the August session of VASKhNIL in 1948 in defense of T. D. Lysenko.

He graduated from the gymnasium in Vologda, entered St. Petersburg University, from which he graduated in 1913. After graduating from the university, he returned to Vologda, where he worked as a laboratory assistant. In 1918 he joined the RCP(b); carried out the instructions of the party to organize the work of the printing house and the scientific and technical committee of the Gubsovnarkhoz.

In 1920 he was elected professor in the department of colloid chemistry at the VMHI, the Vologda Dairy Institute, after some time he was hired by the People’s Commissariat of Agriculture as a scientific consultant. Later he worked as the head of agricultural education at the Glavprofobra, deputy director of the Timiryazev Research Institute, director of the Protein Laboratory of the All-Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1930–35 and since 1943) and the Protein Laboratory of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1935–42), professor at the Moscow Veterinary Academy (1932–41) and the Moscow Fur and Fur Institute (1930-34 and 1949-55), head of the Protein Laboratory of the All-Russian Research Institute of Animal Husbandry.

He received the Stalin Prize for scientific research on protein biochemistry, published in the following works: “Protein protoacids of a number of seeds of herbaceous, shrubby and woody plants”, “Weight loss of the purest protein protoacid at 105 °”, “Basic principles of pure vegetable feed protein technology”, “Colloidal properties of the purest casein protein protoacid in an active acidic medium” (Reports of the All-Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 1947-1948). S. S. Perov developed a method for obtaining fodder protein for farm animals, which was tested at the Yermolino state farm in the Moscow Region in 1952-1958.

He wrote more than 150 scientific papers, including:

-Primary analytical methods for studying animal protein // Reports of VASKhNIL. 1956. Issue 9. S. 7-10.
-Muscle proteins of agricultural animals / Co-author A.P. Sadokova // Reports of VASKhNIL. 1957. Issue 5. S. 30-34.
-On some harms in the thinking and behavior of the advocates of artificial insemination // Livestock breeding. 1958. No. 4. S. 87-88.
-On the colloidal state of salts of casein protoacid / Co-author A.P. Sadokova // Dokl. VASKHNIL. 1964. Issue. 4. S. 37-39.
-Protein substances of the blood serum of the Romanov sheep and the effect of sour protein on the live weight of lambs / Co-author A.P. Sadokova // Proceedings -of the All-Russian Research Institute of Physiology and Biochemistry of Farm Animals. 1965. T. 2. S. 16-29.
-Casein protein protoacid. Methods of obtaining and physico-chemical characteristics, M., 1947;
-Physical and chemical indicators of a number of protoacids in the dynamics of concentrations and temperatures (On the problem of the structure of protein substances), M., 1951.

S. S. Perov was awarded the following state awards and prizes:

-Stalin Prize (1949).
-Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1949)
-Medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”
-Medal “In memory of the 800th anniversary of Moscow”.

M. F. IVANOV (1871-1935, animal breeder)

Mikhail Fedorovich Ivanov was a significant Soviet animal breeder, teacher. He was one of the founders of the zootechnical experimentation industry in the USSR. He was awarded the Honored Worker of Science and Technology of the RSFSR in 1929 and was elected to the position of academician of VASKhNIL in 1935.

“Academician V. R. Williams contributed a great deal to the theory of agrobiology in the sphere of agronomy, as has Academician M. F. Ivanov in the field of animal husbandry.” (Lysenko, Engels and certain problems of darwinism, Agrobiology, p. 350)

“In the field of sheep breeding, for example, 21.4 kg of wool, significantly improved quality and 157 kg of live weight are reported for the Askania-Rambouillett breed for animals bred by M. F. Ivanov.” (Kurt Morgenstern, The Soviet materialist biology of Michurin)

D. M. FEDOTOV (1888-1972, biologist)

Dmitry Mikhailovich Fedotov was a Soviet biologist, founder of the Department of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy, Dean of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics (1921 ), founder of the Museum of Zoology and Invertebrates of Perm University, founder and first director Kama Biological Station, Deputy Director of the Institute of Evolutionary Morphology (1944–1949).

The first scientific articles by D. M. Fedotov are devoted to the fauna and systematics of spiders. In the future, these studies were continued by his first Perm student D. E. Kharitonov. Later, D. M. Fedotov dealt with general issues of biology: morphology and phylogeny of echinoderms , evolutionary problems of echinoderms, intestinal gills and chordates: “Carboniferous lamellar-gill mollusks of the Donetsk basin” (1932), “Echinoderms” in Fundamentals of paleontology (1934), “Harmful turtle” ( 1960), “Evolution and phylogeny of invertebrates” (1966), “Issues of functional morphology and embryology of insects” (1968). The data he received were included in textbooks and are recognized as classics.

He was awarded the The order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1945), and the rank of Honored Scientist of the RSFSR.

V. V. PASHKEVICH (1856-1939, biologist)

Vasily Vasilyevich Pashkevich, Soviet scientist, specialist in the field of fruit growing, Doctor of Biological Sciences (1934), Academician of the All-Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1935), Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1935).

In 1882 he graduated from St. Petersburg University, receiving a master’s degree in natural sciences. After graduating from the university, he trained for two years in Germany and Austria. From 1894 he worked in the Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture and State Property, from 1922 in the department of applied botany and breeding, reorganized in 1924 into the All-Union Institute of Applied Botany and New Crops (since 1930 – the All-Union Institute of Plant Industry). He was a professor at the Leningrad Agricultural Institute since 1922.

The main works are devoted to the study of varieties (pomology) of apple trees and other fruit crops. Conducted numerous surveys of gardens in various regions of the USSR.

A. P. REDKIN (1875-1966, animal breeder)

Andrey Petrovich Redkin was a Soviet scientist in the field of livestock engineering and agronomy, honorary academician of the All-Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hero of Socialist Labor (1965).

Since 1930 Redkin was a consultant to the Glavsvinovod (Main Directorate of Pig Breeding Sovkhoz in the Ministry of Sovkhoz of the USSR), a researcher at the Institute of the Meat and Dairy Industry and the All-Union Institute of Animal Husbandry. He was the author of a large number of scientific works in the field of breeding, crossing breeds, feeding. Under his leadership, the Kalikinsky and Murom breeds of pigs were bred, which showed high productivity in the conditions of central Russia. During the Great Patriotic War, he was engaged in writing the textbook “Pig Breeding”, which subsequently withstood fourteen reprints in the USSR and was published abroad. For great services in agricultural science, Redkin was awarded the title of Honored Scientist of the RSFSR in 1946. Since 1956 he taught as a professor in the Moscow Timiriazev Academy.

He was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labor with the Order of Lenin and the Hammer and Sickle medal in 1965.

V. L. KOMAROV (1869-1945, botanist)

Botanist Vladimir Leontievich Komarov was awarded numerous awards such as Hero of Socialist Labor (10/13/1944), three orders of Lenin (1939, 1944, 1945) and two first degree Stalin Prizes in 1941 for the work “The doctrine of the species in plants” and in 1942 as part of a team for the work “On the development of the national economy of the Urals in war conditions”. Komarov was the President of the USSR Academy of Sciences since 1936 to his death in 1945.

P. P. IVANOV (1878-1942, embryologist)

Piotr Pavlovich Ivanov was a Soviet embryologist and a professor. He studied segmentation in annelids and arthropods and proposed the differentiation of two kinds of segments in segmented organisms and the developmental (or ontogenetic) idea of heteronomous metamery where several segments fuse to perform a common function.

Ivanov graduated from the 1st classical gymnasium in 1896 and joined St. Petersburg University. His research was on the regeneration of segments in the worm Lumbriculus variegatus for which he received a gold medal in 1901. He then went to the biological research station, Naples to study regeneration in marine annelids. In 1906 he received a A. O. Kovalevsky scholarship scholarship to visit the Sunda Islands and collected a large number of invertebrates and made studies of Limulus mollucanus, Xiphosura and Scolopendra. In 1911 he studied in Munich. His master’s thesis at St. Petersburg University was on a comparative study of regeneration in annelids. In 1919 he became a professor at St. Petersburg University and began an embryology laboratory in 1922. In 1932 he moved to the Institute of Experimental Medicine and became the head of experimental embryology. He received a doctorate in 1932. He published a book on general and comparative embryology in 1937 in which he proposed the theory of primary heteronomy which he had begun in 1928. Ivanov’s ideas were proposed from 1928 onwards in a series of papers.

Ivanov’s school of students who became embryologists of note included L. N. Zhinkin, D. M. Steinberg, and K. A. Meshcherskaya. Out of his students P. G. Svetlov became a reactionary morganist.

M. A. MENZBIR (1855-1935, zoologist)

Mikhail Alexandrovich Menzbir was a Soviet zoologist and zoogeographer, Honored Professor of Moscow University and Rector of Moscow University (1917-1919), full member of the Academy Sciences of the USSR (1929), founder of Russian ornithology.

In 1874 he graduated from the Tula Gymnasium and entered the natural department of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of Moscow University. Among his university teachers are professors N. A. Severtsov, Ya. A. Borzenkov, S. A. Usov and others.

In 1878, M. A. Menzbir graduated from Moscow University with a gold medal for an essay on the morphology of Diptera and was left at the university to prepare for a professorship.

In 1882 he defended his thesis for a master’s degree in zoology on the topic “Ornithological geography of European Russia”, which became a classic work in zoogeography. In 1886 he defended his dissertation for the degree of doctor of zoology.

In 1911, he left the university (together with rector V. I. Vernadsky) in protest against the police intrusion into the university while pacifying student “riots” and in protest against the violation of the autonomy of higher education by the reactionary policy of the Minister of Public Education L. A. Casso.

In 1917 he created the laboratory of zoogeography and comparative anatomy of the Moscow State University (he was in charge in 1917-1930). Organizer of the Laboratory of Zoogeography of the Academy of Sciences (1930). In 1915-1935, M. A. Menzbir was President of the Moscow Society of Naturalists , of which he had been a member since 1880. In addition to MOIP, M.A. Menzbier was a member of many Russian and foreign scientific societies: the Zoological Society of France (1884), the American Ornithological Union (1884), the London Zoological Society, the British Ornithological Union (1894), the German Ornithological Society (1930) and others. He was also one of the founding members of the Russian Paleontological Society (1916).

The Menzbier Ornithological Society at the Russian Academy of Sciences is a reorganized All-Union Ornithological Society, established on February 19, 1983 and named after Menzbier.

P. P. SUSHKIN (1868-1928, zoologist)

Pyotr Petrovich Sushkin was a Soviet zoologist and paleontologist, academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1923).

S. N. BOGOLYUBSKY (1885-1976, zoologist)

Sergey Nikolaevich Bogolyubsky was a Soviet zoologist, professor (1935), corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR (1946), Honored Scientist of the RSFSR. Specialist in evolution, morphology and embryology of domestic animals. He was awarded the Order of Lenin.

The scientific interests of S. N. Bogolyubsky were formed on the basis of deep knowledge in comparative anatomy received from M. A. Menzbier and P. P. Sushkin in his student years and under the significant influence of the ideas of A. N. Severtsov, presented in “Etudes on the Theory of Evolution” (1912).

The themes of Bogolyubsky’s scientific works are related to domestication, morphology and embryology of domestic animals. In developing the ideas of A. N. Severtsov, he was the first to study the evolution of breed and constitutional changes associated with domestication. Later, he dealt with the problem of the relationship between phylembryogenesis and mutations in domestic animals. He also dealt with applied issues of zootechnics.

Bogolyubsky was the author of more than 160 scientific papers, popular science publications, fundamental textbooks, and many articles in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Among Bogolyubsky’s students there are 19 doctors of sciences, more than 20 candidates of sciences, academicians and corresponding members of VASKhNIL.

CHAGANAK BERSIYEV (1881-1944, agricultural innovator)

“The late Chaganak Bersiyev, a Kazakh collective-farm member and one of the foremost millet growers, achieved most admirable results. He obtained yields for millet that have not been matched anywhere in the world for any grain whatever, namely, 1,200 to 1,300 poods per hectare. This record even surpassed the yields that theoretical calculations had forecast as the highest possible.” (Lysenko, The tasks of the Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences of the USSR, Agrobiology, p. 494)

“The western part of north Kazakhstan is famous for its millet. It was here, in the Aktyubinsk Region, that the Kazakh collective farmer Chaganak Bersiev raised the record crop of 20.1 tons of millet per hectare in 1943. (This is roughly equivalent to 9 short tons per acre.) Before the advance of the collective farms the soil in these parts of the country yielded no more than about three-tenths of a ton of millet per hectare—less than one-sixtieth of Bersiev’s record.

Calculating the amount of solar energy a plant is capable of absorbing, the celebrated Russian scientist Williams maintained that it is possible to raise the yield of cereals to over 8 tons per acre. This would appear fantastic, but Soviet collective farmer Bersiev, has not only justified Williams’ forecast, but has even surpassed it. And this peasant was a Kazakh, a representative of the people whom the tsarist colonizers considered incapable of pursuing field husbandry. Bersiev’s initiative has developed into a nationwide movement. The collective farmers have been won over en masse to advanced agrotechnical methods of millet cultivation.” (N. Mikhailov, The sixteen republics of the Soviet Union, pp. 63-64)

Bersiyev was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1940.

V. P. BUSHINSKY (1885-1960, agrobiologist)

Vladimir Petrovich Bushinsky was a Russian scientist in the field of soil science and agriculture. Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1939), Academician of the All-Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1948). Honored Worker of Science and Technology of the RSFSR (1937).

“He graduated from the Moscow Agricultural Institute (1911), in 1906-1915 he participated in the research work of the Department of Soil Science.

Since 1914, associate professor at the Higher Courses for the Training of Specialists in Meadow Growth. Since 1916 professor. In 1916-1922 head. chair of soil science of the Saratov Agricultural Institute, at the same time in 1918-1921 professor and dean of the agronomic faculty of Saratov University .

In 1921-1928 in the bodies of the People’s Commissariat for Education of the RSFSR . Simultaneously with 1922 head of the Department of Soil Science of the Moscow Forestry Institute and Professor of the Department of Soil Science of the Moscow Agricultural Academy.

From 1922 to 1951 he was director of the All-Union Institute of Agrosoil Science, the Institute for the Study of Salt and Irrigated Lands, and head of the Soil and Biological Laboratory of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Since 1939, head of the Department of Soil Science of the Moscow Agricultural Academy.

Doctor of Agricultural Sciences (1937).

In 1948, he sharply criticized the work of the Soil Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences, in the spirit of the decisions of the August session of the All-Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences.” (Wikipedia)

He was given the following awards:

3 orders of the Red Banner of Labor
2 orders of the Red Star
Order of the Badge of Honor
Honored Worker of Science and Technology of the RSFSR (1937)
Medal of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition

T. S. MALTSEV (1895-1994, agrotechnician)

Terenty Semyonovich Maltsev is famous for developing a new system of plowing. In WWI Maltsev was imprisoned by the Germans and in 1919 together with other prisoners he created the Russian section of the Communist Party of Germany. He returned to the USSR and in the 1920s he acted as a village council chairman and started his work on farming technique. In the 1920s he created a farming cooperative with other villagers. He joined the CPSU(B) in 1939. Maltsev was self-taught and his personal library consisted of thousands of books. He was elected an honorary academician.

He has received the following awards:

Hero of Socialist Labor (1955 and 1975)
Hammer and Sickle Gold Medal (1955 and 1975)
Six Orders of Lenin (1942, 1955, 1966, 1973, 1975, 1985)
Order of the October Revolution (1971)
Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (1949 and 1972)
Order of the Badge of Honor (1957)
Medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”
Large gold medal of the All- Union Agricultural Exhibition (1940)
Large gold medal named after I. V. Michurin (1954)
Honored Worker of Agriculture of the USSR (1983)
Stalin Prize of the third degree, 1946 – for improving the varieties of grain and vegetable crops and for the development and implementation of advanced agrotechnical farming methods in agriculture, which ensured high yields in the arid Trans-Urals
W. R. Williams Prize, (1973)
Order of the “Star of Friendship of Peoples” in gold, 1986, German Democratic Republic
Honorary Academician of VASKhNIL (1956)
Honorary citizen of Russia and diploma of the Council of the Russian Chamber – for special services to the people “in the preservation and development of the best traditions of the Russian peasantry”, (1992)
Honorary citizen of the Kurgan region (2003)
Honorary citizen of the city of Shadrinsk (1975)
In 1989, the grain growers of the Central Aimag of Mongolia established a prize named after. T. S. Maltsev.

E. P. SPANGENBERG (1898-1968, ornithologist)

Evgeny Pavlovich Spangenberg was a Soviet ornithologist, candidate of biological sciences, laureate of the Stalin Prize (1952).

Evgeny Spangenberg was born on February 25, 1898 at the Andrianovka station (now Chita Oblast ). His father was a railroad engineer. In 1919-1921 he served in the Red Army. In 1922, Evgeny Spangenberg entered the natural department of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at Moscow University, from which he graduated in 1930.

Since 1931, Evgeny Pavlovich became a senior researcher at the All-Russian Research Institute of Hunting, Fur Breeding and Reindeer Husbandry, since 1944 he became an assistant professor at the Faculty of Biology of Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov . Candidate of Biological Sciences (1945). Since 1946, Evgeny Spangenberg has been working at the Zoological Museum of Moscow State University, first as the head of the herpetological department, and later, in 1950, in the ornithological department. Here he became a senior researcher, having worked for 18 years, until the end of his life.

Eugene Spangenberg has written several books about his work. His most famous book is Notes of a Naturalist, which was reprinted 15 times. He won his second degree Stalin Prize (1952) for the 5-volume scientific work “Birds of the Soviet Union” (1951).


V. D. OGIEVSKY (1861-1921), G. N. VYSOTSKY (1865-1940) & G. F. MOROZOV (1867-1920)

Vasily Dmitrievich Ogievsky, Georgy Nikolaevich Vysotsky and Georgy Fedorovich Morozov, were the top forestry experts of pre-revolutionary Russia. Vysotsky also worked with the Soviet state. They supported progressive policies such as nationalization of forests. They followed the theories of V. Dokuchaev.

“Some forestry experts like Morozov, Vysotsky and Ogiyevsky, who were well acquainted with forest life, made correct practical recommendations but at that time it was beyond their power to change biological theory, to throw overboard the reactionary thesis of intraspecific struggle. Therefore, the practical recommendations of these scientists were shelved indefinitely while the false theoretical propositions on forest cultivation persisted until the recent past.” (Lysenko, Agrobiology, p. 565)

“”These observations were the occasion for a special report by G. N. Vysotsky in 1893 in which he developed his idea that underbrush should be introduced instead of elms. In his opinion the underbrush would shade the soil during the first few years, the same as the elms did, but would not choke off the oaks.” [M. K. Tursky’s textbook Silviculture (1929)]

I have quoted this passage from Tursky’s textbook in order to show that In practice some foresters discerned, practically sensed, the existence of interspecific struggle and mutual assistance. They also knew that different species under different conditions behave differently toward each other. Practical forest cultivation shows that combinations of secondary forest-tree species must be chosen with skill so that they may help and not hinder the dominant species, such as oaks and pines.” (Lysenko, Agrobiology, p. 566)

“Some foresters recommended that oaks be sown or planted not singly but patchwise. Ogiyevsky, true enough, experimented in patchwise sowing of oak on a rather large scale, on hundreds of hectares, not for the steppe but for the forest zone (Tulskiye Zaseki). He sowed about 200 acorns on each 2 sq. m. patch. He saw and realized that in a forest zone the oaks’ chief enemy is the aspen and in order to protect the oak from the aspen he sowed the former thickly in patches in the expectation that a great number of oak sprouts on a small patch of land would be able to withstand the pressure of other species. As we know, this experiment of Ogiyevsky’s proved a splendid success.

That Ogiyevsky’s experiment in thickly planting forests patchwise should be made use of in our practical work is not the only point here. This old-time experiment also implies that its author realized from his observation of forest life that what existed in nature was not intraspecific but interspecific competition while in science false theses continued to exist.” (Lysenko, Agrobiology, p. 566)

P. V. VOROPANOV (1902-1984, arborist)

Peter Vasilievich Voropanov was a specialist in the field of forest inventory and forest management, arborist, doctor of agricultural sciences (1950), professor (1952).

Born in Ust-Tsilma, Komi ASSR. Graduated from the Leningrad Forestry Institute (1924). He worked in various administrative and research positions.

He published about 80 scientific papers. 30 candidates of agricultural sciences were trained under his supervision. He was an expert of the Higher Attestation Commission and a member of a special council for the defense of doctoral dissertations.

P. V. Voropanov published a three volume manual “Lectures on forest inventory”, which went through three editions (1961, 1962, and 1963). In collaboration with other scientists, he prepared reference books for workers in the forest industry and forestry. The “Forest Auxiliary Book” (authors: A. A. Tyurin, I. M. Naumenko, P. V. Voropanov) has practical significance to this day. He was awarded two Orders of the Badge of Honor and medals.


The political economy of hybrid corn (a critique of hybrid corn) by Jean-Pierre Berlan & R.C. Lewontin. The authors follow mendelism, but this is a good article.
The commoditization of science [Audio version] (a critique of profit-motive in science) by Richard Levins & Richard Lewontin. The authors follow mendelism, but this is a good article.
Stalin’s Environmentalism by Stephen Brain [Audio version]. This is a bourgeois article but it demonstrates the environmental protection (of forests in particular) in the Stalin era.


VASILY DOKUCHAEV (1846-1903, geologist, pioneer of ecology, founder of modern soil science)

V. Dokuchaev was the founder of modern Soil Science. He lived before the Soviet Union, however his work was continued by Soviet scientists. The weakening quality of soil in the Russian Empire and resulting famines inspired Dokuchaev to create modern soil science. He had to struggle against the Tsarist authorities. His work was continued and further developed by Soviet scientists, particularly Vasily R. Williams and T. D. Lysenko.

Dokuchaev discovered the reasons for the weakening of soil fertility. The reasons were related to depletion, climate change and structure of the soil. He began to understand the soil as an interrelated process of chemical, biological and hydrological factors. He advocated the planting of large forest shelter-belts to halt desertification and climate change. This plan started to be implemented in the Great Stalin Plan for the Transformation of Nature, but was cancelled by revisionists after Stalin’s death.

Dokuchaev also advocated protection of forests and waters in order to protect nature, the soil, climate, and as a result also the fragile agriculture of Russia. These protections were implemented only in the Stalin era but dismantled by revisionists immediately after Stalin’s death.

During his research of the Russian Chernozem Dokuchaev began to understand the soil as an evolving phenomena with a history. This concept of the evolution of soil was the crucial thing which helped V. I. Vernadsky make his discoveries.

The Fundamentals of Michurin Biology by V. N. Stoletov (Audiobook) contains information on the career and discoveries of Dokuchaev.

Tchernozéme (terre noire) de la Russie d’Europe (Dokuchaev’s famous work Russian Chernozem in French)
Short scientific review of Proffessor Dokuchaev’s and his pupil’s collection of soils, exposed in Chicago, in the year 1893

“Vasily Vasilievich Dokuchaev (1846-1903) – a great Russian scientist, geologist, founder of soil science, one of the founders of scientific agronomy, public figure and democrat. Dokuchaev was the successor of the best materialistic and democratic traditions in Russian science, laid down by Lomonosov and Radishchev. Dokuchaev, as a major naturalist, approached the problems of soil science of materialistic positions, considering nature as a whole, and individual phenomena and processes as organically interconnected and arising from one another.

Dokuchaev considered soil science to be a synthetic science, since soils, being the result of an extremely complex interaction of factors, “require their researcher to constantly excursions to the field of a wide variety of specialties ….” Being an encyclopedically educated scientist, Dokuchaev appeared in natural science as a revolutionary; he established the general principles and laws of the genesis, evolution and geographical distribution of soils, outlined the ways of their study and rational use for the needs of agriculture. Already at the beginning of his scientific career, Dokuchaev moved from purely geological work to extensive physical and geographical studies of soils, which allowed him to accumulate experimental material of a large volume and significance.

Dokuchaev created the classical theory of the origin of rivers and river valleys, substantiating the nature of the development of erosion processes. Dokuchaev for the first time undertook a grandiose expeditionary study of the chernozem soils of the East European Plain, the Caucasus and the Crimea, precisely “that fertile soil that constitutes the indigenous, incomparable wealth of Russia ….” The result of these works was the first ever soil map of European Russia and the work “Russian Chernozem” (1883) – the true basis of genetic soil science, which should rightfully be placed alongside Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.”

Dokuchaev’s doctrine of the genesis and evolution of soils is one of the greatest achievements of materialistic natural science. He created a harmonious “doctrine about those polysyllabic and diverse relationships and interactions, as well as about the laws governing their secular changes, which exist between the so-called living and dead nature ….” Dokuchaev proved that the soil is a kind of the fourth kingdom of nature, a special natural-historical body that arises as a result of the interaction of the parent rock and a complex of soil-forming factors: climate, plant and animal organisms, ground and ground waters, the relief and age of the country and human impact. Dokuchaev considered the soil-forming process dialectically as “eternally changing functions” that is soil-forming in space and time.

The creation of an independent soil science was of great importance in the field of theory and practice, since it made it possible to objectively study the soil cover of various zones, and also opened up the possibility of systematically managing the soil-forming process and continuously improving the agronomic properties of soils. Dokuchaev brilliantly substantiated the theory of soil zones and types of soil formation, gave the scientific basis for the genetic classification of soils; he established “a connection that lives and functions between soils and precisely whole plant and animal associations …” (podzolic soils – taiga, gray forest soils – forest-steppe, chernozems – meadow steppe, chestnut-brown – semi-desert steppe, gray soils – desert steppe) …

Dokuchaev was the first to establish a dialectical connection between soil and landscape, considering the soil to be not only an essential part, but also a mirror of the landscape, a complex set of surrounding natural conditions. The interests of Dokuchaev, a great scientist and patriot, were very broad and inextricably linked with the practice of agriculture. He believed that only on the right natural-historical scientific basis can various kinds of really practical measures be built to raise agriculture.”

To this end, he studied ravines and floodplains of rivers, the reasons for their shallowing, established the causes and outlined measures to combat drought and soil erosion, and approached the problems of reclamation and reclamation of bog soils. Dokuchaev at the same time substantiated a zonal, differentiated choice of agronomic measures (crop rotation, grass sowing, tillage, fertilization, irrigation, etc.). He demanded the study of all the conditions of agriculture “comprehensively and without fail in their mutual connection.” Dokuchaev believed that science in the hands of the people is a powerful transformative force. In his opinion, the forces of nature unfavorable for agriculture are terrible only when they are not known; “We just need to study them and learn how to manage them, and then they will work for our benefit.”

In his work “Our steppes before and now” (1892) Dokuchaev outlined a set of measures to transform the nature of the arid steppe landscape and turn it into a blossoming forest-steppe: field-protective afforestation, afforestation of rivers, ravines, ravines, sands and wastelands; the creation of structural soils and the improvement of their physical properties through grass cultivation; introduction of correct tillage, moisture conservation, snow retention, retention of melt and rainwater, regulation of river levels, construction of ponds and reservoirs, irrigation of estuary and local runoff, application of fertilizers, selection of crops and varieties appropriate to local conditions, etc. In this respect, Dokuchaev “outgrew his time for an entire epoch” (Williams).

Dokuchaev’s ideas entered the golden fund of agronomic science; they gave a powerful impetus to the development of related branches of natural science: biogeochemistry, dynamic geology, hydrogeology, etc., thereby laying the foundation for progressive Russian schools in the field of a whole range of sciences. According to Williams’ just assertion, Dokuchaev “belongs to the most outstanding scientists of the late 19th century, scientists of world significance,” whose name is “deservedly in the forefront of the classics of natural science.”

Dokuchaev was an outstanding teacher and public figure, a patriotic scientist, an ardent champion of the development of Russian science.

He organized the Soil Committee, the scientific journal “Soil Science,” created the first Department of Soil Science, did a lot for the development of higher agronomic education in Russia, the training of scientific personnel and the spread of the influence of advanced Russian science abroad. He considered it his duty to work for science and write for the people. At the world exhibitions in Paris and Chicago, Dokuchaev received the highest awards, and his ideas, further developed by his students, were universally recognized by the scientists of the world.

Dokuchaev, along with the correct materialistic interpretation of the basic provisions of geology, soil science and agriculture, made some sociological and philosophical mistakes. Thus, Dokuchaev overestimated the role of geographical conditions in the development of human society. Standing on the positions of Darwin’s evolutionary theory, Dokuchaev argued that nature does not make leaps in its development. Dokuchaev’s big mistake was the recognition of the “absolute laws” of the constancy of the relationship between the country’s climate, natural zones, soil and plant and animal organisms inhabiting it, etc. Dokuchaev underestimated the leading role of the biological factor in the genesis and evolution of soils.

Dokuchaev’s progressive teaching on transforming the nature of the steppe landscape and raising soil fertility could not be realized under the conditions of Tsarist Russia. After the 1917 Revolution, Dokuchaev’s soil science, enriched and developed by V.R. Williams) and other Soviet scientists, turned into an important branch of natural science, fruitfully serving socialist agriculture.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

P. A. KOSTYCHEV (1845-1895, one of the founders of soil science)

P. A. Kostychev together with Dokuchaev helped create modern soil science, which was continued by Soviet scientists, particularly Vasily R. Williams and his co-workers.

A. A. IZMAILSKY (1851-1914, soil scientist)

Alexander Alekseevich Izmailsky was a pre-revolutionary scientist, agronomist and soil scientist.

“The achievements of domestic agronomic science, in particular, the scientific discoveries of Dokuchaev, Kostychev, Izmailsky, Timiryazev, did not find application in pre-revolutionary agriculture in Russia.” (V. A. Kovda, “A program of great construction and transformation of nature”)

Izmailsky was born in the Petrovsky district of the Saratov province in the family of a poor gentry. He began to study at a real school in his county town, continued his studies in Moscow – at an agricultural school, after which in 1870 he entered the Petrovsky Agricultural and Forestry Academy . He successfully completed it in 1875 “with the right to receive the degree of candidate of agriculture, subject to the submission of a gymnasium or an equal certificate and a satisfactorily written reasoning”, but he could not provide a certificate.

In 1879, A. A. Izmailsky took the post of teacher at the Kherson Zemstvo Agricultural School. In 1883, Izmailsky became a member of the Poltava Agricultural Society, and 12 years later its vice president.

Izmailsky’s books “How our steppe dried up” (Poltava, 1893) and “Soil moisture and groundwater in connection with the terrain and the cultural state of the soil surface” (Poltava, 1894) were awarded the Makariev Prize of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, gold medals of the Moscow and Poltava Agricultural Societies, the Free Economic Society and an honorary diploma from the Nizhny Novgorod Fair. In the fight against drought, Izmailsky attached great importance to agrotechnical measures (deep plowing, rocker fallows, working the field across slopes, the destruction of weeds, etc.), and emphasized the importance of fertilizers in the fight against drought.

During the work on the soil-geological study of the Poltava province (1886-1889), V. V. Dokuchaev met with Izmailsky, friendly relations and creative cooperation arose between them. Later, Dokuchaev will repeatedly refer to the studies of A. A. Izmailsky in his works, in January 1894 Dokuchaev will invite Izmailsky to the leadership of the Special Expedition of the Forestry Department to work in the Voronezh province , but due to the exacerbation of A. A. Izmailsky’s illness, he was forced to abandon the proposal. As a result of the introduction of his experimental methods, the Kochubey estate that he managed, turned into a green oasis in the middle of an arid province.

According to the memoirs of V. R. Williams, the Petrovsky Academy made an offer to A. A. Izmailsky to take the chair, but the authorities did not allow this because of his progressive politics.

K. K. GEDROYTS (1872-1932 soil scientist, agrochemist)

Konstantin Kaetanovich Gedroyts (sometimes spelled Gedroitz) is the founder of colloidal soil chemistry.

Graduated from the St. Petersburg Forestry Institute in 1898. Received the title of Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences in the Department of Physical and Mathematical Sciences in 1927. The same year, he was elected president of the International Association of Soil Scientists and awarded the Lenin Prize.

Was elected Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences in the Department of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (soil science , agronomic chemistry) in 1929. Became Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR in 1930. He was also a Corresponding Member of the Czechoslovak Agricultural Academy.

“Academician K. Gedroitz, well-known soil scientist, was the first to divine the geochemical nature of the soil. He found in it the particles which retain different metals, especially potassium, and demonstrated that the fertility of the soil in large measure depended on the potassium atoms which are so lightly and so loosely connected with it that each plant cell could absorb these atoms and make use of them for its own life. And it is by absorbing these lightly-bound, seemingly free-hanging, potassium atoms that the plant develops its sprouts.” (A. Fersman, Geochemistry for everyone, p. 147)

VASILY R. WILLIAMS (1863-1939, soil scientist, ecologist)

Well-known Russian scientist, soil researcher, grassland ecologist, agronomist, one of the founders of agricultural soil science. Head of Timiryazev Academy in 1907-1908 and 1922-1925. Williams developed the travopol’e system which protected soil and increased agricultural yields by planting grasses and other protective plants.

He was awarded the Order of Lenin, was elected into the Supreme Soviet, and was a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences

The teaching of Williams was synthesized together with the teachings of I. V. Michurin, into Michurinist agrobiology, Soviet Creative Darwinism.

“Vasily Robertovich Williams (1863-1939) – an outstanding Russian geologist, soil scientist, agronomist and public figure. The beginning of Williams’ scientific activity coincided with the period when Dokuchaev’s genetic soil science was created, the basic laws of soil genesis and evolution were established. Dokuchaevsk’s soil science took only the first steps to meet the needs of agriculture. However, Dokuchaev’s direct students later moved away from the problems of Fertility and, under the influence of metaphysical views, tried to develop soil science in isolation from the practice of agriculture. The merit of Williams was that he defended and creatively developed Dokuchaev’s genetic soil science, created a new biological trend in soil science, inextricably linked with the needs of agriculture, allowing to purposefully increase soil fertility in order to obtain increasing yields of agricultural crops. Williams’ motto has always been Dokuchaev’s instruction that the earth is constantly improving when handled correctly.

Proceeding from Dokuchaev’s factors of soil formation (parent rocks, climate, plant and animal organisms, relief and age of the country), Williams was the first to substantiate the leading role of a biological factor (higher and lower plants and microorganisms) in the genesis and evolution of soils, and also pointed out the enormous transformative role the agricultural practice of a person creating cultural varieties of soils. Williams characterizes soil formation as “a single, grandiose in terms of time and space, the process of influencing the parent rock of biological elements of the land, in the correct rhythmic repetition, passing through the entire territory of the earth’s land from pole to pole.”

The modern theory of Williams on a single soil-forming process is understood as a change in the periods and stages of soil formation in connection with a consistent and regular change of plant formations and changes in climate and geological conditions in the Quaternary. Williams gave scientific justification for the passage of separate natural periods of a single soil-forming process (podzolic, soddy, steppe, desert). Williams masterfully used the achievements of soil microbiology to explain the dynamics of soil processes, showing the decisive influence of biochemical reactions on soil fertility and plant nutrition.

Williams enriched Dokuchaev’s doctrine of soil zones with new scientific content, showed the continuity of the process of soil formation in time and space, and thus gave the concept of the absolute and relative ages of soils. At the same time, Williams characterized the genesis and evolution of soil types on the territory of the USSR, especially in the non-chernozem zone. Williams considered the essence of the soil-forming process to be a dialectically unified and contradictory process of continuous synthesis and destruction of organic matter, which determines the rate of soil formation and the dynamics of soil fertility, soil is a derivative of the biosphere, and there is no soil outside of life.

Williams created the doctrine of the biological cycle of chemical elements against the background of a large geological cycle. The expansion of the biological cycle of substances and an increase in the mass of the biosphere lead to an increase in the soil-forming process, an increase in the accumulation of elements and an increase in soil fertility.

Williams was the first to scientifically substantiate soil fertility as “… the ability to simultaneously satisfy both different and irreplaceable factors of plant life in the maximum required quantities …,” the most favorable combination of which takes place in structural soil. For the progressive growth of soil fertility and plant productivity, it is necessary to influence the entire sum of terrestrial and cosmic factors, for this complex of conditions represents one organic whole, all elements of which are inextricably linked.

Williams substantiated the agronomic significance of the soil structure, which is practically the most important soil property, which determines the strength and stability of crops and the absence of their spontaneous fluctuations. Williams connected the natural soil-forming process with the problem of soil fertility, and the problems of soil science – with the problems of agriculture. He pointed out the enormous agrotechnical importance of perennial grasses in crop rotation, enhancing the sod process, leading to the creation of a structure, the accumulation of humus, and an improvement in the physical and agrochemical properties of the soil.

Williams developed the agronomic views of Dokuchaev, Sovetov, Sibirtsev, Kostychev, Izmailsky; he substantiated the grass-field farming system as “a historical necessity for Soviet agriculture.”

It provides for the correct scientific organization of the territory with the placement of field and fodder crop rotations, meadow lands and field-protective afforestation. For grass crop rotations, Williams developed crop rotation schemes with the sowing of cereal-legume herbal mixtures, with a progressive system of tillage, the use of organic and mineral fertilizers and irrigation of agricultural plants. Williams’ scientific ideas as one of the creators of the grass-field farming system will be widely used in agricultural practice. Williams was the first to establish a dialectical relationship between soil fertility and plant productivity; he showed that the only way to obtain high yields of agricultural crops and the development of animal husbandry is by progressively improving the conditions of soil fertility.

Williams’ scientific work was multifaceted. Under his leadership, extensive studies of the soils of Mugan, Kara Kumov, the foothills of the Pamirs, Western Siberia, Altai, the Volga region and the non-chernozem zone were carried out, which made it possible to create the world’s largest soil-agronomic museum – a true treasury of scientific agronomy. Williams was a pioneer of the tea industry in the subtropics, the organizer of the field irrigation, basic MTS and a number of scientific institutions, a permanent consultant and mentor of a large army of scientists, agronomists and collective farmers. He considered it necessary to correctly combine three branches of agricultural production: crop production, animal husbandry and agriculture, which, according to Williams, follow from one another and are inextricably linked. The people deservedly called Williams the chief agronomist of the Soviet Union.

He tried to revise not only soil science, but also a number of branches of agronomy, defended the principle of partisanship in science and fought for the unity of theory and practice. “The powerful influence of materialistic dialectics,” he wrote, “allowed our agricultural science to shake off the age-old chains of slave traditions and to destroy the cult of extreme theories.” As a convinced Russian patriot (despite his American descent from his father’s side), he waged an irreconcilable struggle against cosmopolitanism, for the priority of national science, exposing reactionary Western theories in agriculture (the “law of diminishing soil fertility,” metaphysical theories of Mendelism-Morganism, the theory of “eternal” soil zones, “ultimate” theories, the theory of “full return” and shallow plowing, monoculture, etc.).

It should be noted that Williams made significant mistakes in his scientific activities. Thus, Williams recommended his schemes of grass field crop rotations without taking due account of the zonal soil and climatic conditions, underestimating winter crops and a steam wedge, and misinterpreted a number of issues of agrochemistry and melioration (drainage, the use of mineral fertilizers, etc.).

Some Soviet scientists and agronomists dogmatically interpreted certain provisions of Williams’ teachings, seeking their stereotyped introduction into agricultural production; others showed an unacceptable underestimation of the outstanding works of Williams, not seeing the progressive foundations of his doctrine as a whole behind individual errors. The task is to creatively develop Williams’ rich scientific heritage, included in the golden fund of Soviet agronomy, to discard a number of erroneous propositions that do not correspond to the modern level of Soviet science.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

The Fundamentals of Michurin Biology by V. N. Stoletov (Audiobook) contains information on the career and discoveries of Williams.

“Prof. V. R. Williams” by E. John Russell (written on the occasion of the death of Williams)

I. V. TYURIN (1892-1962, soil scientist)

Ivan Vladimirovich Tyurin was a Soviet soil scientist, academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences (corresponding member since 1946, full academician since 1953), Academician of the Polish Academy (1956), Academy of Sciences of the GDR (1957). Member of the Dokuchaev Society of Soil Scientists.

I. V. Tyurin was born in the village of Verkhniye Yushaly, Ufa province. In 1919 he graduated from the Petrovsky Agricultural Academy in Moscow. In 1919-1930 he worked in Kazan at the University and the Institute of Agriculture and Forestry (since 1928 he was a professor).

In 1930-1941 and 1944-1951 he was professor at Leningrad Forestry Academy and at the same time in 1944-1952 at Leningrad University. In 1930-1941 and since 1943 he worked at the Soil Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences, since 1949 as director. Since 1953 he was the editor-in-chief of the Soil Science journal.

The scientific works of I. V. Tyurin were devoted to the problem of increasing soil fertility, the chemistry of soil organic substances. Of particular interest are his research in the field of soil humus. He developed original methods for analyzing the composition of soil humus, as well as a number of new methods for chemical analysis of soils (for determining humus, nitrogen available to plants, etc.).

Author of the textbook “Course of Soil Science for Forestry Colleges” (1933), the book “Soil Organic Matter and Its Role in Soil Formation and Fertility”, the paper “The doctrine of soil humus”, (1937) and others.

He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1945) and the Order of Lenin (1953).

P. A. TUTKOVSKY (Geologist)

Pavel Apollonovich Tutkovsky (biography) (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Autobiography of P. A. Tutkovsky (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Bibliography of P. A. Tutkovsky (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

Works of P. A. Tutkovsky:
Fossil deserts of the northern hemisphere (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Geological research along the Kiev-Kovel railway under construction (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Volyn excursion guide (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Geographical reasons for the invasions of the barbarians (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Natural distribution of Ukraine (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Amber in the Volyn province (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Who didn’t like the landscapes of Ukraine (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Coast of the Lva River (Geographical and geological description) (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
The oldest mining industry in Volyn (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Glossary of geological terminology (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Landscapes of Ukraine (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Caucasian beauty Azalea (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Geological outline of Vladimir-Volynsky, Kovelsky and Ovruchsky districts of Volyn province (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)
Southwestern edge. Popular natural history and geographical essays (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

N. S. KURNAKOV (1860-1941, chemist, geochemist)

Nikolai Semyonovich Kurnakov is internationally recognized as the originator of physicochemical analysis. He also was one of the principal founders of the platinum industry in the USSR. A chemical reaction that he pioneered, known as the Kurnakov test, is still used to differentiate cis from trans isomers of divalent platinum and is his best-known contribution to coordination chemistry.

Kurnakov was a colleague of D. I. Mendeleev. He received several prizes for his work, for example, the Mendeleev Prize in 1936, the Order of the Red Banner of Labour in 1939 and the Stalin Prize in 1941. The mineral kurnakovite was named in his honor.

Kurnakovplayed an important role in finding the first potassium deposits in the USSR. The discovery was made while Kurnakov was working in the laboratory on the composition of salt from old Permian salt-works. After Kurnakov found a high potassium content in the salt, Geologist P. I. Preobrazhensky carried out the test borings which confirmed the discovery. He became famous for this potassium deposit, which is the largest in the world.

P. I. PREOBRAZHENSKY (1874-1944, geologist)

Pavel Ivanovich Preobrazhensky is famous as discoverer of the world’s largest deposit of potassium-magnesium salts (Verkhnekamskoe). This discovery was made based on the initial findings of N. S. Kurnakov.

Preobrazhensky worked in the territory controlled by white general Kolchak in 1919-20 and was appointed as minister of public education. As a result he was arrested by the Reds and sentenced to forced labor when Kolchak was defeated. However, Maxim Gorky and V. I. Lenin intervened on his behalf. He was given the opportunity to serve the proletariat through his scientific work. He became professor in 1922 and was the head of the Departments of Geology and Mineralogy of Perm University in 1923-1924. He became Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences in 1935. He made the famous potassium discovery in 1934. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1934 and the Order of the Badge of Honor in 1944.

“Russian explorers tried for many years to find potassium deposits in Russia. Individual conjectures proved fruitless until the persistent work of a whole school of young chemists supervised by Academician N. Kurnakov resulted in the discovery of the world’s largest potassium deposits. The discovery was accidental, but accidents in science are usually the result of long and laborious preparation, while the “accidental discovery” is nearly always merely the last step in the lengthy struggle for the effectuation of a definite idea and a reward for a protracted and persistent search.

This also holds true of the discovery of potassium. Academician Kurnakov had studied the country’s salt-lakes for many decades and his mind persistently searched for the remains of the ancient potassium lakes. While working in the laboratory on the composition of salt from old Permian salt-works Nikolai Kurnakov noticed in some cases a high potassium content.

On a visit to one of the salt-works he observed a small piece of brown-red mineral which reminded him of the red potassium salts, the carnallites of the German deposits. True, the personnel of the salt-works were not sure where this piece had come from and whether it had not been from the collection of the salts they had received from Germany. But Academician Kurnakov took the piece, put it in his pocket and went to Leningrad.

Upon analysis he found much to everybody’s surprise that the piece was potassium chloride. The first strike was made, but that was not enough; it was still necessary to prove that this piece of potassium had come from the entrails of the Solikamsk earth and that there were large deposits there. A hole had to be bored, some salt extracted under the difficult conditions of the twenties and its composition studied.

P. Preobrazhensky, one of the most prominent geologists of the Geological Committee, undertook to do the work. He pointed out the necessity of boring deep holes, and soon these holes reached thick layers of potassium salts, thus opening a new era in the history of potassium over the entire surface of the earth… A small piece of brown-red salt noticed by the keen eye of a scientist in the laboratory of the works thus led to the solution of one of the greatest problems, the problem of potassium. The country was now in a position not only fully to provide the fields with fertilizer and to increase their yield, but also to create a new potassium industry and to produce the most diverse potassium salts so indispensable to chemical production.” (A. Fersman, Geochemistry for everyone, pp. 150-153)

V. I. VERNADSKY (1863-1945, mineralogist, founder of geochemistry, biogeochemistry and radiogeology)

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, one of the founders of geochemistry, biogeochemistry, and radiogeology. He invented the concept of the ecological biosphere (though he wasn’t the first to coin the word itself). He is most noted for his 1926 book The Biosphere and was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1943.

The founders of geochemistry were Russian and Soviet scientists and the field of geochemistry was largely founded in the USSR. All the greatest discoveries of geochemistry were made by Soviet scientists.

“Geochemistry is still a young science and it has come to the fore mainly owing to the work of Soviet scientists.” (A. Fersman, Geochemistry for everyone, p. 18)

“Soviet geochemistry has made such headway that it has quite deservedly won the most honourable place in world geochemical science. The basis for the Russian school of geochemistry was laid at Moscow University by academicians V. Vernadskv and A. Fersman” (A. Fersman, Geochemistry for everyone, p. 357)

However, A. Fersman notes in his book also the significance of American scientist F. Clarke (1847-1931) and the Norwegian scientists J. Vogt (1858-1932) and V. Moritz Goldschmidt for the birth of geochemistry. (Ibid. p. 357)

Geochemistry for everyone by A. Fersman contains information on Vernadsky, especially the chapter “From the history of chemical ideas”.

There is an article on Vernadsky in In The World Of Soviet Science by Oleg Pisarzhevsky

Vernadsky was still criticized for idealistic views, for example:
“Academician Vernadsky’s article “The time problem in modern science” (his lecture at a sitting of the Scientific academy) was published in the bulletin of the scientific academy no.4, 1932″ and it contained “openly and blatantly idealist statements” (V. Adoratski, E. Kolman, A. Maksimov, M. Mitin, P. Judin, V. Raltgevitsh, “Questions of the day on the philosophical front“)

E. S. FEDOROV (1853-1919, crystallographer, minerologist)

Evgraf Stepanovich Fedorov was a pre-revolutionary and Soviet mathematician, crystallographer and mineralogist. His son was the Soviet climatologist, academician E. E. Fedorov.

“Fedorov, the founder of all modern crystallography” (Ya. P. Terletsky, “On one of the books of academician L. D. Landau and his students”) (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

“Fedorov, Evgraf Stepanovich. Born Dec. 10 (22), 1853, in Orenburg; died May 21, 1919, in Petrograd. A founder of contemporary structural crystallography, geometer, petrologist, mineralogist, and geologist. Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1919).

The son of a military engineer, Fedorov graduated from the Military Engineering School in 1872. In 1874, after brief service in a sapper unit, he audited courses at the Medical and Surgical Academy and then enrolled as a student in the chemistry section at the Technological Institute. After developing an interest in crystallography, he entered the Mining Institute in St. Petersburg in 1880, graduating in 1883. Fedorov joined the staff of the Geological Committee in 1885 and carried out geological research in the Northern Urals from 1885 to 1890. In 1894 he was a mining engineer at Tur’inskie Rudniki in the Urals. In 1895 he was appointed professor at the Moscow Agricultural Institute. After the revolutionary events of 1905, Fedorov became the first elected director of the Mining Institute in St. Petersburg. His reelection in 1910 was nullified by the government, which feared the development of revolutionary sentiments among the students and believed that Fedorov promoted such development. He was elected a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in 1896 and an adjunct of the Imperial St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1901. He resigned from the Imperial St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1905 after failing to obtain support for the establishment of a mineralogical institute.

Fedorov began writing his first major work, Principles of the Theory of Figures (1885), when he was 16 years old. This fundamental work contained the ideas of most of Fedorov’s subsequent discoveries in geometry and crystallography. In particular, this work introduced parallelohedrons, that is, the convex polyhedrons upon which Fedorov based his theory of crystal structure. From 1885 to 1890 he wrote a series of papers on the structure and symmetry of crystals, culminating in the classic work The Symmetry of Regular Systems of Figures (1890). This work presented the first derivation of the 230 space groups known as Fedorov groups. The groups were derived at almost the same time by the German mathematician A. Schoenflies. Correspondence between Fedorov and Schoenflies contained mutual consultations on the derivation of the space groups, and Schoenflies later published a letter in which he confirmed that Fedorov’s derivation was the first.

While studying fundamental aspects of crystallography, Fedorov also developed a universal theodolite method in goniometry and crystal optics. In 1889 he proposed both a design for a two-circle (theodolite) goniometer for measuring angles in crystals and a new method of depicting crystals with the aid of a stereo-graphic reference system. In 1891 he invented the universal stage, which made it possible to examine a crystal under an optical microscope in different directions and to measure the crystal’s optical constants. Fedorov first described the universal theodolite method in the monograph The Theodolite Method in Mineralogy and Petrology (1893), and the method won worldwide recognition.

Fedorov’s later research in crystallography dealt with the development of crystal chemical analysis, which is a method of determining the composition of crystalline substances from the results of goniometric studies. Fedorov’s research in crystallography was summarized in his Courses in Crystallography (1891, 1897, and 1901).

In the last years of his life, Fedorov studied certain aspects of a “new geometry,” in which circles, spheres, vectors, planes, and other geometric forms replace the point as the fundamental element. Fedorov used a special feature of the new geometry, namely, the existence of n-dimensional systems, to depict, for example, crystal structures and the multicomponent composition of complex chemical compounds.

In theoretical petrology and mineralogy, Fedorov derived the relationship between the gross chemical composition of plutonic rocks and the minerals contained in the rocks. He also developed a classification and nomenclature for rocks and devised a method for the graphical representation of the chemical compositions of rocks and such complex minerals as micas, chlorites, and tourmalines with the aid of the Fedorov chemical tetrahedron. Fedorov studied and described many natural and synthetic crystals, identified several new mineral species and rocks, and proposed the idea of the magmatic segregation of minerals with sorting by specific weight (1896–99).

Fedorov’s works also dealt with the descriptive and physical geology and ore deposits of the Urals, the coast of the White Sea, and other regions, as well as with other topics in geology.

Fedorov’s ideas were developed in the works of his students, who included V. V. Nikitin, A. K. Boldyrev, and A. N. Zavaritskii. Fedorov had the rare pleasure of seeing his theoretical ideas realized in practice. The atomic structures of crystalline substances (especially minerals), as determined by means of X-ray structural analysis, strictly conformed to Fedorov’s symmetry groups.

The Academy of Sciences of the USSR established the E. S. Fedorov Prize in 1944.

Nachala ucheniia o figurakh. [Moscow] 1953.
“Simmetriia i struktura kristallov.” Osnovnye raboty. [Moscow] 1949. (Contains a bibliography.)
Shafranovskii, I. I. E. S. Fedorov, velikii russkii kristallograf. Moscow, 1945. (Contains a bibliography.)
Shafranovskii, I. I. E. S. Fedorov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.
Kristallografiia: Sb., fasc. 3. Leningrad, 1955.
Trudy in-ta istorii estestvoznaniia i tekhniki, issue 10. Moscow, 1956. Pages 5–84.
Universal’nyi stolik E. S. Fedorova [Sb.]. Moscow, 1953.” (The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1979)

P. A. KARPINSKY (1847-1936, Geologist)

Important Russian and Soviet geologist. President of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1917–1936. In 1947 (on the centenary of his birth) the Academy of Sciences of the USSR created the Karpinsky Gold Medal, awarded for outstanding contributions in the field of geology.

F. N. CHERNYSHOV (1856-1914, Geologist, Paleontologist)

Great geologist Feodosy Nikolayevich Chernyshov studied under Karpinsky. The Leningrad Central Geological Research Museum was named “The Chernyshov Museum” in his honor.

P. A. KROPOTKIN (1842-1921, Geographer, Zoologist)

Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a zoologist and geographer of aristocratic background. He turned his back on the aristocracy and influenced by utopian socialism became a revolutionary.

Kropotkin’s politics:
Kropotkin advocated anarcho-communism. Kropotkin never overcame his aristocratic individualism and utopianism which are evident in all his work and writing. However, he wrote effective (albeit utopian) critiques of capitalism and tsarism. After the February Revolution Kropotkin got entangled in opportunism and was supportive of the Mensheviks and Kerensky’s provisional government. After the Great October Socialist Revolution Kropotkin was in contacts with various menshevik, monarchist, capitalist and other reactionary anti-communist elements conspiring against the Soviet government, but he never entered into an active fight against the Bolsheviks. This is characteristic of Kropotkin’s softness, wavering wishy-washy utopianism, indecisiveness. Kropotkin was confused and wavered, hung out with reactionary elements. He did not want to betray the revolution but also did not understand it.

Kropotkin as a scientist:
Kropotkin sympathized with darwinism but fought strongly against malthusian ideas and social-darwinism. He was correct to do this, but did not do it from a firmly materialist, sufficiently scientific standpoint, but from a standpoint unfortunately influenced by his overall utopianism.

All the progressive scientists were seeing the reactionary stagnant nature of tsarism, and so did Kropotkin. Kropotkin made some significant discoveries in geology:

“This hypothesis of drifting, i.e., floating, ice persisted in science until the sixties or seventies of last century when some scientists, including Kropotkin, Russian geographer and revolutionary, advanced the hypothesis of continental glaciation. At first this hypothesis appeared monstrous because it was hard to conceive that all of Europe, down to London and Berlin, had formerly been covered with ice. But gradually such facts as moraines, outwash plains, eskers, crag and tails, and roches moutonnees, which the hypothesis of drifting could not explain, compelled everybody to accept the hypothesis of glaciation.

Subsequent detailed observations all over Europe and North America fully confirmed it and from a hypothesis it became a theory. But for a long time yet, almost up to the time of the October Socialist Revolution, while recognizing the glaciation of all of Europe and North America, scientists denied glaciation of the north of Asia (Siberia), believing that its climate was too continental for it, i.e., poor in atmospheric precipitations. But already 70 years ago the same Kropotkin discovered signs of
glaciation in several places in Siberia and assumed that the north of Asia had also gone through an ice age. Only the observations accumulated little by little forced everybody to recognize that Siberia, too, had been under an ice sheet.” (V. Obruchev, Fundamentals Of Geology, p. 161)

F. Y. LEVINSON-LESSING (1861-1939, Geologist)

Feodor Yulievich Levinson-Lessing graduated from the physico-mathematical faculty of the University of St. Petersburg in 1883, was placed in charge of the geological collection in 1886, and was appointed privat-docent at St. Petersburg University in 1889. In 1892 he became professor, and the next year dean, of the physico-mathematical faculty of Yuryev University. Aside from his work on petrography he published also essays in other branches of geology, the result of scientific journeys throughout Russia. He was influenced by V. Dokuchaev.

Works of Levinson-Lessing:
Petrographisches lexikon. Repertorium der petrographischen termini und benennungen
Геологический очерк усадьбы Южно-Заозерск на Северном Урале

B. B. GOLITSYN (physicist, one of the founders of seismology)

Boris Borisovich Golitsyn was a prominent Russian physicist who invented the first electromagnetic seismograph in 1906. He was one of the founders of modern Seismology. In 1911 he was chosen to be the president of the International Seismology Association. Despite his aristocratic background (he was a part of the small-gentry, member of one of the noble families with the most members) he was held in high regard in the USSR due to his extraordinary scientific discoveries.

“The studies of earthquake waves registered by sensitive instruments, called seismographs, clearly show that there are shells of different composition in the interior of the earth. The very sensitive instruments invented by B. Golitsyn, Soviet academician, has made it possible to detect not only the waves that travel the shortest route but also those which run around the entire globe and those that are reflected from the borders of layers of the earth of different densities, for example, from the core of the earth.” (A. Fersman, Geochemistry for everyone, pp. 275-276)

Y. V. SAMOILOV (1870-1925, mineralogist, geochemist, lithologist)

Yakov Vladimirovich Samoilov was a well-known Russian and Soviet minerologist. He studied under V. Vernadsky.

I. M. GUBKIN (1871-1939, Geologist)

Ivan Mikhailovich Gubkin was appointed to lead a government commission tasked to study the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly. The commission proved the relation between the anomaly and the nearby iron ore deposits. Gubkin joined the Communist Party in 1921. He was elected to the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1929, and served as its vice-president from 1936 to 1939. Gubkin’s book “The Study of Oil” (1932) developed theory on the origins of oil and the conditions necessary for the formation of oil deposits, and laid out the principles of oil geology. He led the studies of the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly from 1920 to 1925, which eventual led to the discovery of huge iron deposits. Gubkin was the editor of the journal Problems of Soviet Geology. During the first and second Five-Year Plans, he was chairman of the “Production Committee” of the Academy of Sciences (1930–1936). In 1936 he became Vice President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

He was awarded the Lenin Prize (1931), Order of Lenin (1937), Order of the Red Banner (1939).

A. D. ARKHANGELSKY (1879-1940, Geologist)

Andrey Dmitriyevich Arkhangelsky was a professor at Moscow State University, corresponding Member of the Division of Physical-Mathematical Sciences since 1925, and Academician of the Division of Physical-Mathematical Sciences since 1929. He won the Lenin Prize in 1928.

A. F. FERSMAN (1883-1945, Geologist)

Alexander Evgenʹevich Fersman. Prominent Soviet Russian mineralogist, and together with his teacher V. Vernadsky founded modern geochemistry in the USSR. He was a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (1919–1945).

He was awarded the Lenin Prize (1929), Stalin Prize (1942), Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society of London (1943), and Order of the Red Banner of Labour. His name was given to the Fersman Mineralogical Museum, the minerals fersmite and fersmanite, a crater on the Moon, the research vessel RV Geolog Fersman, and streets in multiple Russian cities, including Moscow, Monchegorsk, and Apatity. Since 1946, the Soviet, and then Russian Academy of Sciences was giving the Fersman Award for outstanding research in geochemistry and mineralogy.

Russia’s treasure of diamonds and precious stones
Драгоценные и цветные камни России том 1 [“Precious stones of Russia vol. 1”]
Драгоценные и цветные камни России том 2 [“Precious stones of Russia vol. 2”]
Самоцветы России том 1 [“Gems of Russia vol. 1”]

M. M. PRIGOROVSKY (1881-1949, Geologist)

Mikhail Mikhailovich Prigorovsky headed the coal section of the Main Geological Directorate under the Presidium of the Supreme Economic Council. He conducted research and presented scientific papers, for example at the 17th International Geological Congress in Moscow in July 1937.

D. S. BELYANKIN (1876-1953, Geologist)

Dmitry Stepanovich Belyankin was director of the Institute of Geological Sciences (1945-1947), director of the Mineralogical Museum (1947-1952) and the Kola Base of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1948-1952). Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1943), member of the London Geological Society (1946). He was the author of hundreds of scientific papers and collaborated with F. Y. Levinson-Lessing.

Belyankin received two Orders of Lenin (1945 and 1946), the Wollaston Medal (1946), the Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1951) and the A. P. Karpinsky gold medal (1949).

V. A. OBRUCHEV (1863-1956, Geologist)

Vladimir Afanasyevich Obruchev was Professor of the Tomsk Engineering Institute (1919–1921), Professor of the Taurida University in Simferopol (1918–1919), Professor of the Moscow Mining Academy (1921–1929); Member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (1929); Chairman of the Committee on Permafrost Studies (since 1930); Director of the Institute of Permafrost Studies of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (since 1939); Secretary of the Department of Geological and Geographical Sciences of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (1942–1946); Honorary president of the Soviet Geographical Society (since 1948).

He was awarded The Przhevalsky Prize, Two Chikhachov Prizes from the French Academy of Sciences (1898 and 1925), The Constantine Medal of the Russian Geographical Society (1900), The first ever Karpinsky Gold Medal (1947), The Lenin Prize (1926), Two Stalin Prizes (1941, 1950), Five Orders of Lenin Order of the Red Banner of Labour, and numerous medals. Hero of Socialist Labor (1945).

He discovered many new minerals, wrote numerous books on science and also entertaining science-fiction.

Fundamentals Of Geology by V. Obruchev

D. I. SHCHERBAKOV (1893-1966, Geochemist)

Dmitry Ivanovich Shcherbakov was a Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences (1936), Professor (1946), Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1953). He was a long time friend and colleague of A. Fersman.

I. P. GERASIMOV (1905-1985, geographer)

Innokenty Petrovich Gerasimov was a Soviet geographer, professor at Moscow State University (1936-1950). Director Director of the Institute of Geography of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (since 1951), Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1953, corresponding member since 1946). CPSU(b) member since 1945.

The founder of a new scientific direction: constructive geography, focused on the transformation of nature and the rational use of natural resources in a socialist society.

I. P. Gerasimov received the following awards:

-Honored Scientist of the Kazakh SSR (1944)
-Order of the Red Star (1945)
-Order of Lenin (1953)
-N. M. Przhevalsky Medal (1960)
-V. V. Dokuchaev Gold Medal (1963) – for a set of works in the field of genesis, geography and cartography of soils
-Dimitrov Prize (1963)
-Order of the Badge of Honor (1965)
-Gold medal of VDNKh (1967)
-State Prize of the USSR (1972), for the creation of the National Atlas of Cuba
-Order of Lenin (1975)
-A. P. Vinogradov Prize (with A. A. Velichko) (1987) – for the atlas-monograph “Palaeogeography of Europe over the last hundred thousand years”

Gerasimov was also elected to the following foreign institutions:

-Full member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1962)
-Member of the Leopoldina Academy (GDR) (1964)
-Member of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin (1968)
-Member of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences of the GDR (1968)

M. I. BUDYKO (1920-2001, climatologist)

Mikhail Ivanovich Budyko was a Soviet geophysicist, climatologist, honorary member of the Russian Geographical Society and the American Meteorological Society. Director of the Main Geophysical Observatory named after A. I. Voeikov (1954-1972). Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1992). One of the most respected climatologists of the 20th century.

Winner of the Lenin Prize (1958) for work on the heat balance of the earth’s surface, which established the basis for the modern understanding of global warming. Winner of the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, Winner of the Order of the Badge of Honor, Winner of the Order of the October Revolution.

GEOLOGY IN THE U.S.S.R. by G. W. Tyrrell


A. M. BUTLEROV (1828-1886) (chemist)

Alexander Butlerov invented a materialistic model of chemistry. He argued against the agnosticism and mechanism of Kekulé’s theories. Butlerov argued that chemical formulas express the real structure of bonds between atoms, thus he opposed agnosticism. He argued that chemical bonds are not merely linked, but also interact reciprocally, thus he opposed mechanistic metaphysics. (see also “Criticism by modern materialist chemists of the idealistic theory of resonance-mesomerism” by B. M. Kedrov)

Butlerov’s work was continued by V. V. Markovnikov (1838-1904) and Soviet chemists used their work as a basis.

“Butlerov Alexander Mikhailovich (1828-1886) – the great Russian chemist, the creator of the theory of the chemical structure of molecules (1861), which is the result of all the previous development of chemistry and the theoretical basis of modern research of all classes of chemical compounds, their laboratory and industrial syntheses.

In developing this theory, Butlerov spontaneously proceeded from materialistic positions. He recognized the objective reality of atoms and the unlimited possibility of knowing their properties. Butlerov noted that all the individual properties of a substance are in a mutual causal relationship. He pointed out that chemical theories are a generalization of empirical facts, and especially emphasized that mastering a theory that generalizes empirical acts is necessary to subordinate the forces of nature and direct them to the services of human society. In the struggle against the agnostic views of Charles Frederic Gerhardt and August Kekule, Butlerov theoretically and experimentally proved that the chemical nature of a complex molecule is determined by the nature and number of atoms, its components, their mutual arrangement and interaction.

The study of chemical transformations, Butlerov proved, makes it possible to establish the mutual arrangement of atoms inside molecules, the order of their combination and the nature of their interaction. Butlerov especially noted the importance of studying the mutual influence of atoms in a molecule, both connected directly and through other atoms. The doctrine of the mutual influence of atoms in a molecule is an organic part of Butlerov’s theory. Butlerov paid main attention to the theoretical and experimental study of the dependence of the chemical properties of a molecule on its chemical structure. Butlerov theoretically explained the phenomenon of isomerism.

He considered chemical phenomena as manifestations of the movement of matter. In this regard, Butlerov pointed out that a molecule, contrary to the ideas of many Western chemists, is not something static, and its atoms are in continuous motion. This was a spontaneously dialectical view of the chemical structure of a molecule, on the basis of which Butlerov, in 1877, for the first time in the history of chemistry, explained the phenomenon of tautomerism, that is, mutual reversible transformations of molecules of certain substances that occur without any external influence. (Before that, in 1862, he discovered the first case of the phenomenon of tautomerism, and in 1863 he explained the “mechanism” of this particular case.) Butlerov emphasized that each molecule has only one structure and cannot combine two structures at the same time, as subsequently, some chemists tried to mystically explain tautomerism.

Butlerov experimentally substantiated his theory with a large number of syntheses and developed it further. Butlerov’s theory opened up wide possibilities for chemical synthesis, especially organic, being a powerful instrument of scientific foresight in laboratory and industry. With its help, the chemical structure of numerous natural compounds was deciphered, millions of chemical compounds that do not occur in nature were synthesized in the laboratory and industry. Confirmed by many years of practice, Butlerov’s theory has been enriched in recent decades with data from modern physics, primarily electronic representations based on quantum mechanics, which make it possible to deepen scientific views on the nature of chemical bonds, on the chemical interaction between atoms inside a molecule, and also on the “mechanism” of chemical reactions.

Soviet chemists play a leading role in confirming and developing Butlerov’s theory; they rely on this theory in their struggle against the idealistic theory of resonance. Butlerov’s theory and syntheses dealt a final blow to the idealistic concept of “life force”, supposedly acting in a living organism and being the only cause that can cause the synthesis of organic compounds. In general philosophical questions not related to chemistry, Butlerov was an idealist, a propagandist of spiritualism. However, the propaganda of spiritualism, which had a harmful effect on some circles of the intelligentsia, did not affect his chemical views, which were of a spontaneous materialistic nature.

Butlerov fought for the organized training of young Russian scientific personnel, for the strengthening of Russian scientific schools, for the progressive organization of higher education, including higher education for women. He himself created a school of Russian chemists. He led the progressive, patriotic Russian professors in their struggle against the reactionary policy of the Tsarist government in relation to science, against subservience to foreign countries. Butlerov’s works: On the chemical structure of substances (1861), The modern meaning of the theory of chemical structure (1879), Chemical structure and theory of substitution (1885), etc. (see A. M. Butlerov, Selected works on organic chemistry, 1951).” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

Important Soviet chemists include Alexander Nesmeyanov (chemist) and Alexander Vinogradov (geochemist).

D. I. MENDELEEV (1834-1907) (Chemist)

Dmitry Mendeleev lived before the Soviet Union, but in Soviet times he was lifted to legendary status and was recognized as the greatest Russian chemist of all time. Truly it wouldn’t be far-fetched to call Mendeleev the greatest chemist in world history. He is most well known for formulating the Periodic Law in chemistry, and creating the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, which is still used everywhere.

His discoveries gave additional proof of the correctness of the materialist conception and gave a shattering blow to metaphysics, as they demonstrated the unity of the material world. There are no absolutely separate, isolated and different elements, but all chemical elements consist of the same basic matter particles, only organized in different ways. Mendeleev’s discoveries provide strong proof of the law of transformation of quantity into quality, as adding or subtracting a given amount of atomic particles will give rise a to qualitatively different chemical element.

“Mendeleyev proved that various gaps occur in the series of related elements arranged according to atomic weights indicating that here new elements remain to be discovered. He described in advance the general chemical properties of one of these unknown elements, which he termed eka-aluminium, because it follows after aluminium in the series beginning with the latter, and he predicted its approximate specific and atomic weight as well as its atomic volume. A few years later, Lecoq de Boisbaudran actually discovered this element, and Mendeleyev’s predictions fitted with only very slight discrepancies. Eka-aluminium was realised in gallium… By means of the – unconscious – application of Hegel’s law of the transformation of quantity into quality, Mendeleyev achieved a scientific feat which it is not too bold to put on a par with that of Leverrier in calculating the orbit of the still unknown planet Neptune.” (Engels, Dialectics of Nature)

Despite being the greatest in his field Mendeleev was never elected to the Academy of Sciences in the Russian Empire, because the scientific establishment was dominated by elitist reactionaries. His merit was not sufficiently recognized by the Tsarist government. The Nobel Committee for Chemistry also refused Mendeleev’s nomination for several years in a row, because it was controlled by reactionaries who fought against Mendeleev’s discoveries. As a result he was never awarded the Nobel prize.

In the USSR the “D. I. Mendeleev Moscow Institute of Chemical Technology”, which had previously been named after Tsar Alexander II was renamed in Mendeleev’s honor.

Geochemistry for everyone by A. Fersman has a lot of information about Mendeleev.

“Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev (1834-1907) – great Russian chemist, the creator of the periodic table of chemical elements. He did a lot for the development of industry in Russia, for the first time he put forward the idea of underground gasification of coal, which was later highly appreciated by Lenin. A revolutionary in science, Mendeleev fought for the connection of theory with practice, for the application of science to the needs of the industrial development of Russia. In philosophy Mendeleev considered himself a “realist.” Mendeleev’s “realism” is basically materialism combined with spontaneous dialectics. “… Nowadays, not a single fraction of matter is unthinkable without an original movement … movement has become a concept inextricably linked with the concept of matter …” (Mendeleev). Mendeleev fought against spiritualism and energetism.

On February 19, 1869, Mendeleev discovered the periodic law of chemical elements, which formed the basis of his periodic system.

This law states that the properties of simple bodies, as well as the shape and properties of compounds of elements, are periodically dependent on the magnitude of the atomic weights of the elements. Establishing a connection between the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of elements, between the chemistry of their atomic weight, Mendeleev developed the chemical atomistics of Lomonosov and actually applied to the chemical elements the law on the transition of quantitative changes to qualitative ones. Arranging the elements in ascending order of atomic weights, Mendeleev noticed that after a certain number of elements the properties are repeated. Therefore, Mendeleev placed similar elements one under the other. The system of Mendeleev reveals a universal lawful connection between all elements and their interdependence. There were empty spaces in the table of elements compiled by Mendeleev; they should have been filled with elements that were not yet open.

Mendeleev theoretically calculated the most important properties of the latter, deriving them as averages from the properties of neighboring elements. The elements predicted by Mendeleev were discovered by Lecoq de Boisbaudran (1875), Nilsson (1880), Whipclair (1886) and named gallium, scandium and germanium. Their properties almost exactly coincided with those predicted by Mendeleev: for example, the atomic weight of germanium is 72.6, and it was assumed equal to 72. Mendeleev, unconsciously applying the dialectical law on the transition of quantitative changes into qualitative ones, accomplished a scientific feat.

Having proved in practice the reliability of human knowledge about the laws of the objective world, Mendeleev dealt a crushing blow to agnosticism; at the same time, the disclosure of the objective laws of chemical elements contributed to the expulsion of chance from chemistry. Without a periodic law, Mendeleev writes, the discovery of new elements “… was a matter of one observation … And that is why only blind chance and special insight and observation led to the discovery of new elements.

The law of periodicity opens a new path in this last relation … “. Mendeleev’s priority in the discovery of the periodic law was unreasonably disputed by a number of foreign chemists. Defending the role of Russian science in this great discovery, Mendeleev showed that all these chemists came forward later. For example, L. Meyer, who claimed this discovery, generally did not consider the periodic law to be an objective law of nature and did not risk making theoretical predictions and conclusions based on it; moreover, being a mechanist, L. Meyer considered only the external, purely quantitative side of the relationships between elements, ignoring their qualitative side, therefore, the very essence of the periodic law.

In the field of physics, Mendeleev discovered the “critical temperature,” which eliminated the former metaphysical gap between liquids and gases, and introduced amendments to the Boyle-Mariotte law, showing the relative nature of this law. These discoveries of Mendeleev were evaluated by Engels in his work “Anti-Dühring.”

In the 20th century. the development of views on the structure of matter, primarily the theory of the electronic structure of atoms, was based entirely on the periodic system of Mendeleev. If we renumber consecutively the elements located in the Mendeleev system, then the serial number of each element will be equal to the positive charge of the nucleus of its atom; chemical properties depend mainly on the grouping of electrons around the nucleus. With an increase in the nuclear charge by one and a corresponding increase in the number of electrons in the shell of an atom, the types of electronic groupings are repeated, causing periodicity in the change in the properties of atoms. Therefore, in the latest formulation, Mendeleev’s law states that the properties of elements are periodically dependent on the ordinal number or charge of the atomic nucleus. The mass of an atom is closely related to the charge of the nucleus; that’s why Mendeleev was able to discover his law, using atomic weights. Mendeleev’s system reflects not only connections, but also real processes of transformation of chemical elements and their compounds.

Nuclear reactions and radioactive decay of atoms are expressed as shifts (from place to place) in the Mendeleev system (“shift law”). The fission of the nuclei of heavy elements (uranium, etc.) also occurs in accordance with the periodic law of Mendeleev; this law is currently helping to master the ways of using atomic energy. Evolution, matter on stars and the distribution of chemical compounds in the process of the development of the Earth are expressed by the Mendeleev system. Mendeleev’s law, being, thus, the law of the development of matter in the field of inorganic nature, plays a huge role in substantiating the “ever-moving” (dialectical) and “realistic” (materialist) view of nature. Mendeleev is rightfully considered the founder of the modern doctrine of matter, atoms and elements. The main work of Mendeleev is “Fundamentals of Chemistry.”” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

V. F. LUGININ (1834-1911, chemist)

“Luginin, Vladimir Fedorovich. Born May 20 (June 1), 1834, in Moscow; died Oct. 13 (26), 1911, in Paris. Russian physical chemist.

Luginin graduated from the Mikhail Artillery Academy in St. Petersburg in 1858. During the Crimean War (1853-56) he took part in the assault on Silistria (now Silistra) and the defense of Sevastopol’. He participated in the democratic movement of the 1860’s, as well as the Cooperative Movement in Russia, and became a member of the Young Emigration. From 1862 to 1867 he studied chemistry in Heidelberg and Paris. He conducted research in his own laboratory in St. Petersburg in 1874-81 and then worked at the Academy of Medicine and Surgery.

From 1889 to 1905, Luginin taught at Moscow University (he became a professor in 1899), where he financed the establishment of the first thermochemical laboratory in Russia (it was later renamed in his honor). Luginin published a number of works on thermochemistry and proposed new methods of thermochemical measurement.” (The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1979)

N. D. ZELINSKY (1861-1953, chemist)

Nikolai Dmitrievich Zelinsky, a Soviet organic chemist, founder of a scientific school, one of the founders of heterogeneous catalysis in organic synthesis and petrochemistry. Best known as the creator of activated charcoal, the inventor of the first effective gas mask (1915), creator of domestic synthetic fuel from hydrocarbons. Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1926). Hero of Socialist Labor (1945). Laureate of three Stalin Prizes (1942, 1946, 1948). Corresponding Member (1924), Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1929).

He was awarded the following awards:
-Four Orders of Lenin (1940, 1945, 1946, 1951)
-Two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (1941, 1944)
-Prize named after V. I. Lenin from the Committee for Chemicalization of the National Economy of the USSR (1934)
-Stalin Prize of the first degree (1942) – for outstanding scientific works on organic chemistry, published in the collection of selected works of the author in 1941.
-Stalin Prize of the second degree (1946) – for the development of a new method for obtaining aromatic hydrocarbons
-Stalin Prize of the first degree (1948) – for many years of research in the field of protein chemistry, the results of which are presented in the work “The current state of the issue of the cyclic nature of amino acid bonds in a protein molecule” (1947)
-A. M. Butlerov Prize of the Russian Physical and Chemical Society (1924)

L. A. CHUGAEV (1873-1922, chemist, bioghemist)

Lev Aleksandrovich Chugaev was a prominent early Soviet chemist. He was awarded a posthumous Lenin Prize in 1927

A. V. RAKOVSKY (1879-1941, chemist)

Adam Vladislavovich Rakovsky was a Soviet physical chemist, specialist in the field of chemical thermodynamics, professor (1918), corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1933), doctor of chemical sciences (1935).

“Born Dec. 12 (24), 1879, in Mezhirech’e (Miedzyrzec), now in Warsaw Woje-wództwo, Polish People’s Republic; died June 7, 1941, in Moscow. Soviet physical chemist. Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1933). In Moscow University he was taught by N. D. Zelinsky and V. F. Luginin.

After graduating from Moscow University in 1903, Rakovskii worked at the central chemical laboratory of the Ministry of Finance. From 1919 to 1941 he worked at the Institute of Pure Chemical Reagents (now the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Chemical Reagents and Ultrapure Chemical Substances). At the same time, beginning in 1915, he taught at Moscow University, becoming a professor in 1920. Rakovskii’s main works are devoted to adsorption, alcoholometry, and studies on equilibrium in three- and four-component water-salt systems. Rakovskii also proposed methods of preparing many pure chemical reagents.” (The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1979)

“the further the more we have among our natural scientists the rejection of idealistic positions. We have a definite turn in this respect. This turn became especially evident after the defeat of the wreckers. We have a number of documents that characterize this turn. It suffices to refer to two documents: a letter from the mathematician Bogomolov and the chemist Rakovsky. The first writes in his letter: “Wishing to join in socialist construction, I dissociate myself from idealist positions.” We see that the old professor, having joined in socialist construction, renounces his former idealistic positions. Prof. Rakovsky also renounces his idealistic vacillations and fights for the mastery of Marxist theory.” (A. Maksimov, On the reflection of the class struggle in modern natural science)

ALEXANDROVICH IZMAILSKY (1885-1973, chemist)

Alexandrovich Izmailsky was a soviet scientist, organic chemist; doctor of chemical sciences (1938), professor (1920); Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1947). His main works are devoted to the chemistry of dyes and the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, he is the author of the textbook “Exercises in the course of organic chemistry.”

V. G. KHLOPIN (1890-1950, radiochemist)

Vitaly Grigorievich Khlopin was an academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1939), Hero of Socialist Labour (1949), and director of the Radium Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1939-1950). One of the founders of Soviet radiochemistry and radium industry and one of the founders of the Radium Institute and leading participants in the atomic project, founder of the school of Soviet radiochemists.

I. Y. BASHILOV (1892-1953, chemical technologist, metallurgist)

Ivan Yakovlevich Bashilov was sentenced to five years in prison for counter-revolutionary activities in 1938 but after serving his term he became a distinguished scientist. He was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honor (1945), medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.” (1946), Stalin Prize of the second degree (1948) for the development and implementation of new methods of purification of valuable metals (together with N. D. Kuzhel and others).

N. D. KUZHEL (1906-1979, metallurgical engineer)

Nikolai Dmitrievich Kuzhel. After graduating from the Moscow Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals and Gold, he completed postgraduate studies at metallurgical plants in Norway. After returning to the USSR, he worked as the head of the Pilot Plant at the Mednogorsk Copper and Sulfur Combine, then at the Severonikel plant in Monchegorsk, and since 1941 at the Norilsk Combine. From May 1945 to 1955 – head of the Krasnoyarsk non-ferrous metal plant. He proposed a pyrometallurgical method for enrichment of raw materials with a low content of precious metals. During this period, the first platinum ingots were obtained, and the extraction of ruthenium began; mastered the method of melting palladium in a vacuum induction furnace and organized its production in ingots; a section for electric arc furnaces and a fractional electrolysis shop were created; the method of electrochemical production of rhodium was introduced.

He was awarded the Stalin Prize of the second degree (1948) for the development and implementation of new methods for the purification of valuable metals (together with I. Y. Bashilov and others)

I. P. BARDIN (1883-1960, metallurgist)

Ivan Pavlovich Bardin was a Soviet metallurgist, academician (since 1932), vice-president of USSR Academy of Sciences (from 1942), Hero of Socialist Labor (1945), and winner of the Lenin (1958) and Stalin prizes (1942, 1949). His scientific interests were designing new powerful completely mechanized steel works; creating advanced typical metallurgical aggregates; intensifying metallurgical processes, especially by means of oxygen; elaborating and introducing the basic oxygen process; and assimilation and multi-purpose utilization of new kinds of metallurgical raw materials. From 1937 Bardin was a Delegate of the USSR Supreme Soviet of the 1st-5th convocations.

Bardin was given the following awards:

-Hero of Socialist Labor (1945) – for outstanding services in the design, construction and development of large metallurgical plants and scientific achievements in the field of metallurgy
-Stalin Prize of the first degree (1942) – for the work “On the development of the national economy of the Urals in the conditions of war.”
-Stalin Prize of the first degree (1949) – for the development of technology and the introduction into the metallurgical industry of the use of oxygen to intensify the open-hearth process
-Seven Orders of Lenin (1953) – for outstanding services in the field of science and in connection with the 70th anniversary of his birth
-Lenin Prize (1958) for the creation of the first industrial installations for continuous casting of steel
-medal of the French Research Institute of Ferrous Metallurgy (IRSID) (1965 – posthumously)
-Medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”


A. I. Kitaigorodsky (physicist)
Grigory Aleksandrovich Gamburtsev (geophysicist, seismologist)

A. G. STOLETOV (1839-1896, physicist)

Soviet Stamp of A. G. Stoletov from 1951

Alexander Grigorievich Stoletov was a leading pre-revolutionary physicist. He taught A. K. Timiryazev, N. P. Kasterin and many other Soviet physicists. Stoletov made numerous discoveries such as the first law of the photoelectric effect. He founded the physical laboratory of Moscow University. The Tsarist Regime did not provide sufficient institutional possibilities for scientific work, so outside of his university activity Stoletov devoted much time to the Society of Lovers of Natural Science which united both academics and hobbyists. The Society was monitored by the tsarist regime, but was a private Society outside official academia.

Stoletov was recommended by other scientists as a member of the Scientific Academy, but the president of the Academy Grand Duke Konstantin, placed in control of science by the tsarist government, prevented Stoletov from being accepted into the Academy. His colleagues carried out demonstrations against this decision.

“Alexander Grigorievich Stoletov (1839-1896) – an outstanding Russian physicist, one of the founders of Russian physics and modern electrical engineering. He was the first to establish a number of the most important regularities of the photoelectric effect (the effect of light on electrical discharges in gases), developed a method for its study and built the world’s first photocell, which, with further improvement, found great application in modern technology. Stoletov established a special regularity of the discharge processes in gases (“Stoletov’s law”).

These studies by Stoletov prepared the way for the discoveries of the electron, radioactive phenomena, X-rays and led to the need to introduce the concept of a quantum of light into physics. Of particular importance were his studies of the dependence of the magnetic susceptibility on the magnitude of the magnetizing field, for which Stoletov developed an original method that is now widely used in electrical engineering. Stoletov found experimentally that the ratio of electromagnetic and electrostatic units in magnitude is close to the speed of light, which confirmed the correctness of the electromagnetic theory of Faraday and Maxwell and prepared the discovery of electromagnetic waves by Hertz. Stoletov took part in many international scientific congresses and exhibitions. At his suggestion, the first International Congress of Electricians (1881) took Ohm as the unit of current resistance.

Stoletov fought for a scientific, materialistic interpretation of natural phenomena. He was the first Russian physicist to speak out (in the article “Helmholtz and Modern Physics,” 1894) against the philosophy of Machism, describing it as decadent. Stoletov correctly criticizes Mach and Ostwald for their departure from materialism. From the standpoint of materialism, Stoletov also criticizes the German idealistic philosophy of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Stoletov invariably adhered to the materialist theory of knowledge / In the first period of his activity, he strove, in his own words, “to reduce all physical phenomena to the basic principles of mechanics.” But under the influence of the latest discoveries of natural science, he gradually overcame the limitations of mechanistic materialism, moving along the path to dialectical materialism.

Under the banner of “mechanism,” he was essentially fighting for materialism in natural science. Stoletov’s worldview was formed under the influence of the works of the classics of Russian materialist philosophy. He was a brilliant popularizer of natural science for his advanced ideas. Stoletov was persecuted by the tsarist government. He was repeatedly accused of inciting student anti-government unrest like Timiryazev, Sechenov and other progressive people of his time, Stoletov opposed the tyranny of the Tsarist officials and government circles. The Tsarist government did not allow Stoletov to be elected an academician, not considering the fact that his scientific merits were recognized by all the greatest Russian and foreign scientists. Stoletov’s works were published – Collected Works, Vol. I-III (1939-1947).” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

P. N. LEBEDEV (1866-1912, physicist)

Pyotr Lebedev is one of the greatest Russian physicists of all time and was highly valued in the USSR, where his work was continued. Among his discoveries is that was the first to measure the pressure of light on solid bodies, and his discoveries related to inertia of energy preceded similar discoveries of Einstein. In 1934 the major physics research institution “Lebedev Physical Institute” was named after him.

N. A. UMOV (1846-1915, physicist, mathematician)

Nikolay Alekseevich Umov was a materialist researcher who made great discoveries such as the Umov-Poynting vector and Umov effect. He was a collaborator of P. N. Lebedev.

“Nikolai Umov, the physicist… trained the students to have clear materialist ideas…” (A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, p. 74)

“Nikolai Alekseevich Umov (1846-1915) – an outstanding Russian physicist. He owns a number of major works on electrodynamics, terrestrial magnetism, theory of oscillations, optics. Continuing and developing the ideas of MV Lomonosov about the indestructibility and inconceivability of motion and matter, Umov was the first in science to develop a materialistic concept of the movement of energy. This plays an important role in modern physics and in particular in the theory of the electromagnetic field. Considering the transformation of energy as an objective process, Umov linked the concept of energy with the movement of material particles. In contrast to idealistic physicists who sought to refute the law of conservation of energy, Umov argued that this law is the basic vakona of natural science.

The discovery of the law of conservation of energy, he pointed out, dealt a crushing blow to the metaphysical theories of weightless liquids, caloric, etc. Umov criticized individual erroneous positions of R. Mayer about the unknowability of the mutual transformability of various forms of energy. Unlike a number of scientists, Umov did not ignore the qualitative uniqueness of the higher forms of movement, did not reduce them to a lower, mechanical form. He decisively opposed the idealistic theory of the “thermal death” of the world, arguing that the discoveries of radium, electrons, transmutability of elements, etc. “lead us to a restructuring of our usual concept of matter.” In contrast to the statements of “physical” idealists about the “collapse” of science, Umov argued that the discoveries of new physics are a huge step forward along the path of knowing the secrets of nature and using them for the benefit of mankind. Opposing idealists who denied the existence of objective reality, Umov wrote that “the sensation of materiality, materiality remains old, and novelty appears only in the field of understanding.” Umov rejected the assertions of the Machian physicists that man “creates” the laws of nature, that matter has disappeared and only equations remain.

As a patriot of his homeland, Umov resolutely fought for the priority of advanced Russian science. He highly raised the importance of the scientific merits of Lomonosov, Lobachevsky, Mendeleev, Stoletov, Sechenov, Pavlov, Timiryazev. Brought up on the ideas of revolutionary democrats, Umov was indignant at the mockery of the landlords over the peasants, the brutal punishments used in the army, the persecution of high school students. He boldly opposed the tyranny of the Tsarist authorities, in defense of revolutionary-minded students, whom the administration brutally persecuted and expelled from universities, condemned the Stolypin land reform. In 1911, in protest against the reactionary actions of the Tsarist minister Kasso, Umov left Moscow University. Selected works of Umov were published in 1950.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

N. P. KASTERIN (1869-1947, physicist)

Nikolai Petrovich Kasterin was a Soviet physicist, colleague of A. K. Timiryazev and student of A. G. Stoletov. He published papers in support of the Michelson Experiment and objected to idealistic interpretations of Relativity Physics.

D. S. ROZHDESTVENSKY (1876-1940, physicist, pioneer of Soviet optics)

Dmitry Sergeevich Rozhdestvensky was a significant physicist, the founder and first director (1918-1932) of the State Optical Institute (GOI), one of the organizers of the optical industry in the USSR, Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1929).

L. I. MANDELSTAM (1879-1944, physicist)

Leonid Isaakovich Mandelstam was an important Soviet physicist, one of the founders of the Russian scientific school of radiophysics; Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1929). He was awarded the V. I. Lenin Prize (1931), the D. I. Mendeleev Prize (1936), the Stalin Prize of the first degree (1942). For outstanding services in the field of science and the training of scientific personnel, L. I. Mandelstam was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1940) and the highest order in the USSR, the Order of Lenin (1944).

A. K. TIMIRYAZEV (1880-1955, physicist)

Arkady Klimentievich Timiryazev was a prominent communist physicist and son of the legendary biologist K. A. Timiryazev (see the section on biology). He was a firm critic of all kinds of idealism and servility towards the West. Arkady Timiryazev is known for strongly objecting to idealist interpretations of Relativity Physics.

“In addition to the alliance with consistent materialists who do not belong to the Communist Party, of no less and perhaps oven of more importance for the work which militant materialism should perform is an alliance with those modern natural scientists who incline towards materialism and are not afraid to defend and preach it as against the modish philosophical wanderings into idealism and scepticism which are prevalent in so-called educated society.

The article by A. Timiryazev on Einstein’s theory of relativity published in Pod Znamenem Marksizma No. 1-2 permits us to hope that the journal will succeed in effecting this second alliance too. Greater attention should be paid to it. It should be remembered that the sharp upheaval which modern natural science is undergoing very often gives rise to reactionary philosophical schools and minor schools. trends and minor trends. Unless, therefore, the problems raised by the recent revolution in natural science are followed, and unless natural scientists are enlisted in the work of a philosophical journal, militant materialism can be neither militant nor materialism. Timiryazev was obliged to observe in the first issue of the journal that the theory of Einstein, who, according to Timiryazev, is himself not making any active attack on the foundations of materialism, has already been seized upon by a vast number of bourgeois intellectuals of all countries; it should be noted that this applies not only to Einstein, but to a number, if not to the majority, of the great reformers of natural science since the end of the nineteenth century.” (Lenin, On the Significance of Militant Materialism)

In the 1920s Arkady Timiryazev made anti-dialectical mistakes and supported the so-called “mechanists” in the philosophical debates. Many of the mechanists claimed to actually support dialectics but they did not truly understand it. The debates culminated in “mechanism” being defeated by the “dialectical” school headed by Deborin, and the Deborin school being criticized for “menshevizing idealism”, scholasticism (being out of touch with real life practical work) and defeated by the Marxist-Leninist philosophers headed by M. B. Mitin.

A. F. IOFFE (1880-1960, physicist)

Abram Fedorovich Ioffe was a prominent Soviet physicist. He received the award Honored Worker of Science of the RSFSR (1933) and the Stalin Prize (1942), was an expert in electromagnetism and solid state physics, and was active in establishing physics institutions. He was correctly criticized for servility towards the west (or lacking vigilance in the struggle against western imperialism) after WWII. Physicists such as Arkady Timiryazev, criticized Ioffe for alleged idealism (whether the charge is accurate is hard to say) but Ioffe remained an important figure in Soviet physics.

E. E. FEDOROV (1880-1965-climatologist)

“Fedorov, Evgraf Evgrafovich. Born Nov. 8 (20), 1880, in St. Petersburg; died July 19, 1965, in Moscow. Soviet climatologist. Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1946). The son of E. S. Fedorov.

E. E. Fedorov graduated from the University of St. Petersburg in 1909. In 1910 he joined the staff of the Main Physical Observatory (since 1924, the Main Geophysical Observatory). He was on the staff of the Magnetic Meteorological Observatory in Pavlovsk from 1911 to 1932 and then carried out research at the Agrohy-drometeorological Institute. He was a member of the staff of the Institute of Geography of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1933 to 1951.

Fedorov’s main works dealt with clouds and solar radiation. In the 1920’s he developed the principles of complex meteorology.

Fedorov was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Star, and various medals.” (The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1979)

N. A. KAPTSOV (1883-1966, physicist)

Nikolai Alexandrovich Kaptsov was a Soviet scientist in the field of physical phenomena in vacuum and gases, professor at Moscow State University. Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (1935).

Honored Worker of Science and Technology of the RSFSR (1964). He was awarded the Orders of Lenin (1953), the Red Banner of Labor (1961), the “Badge of Honor” (1940), the medals “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War” (1946) and “In Commemoration of the 800th Anniversary of Moscow” (1948).

L. K. RAMZIN (1887–1948, thermal engineer)

Leonid Konstantinovich Ramzin was a Soviet thermal engineer, and the inventor of a type of flow-through boiler known as the straight-flow boiler, or Ramzin boiler.

In 1930 Ramzin was put on trial as an ideological leader of the anti-Soviet group known as The Industrial Party. Ramzin deeply regretted his actions and fully admitted his guilt, explaining that the Industrial Party was supported by a Russian emigre capitalist organization called the Russian Trade and Industrial Committee. This group worked together with British intelligence services, and supported a French-British plan of a new foreign invasion of the USSR led by escaped White Generals. Ramzin explained that engineers such as himself had become an out-of-touch privileged group, and when socialist construction was launched in 1928, they were firmly against it. This was facilitated by the fact that ideological and class struggle had become extremely fierce and society was polarized, the privileged engineers felt isolated from regular workers, who distrusted the engineers. Thus, the engineers were drawn into the plot of the White Guards and imperialists, who used them as their pawns. At the trial, Ramzin and several others were sentenced to death, but the sentence was reduced to 10 years in prison. (See The Industrial Party Affair and Wreckers on Trial)

Ramzin and his colleagues wanted to repair the damage they had caused the USSR, and wanted to do what ever they could in order to help society and become honest citizens. In prison they were given the opportunity to continue scientific research. They developed the ground-breaking new boiler and in 1936 they were amnestied. They were rewarded for their valuable productive work and it was considered they had become fully rehabilitated.

In 1943 Ramzin received a first degree Stalin Prize for his boiler design, and for continued successes in scientific work the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1946 and the Order of Lenin in 1948.

G. S. LANDSBERG (1890-1957, physicist)

Grigory Samuilovich Landsberg was a Soviet physicist, professor at Moscow State University, academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

Landsberg received the following awards:

-Stalin Prize of the second degree (1941) – for the development of a spectral analysis method for determining the composition of alloys and special steels
-two orders of Lenin (1945 and ?)

He signed the notorious anti-Michurinist “Letter of the 300” in 1955.

S. I. VAVILOV (1891-1951, physicist)

Sergey Vavilov was a leading Soviet physicist and founder of the Soviet school of physical optics. In 1934 together with Pavel Cherenkov he discovered the Vavilov-Cherenkov effect for which Cherenkov also received a Nobel prize.

Sergey Vavilov was a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences from 1932, Head of the Lebedev Institute of Physics (since 1934), a chief editor of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia since 1948, a member of the Supreme Soviet from 1946 and a recipient of four Stalin Prizes (1943, 1946, 1951, 1952). He wrote on the lives and works of great thinkers, such as Lucretius, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Mikhail Lomonosov, Michael Faraday, and Pyotr Lebedev, among others.

In 1945 Sergei Vavilov became the President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, replacing the respected botanist V. L. Komarov who had just passed away.

Sergei Vavilov is not to be confused with his brother N. I. Vavilov, a eugenicist pseudo-scientist who was sentenced to prison for sabotage and espionage.

Lenin And Philosophical Problems Of Modern Physics by S. I. Vavilov

A. S. PREDVODITELEV (1891-1973, physicist)

Aleksandr Savvich Predvoditelev was a Soviet physicist, Corresponding member of the Academy of sciences of the USSR since 1939. He graduated from Moscow University in 1915 and was a professor there from 1935. From 1939 he was also head of a laboratory of the Institute of Power Engineering of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

“Predvoditelev’s major works were on molecular physics, hydrodynamics, and thermal physics. He studied the processes of combustion, the distribution of waves in liquid and gaseous mediums, and the physical properties of liquids. He was engaged in the development of the theory of heterogeneous combustion.” (Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979))

Predvoditelev collaborated on carbon combustion research and received a Stalin Prize in 1950 for his monograph The Combustion of Carbon published in 1949.

A. A. MAKSIMOV (1891-1976, philosopher of science, physicist, mathematician)

Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1943). Member of the CPSU since 1918.

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Maksimov graduated from the physics and mathematics department of the University of Kazan in 1916. In 1922 he began to teach philosophy. Since 1929 he was a professor at the Institute of the Red Professors, Moscow State University, and the Communist Academy. From 1944 to 1949, Maksimov was a member of the philosophy department at Moscow State University. His major work has focused on problems of the history of science and philosophical issues of the natural sciences. Maksimov edited translations of the works of G. Hegel, E. Haeckel, R. Mayer, and M. Faraday. He was awarded the Order of Lenin, two other orders, and various medals.

D. V. SKOBELTSYN (1892-1990, physicist)

Soviet experimental physicist, specialist in the field of cosmic radiation and high energy physics . Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1946).

He was awarded the following awards:
-Six Orders of Lenin (1949, 1953, 1962, 1969, 1972, 1975)
-Two orders of the Red Banner of Labor (1944, 1945)
-Hero of Socialist Labor (1969)
-Lenin Prize (1982) – for the cycle of works “Investigations of primary cosmic radiation of super-high energy” (1947-1980)
-Stalin Prize of the first degree (1951) – together with N. A. Dobrotin and G. T. Zatsepin for the discovery (1949) and study of electron-nuclear showers and the nuclear-cascade process in cosmic rays, presented in a series of articles published in the journals Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR, Zhurnal eksperimental’noi i teoreticheskoi fiziki and “Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR” (1949-1950)
-S. I. Vavilov Gold Medal of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1952)

Skobeltsyn also worked as a Soviet representative in the UN (1946-48). He signed the Pravda letter of 1973 condemning A. D. Sakharov.

Y. I. FRENKEL (1894-1952, physicist)

Yakov Frenkel made very significant discoveries in condensed matter physics, superconductivity and kinetic theory of liquids.

Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1929), doctor of physical and mathematical sciences (1934), received Stalin prize first degree for the monograph «Kinetic Theory of Liquids» (1947).

Frenkel was criticized in 1947 in Literaturnaya Gazeta for servility towards the West.

Frenkel was also criticized by A. A. Maksimov in 1948: “even now not all Soviet physicists have freed themselves from the remnants of bourgeois ideology is shown by the example of Ya. I. Frenkel, Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In his recently published book on statistical physics, we find the propaganda of the views of A. Poincaré and the repetition of the anti-scientific chatter of bourgeois scientists [See Ya. I. Frenkel “Statistical Physics”, pp. 5, 548, 568, 753. Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. 1948.] .

In addition to Ya. I. Frenkel, the distributor of “physical” idealism in the USSR is Professor M. A. Markov, whose “program” article was published in No. 2 of the journal Voprosy Philosophy in 1947.” (A. A. Maksimov. Marxist philosophical materialism and modern physics)

Kinetic Theory Of Liquids by Y. Frenkel

P. L. KAPITSA (1894-1984, physicist)

Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa was a significant Soviet physicist, particularly in the field of low-temperature physics. He was an old school bourgeois scientist from the tsarist era and was often criticized for ideological mistakes and not having any understanding of politics. Despite this, he was given every assistance in his scientific work, made scientific contributions and served his country and was appreciated as a result. He is by far the most skilled bourgeois-physicist in the USSR, and remained a rightist all his life. He collaborated with the Soviet government, wanted to help his country, and understood that the USSR had massively helped science. However, his total ignorance on philosophy and politics got him into fights very often.

“Not a single one of these professors, who are capable of making very valuable contributions in the special fields of chemistry, history or physics, can be trusted one iota when it comes to philosophy… The task of Marxists… is to be able to master and refashion the achievements of these [bourgeois scientists]… and to be able to lop off their reactionary tendency, to pursue our own line and to combat the whole line of the forces and classes hostile to us.” (Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism)

Kapitsa was given the following awards:
Hero of Socialist Labour (1945)
Stalin Prize, 1 degree (1941)
Stalin Prize, 1 degree (1943)
Order of Lenin (1943)
Order of Lenin (1944)
Order of Lenin (1945)
Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1954)
He was also given a Nobel Prize in Physics (1978) and various medals.

Kapitsa signed the notorious anti-Michurinist “Letter of the 300” and together with Tamm is definitely among the few truly skilled scientists to have signed it. But given Kapitsa’s rightist views and his total ignorance of philosophy, we shouldn’t have expected anything else from him. Kapitsa had no expertise in biology, but predictably this did not prevent him from intervening in biology and signing the letter.

I. Y. TAMM (1895-1971, nuclear physicist)

Igor Tamm received a Nobel prize together with P. A. Cherenkov and Ilya Frank. He received a Stalin prize in 1954. Tamm was a leading researcher in the Soviet nuclear bomb project.

Despite being a very skilled physicist, Tamm was too ignorant of philosophy of science, and of Marxism-Leninism. In the period of ideological confusion and serious struggle by mendelist-pseudo scientists and right-deviationists against Michurinism, Tamm was fooled by colleagues into signing the notorious so-called “Letter of the 300”. He is perhaps the most skilled scientist to have signed the letter, which is a definite black mark of disgrace on his career.

N. S. AKULOV (1900-1976, physicist)

Akulov Nikolai Sergeevich. A Stalin prize winning specialist in ferromagnetism.

S. E. KHAIKIN (1901-1968, physicist)

Semyon Emmanuilovich Khaikin was a Soviet physicist and radio astronomer, doctor of physical and mathematical sciences (1935), professor (1935). Founder of domestic experimental radio astronomy, discoverer of radio emission from the solar corona.

Born in Minsk to a Jewish family, S. E. Khaikin’s brother was the conductor B. E. Khaikin. Graduated from the Minsk private real school in 1918 and entered the Moscow Higher Technical School and the Higher Electrotechnical Courses. In 1919-1924 he served in the Red Army. In 1928 he graduated from the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of Moscow University. In 1930-1946 he worked at Moscow University (from 1935 as professor, in 1931-1933 as Deputy Director of the Institute of Physics of the University, in 1934-1937 as Dean of the Faculty of Physics, in 1937-1946 as Head of the Department of General Physics, Head of the Laboratory for the Development of Phase Radar and Radio Navigation).

During the Great Patriotic War, Khaikin headed a group of physicists at Moscow State University, which led the development of radar methods. These studies were started in October 1941. The group included P. E. Krasnushkin, I. A. Yakovlev, M. A. Leontovich, Y. P. Terletsky and V. V. Vladimirsky.

In 1945-1953 he worked at the Physical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences (Head of the Radio Astronomy Sector in the Laboratory of Oscillations). In 1948-1949, he led the creation of the first Soviet radio astronomy station in the Crimea. In 1953 he created the Department of Radio Astronomy at the Pulkovo Observatory, which he headed until the end of his life.

Khaikin carried out a lot of scientific, organizational and pedagogical work: he lectured at the Physics Department of Moscow State University, at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, the Moscow Institute of Communications Engineers, was one of the initiators of school Olympiads. His sons Moisey Semenovich and Alexander Semyonovich also became physicists.

S. E. Khaikin was a pupil of the scientific school of Academicians L. I. Mandelstam and N. D. Papaleksi. He made a great contribution to the development of the theory of oscillations and theoretical radio engineering. Work in these areas is primarily related to issues of self-oscillations: the phenomenon of “capture” with small external influences, relaxation oscillations (for example, in systems with dry friction). In 1939, he discovered the effect of superheating a solid.

In 1947 he led an expedition to Brazil, where for the first time in the world observations of a total eclipse of the Sun were made in the radio range. In 1956, at the Pulkovo Observatory, on Khaikin’s initiative, a radio telescope with a variable profile antenna was built. With its help, a strong circular polarization of the radiation of the active regions of the Sun was discovered and studied, “radio spots” were studied in detail, the linear polarization of the thermal radio emission of the Moon in the centimeter range was discovered and studied, the “roughness” of the lunar surface was estimated, and the distribution of radio brightness across the disk of Venus was studied for the first time, studies of the structure of Jupiter’s powerful radiation belts were carried out, precision measurements of the coordinates of extragalactic radio sources were performed and it was found that more than 40% of bright sources in the centimeter range are of a quasi-stellar nature, the structure and polarization of complex extragalactic sources were studied in detail. Led the development of the RATAN-600 radio telescope project.

For 30 years S. E. Khaikin worked on a textbook called “Mechanics”, which went through three editions, as well as collections of problems in mechanics, translated into foreign languages. He was one of the main authors of the classic “Textbook of elementary physics” in 3 volumes, ed. acad. G. S. Landsberg.

S. E. Khaikin wrote the book “What are the forces of inertia” , which became a popular introduction to mechanics. Three decades later, due to the accumulation of material and with the beginning of the “space age”, it was necessary to republish this book. The new book was called “Forces of inertia and weightlessness”. In his works, Khaikin consistently adhered to a materialistic view of nature and the laws existing in it, which in no way depend on the will of man. So, he wrote: “If there were no man and his consciousness, then the laws of nature would exist, and those of our ideas that approximately reflect objective laws and which we call Newton’s laws would not exist.”

S. E. Khaikin received the following awards:

-Honorary radio operator of the USSR (1946)
-Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1953)
-A. S. Popov Gold Medal of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1965)

I. V. KURCHATOV (1903-1960, physicist)

Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov is known as the “father of the Soviet nuclear bomb”. In the late 1950s, Kurchatov advocated against nuclear weapons tests. The Soviet Union advocated the banning of nuclear weapons, but since the Western imperialists did not agree, the Soviet Union had to develop its own nuclear weapon. The first atomic reactor in Europe (1946) and the first nuclear power plant in the world (1954) were created under his leadership. He became a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1943.

He was given following awards:
Three times Hero of Socialist Labor (1949, 1951, 1954)
Five Orders of Lenin
Two Orders of the Red Banner
Medals: “For Victory over Germany”, “For the defense of Sevastopol”
Stalin Prizes (1942, 1949, 1951, 1954)
The Lenin Prize (1957)

A. I. LEIPUNSKY (1903-1972, physicist)

Alexander Ilyich Leipunsky was a Soviet experimental physicist, academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. Hero of Socialist Labor.

His brother O. L. Leipunsky (two times Stalin Prize Laureate), his sister D. I. Leipunskaya, and his wife A. F. Prikhotko were all significant physicists.

Born in the village of Dragli, Sokalsky district, Grodno province, in the family of a jewish employee of the military department of Grodno. From 1918 he worked as a messenger, worker, assistant foreman, graduated in absentia from the Rybinsk Mechanical College. In 1921 he entered the Faculty of Physics and Mechanics of the Petrograd Polytechnic Institute. In the spring of 1923, A. F. Joffe brought him along with six students to his laboratory at the Leningrad Institute of Physics and Technology. In October 1928 he was transferred to the Kharkov FTI, where from March 1930 he was deputy director, and from 1933 director. He also supervised the nuclear laboratory of the UFTI. In the spring of 1934, Leipunsky was sent to England, where until December 1935 he worked in the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University at Rutherford’s.

In 1937 he was arrested in the “UFTI case”, but was released due to lack of evidence. He was expelled from the party, but was reinstated in 1946.

Since 1939, A. I. Leipunsky was the head of research on the problem of “Studying the fission of uranium”, and since 1940 on the design of a cyclotron. He took part in the work of the Nuclear and Uranium Commissions of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1941-1944 he was director of the Institute of Physics and Mathematics of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, where he dealt with defense tasks, in 1944 he created a department of nuclear physics there. In 1944-1949 he was director of the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, also head of the ITEP department of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, head of the department and dean of the engineering physics department of the Moscow Mechanical Institute (MMI). In 1946-1947 he was in charge of the sector of laboratory No. 3, which was headed by academician A. I. Alikhanov. In laboratory No. 3 at that time, a heavy-water reactor based on natural uranium was being created and a unique charged particle accelerator was being built (the development of a prototype accelerator with an energy of 10 MeV began at the suggestion of A. I. Leipunsky). In 1946-1949 he was deputy head of the 9th department of the NKVD, since 1949 he headed the department of the Obninsk Physics and Energy Institute.

Since 1950 he was scientific director of the program for the creation of nuclear reactors on fast neutrons. In Obninsk, he became the scientific director of the project for a reactor with a liquid metal coolant, which formed the basis of a fundamentally new propulsion system for the K-27 submarine. In Obninsk he created a school of nuclear physicists.

A. I. Leipunsky received the following awards and prizes:

-Hero of Socialist Labor (1963)
-Three Orders of Lenin (1949; 1953; 1963)
-Order of the October Revolution (1971)
-Order of the Badge of Honor (1944)
-Lenin Prize (1960)
-Honorary citizen of the city of Obninsk (1996)

A. I. ALIKHANOV (1904-1970, physicist)

Abram Isaakovich Alikhanov was a Soviet Armenian experimental physicist who specialized in particle and nuclear physics. One of the founders of nuclear physics in the USSR. One of the creators of the first Soviet atomic bomb. Founder of the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics. Corresponding Member (1939), Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1943), Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR (1943). Hero of Socialist Labor, three times winner of the Stalin Prize, three times recipient of the Order of Lenin, recipient of the Order of the Red Banner of Labor. His younger brother, Artem Alikhanian (1908-78), was also a noted physicist.

“The diversity of certain kinds of elementary particles steadily increases, of which the spectrum of varitrons, discovered by the brothers Alikhanov, is a particularly striking example” (S. I. Vavilov, Lenin And Philosophical Problems Of Modern Physics, p. 25)

D. D. IVANENKO (1904-1994, nuclear physicist)

Dmitri Ivanenko was awarded the Stalin prize in 1950 for his work.

P. A. CHERENKOV (1904-1990, physicist)

Pavel Cherenkov was a Nobel prize winning Soviet physicist. Out of his collaborators Ilya Mikhailovich Frank and Igor Tamm also received a Nobel prize. Cherenkov received a Stalin prize in 1946 and 1952.

S. D. GVOZDOVER (1907-1969, physicist)

Samson Davidovich Gvozdover was a Soviet physicist, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (1939), professor at the Physics Department of Moscow State University (1947).

Born in the family of an engineer, a graduate of the Munich Higher Technical School, David Lazarevich Gvozdover, and a housewife, Sarah Mironovna Gvozdover. In 1927 he graduated from the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of Moscow University with a degree in radio-vacuum engineering under the guidance of Professor N. A. Kaptsov. After graduating from graduate school in 1931, he taught at the Faculty of Physics. The degree of Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences was awarded to Gvozdover in 1935 on the basis of a combination of scientific papers without defending a dissertation; He defended his doctoral dissertation in 1939 on the topic “The movement of electrons in a low-pressure discharge.” During the Great Patriotic War he was the chairman of the Central Local Committee of the Moscow University evacuated in Ashgabat.

In 1943 he returned to Moscow. In September 1946, he created and headed the country’s first Department of Radiophysics and Electronics at the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University, which included the departments of high frequencies, electronic optics and oscillography, electronic and ion devices, acoustics, radar, oscillations, radio wave propagation and the theoretical foundations of radio engineering. Since 1947, he was in charge of the department of microwave physics he created. In 1958, on the initiative of S. D. Gvozdover, the Problem Laboratory of Quantum Radiophysics was organized at Moscow State University, which he headed almost until the end of his life (1967). The laboratory launched the country’s first ruby ​​and helium-neon lasers.

Among Gvozdover’s students are such well-known physicists as A. S. Gorshkov, S. A. Akhmanov, Yu. S. Konstantinov, V. M. Lopukhin and others.

S. D. Gvozdover was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honor.

D. I. BLOKHINTSEV (1907-1979, physicist)

Dmitry Ivanovich Blokhintsev was a Soviet physicist, doctor of physical and mathematical sciences (1934). Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1958) and the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (1939). Professor of Moscow State University (1936). Hero of Socialist Labor (1956). Laureate of the Lenin (1957), Stalin (1952) and State (1971) prizes.

One of the founders and director of Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (1947-1956) and The Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (1956-1965). Member of the Bureau of the Nuclear Physics Division of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1971-1979). President of International Union of Theoretical and Applied Physics (1966-1969). Member of the Higher Attestation Commission under the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Advisor to the Scientific Council under the UN Secretary General (since 1967).

Born in 1908 in Moscow in the family of an agronomist. As a child, he was carried away by aircraft and rocket science, independently mastered the basics of differential and integral calculus, got acquainted with the works of Hermann Oberth and Max Valier, and corresponded with K. E. Tsiolkovsky.

Blokhintsev graduated from the Moscow Industrial and Economic College. He studied at the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University (1926-1930). In 1930-1933 he studied at graduate school supervised by I. Y. Tamm. In 1934 he defended his Ph.D. thesis on the quantum theory of solids; in 1935, based on the results of the defense, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. He worked as a professor of Moscow State University since 1935, and as head of the Department of Nuclear Theory since the 50s. He was the founder of the Department of Nuclear Physics at the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University. In 1935-1947 he also worked at the Physical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences (FIAN). He joined the CPSU(b) in 1943. Since 1947, he was the director of a research laboratory in Obninsk, on the basis of which the Institute of Physics and Energy was created under his leadership . He was the head of a secret military research laboratory and later helped found the Institute for Nuclear Research.

During the Great Patriotic War, Blokhintsev participated in research on military acoustics, which served as the basis for his monograph “Acoustics of an inhomogeneous and moving medium” (1946). The work of Blokhintsev (together with Yu. M. Sukharevsky ) on the detection of aircraft by the noise they create, in which the foundations of statistical hydroacoustics were laid and correlation methods for signal extraction in the presence of interference were developed.

Blokhintsev’s scientific works are devoted to solid state theory, semiconductor physics, optics, acoustics, quantum mechanics and quantum electronics, nuclear physics, nuclear reactor theory, quantum field theory, elementary particle physics, philosophical and methodological issues of physics.

He explained, on the basis of quantum theory, the phosphorescence of solids and the effect of rectifying an electric current at the interface of two semiconductors.

In 1944, based on the equations of gas-hydrodynamics, he built a theory of sound phenomena in moving and inhomogeneous media, having obtained acoustic equations of the most general form (“Blokhintsev’s equations”), on the basis of which he derived a number of acoustic laws, explained and calculated various acoustic phenomena in moving and inhomogeneous media (including turbulent ones), concerning, on the one hand, the mechanism of noise generation, and, on the other hand, the methods and means of its reception. He formulated the equations of geometric acoustics.

He performed one of the first works on nonlinear optics, in particular, developed the theory of the Stark effect in a strong alternating field and studied nonlinear effects.

At the turn of 1940-1950, he formulated his own interpretation of quantum mechanics, the so-called Blokhintsev interpretation, or ensemble interpretation.

A significant place in Blokhintsev’s scientific work is occupied by research on the theory and technical problems of nuclear chain reactions and nuclear reactors. He did much for the development of Soviet atomic science and technology. He supervised the design and construction of the first nuclear power plant, which went into operation in 1954 (Lenin Prize, 1957 ). Developed effective methods for calculating fast, intermediate and thermal neutron reactors. Together with A. I. Leipunsky, he supervised the development of the first fast neutron reactor in Europe with a liquid metal coolant. He put forward the idea (1955) and built pulsed fast neutron reactors IBR-1 (1960) and IBR-2 (1984).

While working as director of “Object B” of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs in Obninsk, Blokhintsev, with the support of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, initiated work on the creation of a nuclear rocket engine for space flights.

From 1956, Blokhintsev’s scientific interests focused on elementary particle physics. In particular, here his research related to the structure of elementary particles, the limits of applicability of quantum electrodynamics, the interaction of high-energy particles, non-local field theory, problems related to the concept of space and time in the microcosm. Back in 1938, he carried out calculations that essentially predicted the Lamb shift. This most important discovery of D. I. Blokhintsev was not understood by his contemporaries. The work saw the light only in 1958 in the works of D. I. Blokhintsev, although its results were presented earlier in the review by Ya. A. Smorodinsky (1949).

He proposed ideas about fluctuations in the density of nuclear matter (1957), about quantum stochastic spaces, about the existence of several vacuums and a spontaneous transition between them, pointed out the existence of the so-called unitary limit, developed the theory of confinement of ultracold neutrons, etc.

D. I. Blokhintsev warned the following awards:

-Stalin Prize, first degree (1952)
-Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1953)
-4 orders of Lenin (1945; 1954; 1951; 1956)
-Hero of Socialist Labor (1956)
-Lenin Prize (1957)
-The State Prize of the USSR (1971)
-Order of the October Revolution (1975)
-Order of Cyril and Methodius, 1st class (Bulgaria)
-Gold Medal of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
-Honorary citizen of the city of Dubna

K. A. PETRZHAK (1907-1998, nuclear physicist)

Konstantin Antonovich Petrzhak was a Soviet physicist who together with Georgy Flerov discovered spontaneous fission. Petrzhak also contributed to the Soviet atomic bomb.

He was awarded the Stalin prize 2nd degree (jointly with Georgy Flyorov for discovery of spontaneous fission) in 1946, Council of Ministers Prize in 1950, Stalin Prize (for work on the soviet atomic project) in 1953 and Order of the Red Banner of Labour (for work on the soviet atomic project) in 1953.

A. A. VLASOV (1908-1975, theoretical physicist)

Anatoly Aleksandrovich Vlasov was a Soviet, theoretical physicist prominent in the fields of statistical mechanics, kinetics, and especially in plasma physics. Igor Tamm was his doctoral advisor.

I. M FRANK (1908-1990, nuclear physicist)

Ilya Mikhailovich Frank received a Nobel prize together with P. A. Cherenkov and Igor Tamm. He received a Stalin prize in 1946 and 1953. He led research into nuclear power. The USSR became the first country to create a nuclear power plant in 1954.

M. A. MARKOV (1908-1994, physicist)

Moisey Alexandrovich Markov was a Soviet physicist-theorist who mostly worked in the area of quantum mechanics, nuclear physics and particle physics. He is not a particularly important Soviet physicists, but is known mainly for having proposed the idea of underwater neutrino telescopes in 1960.

Markov graduated from the Faculty of Physics of Moscow University in 1930. He worked at the Institute of Red Professors (1931-1933) and the Faculty of Physics of the Moscow State University (1933-1934). Since 1934 he worked for the Lebedev Physical Institute. In 1956-1962 he was the head of the Neutrino Physics Laboratory of the Institute for Nuclear Research. Markov was a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences since 1953.

Despite his communist background, Markov made serious mistakes, was fooled by the Khrushchevite Revisionists and also signed the notorious anti-Michurinist “Letter of the 300” in 1955. Markov naturally had absolutely no grasp of biology, and no expertise on Michurinism. It is unclear why he signed, but it seems some colleagues convinced him. The letter did not seriously try to refute Michurinism on scientific grounds, but instead claimed Michurinism was dictatorial and harassing scientists. If they were fooled into believing this lie, scientists from fields distant from biology could’ve been convinced to sign the letter.

Markov was criticized by A. A. Maksimov in 1948: “even now not all Soviet physicists have freed themselves from the remnants of bourgeois ideology… In addition to Ya. I. Frenkel, the distributor of “physical” idealism in the USSR is Professor M. A. Markov, whose “program” article was published in No. 2 of the journal Voprosy Philosophy in 1947.” (A. A. Maksimov. Marxist philosophical materialism and modern physics)

O. I. LEIPUNSKY (1909-1990, physicist)

Ovsey Ilyich Leipunsky was a Soviet physicist, Honored Worker of Science and Technology of the RSFSR, winner of two Stalin Prizes (1949 and 1953). He was also awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and two Orders of the Badge of Honor. Brother of physicist and Hero of Socialist Labor Alexander Leipunsky and physicist Dora Leipunskaya.

N. N. BOGOLYUBOV (1909-1992, theoretical physicist)

Nikolai Nikolaevich Bogolyubov Russian and Ukrainian Soviet mathematician and theoretical physicist, Doctor of Mathematics (1930), academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (since 1953, corresponding member since 1946) and the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (since 1948), founder of scientific schools in nonlinear mechanics and theoretical physics.

He was Professor at Kyiv University (1936), Professor at Moscow State Universty (1943-1992), Director of the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna (since 1956), Director of JINR (1965-1988), Director of MIAN (1983-1988), Head of the Department of Quantum Statistics and Field Theory of the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University (1966-1992).

Bogolyubov earned the following awards:

-2 Orders of the Badge of Honor (01.10.1944; 04.11.1944)
-Stalin Prize of the first degree (1947) – for scientific work in the field of statistical physics: On some statistical methods in the field of statistical physics.
-Stalin Prize of the second degree (1953) – calculation and theoretical work on the product RDS-6s and RDS-5.
-2 Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (1948; 1954)
-M. V. Lomonosov Prize (1957) – for the work “On a new method in the theory of superconductivity.”
-Lenin Prize (1958)
-Twice Hero of Socialist Labor (1969; 1979)
-6 Orders of Lenin
-Order of the October Revolution (1984)
-USSR State Prize (1984)
-M. A. Lavrentiev Gold medal (1983) – for the work “On stochastic processes in dynamical systems.”
-Large M. V. Lomonosov gold medal (1984) – for outstanding achievements in the field of mathematics and theoretical physics.
-A. M. Lyapunov Gold Medal (1989) – for a series of works on stability problems, critical phenomena and phase transitions in the theory of systems of many interacting particles.
International awards and prizes

-Prize of the Academy of Sciences of Bologna (Italy, 1930)
-Heinemann Prize in Mathematical Physics from the American Physical Society (1966)
-Helmholtz Gold Medal (AN GDR, 1969)
-Order of Cyril and Methodius, 1st class (Bulgaria, 1969)
-Max Planck Medal (1973)
-US Franklin Medal (1974)
-Gold medal “For services to science and humanity” of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (1975)
-Order of Merit, II class (Poland, 1977)
-Karpinsky FRG Prize (1981)
-Dirac Medal from the International Center for Theoretical Physics (1992, posthumously)

Bogolyubov was also elected to numerous foreign academies and scientific institutions:

-Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1960)
-Foreign member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1961)
-Foreign member of the Polish Academy of Sciences (1962)
-Foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR (1966)
-Foreign Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences in Heidelberg (Germany, 1968)
-Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Sciences (1969)
-Foreign member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1979)
-Foreign member of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (1980)
-Foreign member of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences (1983)
-Foreign Member of the Indian National Academy of Sciences (INSA; 1983)
-Honorary Doctor of Science from Allahabad University (India, 1958)
-Honorary doctorate from the University of Berlin A. Humboldt (1960)
-Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Chicago (USA, 1967)
-Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Turin (Italy, 1969)
-Honorary Doctor of Science from Wrocław University (1970)
-Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Bucharest (Romania, 1971)
-Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Helsinki (Finland, 1973)
-Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Warsaw (1977)

E. K. FEDOROV (1910-1981, geophysicist)

Evgeny Konstantinovich Fedorov was a Soviet geophysicist and explorer, head of the Hydrometeorological Service of the USSR, statesman and public figure, academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Lieutenant General of Engineering technical service. Hero of the Soviet Union (1938).

Fedorov was part of the “North Pole-1” expedition with I. D. Papanin, E. T. Krenkel and P. P. Shirshov.

Fedorov earned the following awards:

-Her of the Soviet Union and the Gold Star Medal (1938) (for his work in the “North Pole-1” expedition)
-six Orders of Lenin
-two Orders of the Patriotic War, 1st class (1944; 1945)
-Order of Kutuzov II degree (1945)
-Stalin Prize of the second degree (1946) – for research in the field of meteorology, the results of which are presented in the II volume of the works of the drifting station “North Pole” (1945)
-two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (1955; 1964)
-USSR State Prize (1969) – for the development and implementation of a method and means of combating hail damage using anti-hail missiles and shells
-Order of the October Revolution (1975)
-medals (“For the defense of Moscow”, “For the victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War”, etc.)

A. A. SOKOLOV (1910-1986, nuclear physicist)

A. A. Sokolov was awarded the Stalin prize in 1950 for his work.

D. I. LEIPUNSKAYA (1912-1978, physicist)

Dora Ilyinichna Leipunskaya was a Soviet physicist, doctor of physical and mathematical sciences, professor.

Leipunskaya participated in the atomic project of the USSR, was engaged in the separation of plutonium and the development of safety methods when working with it. She participated in the creation of a plutonium bomb, later was the head of the laboratory of neutron activation analysis at the Institute of Nuclear Geochemistry and Geophysics. There, engaged in exploration of mineral deposits, developed a new scientific and applied direction: the method of quantitative neutron activation analysis for mineral exploration. With her participation, a neutron breeder was developed, which is still used at the present time, as well as a method for using low-power nuclear reactors of the VVP type for neutron activation analysis.

She was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honor in 1949, together with her brothers Alexander and Ovsei for their joint work in physics.

Y. P. TERLETSKY (1912-1993, physicist)

Yakov Petrovich Terletsky was a Soviet physicist, professor at the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University, laureate of the Lomonosov Prize (1944), Stalin (1951) and Lenin (1972) prizes for work in areas of magnetic induction.

Born in St. Petersburg in the family of teachers. In 1936 he graduated from the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University, until 1963 he worked at the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University at the Department of Theoretical Physics. In 1939 he defended his Ph.D. thesis on the topic “Hydrodynamic theory of Brownian motion” and became a candidate of physical and mathematical sciences.

In early 1942, after returning from evacuation to Kazan, Terletsky joined the group of physicists at Moscow State University , leading the development of radar methods, created in October 1941 and headed by Professor S. E. Khaikin. During the Great Patriotic War, Terletsky significantly developed the theory of the betatron, the most important device used to accelerate light particles.

In 1945 he defended his doctoral dissertation on the topic “Dynamic and statistical laws of physics” and became a doctor of physical and mathematical sciences.

At the same time, he became deputy head of department “C” of the NKVD of the USSR with the rank of lieutenant colonel. In the same year he was sent to N. Bohr to discuss the status of work in the USSR on the creation of an atomic bomb.

In 1952-1956, simultaneously with his work at the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University, he headed the Department of Theoretical Physics of the Institute of Nuclear Problems of the Academy of Sciences in Dubna.

In 1963 he created the Department of Theoretical Physics and until the end of his life was the head of the Department of Theoretical Physics at the Peoples’ Friendship University.

In 1971 he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Scientific Society in Uppsala.

Terletsky generalized the theorem on the impossibility of a classical explanation of magnetism (the Bohr-Van-Leven-Terletsky theorem, 1939). Together with S. Gvozdover and L. Loshakov, he created the theory of the reflective klystron (1941). He proposed a successfully implemented method for obtaining superstrong magnetic fields by rapid explosive compression of a metal in a magnetic field. He proposed an inductive mechanism for explaining the acceleration of cosmic particles in the field of rapidly rotating magnetic stars (prediction of pulsars) (1945).

Terletsky predicted the existence of an ionic component in primary cosmic rays, which was soon discovered (1948). He put forward (independently of the Japanese physicist S. Tanaka) the hypothesis of the existence of superluminal particles – tachyons, based on the idea of ​​the connection of the causality principle with the second law of thermodynamics and the possibility of its violation in fluctuations (1960).

He put forward (jointly with V. I. Zubov) the key idea of ​​constructing a quasi-equilibrium theory of crystals based on non-symmetrized distribution functions, the fruitfulness of which for explaining strongly anharmonic effects was confirmed by practice (1968).

He put forward the idea of ​​using string-like configurations as solutions to some nonlinear field equations for describing elementary particles and their excitations (1977).

Terletsky developed the thermodynamics of living systems as a theory of antidissipative processes (1988).

Y. P. Terletsky earned the following awards:

-Order of Lenin.
-Order of the Red Banner of Labor.
-Lomonosov Prize, 2nd degree (1948) – for the theory of induction accelerators.
-Stalin Prize, 2nd degree (1951) – for work on the theory of induction accelerators, published in the journals “Reports of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR” and “Experimental and Theoretical Physics” in 1948-1949.
-Lenin Prize (1972) – for work in the field of magnetic cumulation.
-Honored Worker of Science and Technology of the RSFSR (1973).

Terletsky was a firm Dialectical Materialist and wrote on philosophical issues of physics. He criticized subjective idealism in quantum physics and metaphysical theories of “heat death”, which claim that motion of matter is temporary:

“Problems of development of quantum theory” by Ya. P. Terletsky (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

“On one of the books of academician L. D. Landau and his students” by Ya. P. Terletsky (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

P. E. KRASNUSHKIN (1913-1983, physicist)

Pyotr Evgenievich Krasnushkin was a Soviet physicist, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor of the Department of Oscillations of Moscow State University, a specialist in the field of radiophysics, the theory of oscillations.

In 1935 he graduated with honors from the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University, gained his doctorate in 1943. During the Great Patriotic War, Krasnushkin was a member of the group of physicists of Moscow State University under Prof. S. E. Khaikin, leading the development of radar methods. He was a professor of the Department of Oscillations of the Faculty of Physics in 1947-1951. In 1940-50, working at Special Design Bureau NII-88, and then at the Institute of Mathematics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, he created a theoretical basis for high-quality synchronization in the VLF range of radio waves (synchronization at distances of the order of 10 thousand km with an error of 10 μs).

His main interest was the study of the propagation of electromagnetic waves in waveguides and in the space around the Earth. He proposed the method of “normal waves”, which began to be used in acoustics, radiophysics, seismology. Using this method, he predicted waveguide channels in the troposphere, which were later discovered experimentally by US scientists, in particular, he theoretically established the possibility of propagation of VHF radio waves along a tropospheric waveguide in 1943. This issue was further developed in the works of Academician V. A. Fock.

P. E. Krasnushkin received the following awards:
-Medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945” (1946).
-Prize named after M. V. Lomonosov for the work “The method of normal waves as applied to waveguides” (1946).

G. N. FLYOROV (1913-1990, nuclear physicist)

Georgy Nikolayevich Flyorov was a Soviet nuclear physicist who is known for his discovery of spontaneous fission and his contribution towards the physics of thermal reactions. He is also known for his letter directed to Joseph Stalin, during WWII urging the development of the Soviet Atomic Bomb.

“In 1939 it was discovered that when uranium, the heaviest chemical element, was acted upon by neutrons of low energy, the atoms of uranium suffered a new, formerly unknown, type of disintegration in which the nucleus of the atom split up into two approximately equal halves. These halves are themselves unstable varieties of the atomic nuclei of familiar chemical elements found in the middle of Mendeleyev’s Periodic fable. One year later, in 1940, K. Petrzhak and G. Flerov, young Soviet physicists, discovered that this new type of disintegration or new type of radioactivity of uranium, also occurred in nature, but that it was encountered much more rarely than the usual disintegration of uranium.” (A. Fersman, Geochemistry for everyone, p. 78

Flyorov was awarded the following awards: Hero of Socialist Labour (1949) Order of Lenin (1949), Stalin Prize, twice (1946, 1949), Honorary Citizen of Dubna. The element flerovium (atomic number 114) is named after him.

In the period of ideological confusion and serious struggle by mendelist-pseudo scientists and right-deviationists against Michurinism, Flyorov was fooled by colleagues into signing the notorious so-called “Letter of the 300”.

V. P. DZHELEPOV (1913-1999)

Venedikt Petrovich Dzhelepov was a Soviet physicist. He educated at Leningrad Industrial Institute in 1937. In 1939 working with I. V. Kurchatov on the first in Europe cyclotron in the Radium Institute. The joint researches with Kurchatov determined Dzhelepov’s further career.

In August 1943, Dzhelepov joined the group of the first staff members of Laboratory No. 2 which is now known as the Kurchatov Atomic Energy Institute for solving uranium problem. In 1948 Dzhelepov was tasked by Kurchatov to become deputy director of the new Laboratory being developed in Dubna (later became the Institute for Nuclear Problems within the USSR Academy of Sciences (he held this position in 1948-1956).

Later he was appointed the Director of Laboratory for Nuclear Problems at Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna (1956-1988). Since 1989 worked as its Honorary Director.

He received the following awards
-2 Stalin Prizes (1951 and 1953)
-Order of Lenin (1951)
-Order of the Red Banner of Labour (twice 1962 and 1974)
-Order of the October Revolution (1983)
-Kurchatov Gold Medal (1986)
-Order of Friendship (1996)

E. M. LIFSHITS (1915-1985, physicist)

Evgeny Mikhailovich Lifshits was a Soviet physicist, graduate of Kharkov Polytechnic University (1934), Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (1934, UFTI), Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (1939, Leningrad State University), academician (1979, corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, 1966). Laureate of the Lenin and Stalin Prizes.

E. M. Lifshits was born in Kharkov. His brother was the physicist Ilya Mikhailovich Lifshits. The Lifshitz brothers were born and raised in the family of a famous Kharkov oncologist, Professor Mikhail Ilyich Lifshitz, whose doctoral dissertation was opposed by Academician I. P. Pavlov.

E. M. Lifshits studied under L. D. Landau, which resulted in certain negative consequences, such as Lifshits accepting some of Landau’s idealistic notions. Since 1939, he worked at the Institute of Physical Problems of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow (during the Great Patriotic War, he worked with all the staff of the IPP in Kazan). In 1947-1950 he worked at the Department of Theoretical Physics of the Faculty of Physics and Technology, Moscow State University.

E. M. Lifshits co-author of a fundamental course in theoretical physics together with L. D. Landau. Together with Landau, he built a theory of domains in ferromagnets and derived the equation of motion of the magnetic moment (Landau-Lifshitz equation, 1935). In the theory of phase transitions, he established a criterion that made it possible to give a complete classification of possible transitions of the second kind (Lifshitz’s criterion, 1941). Developed the theory of molecular forces acting between condensed bodies (1954). Constructed the theory of instabilities in the expanding Universe (1946). Together with I. M. Khalatnikov and V. A. Belinsky, he found a general cosmological solution of the Einstein equations with a singularity in time (1970–1972).

He devoted many years to the “Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics ” (ZhETF) as deputy editor-in-chief. For almost 30 years, until his death, he was the main editor of the magazine.

E. M. Lifshits earned the following awards:

-Order of the Red Banner of Labor
-Stalin Prize of the second degree (December 31, 1953)
-Academic Prize of M. V. Lomonosov (1958)
-L. D. Landau Prize of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1974)
-Order of Friendship of Peoples (1975)
-Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London (1982)

Criticism of idealist mistakes of L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshits:

“Problems of development of quantum theory” by Ya. P. Terletsky (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

On the second law of thermodynamics, or how late-Soviet revisionism planted idealism in science (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

“On one of the books of academician L. D. Landau and his students” by Ya. P. Terletsky (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

V. V. VLADIMIRSKY (1915-2008, physicist)

Vasily Vasilyevich Vladimirsky was a Soviet physicist; Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1962).

V. V. Vladimirsky is one of the authors of the discovery of the “phenomena of focusing a beam of charged particles in an alternating electric field uniform along the beam axis”. In 1945, he took part in the calculations, design and construction of the first experimental heavy water reactor in the USSR.

V. V. Vladimirsky received the following awards:

-Stalin Prize, 1st degree (1953) – for design and experimental work on the creation of an atomic boiler.
-two Orders of Lenin (1954, 1962)
-Lenin Prize (1970) – for the development and commissioning of the IHEP proton synchrotron for an energy of 70 GeV.
-the Red Banner of Labor (1973)
-the Orders of the Badge of Honor (1975)
-A. I. Alikhanov Prize
-V. I. Veksler Prize (2000) – for outstanding work on accelerator physics
-the Order of Honor (2001)

N. S. KRYLOV (1917-1947, physicist)

Nikolai Sergeevich Krylov was a Soviet theoretical physicist who studied the main issues of classical mechanics, statistical physics and quantum mechanics.

N. S. Krylov came from a family of physicists and jurists. His father, Sergey Borisovich Krylov (1888-1958), was a specialist in the field of state and international law , professor, Doctor of Law and Honored Scientist of the RSFSR, one of the Soviet signatories of the UN Charter and a member of the International Court of Justice. His mother, Eva Nikolaevna Okuneva (1886–1976), received a law degree at the Bestuzhev courses.

His brother was Boris Sergeevich Krylov (1923–2013), Doctor of Law, Professor of the Department of Constitutional Law of Foreign Countries and his sister, Elena Sergeevna Krylova (born 1919), is a candidate of physical and mathematical sciences, researcher of the S. I. Vavilov luminescence laboratory of the P. N. Lebedev Physical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences until 1962, researcher of the Institute of Solid State Physics and Semiconductor Electronics of the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk until 1974, married Academician Anatoly Vasilyevich Rzhanov , a specialist in the field of semiconductor physics and organizer of the A. V. Rzhanov Institute of Semiconductor Physics named after .

In 1934 he entered the Faculty of Physics of the Leningrad State University, in 1937 he received a diploma with honors and became a graduate student at the Department of Theoretical Physics under the scientific guidance of V. A. Fok. In 1941, he defended his Ph.D. thesis on the topic “Stirring processes in phase space “, in which he used classical mechanics as the basis of statistical physics through the establishment of the mixing law in phase space and its connection with the ergodic hypothesis. In July 1941, Krylov became a researcher at the Physics Institute of the Leningrad State University. In 1939-1941 he served in the ranks of the Workers ‘and Peasants’ Red Army, during the Great Patriotic War he performed various tasks of defense significance without stopping his scientific activity: in the summer of 1942 he defended his doctoral dissertation “Processes of relaxation of statistical systems and the criterion of mechanical instability” in the Leningrad Physico-technical institute, which was then in Kazan after the evacuation from besieged Leningrad. Conducted scientific activities in institutions in Yelabuga, Yoshkar-Ola and Moscow, at the end of 1944 he returned to the Physics Institute of the Leningrad Order of Lenin State University as a senior researcher.

Nikolai Sergeevich was married to Lidia Valentinovna Dogel (born 1919), daughter of the founder of the national protozoological scientific school and the scientific school of ecological parasitology, Professor V. A. Dogel , a member of Correspondent of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and laureate of the Lenin Prize, who in 1946 graduated from the I. P. Pavlov 1st Leningrad Medical Institute, became a specialist in the field of neuromuscular pathology, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor of the Department of Nervous Diseases of the Leningrad Institute for the Improvement of Physicians.

Ya. P. Terletsky criticized certain mistakes of Fock and Krylov in his article “Problems of development of quantum theory”. (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

A. V. RZHANOV (1920-2000, physicist)

Anatoly Vasilievich Rzhanov was a Soviet scientist, specialist in the field of semiconductor microelectronics and semiconductor surface physics. Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1962). Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1984).

With the outbreak of World War II in December 1941, as a graduate student, he volunteered for the Marine Corps. Having received a short leave to pass exams and defend a diploma, he graduated from the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute with honors (1941). Rzhanov fought on the Leningrad front. He commanded a detachment of reconnaissance marines, participated in combat operations, reconnaissance in force, and carried out raids behind enemy lines. In 1943, in the battles to break the blockade of Leningrad, he was seriously wounded.

At the end of 1943, having been demobilized from the army, he passed the entrance exams to the graduate school of the Lebedev Physical Institute. In 1948, he completed his postgraduate studies at the Lebedev Physical Institute, a participant in the first work in the USSR on the creation of a semiconductor transistor. He became a candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences in 1949.

In 1962, at the invitation of Academician M. A. Lavrentiev, Rzhanov moved with a group of FIAN employees to the Novosibirsk Akademgorodok , where he organized the Institute of Solid State Physics and Semiconductor Electronics. He was the director of the Institute in 1964-1990. He taught at the Novosibirsk State University, where he organized the Department of Semiconductor Physics (1963), which he headed for many years.

A. V. Rzhanov received the following awards:

-Order of the October Revolution
-Order of the Red Banner of Labor
-Order of Lenin (1980)
-Order of the Patriotic War 1st class (1985)
-Order of the Patriotic War 2nd class
-Medal of Honor
-Medal “For the Defense of Leningrad”
-Prize of the Council of Ministers of the USSR
-Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 4th class (1999)

S. A. AKHMANOV (1929-1991, physicist)

Sergei Aleksandrovich Akhmanov was a Soviet physicist, one of the founders of nonlinear optics . Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor. He received the Lomonosov Prize (1964), the Lenin Prize (1970), the Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1980) and was nominated Honored Worker of Science of the RSFSR (1989).

V. I. ZUBOV (1930-2000, physicist)

Vladimir Ivanovich Zubov was a Soviet mathematician, mechanic, physicist and teacher, corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

Born in the city of Kashira, Moscow Region, where he graduated from an incomplete secondary school in 1945. In 1946 he came to Leningrad, graduated from high school and in 1949 entered the Leningrad State University. In 1953, a year ahead of schedule, he graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics of Leningrad University. In 1955 he defended his dissertation for the degree of candidate of physical and mathematical sciences, in 1960 a dissertation for the degree of doctor of physical and mathematical sciences, and became a professor in 1963.

Founder of the Faculty of Applied Mathematics – Control Processes of the Leningrad State University (opened on October 10, 1969), head of the Department of Control Theory of the Leningrad State University (1967-2000). In 1981 he was elected a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences in the department of mechanics and control processes.

V. I. Zubov received the following awards:

-The State Prize of the USSR for a series of works on the theory of automatic control (1968)
-Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation (1998)

The asteroid (10022) discovered in 1979 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Chernykh was named in honor of Vladimir Ivanovich Zubov on March 9, 2001.


A. S. POPOV (1859-1906, physicists, electrical engineer, inventor)

Alexander Stepanovich Popov lived in pre-revolutionary Russia, where his work received no support from the government. However, his work was continued to great effect by Soviet scientists. Popov is known as one of the inventors of a radio-telephone device, independently and contemporaneously with the Italian G. Marconi. In the USSR May 7 was made a holiday “Communications Workers’ Day” or colloquially ‘Radio Day’ in Popov’s honor.

“Alexander Stepanovich Popov (1859-1905), Russian scientist, inventor of the radio. Born into the family of a priest. Studied at the Perm Theological Seminary. Graduated from the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of St. Petersburg University (1882). From the beginning of the 1880s, he began the study of electromagnetic waves, culminating in the invention of radio in 1895 . From 1901 he headed the Department of Physics at the St. Petersburg Electrotechnical Institute, in 1905 became the director of this institute.

In January 1896, in the Journal of the Russian Physicochemical Society, Popov published an article “A device for detecting and registering electrical oscillations,” in which he gave a diagram and a detailed description of the principle of operation of the world’s first radio receiver.” The successful practical operation of the device has proven its ability to capture electromagnetic vibrations in the atmosphere. On March 12/24, the scientist, on an experimental device, clearly demonstrated the transmission of signals without wires at a distance of 250 meters.

In June 1896, the Italian G. Marconi patented an invention in England that repeated the scheme of the device previously published in Popov’s publication. This fact prompted the Russian scientist to make special statements about his priority in the domestic and foreign press. Popov’s merits in the invention of the radio were recognized by being awarded a gold medal at the Paris Electrotechnical Congress in 1900.

By the summer of 1897, as a result of numerous experiments, the problem of increasing the transmission distance was solved, new devices were manufactured at the expense of the Ministry of the Navy and a communication range of up to 5 km was achieved. The experiments of radio communication, as having military significance, were not made public, but the phenomenon of radio waves reflection from objects (in particular, ships), noticed in the course of them, formed the basis of radar.

In 1898-99 Popov continued experimental work in the Baltic and Black Seas, during which he developed a device for receiving telegraph signals by ear. In 1900, radio communication was established for 50 km, after which the Ministry of the Navy introduced a wireless telegraph on the ships of the fleet.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

Alexander Popov (1949) A Soviet Film about Popov

American western-centric and anti-communist propaganda ridiculed the notion that a Russian could have invented the radio transmitter or telephone. However, the first functional electromagnetic telegraph was also invented by Russian Pavel Schilling.

A. A. PETROVSKY (1873-1942, radio engineer, physicist)

Alexey Alekseevich Petrovsky was a Soviet scientist in the field of radio engineering, geophysics, electrophysical methods of geological exploration. He was one of the founders of Soviet radio engineering, together with his student I. G. Freiman. Petrovsky was the student and colleague of inventor A. S. Popov. Petrovsky developed the theory and methodology of electrical prospecting. State Councillor, the first professor of radio engineering and the author of the first theoretical guide to radio engineering in Russia. Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Honored Worker of Science and Technology of the RSFSR.

Petrovsky was a military officer in the Russian Empire. After the October Revolution Petrovsky moved to a teaching position in the United Naval Forces Classes (1918-1922), and also lectured at the Institute of Higher Commercial Knowledge (until 1930). In 1919 he headed the Petrograd (later Leningrad) branch of the Russian Society of Radio Engineers. In the summer of 1921, he took part in the experimental work that had begun in the Baltic Sea on the organization of radio communication between coastal stations and submarines in a submerged position.

On the initiative of Petrovsky and engineer I. G. Freiman, in November 1922, the first radio amateur circle in the USSR was organized in Petrograd, and in 1923 a radio section was organized at the Electrotechnical Institute.

From 1923 to 1925, he taught electrical engineering at the Higher Military Electrotechnical School of the Commanders of the Workers ‘and Peasants’ Red Army (RKKA) and the Military Engineering Academy. In April 1925, on the pages of the monthly magazine “Friend of Radio” Petrovsky, wrote an article on the 30th anniversary of the invention of the radio by A. Popov, and expressed the prophetic words: “May 7 will turn into a real holiday for radio operators!” Since 1945, the Radio Day holiday has been celebrated annually.

In 1924-1930 he was the head of a department at the Institute of Applied Geophysics ( Institute of Applied Geophysics named after Professor V. I. Bauman). He was engaged in the development of electrical methods for the exploration of mineral deposits. In 1928-1938 he taught at the Leningrad Mining Institute , and in 1934 he became the first head of the new department of geophysical methods of exploration, which trained geophysical engineers.

In 1932 he was appointed deputy director of the Geophysical Institute of the Ural branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences (UFAN). In 1935 he defended his thesis for the degree of Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and was awarded the title of professor.

In the position of deputy director, and then head of department in UFAN, he continued to work until 1942. In 1941 he was awarded the title ” Honored Worker of Science and Technology of the RSFSR”. Over the entire period of his activity, he wrote more than 200 scientific papers on radio engineering, telecommunications, electrical prospecting for minerals and the history of radio.

A. A. CHERNYSHEV (1882-1940, electrical engineer, scientist)

Alexander Alekseevich Chernyshev was a soviet scientist, one of the inventors of the radar. He became a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1929 and full member in 1932. He was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1930.

M. A. BONCH-BRUEVICH (1888-1940)

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bonch-Bruevich was a Soviet radio engineer and founder of the Russian radio tube industry. Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1931). Professor of the Moscow Higher Technical School (1922), Leningrad Institute of Communications Engineers (1932), Doctor of Technical Sciences, one of the founders and leaders of the Nizhny Novgorod radio laboratory. The laboratory was eventually awarded the Red Banner of Labor. Bonch-Bruevich made a significant contribution to the development of Soviet radiophysics, the development of new types of radio tubes, broadcasting and radio communications equipment. He wrote textbooks, scientific papers, as well as about 60 patents for inventions in the field of radio engineering.

M. A. Bonch-Bruevich had an active correspondence with Lenin. Lenin wrote to him on February 5, 1920:

“Mikhail Alexandrovich!.. I take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude and sympathy to you for the great work of radio inventions that you are doing. The newspaper without paper and “without distances” that you create will be a great thing. I promise to render you all possible assistance in this and similar works. With best wishes, V. Ulyanov (Lenin)”

I. G. FREIMAN (1890-1929, radio engineer and scientist)

Imant Georgievich Freiman together with A. A. Petrovsky was one of the founders of Soviet radio engineering and builder of powerful radio stations. He introduced the terms “radio engineering” and ” radio broadcasting ” into circulation. He designed and built a radio transmitter for the world’s first radio probe, was the first chairman of the communications and observation section of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the Red Naval Forces. Freiman was a teacher, dean of the electro-physics faculty, head and professor of the country’s first radio engineering department at the Electrotechnical Institute and head of the radio communication department of the Naval Academy in Petrograd.

In 1918 he took an active part in the creation of the “Russian Society of Radio Engineers” (RORI) in Petrograd, thanks to which the Nizhny Novgorod radio laboratory was formed and a special magazine “Telephony and Telegraphy without Wires” began to be published. In March 1919 he joined the Workers ‘and Peasants’ Red Army. In May 1919, he was appointed as a radio receiver in the Mine Department of the Main Directorate of Shipbuilding, and in October 1921 he became a senior radio receiver. At the same time he worked on a thesis on the topic: “On the laws of the similarity of radio networks” and taught a course in radio engineering at ETI, was elected secretary of the publishing committee of the institute.

In 1919 he filed an application for the invention of a device for multiple telephony using cathode electron-beam switches, which subsequently outstripped the practical development of multichannel communication. In 1921 he defended his master’s thesis and was approved as a professor at ETI. In the same year he founded the first electrovacuum laborary together with professor of physics M. M. Glagolev. In 1922-1925 he worked as the dean of the electrophysical faculty of ETI. From 1922 to 1929 he was a member of the Radio Technical Council of the Trust of Low Current Plants and the Central Radio Laboratory, scientific consultant of the Scientific Test Station of the People’s Commissariat of Posts and Telegraphs (in 1922-1928).

In September 1921, he made a report at the first All-Russian Congress of Amateurs of World Studies, in which he proposed to develop radio amateurism on a national scale. On the initiative of A. A. Petrovsky and Freiman, in November 1922, the first radio amateur circle was organized in Petrograd, and in 1923 a radio section was organized at ETI. Handbooks for radio amateurs were published under the editorship of Freiman.

In 1922, he became the organizer of the Department of Radio Communication at the Naval Academy and until 1929 was its head, at the same time during these years he taught a course in radio engineering at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Military Engineering Academy , continued lecturing at the Second Polytechnic Institute. In the summer of 1923, he organized an internship for his students in Sevastopol. During the practice, the students of the Naval Academy, among others N. P. Suvorov and A. N. Grinenko-Ivanov established underwater communications on the submarines of the Black Sea Fleet.

He was appointed the first chairman of the communications and observation section of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the Naval Forces of the Red Army in 1924-1927. He was the initiator and leader of the development of the first radio equipment of the fleet “Blockade-I”, on the basis of which the next two generations of naval radio systems were later created.

In 1924 he became the chairman of the publishing committee of ETI, in the same year his fundamental work “Course of radio engineering” was published (again in 1928), in a review of this book, the future academician Professor A. A. Chernyshev wrote: that this book was the world’s first textbook of radio engineering as an engineering science”. From 1925 to 1926 he worked as deputy director of ETI for educational work.

In 1928 I. Freiman developed and created a radio transmitter for the world’s first radio probe, which was launched after the death of a radio engineer.

V. N. KESSENIKH (1903-1970, radio physicist)

Vladimir Nikolaevich Kessenikh was active in developing radio technology and in physics research. He solved many problems related to communication technology, for example:

“in 1932, he found a solution to the problem of excitation of electromagnetic waves in a wire, which marked the beginning of a series of studies on the concentrated excitation of electromagnetic fields in the theory of antennas and transmission lines. He carried out fundamental research on the electrodynamics of radiating systems. He was the first to introduce the analytical task of a lumped source into antenna problems and found their correct solution. He received the formula for the input impedance of a thin antenna, which was included in textbooks and reference books under the name “Kessenich’s formula”. He laid the theoretical foundations for the study and creation of broadband antenna systems. Kessenich conducted the first computational and analytical study of the detection of cracks in the metal using eddy currents; in the laboratory of the Siberian Institute of Physics and Technology, a number of experimental flaw detection hand trucks were developed for checking railway rails.” (Wikipedia)

In the Great Patriotic War he received the Order of the Red Star in 1942.


N. A. TELESHOV (1828-1895, aviation engineer)

Nikolai Afanasievich Teleshov was a Russian engineer and designer of one of the first Jet Aircraft in the world. He was one of the pre-revolutionary inventors held in high regard in the USSR.

N. Y. ZHUKOVSKY (1847-1921, Engineer, a founding father of modern aero- and hydrodynamics)

Nikolay Yegorovich Zhukovsky was a Soviet Russian scientist, mathematician and engineer, and a founding father of modern aero- and hydrodynamics. Whereas contemporary scientists scoffed at the idea of human flight, Zhukovsky was the first to undertake the study of airflow. He is often called the Father of Russian Aviation. The Soviet State Zhukovsky Prize was established in 1920 ‘for the best works in mathematics’.

Zhukovsky’s ideas could not be implemented in the Russian Empire but they were developed in the USSR. His theories were further developed for example by his students S. Chaplygin, L. I. Sedov and V. V. Shuleikin.

Zhukovsky (1950) A Soviet Film about Zhukovsky.

K. TSIOLKOVSKY (1857-1935, physicist, aeronautics and rocketry theorist)

Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) is the grandfather of Soviet rocketry and aeronautics and one of the inventors of rocketry and the airplane. He began his work during the Tsarist regime but continued it with government support in the Soviet Union.

“The capitalist system was the grave of popular talent. In those times only a few individuals climbed to any height in art and science… Another genius was the grandfather of Russian aviation, K. Tsiolkovsky. He designed an airplane thirteen years before the first airplane rose into the sky. He invented the metal dirigible airship several years before the first dirigible was built in Germany. But in tsarist Russia the value of these inventions was not appreciated. Only in the Land of Soviets were Tsiolkovsky’s discoveries put to use.” (A Short History of the USSR, ed. A. V. Shestakov, p. 242)

His work was the inspiration for the leaders of the Soviet space program Sergei Korolev and Valentin Glushko.

“Haven’t Jules Verne’s fantasies, which still fascinate us, been transformed into reality of today ! We find an even greater scope of fantastic thought in our remarkable Russian scientist K. Tsiolkovsky and though only some thirty years have elapsed since his daring predictions, much of what he wrote then has already come true. We must, therefore, never fear scientific fantasy nor take it as something already existing; we must fight for it because fantasy is one of the methods of scientific work. It was not without reason that Lenin said that fantasy was a quality of the. highest value” (A. Fersman, Geochemistry for everyone, p. 386)

S. A. CHAPLYGIN (1869-1942, Engineer, physicist)

Sergey Alexeyevich Chaplygin was a Russian and Soviet physicist, mathematician, and mechanical engineer. He is known for mathematical formulas such as Chaplygin’s equation and for a hypothetical substance in cosmology called Chaplygin gas, named after him.

He graduated in 1890 from Moscow University, and later became a professor. He taught mechanical engineering at Moscow Higher Courses for Women in 1901, and of applied mathematics at Moscow School of Technology, 1903. He was appointed Director of the courses in 1905. Leonid I. Sedov was one of his students.

Chaplygin’s theories were greatly inspired by N. Y. Zhukovsky, who founded the Central Institute of Aerodynamics. His early research consisted of hydromechanics. His “Collected Works” in four volumes were published in 1948.

Honours and awards:
-Zhukovsky Prize (1925)
-Order of the Red Banner of Labour, twice (1927 and ?)
-Two Orders of Lenin (1933 and 1941)
-Hero of Socialist Labour (1941)
-Chaplygin was elected to the Russian Academy of Sciences (the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1925-1991) in 1924.

The lunar crater Chaplygin and town Chaplygin are named in his honour.

V. V. SHULEIKIN (1895-1979, Engineer, mathematician)

Vasily Vladimirovich Shuleikin was a Soviet scientist, mathematician and engineer. He made significant contributions to understanding of nonlinear wave phenomena, ocean acoustics and marine physics. His work on sea ice flows is considered foundational. He became a corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences from 1929 onwards, and an academician from 1946.

He received the following awards:
-Order of Lenin
-Stalin Prize
-Order of the October Revolution
-Order of the Red Banner of Labour
-Medal “In Commemoration of the 800th Anniversary of Moscow”
-Medal “For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945”
-Order of the Red Star

S. P. KOROLEV (1906-1966, rocket and space system designer)

Sergei Pavlovich Korolev was a Soviet scientist, designer of rocket and space systems, chairman of the Council of Chief Designers of the USSR (1946-1966), Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1958).

Sergei Korolev is one of the main creators of Soviet rocket and space technology, and a key figure in human space exploration, the founder of practical astronautics. Under his leadership, the launch of the first artificial satellite of the Earth and the first cosmonaut of the planet Yuri Gagarin was organized and carried out. Twice Hero of Socialist Labor, laureate of the Lenin Prize. Member of the CPSU since July 1953.

Sergei Korolev was born in Zhytomyr, his father was a teacher and his mother from a merchant family. In 1911 Korolev saw Sergey Isaevich Utochkin, one of the first Russian pilots, a popularizer of aeronautics and aviation, which had a significant impact on him. The Korolev family was ruined by WWI and they moved to a small apartment in Kiev.

In 1915, Korolev entered first grade of the gymnasium in Odessa, but the school was soon closed. He spent four months in a unified labor school and later was taught at home. Even in his school years, Sergei was interested in the then new aviation technology and showed exceptional abilities for it. In 1922-1924 he studied at a construction vocational school, studying in many circles and at various courses. He also participated in aviation public life and joined the the Society of Aviation and Aeronautics of Ukraine and Crimea in 1923.

Korolev studied aviation technology in various institutes, the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, Moscow Higher Technical School etc. and also graduated as a pilot. Getting a job under A. N. Tupolev, Korolev designed and built aircraft. He became familiar with the works of K. Tsiolkovsky and started thinking about launching space rockets.

Korolev joined the Jet Propulsion Study Group (GIRD). In April 1932, it became essentially a state research and design laboratory for the development of rocket aircraft, in which the first Soviet liquid ballistic missiles were created and launched. On August 17, 1933, the first successful launch of the GIRD rocket was carried out. Korolev designed rockets for the state throughout the 30s. In 1938 he was accused of Trotskyist sabotage, arrested, and sentenced. His sentence was first shortened to 8 years, and he was transferred to work in a design bureau. He was released in 1944 before the end of his sentence and his criminal record wiped out.

Korolev worked at the Central Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering, designing and researching very significant rockets and ships throughout the 40s and 50s. He joined the Communist Party and was a leading designer in the Soviet Space Program since the early 50s.

Korolev received the following awards:
-Twice Hero of Socialist Labor (1956; 1961).
-Three Orders of Lenin.
-Order of the Badge of Honor.
-The Lenin Prize.
-Medal “For Labor Valor”
-Medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”
-Medal “In memory of the 800th anniversary of Moscow”
-Honorary citizen of the cities of Korolev , Kaluga and Baikonur.

L. I. SEDOV (1907-1999, Engineer, physicist)

Leonid Ivanovich Sedov was a leading Soviet expert on hydro- and aerodynamics and applied mechanics.

In 1930 Sedov graduated from the Moscow State University, where he had been a student of Sergey Chaplygin, with the degree of Doctor of Physics and Mathematical Sciences. He later became a professor at the university.

During World War II, he devised the so-called Sedov Similarity Solution for a blast wave. He was the first chairman of the USSR Space Exploration program. He was president of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) from 1959 to 1961.

Sedov earned the following awards:

-Order of the Badge of Honor (1943)
-Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1945; 1961)
-S. A. Chaplygin Prize (1947) [24]
-Stalin Prize of the second degree (1952) – for the monographs “Plane Problems of Hydrodynamics and Aerodynamics” (1950) and “Methods of Similarity and Dimension in Mechanics” (1951)
-Lomonosov Prize (1954)
-six Orders of Lenin (1954; 1963; 1967; 1975; 1980; ?)
-Hero of Socialist Labor (1967)
-Commander of the Legion of Honor (France, 1971)
-VDNKh Gold Medal (1973, 1984)
-A. M. Lyapunov Gold Medal (1974)
-Yuri Gagarin Medal (1984)
-Order of Merit for the Fatherland, IV degree (1998)
-A. N. Krylov Prize (1998) – for the work “Simultaneous modeling of viscous and wave resistance of a ship in an experimental pool”

He was elected Honored Professor of Moscow State University in 1994.


Soviet astronomy defended the theory of cosmic evolution, that planets, stars and galaxies were not supernaturally created in their current form but evolved from other forms and such evolution is still going on. Soviet astronomy defended the position that life is not unique to planet Earth but instead any planet with suitable conditions can produce life, and the Earth is not the only such planet. Important Soviet astronomers include:

Vasiliy Grigorievich Fesenkov (astrophysicist)
Georgi Shain (astronomer)
Boris Kukarkin (astronomer)
Gavriil Adrianovich Tikhov (astrobiologist, “the father of astrobotany”)
Norair Sisakyan (biochemist, one of the founders of astrobiology)

N. D. PAPLEKSI (1880-1947, astronomer)

Nikolai Dmitrievich Papaleksi was a Soviet physicist, academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1939), founder of Soviet radio astronomy. Winner of the D. I. Mendeleev Prize (1936, together with L. I. Mandelstam), Laureate of the Stalin Prize (1942) and recipient of the Order of Lenin (1945).

OTTO SCHMIDT (1891-1956, mathematician, astronomer, geophysicist, polar explorer)

Otto Schmidt was a Soviet scientist and polar explorer. Information about his polar expeditions and career is in the section “EXPLORERS” while this section only deals with astronomy.

The first scientific hypothesis about the origin of our galaxy was created by Kant and Laplace. Later bourgeois scientists attempted to develop this hypothesis. Schmidt and other Soviet scientists pointed out the errors of these bourgeois scientists and made important developments to the hypothesis. However, Schmidt’s theories still contain a number of shortcomings which were criticized at the Soviet First Conference On Cosmogony. Schmidt contributed greatly to a scientific theory of cosmogony.

“The first scientific cosmogonic hypothesis based on facts established by science was proposed in the eighteenth century by Kant and Laplace. These scientists believed the Sun and all the planets revolving around it to have formed by condensation of one primary incandescent nebula which rotated even before the origin of the Sun…

The Kant-Laplace hypothesis was long thought appropriately to explain the formation of the Earth, but the rapid development of astronomy, geophysics and geology in the nineteenth century made it possible to reveal several errors in this hypothesis, and new explanations appeared. For example, the scientist Chamberlain thought that the little Earth, formed in the manner proposed by Kant and Laplace, gradually grew larger by the addition of meteorites… Jeans believed the Solar System to have formed as a result of the passage of another star very close to the Sun… For a number of years this hypothesis was thought very adequate, but was then disproved because the passage of one star so close to another that it may cause the supposed ejections of material is a very rare phenomenon and unlikely to explain the formation of the planets revolving around the Sun. Several serious errors were discovered in this hypothesis chiefly by Soviet scientists.

More than 10 years ago Academician O. Schmidt put forward a new hypothesis of the formation of our Earth and the other planets revolving around the Sun. He assumed that moving in the Galaxy through the dust and gases which form the interstellar matter the Sun attracted part of them and came out surrounded by a cloud of this substance. According to the law of gravity this cloud revolved around the Sun, the particles composing the cloud moving in it in all directions, colliding with each other, sometimes breaking up, but more frequently uniting, the smaller particles joining the larger ones; the planets were thus gradually formed in the cloud. The part of the cloud closer to the Sun was heated more intensely, and the nearest planets Mercury, Venus, the Earth and Mars are therefore small and consist of dense matter, rock and metal, and little gaseous remains, whereas Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the more distant planets, are of enormous size and consist of gaseous and volatile substances. The bodies that failed to join the solid inner planets form comets and asteroids.

Schmidt originally thought that the meteorites forming part of the primary cloud had played an important part in the making of the planets; later he relinquished this idea and believed the gas-dust mass to have been the initial material for the creation of the planets.

Schmidt’s hypothesis successfully explains a great deal in the formation of the planets, but it is not devoid of serious short-comings, as was pointed out at the very first conference on problems of cosmogony. The hypothesis considers the formation of the planets of the Solar System, but leaves out the Sun; it offers a good explanation of the origin of the terrestrial type planets, but the large planets with their physical properties do not fit into it. Schmidt did not study the evolution of the Sun or the problem of the origin and evolution of the stars and did not utilize the rich material of modern astrophysics. All this shows that Schmidt’s hypothesis is as yet unable to explain the formation of all the heavenly bodies and is inadequate in its present form.

Most of the Soviet scientists studying problems of astronomy and geophysics believe that the Earth and the other planets of the Solar System were formed not of substance brought from without, but of the gaseous or gas-dust matter existing within the limits of this system.

Schmidt’s and several other hypotheses assume that the Earth and other planets of this type formed of the gas-dust substance were originally cold. Subsequently, the substance was divided according to its specific gravity by means of gravitational differentiation and the globe was stratified into geospheres of different densities as a result of the rise of the lighter particles to the outer shells of the Earth…

The discovery of deep-focus earthquakes originating at a depth of more than 600 kilometres has persuaded some geologists that the outer shell of the Earth consists of solid substance to a depth of at least 800 kilometres. This structure of the earth’s crust conforms to the assumption of the origin of a “cold” Earth from cosmic dust better than to the hypothesis of a fiery-liquid Earth.

According to Schmidt’s hypothesis the originally “cold” Earth had in its composition radioactive elements which by disintegrating served as the source of energy, and the Earth gradually melted, only the outer shell of the Earth — the crust — remaining hard. On the other hand, as A. Vinogradov points out, if we take the meteorites to be fragments of planets (this is now believed firmly established) we must also admit that these planets went through the stage of complete melting. Thus, the Earth, whose internal geospheres have, according to modern assumptions, a structure analogous to that of different types of meteorites, must, as a whole, have gone through the stages of a molten body in which the processes of liquid differentiation, liquation and stratification occurred. In Vinogradov’s opinion the Earth began to cool from the inside and long retained a molten shell.

If we summarize the discussions of Schmidt’s hypothesis at the First Cosmogonic Conference we shall see that the problem of the origin of the Earth and planets, the problem of whether the energy produced by the decay of radioactive elements is alone enough to heat and melt the globe, and the problems of the further differentiation of the Earth’s substances and the process of the Earth’s cooling have as yet been inadequately elaborated and that astronomers, geophysicists and geologists have come to no agreement.” (V. Obruchev, Fundamentals Of Geology, pp. 259-262)

P. F. SHAJN (1894-1956, Astronomer)

Pelageya Fedorovna Shajn, was a Russian astronomer in the Soviet Union, and the first woman credited with the discovery of a minor planet, at the Simeiz Observatory in 1928. Pelageya also discovered numerous variable stars and co-discovered the periodic, Jupiter-family comet 61P/Shajn–Schaldach.

In 1948 she discovered a new minor planet and named it Otto Schmidt after the famous Soviet geologist and explorer.

V. A. AMBARTSUMYAN (1908-1996, atrophysicist)

Viktor Amazapovich Ambartsumyan was a Soviet Armenian Astrophysicist, one of the founders of theoretical astrophysics, founder of the theoretical astrophysics of the USSR. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1953, corresponding member since 1939). Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR (1943) and its president (1947-1993), president of the International Astronomical Union (1961-1964), twice winner of the Stalin Prize (1946, 1950).

“In the USSR, the only scientific direction of cosmogonic thought has been created, based on the analysis and broad generalization of observational data. Thus, for example, it has been established that stars are emitted from the pre-stellar stage simultaneously in whole groups (Ambartsumyan) and that the formation of stars took place even in distant epochs and continues up to the present time; that the stars that have arisen undergo a slow decay, they throw their own matter back into space, thereby continuously reducing the speed of their rotation and being in interaction with the surrounding interstellar medium; that the formation of planetary systems, which are very numerous in the universe, is inextricably linked with the origin of the stars themselves and represents a certain natural process.” (“Cosmogony”, in the Short Philosophical Dictionary, 1954)

Ambartsumyan received the following awards:

-Honored Worker of Science of the Armenian SSR (1941)
-Two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (1944, 1953)
-Stalin Prize of the second degree (1946) – for the creation of a new theory of light scattering in turbid media, set forth in the works: “A new method for calculating the scattering of light in a turbid medium”, “On the scattering of light by the atmospheres of planets”, “On the question of diffuse reflection of light by a turbid medium » (1942-1944)
-Stalin Prize of the first degree (1950) – for the discovery and study of a new type of stellar systems (“stellar associations”), set out in a series of articles published in the journals: “Messages of the Byurakan Observatory”, “Reports of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR” and “Astronomical Journal” (1949)
-Five orders of Lenin (1945, 1958, 1968, 1975, 1978)
-Jules Janssen Prize of the French Astronomical Society (1956)
-Medal “For Labor Valour” (1960)
-Catherine Bruce Medal of the Pacific Astronomical Society (1960)
-Honorary Citizen of Gyumri (1964)
-Honored Scientist of the Georgian SSR (1968)
-Hero of Socialist Labor (1968, 1978)
-Order “Cyril and Methodius” 1st class (Bulgarian people’s republic, 1969)
-S. I. Vavilov Gold Medal (1970)
-Gold medal of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (1970)
-Large Gold Medal named after M.V. Lomonosov of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1971)
-Helmholtz Medal of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin (1971)
-Commander of the Order of Merit for the Republic of Poland (1973)
-Kotenius Medal of the German “Leopold” Academy of Naturalists (1974)
-Order of the Banner (Hungarian people’s republic, 1975)
-Order of the October Revolution (1983)
-Honorary Citizen of Yerevan (1983)
-State Prize of the Armenian SSR (1988)
-Order of Honor (1988)
-National Hero of Armenia (1994)
-State Prize of the Russian Federation (1995) – for the cycle of works “Construction of the dynamics of stellar systems”

Ambartsumyan was invited the become a member also of the following scientific organizations:

-Austrian Academy of Sciences,
-Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences,
-Belgian Academy of Sciences,
-Bulgarian Academy of Sciences,
-Academy of Sciences of the GDR,
-Georgian Academy of Sciences,
-Danish Academy of Sciences,
-Italian Academy of Sciences,
-Royal Society of London,
-Academy of Sciences of the Netherlands,
-US National Academy of Sciences (1959),
-Academy of Sciences of France,
-Swedish Academy of Sciences,
-American Academy of Arts and Sciences,
-Indian National Academy of Sciences,
-New York Academy of Sciences,
-German Academy of Naturalists “Leopold”
-British Royal Astronomical Society,
-Royal Canadian Astronomical Society,
-American Astronomical Society,
-Cambridge Philosophical Society,
-University of Liege (honorary doctorate),
-Australian National University,
-University of La Plata,
-University of Paris,
-Prague University,
-N. Copernicus University of Toruń.


T. F. OSIPOVSKY (1765-1832, mathematician)

“Osipovsky Timofey Fedorovich (1765-1832) – Russian materialist thinker, professor of mathematics at Kharkov University (since 1803) and rector of the university (1813-1820). An active fighter against reactionary politics and against Arakcheev’s measures enforced at the university by famous mystics (the minister of spiritual affairs and public education, the president of the Bible society, the chief prosecutor of the Holy Synod, Prince. A. N. Golitsyn and the trustee of the Kharkov educational district E. Ya. Karneev). Osipovsky outlined his materialistic views in connection with the sharp criticism of the idealistic philosophy of Kant in the speech On space and time and the discourse On the dynamic system of Kant, pronounced in the ceremonial meetings of Kharkov University in 1807 and 1813. Osipovsky recognized the primacy of matter and the secondary nature of consciousness. “It is easy to judge,” he said, “that things and what such a concept in us cannot give birth to, what is not in them, and does not belong to them; for if they can give birth to any concept in us, then it must be necessary that something belonging to them corresponds to this concept in us from them; otherwise it might happen that nothing produces anything.” The laws of natural phenomena, according to Osipovsky, must be deduced not from themselves, but from the consideration of these phenomena “at different times, in different forms, in different attitudes to other phenomena.” Osipovsky passionately exposed Kantian fabrications, arguing that. these are pure chimeras, “inside only our head, involuntarily, but incoherently occurring, and having nothing to do with things, and therefore incapable of any application to them.”

In contrast to Kant, who deprived space and time of objectivity and tore off their departure from things, Osipovsky did not think of the existence of space and time outside matter, as well as the existence of the latter outside space and time. He said that “space and time are the conditions for the existence of things, in nature itself and in themselves, and not existing in our only way of feeling.” According to Osipovsky, time should not be considered “as something existing in nature by itself, but as a necessary product of the successive existence of things.” The concept of space “is produced according to the impressions emanating from it through our external senses to our internal senses.” Osipovsky sharply opposed the Kantian concept of a priori, pre-experienced origin of geometric truths. The truth of geometry, according to Osipovsky, is objective. The truths offered in geometry, he said, “agree with what is really seen in things.”

The reactionaries succeeded in 1820 to remove Osipovsky from the post of rector and the duties of a professor, but they could not blot out the trail of the ideas he was spreading. Osipovsky’s bold speeches against idealistic philosophy and his open struggle against obscurantists from Osipovsky’s voice found a response in the hearts of the progressive people of that time, brought up students in the spirit of materialism. It is no coincidence that in his denunciation Dudrovich pointed out that Osipovsky’s way of thinking “is the reason that almost none of the students at Kharkov University. part of mathematics of students, of which he is the head … does not attend either the knowledge of God and Christian teaching, or lectures on the part of philosophy.” Kharkov University owed Osipovsky a high scientific level of teaching mathematics there. Osipovsky owned the best three-volume course in mathematics of his time. During his fruitful teaching career, he trained a number of students, among whom was the famous Russian mathematician Academician M.V. Ostrogradsky.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

N. I. LOBACHEVSKY (1792-1856, geometer)

Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is the main inventor of hyperbolic non-euclidian geometry, which is also called Lobachevskian geometry. The Lobachevsky Prize was created in 1927 by the USSR Academy of Sciences.

“Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky (1792-1856) – great Russian mathematician, the creator of non-Euclidean geometry, the exponent of materialistic views on mathematics and its foundations. In 1811, after completing his university course, Lobachevsky received the title of Master of Mathematics. At the age of twenty-three he was already a professor. Kazan University, of which he was 19 years old, Lobachevsky devoted his whole life. He was a conductor of advanced ideas in teaching youth. Lobachevsky is a prominent figure in university education. Lobachevsky’s merits in the field of public education in Russia are enormous, but he earned an immortal name with the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry. He not only pointed out the possibility of creating a geometry different from the usual geometry of Euclid, he was the first in the world to build a logically flawless system of such a new geometry.

For more than two millennia, the geometric representations of people have been based on the teachings expressed in the 3rd century. BC. in Euclid’s Elements.

According to this doctrine, all elementary geometry is based on a group of axioms – its starting points. Even in ancient times, mathematicians noticed that the axiom of parallel lines (called the eleventh axiom or the fifth postulate of Euclid) is not as obvious as other axioms. This axiom says: through a point lying outside a given straight line, only one straight line parallel to it passes in the same plane with it. Many scientists have tried to deduce this axiom from others, but to no avail. Lobachevsky expressed the bold idea that it is generally impossible to deduce this axiom from others – it is independent of them. In doing so, he proceeded from the desire to connect the basic provisions of geometry with the properties of the material bodies of nature. Accepting the assumption, that at least two parallel lines can be drawn to a given straight line through a given point in their common plane, he received, although a peculiar, but completely new harmonious geometric system, which does not contain any internal contradictions. This system is called Lobachevsky geometry.

The fact that in Lobachevsky’s geometry the sum of the angles of a triangle is not 180°, as in Euclidean, but always less, that through a point several parallel lines can be drawn to a given straight line that does not contain this point, was so unusual at that time that it seemed paradoxical. However, the novelty and uncommonness of the discovery, breaking centuries-old scientific traditions, did not frighten Lobachevsky. He boldly expressed his views orally in 1826, and published them in 1829 and in the following years, having won the indisputable priority of the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry. Lobachevsky’s deep ideas were not understood by his contemporaries. It took about half a century for his ideas to enter mathematics as an integral part of it and to become a turning point in the field of mathematics in the next era. During the life of Lobachevsky, only the Russian professor of Kazan P. I. Kotelnikov publicly appreciated his immortal discovery, who in 1842 in his speech “On prejudices against mathematics” said that Lobachevsky’s great work will sooner or later find its connoisseurs. Already some 10 years after the death of Lobachevsky, it was proved that the positions of Lobachevsky’s planimetry are realized on some curved surfaces (the so-called pseudo spherical).

Lobachevsky’s assumption that Euclid’s geometry is by no means the only one in the space around us was justified. It even turned out that Lobachevsky’s geometry is not the only non-Euclidean geometry, if we do not limit ourselves only to considering a rigid body in infinite space. Thus, as a result of Lobachevsky’s discovery, it turned out that Euclid’s geometry is only one of the possible geometries, correct as long as we operate within the limits of our usual extensions. Non-Euclidean geometry has found numerous applications in other branches of mathematics; it plays an important role in modern physics; the theory of relativity would not have been possible without non-Euclidean geometry.

Lobachevsky’s worldview was materialistic. In his mathematical works and in the teaching of mathematics, he was constantly concerned with elucidating the real nature of the concepts underlying science. Lobachevsky firmly and consistently carried out the idea that “the first data will undoubtedly always be those concepts that we acquire in nature through our senses,” that “the first concepts from which any science begins … are acquired by the senses; congenital – should not be believed. “ This sensationalism of Lobachevsky has a pronounced materialistic character. For Lobachevsky, the external world is objective, and our ideas about it are the result of the impact of the real world on human consciousness through sensations, feelings. That is why “all concepts, whatever they may be, acquired from nature, can be taken as the basis of the mathematical sciences.”

Lobachevsky’s views on the relationship between theory and practice have a pronounced materialistic orientation. Experience and practice serve as the criterion of truth for him. Lobachevsky believed that the logical consistency of geometry was still insufficient to recognize it as true. He demanded a practical confirmation of its correspondence with the real relation of physical space. Having shaken the “inviolability” of the foundations of Euclidean geometry, Lobachevsky dealt a heavy blow to the philosophy of Kant, who in this “inviolability” tried to find support for his philosophy and considered the truths of geometry not as a result of the experience of mankind, but as innate (a priori) forms of human consciousness.

Lobachevsky constantly emphasized the futility of attempts to derive all mathematics from mere constructions of reason. “… All mathematical principles,” he said, “which they think to produce from the mind itself, regardless of the things of the world, will remain useless for mathematics …” Lobachevsky fought just as passionately against formalism in mathematics, emasculating from mathematics and its concepts their real content and seeing in mathematical signs and operations on them is only a simple play of symbols. This struggle of Lobachevsky has not lost its relevance to this day, when formalism is flourishing in Western science.

Lobachevsky was a great patriot of his homeland. He demanded from the student who came to the university, first of all, that he be a citizen who “by his high knowledge constitutes the honor and glory of his Motherland.” The progressive significance of Lobachevsky’s great ideas lies in the fact that his discovery expanded the boundaries of geometry and led it onto the path of new development. The materialistic nature of Lobachevsky’s initial attitudes, his desire to clarify the materialistic content of mathematical concepts, to reveal the connections between geometry and the properties of the real world make him one of the brightest thinkers of the 19th century.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

P. L. CHEBYSHEV (1821-1894, mathematician)

Pafnuty Lvovich Chebyshev is often called the founding father of Russian mathematics. He was held in high regard in the USSR.

I. V. VINOGRADOV (1891-1983, mathematician)

“Our Soviet mathematician, Academician Vinogradov, found a brilliant solution for Goldbach’s problem, on which the greatest mathematicians all over the world had been working for nearly 200 years.” (A History of the USSR, ed. A. M. Pankratova (1948) vol. 3, p. 380)

Vinogradov developed the so-called ‘Vinogradov method’ in mathematics. He was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1941.

“With the help of this method, Vinogradov tackled questions such as the ternary Goldbach problem in 1937 (using Vinogradov’s theorem), and the zero-free region for the Riemann zeta function. His own use of it was inimitable; in terms of later techniques, it is recognised as a prototype of the large sieve method in its application of bilinear forms, and also as an exploitation of combinatorial structure. In some cases his results resisted improvement for decades. He also used this technique on the Dirichlet divisor problem, allowing him to estimate the number of integer points under an arbitrary curve. This was an improvement on the work of Georgy Voronoy. In 1918 Vinogradov proved the Pólya–Vinogradov inequality for character sums.” (wikipedia)

Works of Vinogradov:
The Method Of Trigonometric Sums In The Theory Of Numbers
Proceedings of the International Conference on Number Theory (Moscow, September 14-18, 1971)

V. A. STEKLOV (1864-1926, physicist, mathematician)

Vladimir Andreevich Steklov. Prominent early Soviet mathematician.

D. A. GRAVE (1863-1939, mathematician)

Dmitry Aleksandrovich Grave was an important Soviet mathematician, elected to the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in 1919 and to the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1929.


A. P. WALTHER (1817-1889, physiologist) and V. A. BASOV (1812-1879, physiologist)

“In briefly touching upon the development of physiology in Russia, we have to state that among the important achievements of science in the first half of the 19th century were the investigations carried out by Walther and Basov. In 1842, Walther (1817-1889), a pupil of N. Pirogov, showed that a cross-cut of the “sympathetic nerve threads admixed to the sciatic nerve of a frog” (i.e., of the sympathetic nerve fibres) caused a dilation of the vessels of the web. In the same year Basov (1812-1879) elaborated a method of penetrating the stomach of an absolutely healthy animal by applying a stomach fistula and, for the first time in the history of physiology, demonstrated the feasibility of a protracted, chronic experiment. However, Walther and Basov did not appreciate the importance of their discoveries and did not develop them. Claude Bernard was the man who elaborated the theory of innervation of blood vessels. But it was Pavlov who turned the method of investigating physiological processes in normal, healthy animals into an instrument which revolutionized the entire development of physiology.” (Bykov, Text-book of physiology, 1958, p. 20)

I. M. SECHENOV (1829-1905) (Physiologist, Pioneer of psychology, Darwinist)

Ivan Mikhaylovich Sechenov propagated Darwinism and applied it in his work on physiology. Ivan Pavlov referred to him as the “Father of Russian physiology and scientific psychology”.

Eminent biologists… [like] V. M. Sechenov… defended and developed Darwinism with all the passion of true scientists.” (Lysenko, The Situation in the Science of Biology,1948)

The Selected Works of I. M. Sechenov contain a detailed biographical essay by M. Shaternikov about Sechenov’s life and work.

Sechenov, Avtobiograficheskie zapiski

I. P. Pavlov wrote: “Sechenov’s teaching of the reflexes of the brain is, in my opinion, a sublime achievement of Russian science. The application of the reflex principle to explain the activity of the higher nervous centres is a proof that causality can be applied to the study of the highest forms of organic nature. For this reason the name of Sechenov will forever remain dear to the Russian scientific world.” (Quoted in p. XXV Selected Works of Sechenov)

“particularly, the discovery by Sechenov in 1862 of the phenomena of inhibition in the central nervous system, gave rise to the study of the factors which determine the nature of inhibition and its role in reflex activity.” (Bykov, Text-book of physiology, 1958, p. 20)

“The works of Sechenov marked a new stage in Russian physiology. Sechenov was born in 1829 in the former Simbirsk Gubernia. In 1850, after a short period of service in the army as an officer in the engineering corps, he entered the medical faculty of Moscow University. There, under the guidance of Glebov and Orlovsky, he learned the principles of experimental and theoretical physiology. Not only the medical faculty, but the university as a whole, with its intense activity, together with Granovsky’s lectures on history and the ideological atmosphere created by the philosophical works of the revolutionary-democrat A. Herzen, played an outstanding role in forming Sechenov’s world outlook. His materialistic views, which underlay all his creative work, took shape already in his student days at the university.

In 1856, after his graduation, Sechenov went abroad on a scientific mission. There he worked in the laboratories of Ludwig, Helmholtz and Claude Bernard. Upon his return to Russia, he headed the chair of physiology of the Medico-Surgical Academy (later renamed the Military Medical Academy) in Petersburg.

In 1862, Sechenov discovered the phenomenon of inhibition in the central-nervous system, and in 1863, he published his brilliant work Reflexes of the Brain, in which he gave a consistently materialistic interpretation of mental phenomena. This book made him a political suspect in the eyes of the tsarist government, and only the fear of attracting still greater attention to this work compelled the government of Alexander II to give up the idea of taking legal action against Sechenov. Subsequently, Sechenov worked at the Odessa, Petersburg and Moscow universities. He died in Moscow on November 15, 1905.

Sechenov has gone down in the history of science as a great scientist and thinker; he was the first to subject the most intricate domain of nature—the phenomena of consciousness—to a natural-scientific analysis.

Sechenov had many pupils, some of whom became prominent scientists. For example, N. Spiro discovered the so-called reciprocal inhibition in antagonistic centres (the fame of the English researcher Sherrington is due to a large extent to his thorough elaboration of this problem). V. Pashutin (1845-1901), another of Sechenov’s pupils, founded the Russian school of pathology (pathological physiology) and, jointly with A. Likhachov, was the first to work out precise methods of directly measuring the total heat produced in the human organism. The outstanding pharmacologist N. Kravkov was also a pupil of Sechenov, as was the prominent physiologist B. Verigo, who investigated the peculiarities of the action of a.continuous current on the tissues and showed that the taking up and release of oxygen by haemoglobin play an important role in the carriage of carbon dioxide by the blood.” (Bykov, Text-book of physiology, 1958, pp. 21-22)

“Ivan Mikhailovich Sechenov (1829-1905) – great Russian scientist, materialist thinker, founder of Russian physiology. Sechenov’s advanced materialistic views in the field of philosophy and natural science, closely related to his progressive social and political convictions, were formed under the direct influence of the revolutionary liberation movement in Russia in the 1840s and 1860s. and the acute ideological struggle that was taking place in the country at that time. Sechenov was the successor of the democratic and materialist traditions in Russian science, laid down by M.V. Lomonosov and A.N. Radishchev. The name of Sechenov is associated with the birth of Russian physiology, the development of which he directed along a new, independent path.

K.A.Timiryazev and I.P. Pavlov rightly called Sechenov the father of Russian physiology.

Sechenov was the first in the history of physiology to begin an experimental study of the activity of the brain, aiming to reveal the physiological mechanisms of the so-called “mental,” mental activity, which before HIM was considered unknowable. Contrary to idealistic, anti-scientific statements about the allegedly unknowable nature of mental phenomena, Sechenov irrefutably proved that the phenomena of consciousness, will, etc. – the so-called spiritual activity of a person is completely cognizable and its laws can be explained and studied with the help of a strictly scientific objective method. how bodily activity has been studied so far.

For the first time in the history of physiological science, Sechenov began to consider the activity of the human brain as reflex, while before him, only those types of vital activity of the organism that were associated with the spinal cord were considered reflex. This consideration of the activity of the brain radically changed the idea of the nature of human mental activity and allowed Sechenov to irrefutably prove that the human psyche is a product of the material organ of mental activity – the brain, which functions due to the influences of the external world on the senses. Resolutely rejecting idealistic statements about the special nature of human mental activity, Sechenov boldly asserted that there is nothing in consciousness that is not in reality, that the so-called “free will” itself is only the result of those external conditions in which a person lives and acts and which, reflected in his brain, cause certain actions.

Sechenov wrote that the assertion of the idealists that the reason for any human action lies allegedly in the person himself, in his “inner world,” his consciousness, and not in the concrete conditions of life and activity that exist outside him and are independent of him, is “the greatest False.” “The original reason for every act lies always in external sensory excitement, because without it, no thought is possible.” With this, Sechenov dealt a crushing blow to the reactionary idealist views about the “immortality of the soul,” “free will,” etc., which dominated science at that time and is still widely advocated by reactionary idealist philosophy.

Sechenov’s works in the field of brain physiology played a huge role in the scientific work of I.P. Pavlov, who considered Sechenov his teacher and ideological inspirer, tirelessly emphasized the close successive connection between menads with his doctrine of conditioned reflexes and Sechenov’s doctrine of the reflex nature of the activity of the brain. Sechenov’s works in the field of physiology are a valuable contribution to the materialistic theory of the development of living nature. They played an essential role in preparing the ideological and theoretical ground for the triumph of Michurin biological science.

Through all of Sechenov’s scientific research, the idea of evolution, the progressive development of living nature, runs like a red thread. Investigating the problem of thinking, Sechenov repeatedly said that the solution to this problem will be successful only if the process of thinking is considered historically, in its origin and development. Through his works, Sechenov contributed a lot of value to the understanding of the essence of thinking, its connection with language, speech, and human activity.

In his research, Sechenov proceeded from a firm conviction in the objective existence of the external world, independent of man. “The basis of all reasoning was put by me,” Sechenov wrote, “the immutable conviction inherent in every person in the existence of the external world..” In the theory of knowledge, Sechenov also unswervingly adhered to the materialist line. Sechenov considered the objective material world existing outside of consciousness to be completely cognizable. Sechenov argued and experimentally proved that the objects of the external world and the impressions of them in the mind of a person are similar to each other.

The cognizability of the world and the reliability of our knowledge about it are confirmed, Sechenov wrote, “by the tremendous successes of natural science, thanks to which man conquers more and more of his power of the forces of nature,” as well as “brilliant applications in practice, that is, the successes of technology.” Sechenov sharply criticized idealism in the question of the knowability of the world and especially the idealistic doctrine of Kant, which asserted the dependence of the object of cognition on the cognizing subject, on a priori, supposedly innate to man, forms of reason that he introduces into the object under study. Experience, practice Sechenov considered the basis of the theory of knowledge, the criterion of the truth of any positive knowledge.

Sechenov’s materialism is not devoid of shortcomings. So, correctly rejecting the idealistic interpretation of the issue of free will, proving the dependence of a person’s will on objective, external causes, Sechenov did not reveal its conditionality by social, social relations in which a person lives and acts. The same deficiency is inherent in his understanding of the essence of thinking, of human consciousness.

Sechenov was the foremost scientist of his time. According to K. A. Timiryazev, he was one of the most colorful figures in the social movement of the 1860s. Being in direct communication and friendship with the leader of Russian revolutionary democracy N.G. Chernyshevsky, Sechenov adopted his worldview. In turn, Chernyshevsky highly appreciated Sechenov’s scientific achievements and relied on them in his philosophical generalizations. The works of I. M. Sechenov on physiology were one of the natural scientific foundations of Chernyshevsky’s philosophical materialism. As we know, the remarkable image of Sechenov was reflected by Chernyshevsky in his novel “What is to be done?” represented by Kirsanov.

Sechenov brilliantly exposed the idealism and mysticism of the enemy of the revolutionary democrats, Kavelin, whom Lenin called one of the most disgusting types of liberal rudeness. As a passionate patriot of his country and a fighter for advanced national science, Sechenov incurred “disgrace” and persecution from the Tsarist autocracy, which considered him “politically unreliable.”

Without separating the interests of science from the interests of his people, Sechenov, already at an advanced age, read lectures with great enthusiasm to Moscow workers at the Prechistenskiye workers’ courses. But the Tsarist authorities soon banned Sechenov from giving lectures to workers. Sechenov welcomed the revolution of 1905 “And now …” he said to K. A. Timiryazev, “we have to work, work, work.” This, – writes K. A. Timiryazev, – were the last words that I happened to hear from him – that was the testament of a mighty generation, descending from the scene, to the future.”

The main works of Sechenov: “Reflexes of the Brain,” “Impressions and Reality,” “Who and How to Develop Psychology?,” “Elements of Thought.”” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

V. A. WAGNER (1849-1934, zoologist, psychologist)

Vladimir Alexandrovich Wagner was a Soviet zoologist and zoopsychologist, psychologist, doctor of zoology, professor, founder of Russian comparative psychology.

Vladimir Wagner was born in 1849. He graduated from the Faculty of Law (1874) and Faculty of Physics and Mathematics (1882) of Moscow University. He worked at the Sevastopol Biological Station in Naples, Villafranca, and at other foreign stations. He achieved his doctorate in 1899, demonstrating in his doctor’s thesis that consciousness arises materialistically. Wagner was a professor Leningrad University until 1931.

Wagner argued that the instinctive and rational forms of animal behavior go back to reflexes, but cannot be reduced to them. He criticized both “monism from above” (anthropomorphism in comparative psychology) and “monism from below” (according to which the psyche of all living beings is determined by automatisms).

“mental reflection, which, as is known, arises at a certain stage in the development of living matter and plays, as studies of prominent Russian zoopsychologists – Wagner, Severtsov and others – showed an important role in the adaptation of the animal to the environment.” (M. G. Yaroshevsky, U.S. Bourgeois Psychologists in the Struggle for the Elimination of Consciousness)

M. SHATERNIKOV (1870-1939, Physiologist)

Mikhail Nikolaevich Shaternikov was a significant physiologist. He worked in Sechenov’s laboratory. Sechenov was awarded the title of Honored Scientist of the RSFSR in 1935.

“Sechenov’s associates included M. Shaternikov (1870-1939), who studied general metabolism, and A. Samoilov (1867-1930), the prominent investigator of electrical phenomena in living tissues who first advanced the hypothesis of a chemical mechanism governing the transmission of excitation from the nerve to the skeletal muscle and from one neuron to another in the central nervous system.” (Bykov, Text-book of physiology, 1958, pp. 21-22)

N. Y. WEDENSKY (1852-1922, physiologist)

Nikolai Yevgenyevich Wedensky (1852-1922) was one of Sechenov’s pupils at Petersburg University; after Sechenov and Pavlov, he must with all justification be ranked among the leading Russian physiologists. In his remarkable experimental researches, Wedensky, who had participated in the revolutionary movement in his youth, advanced the important concept — of the inner unity of the externally opposite phenomena of excitation and inhibition. A. Ukhtomsky (1876-1942) carried on Wedensky’s researches and profoundly developed his ideas.” (Bykov, Text-book of physiology, 1958, pp. 21-22)

“Among the physiologists who worked in Petersburg beginning with the sixties and seventies of the 19th century were I. Cyon who, together with K. Ludwig, proved the existence in the aortic arch of specialized sensitive formations—receptors stimulated by the rise of arterial blood pressure, F. Ovsyannikov (1827-1906) to whom science owes the study of the vasomotor centre and of a number of researches into the fine structure of the nervous system, and I. Tarkhanov (1846-1908), who is known for his discovery of the skin galvanic reflex.

A prominent place in the development of Russian physiology belongs to Kazan University, where N. Kovalevsky (1842-1891) and his successor, N. Mislavsky (1854-1929) used to work. Kovalevsky discovered that arterial blood pressure rises as a result of the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the organism. Mislavsky ascertained the exact location of the respiratory centre in the medulla oblongata and jointly with V. Bekhterev established that the stimulation of the cerebral cortex influences respiration and blood circulation.

Important physiological investigations relating to various branches of physiology were made by Professor V. Danilevsky of Kharkov (1852-1939), V. Chagovets of Kiev, and A. Kulyabko of Tomsk.” (Bykov, Text-book of physiology, 1958, p. 22)

N. Y. KUZNETSOV (1873-1948, physiologist)

Nikolai Yakovlevich Kuznetsov was a Soviet entomologist and physiologist, lepidopterologist and zoogeographer, professor at Leningrad State University, author of the isolationist theory of the depletion of the Lepidoptera fauna of the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus and Crimea, one from the authors of Fundamentals of Insect Physiology (1948-1953), described a number of taxa of butterflies new to science.

He studied under N. E. Wedensky. Since 1927 he worked as a professor at the Institute of Applied Zoology and Phytopathology, and since 1931 as a professor at Leningrad State University. In 1933 he was elected vice-president of the  All-Union Entomological Society. In 1934 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Biological Sciences for the totality of works. From 1934-1937 he was a professor at the Leningrad Agricultural Institute.

Kuznetsov received the following awards:
-Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1945)
-Medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”
-He was also a member of the London Entomological Society

A. A. UKHTOMSKY (1875-1942, physiologist)

Aleksey Alekseevich Ukhtomsky was a  Soviet physiologist , academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1935).

Born into a noble family, early in his career he studied theology and continued to hold eclectic religious views.
Since 1920 he was the  head of the laboratory of the Natural Science Institute. In 1922, after the death of his teacher, N. E. Wedensky, he took over the Department of Human and Animal Physiology of Petrograd University. Since 1935, he was the director of the Institute of Physiology of the Leningrad State University, founded by him, and since 1937, the head of the electrophysiological laboratory of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He was the head of the biological department of the Leningrad University, in 1931-1938 the president of the Leningrad Society of Naturalists. In addition to the university, he taught physiology at the Lesgaft Institute, at the psycho-neurological institute and at the workers’ faculty of Leningrad University. In 1932 he was awarded the Lenin Prize . In 1933 he was elected a corresponding member and in 1935  a full member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

N. I. KRASNOGORSKY (1882-1961, physiologist)

Nikolai Ivanovich Krasnogorsky was a Soviet pediatrician, a prominent specialist in the study of the physiology of higher nervous activity, academician of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (1945), Honored Scientist of the RSFSR, laureate of the Stalin Prize and the I. P. Pavlov Prize. One of the founders of the Soviet school of pediatricians, an active supporter of the theory of nervism and the physiological trend in pediatrics.

He received the following awards:
-I. P. Pavlov Prize (1942)
-Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1944)
-Stalin Prize of the first degree (1952) for research on GNI in children, completed with the articles “Phase changes in the activity of the cerebral hemispheres in children” and “Some results of the application and development of I. P. Pavlov’s teaching on higher nervous activity in a pediatric clinic” (1951)
-The order of Lenin
-Medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”
-Medal “In memory of the 250th anniversary of Leningrad”

I. P. PAVLOV (1849-1936, physiologist, psychologist)

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was one of the founders of modern psychology, focusing particularly on classical conditioning. His study of physiology was also further developed for disease prevention and other medical purposes by Soviet scientists, for example Alexander Speransky (pathologist), Nikolay Nikolayevich Anichkov (pathologist) and Anatoliy Ivanov-Smolensky (Psychiatrist, pathophysiologist).

“Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1936) – a great Russian physiologist and thinker, an ardent patriot of the Motherland. Pavlov’s scientific activity for more than sixty years was marked by a number of remarkable discoveries in the field of physiology of blood circulation, digestion, trophic functions of the nervous system, the opening of a new chapter in the science of brain physiology. Successor of the progressive traditions of Russian materialist philosophy and natural science of the 19th century, especially the teachings of Sechenov, whom he called the father of Russian physiology, Pavlov made a real revolution in natural science, creating the doctrine of the higher nervous activity of animals and humans. With his teaching, Pavlov dealt a crushing blow to idealist psychology and laid the foundation for the construction of a genuinely different, materialistic psychology. Investigating the essence of “mental salivation,” he established an extremely important fact. Along with the release of saliva in response to irritation of the oral cavity with food, it is possible to achieve the release of saliva in an animal to any stimulus of the outside world – light, sound, skin irritation, if this stimulus is reinforced by subsequent feeding of the animal. Accordingly, Pavlov called reflexes of the first kind unconditioned, reflexes of the second kind – conditioned.

Experiments have shown that conditioned reflexes, both positive and negative, are formed on the basis of unconditioned reflexes, ensuring the best adaptability of the animal to constantly changing environmental conditions. The objective method of developing conditioned reflexes, as well as their destruction, allowed Pavlov and his students to find out the basic laws of higher nervous activity in animals. Pavlov showed that the formation and destruction of temporary connections, that is, conditioned reflexes, in the cortex of the cerebral hemispheres of animals, as well as the analytical and synthetic activity of the nervous system, enable the animal to navigate a complex reality.

External, as well as internal irritations coming from internal organs, muscles, bones, ligamentous apparatus, signal the animal about favorable or unfavorable conditions for him in a biological sense, thereby causing objectively expedient actions on his part. The cerebral cortex is that wonderful device where all these signals are projected and responses are generated. According to Pavlov’s teachings, in addition to the first signaling system (reaction to the direct impact of the external world) in humans, a second signaling system, speech, has developed, which has made significant changes in the higher nervous activity of a person. Pavlov’s doctrine of the second signaling system is important for all theory of knowledge. It reveals the physiological basis of specific human thinking.

Due to the action of various stimuli that are objectively positive or negative for the animal, excitation or inhibition of certain areas occurs in the cerebral cortex. Each of these processes spreads throughout the entire cortex, and then concentrates in its original areas. The interaction of the processes of excitation and inhibition determines the normal functioning of the brain. Pavlov explained the essence of sleep in higher animals, proving that sleep is nothing more than complete inhibition of the cerebral cortex. At the same time, Pavlov explained the mechanism of hypnosis and revealed the essence of dreams.

The last years of his life Pavlov devoted to the elucidation of diseases of the nervous system, creating the doctrine of experimental neuroses in animals. Pavlov made a great and valuable contribution to the clinic of nervous and mental diseases of a person. Of great scientific importance are the scientific classification of the types of the nervous system of animals created by Pavlov, as well as the work begun by him to study the evolution of the nervous system of animals and the inheritance of conditioned reflexes.

Pavlov’s scientific heritage, developed in numerous laboratories by his students and followers, fertilizes a number of important areas of practice. The significance of Pavlov’s teachings for many other sciences, and especially for medicine, is unusually great. Pavlov’s doctrine of higher nervous activity is one of the natural scientific foundations of all modern psychology.

It gave a strictly scientific basis for the materialist theory of reflection. With his doctrine of higher nervous activity, Pavlov proved that without the influence of the external world on the sensory organs of animals, on their brains, no mental activity is possible, that the psyche of animals is a reflection of the external objective world. Pavlov’s doctrine is imbued with the idea of development, change, it destroys metaphysical ideas about the laws of mental activity. Pavlov considers the reflex activity of animals dialectically, as a continuous replacement of some reflexes by others, as a struggle of opposite processes – excitation and inhibition, manipulation and concentration, etc. nature.

Pavlov’s works reached extraordinary proportions and flourished during the 1920s due to Lenin’s active patronage of the scientist (even though Pavlov was personally not a communist). Pavlov highly appreciated the concern of the Soviet government for the development of science in Russia. In his speeches, in a letter – the will of the youth – he called for giving all his strength and knowledge for the good of the Motherland. He was a true patriot and was proud of the great successes of his Motherland. A scientific session of the USSR Academy of Sciences and the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (1950), devoted to the problems of the physiological doctrine of Academician I.P. Pavlov, noted further successes in the development of Pavlov’s doctrine.

However, what has been done in this direction, the session pointed out, is far from “the tasks set for the students and followers of the great scientist, and the conditions created for this purpose by the Soviet state and the party.” On the part of a number of opponents of Pavlov’s teachings, the development of his ideas and their introduction into medicine, biology and other fields of science met with fierce resistance (Stern and his “schoolboy,” academician Beritashvili, etc.). Academician L.A. Orbeli and the troupe of his students knocked researchers off the correct Pavlovian positions and proceeded in a number of questions from the idealist theory of psycho-physical parallelism, etc. The session criticized these and other attempts to distort the ideas of the great scientist. It outlined the ways for the further development of Pavlov’s teaching.

Pavlov’s works were published in the Collected Works, vol. I-VI, ed. Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1951-1952). Also published were “Pavlov’s Wednesdays,” vol. I-III, 1949, containing the minutes and transcripts of Ivan Pavlov’s conversations with his students.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

Academician Ivan Pavlov (1949) A nice Soviet film about Pavlov’s life and work.

Selected works of Pavlov
Pavlov, Lectures on conditioned reflexes
Pavlov, Psychopathology and Psychiatry
Pavlov And His School on The Theory Of Conditioned Reflexes

There is an article on Pavlov in In The World Of Soviet Science by Oleg Pisarzhevsky

“On the dialectical-materialistic nature of the teachings of I. P. Pavlov” (1949) by E. A. Asratyan (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

S. V. KRAVKOV (1893-1951, Founder of Physiological and Psychological Optics)

Sergei Vasilievich Kravkov was a Soviet psychologist and psychophysiologist, Doctor of Biological Sciences (1935), Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences and the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (1946), Honored Scientist RSFSR (1947).

A. A. SMIRNOV (1894-1980, psychologist)

Anatoly Alexandrovich Smirnov was a Soviet psychologist, statesman and politician, doctor of pedagogical sciences (1951), professor (1949), full member of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the RSFSR (1947), academician of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the USSR (1968). Member of the CPSU.

Smirnov was born in 1894 in the city of Ruza. He graduated from the Faculty of History and Philology of Moscow University and fought in the world war. Since 1919 he carried out economic, social and political work. During his career e worked in a variety of scientific positions, as professor of the Department of Psychology of the Faculty of Philosophy of Lomonosov Moscow State University, as director (1945-1973) of the Research Institute of General and Pedagogical Psychology of the APS of the USSR), as the chief editor of the journal “Questions of Psychology” (1955-1958, 1966-1980) etc.

A. A. Smirnov earned the following awards:

-The Order of Lenin
-The Order of the October Revolution
-2 Orders of the Red Banner of Labor
-Order of the Badge of Honor
-Honored Scientist of the RSFSR

K. M. BYKOV (1886-1959, pavlovian physiologist)

Bykov was a leading pavlovian physiology in the USSR together with Anatoliy Ivanov-Smolensky.
Text-book of physiology
The cerebral cortex and the internal organs
Studien über periodische Veränderungen physiologischer Funktionen des Organismus [Studies of periodic changes in the physiological functions of the organism] (in German)

I. P. RAZENKOV (1888-1954, physiologist)

Ivan Petrovich Razenkov was a Soviet physiologist, doctor of medical sciences, academician of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (1944). Chairman of the All-Union Society of Physiologists (1929-1954), editor and member of the editorial board of the journals Archive of Biological Sciences, Journal of Experimental Medicine. Laureate of the Stalin Prize.

Razenkov received the following awards:

-Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1940)
-First degree Stalin Prize (1947) for work in the field of digestion and nutrition, summarized in the monographs “The quality of nutrition and body functions” (1945) and “Digestion at heights” (1946)
-I. P. Pavlov Gold medal (1952)
-2 Orders of Lenin

G. N. SOROKHTIN 1894-1972, Neurophysiologist)

Georgy Nikolaevich Sorokhtin was a Soviet neurophysiologist, teacher, doctor of medical sciences (1940), professor (1944), head of the department of physiology of Petrozavodsk State University (1961-1971). One of the organizers of the physiological school in Karelia. Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1961).

A. G. IVANOV-SMOLENSKY (1895-1982, physiologist)

Anatoly Georgievich Ivanov-Smolensky was a Soviet psychiatrist, pathophysiologist, doctor of medical sciences, full member of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR, laureate of the Stalin Prize of the second degree (1950). A leading Pavlovian physiologist together with K. M. Bykov.

B. M. TEPLOV (1896-1965, psychologist)
Psychology [textbook] (1953)

E. A. ASRATYAN (1903-1981, neurophysiologist)

Ezras Asratovich Asratyan was a Soviet neurophysiologist, student of I. P. Pavlov, corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1939), academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR (1947). Member of the CPSU since 1929. I. P. Pavlov Prize winner (1951), Laureate of the Order of Lenin (1954 and 1973).

After the “Pavlovian session” (1950), he became director (1950-1952) of the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology of the USSR Academy of Sciences, until he was replaced by A. G. Ivanov-Smolensky in 1953. He strongly criticized reactionaries such as Anokhin and Beritashvili.

However, he exposed himself as an opportunist by signing the infamous “letter of the 300” in 1955.

E. S. AIRAPETYANTS (1906-1975, physiologist)

Ervan Shamirovich Airapetyants was a Soviet physiologist, specialist in the field of higher nervous activity, Doctor of Biological Sciences, professor, Honored Scientist of the RSFSR, head of the Department of Physiology of Higher Nervous Activity, Leningrad State University. He was a student of K. M. Bykov and A. A. Ukhtomsky. The developer of the problems of the relationship of the cerebral cortex with internal organs. Laureate of the Pavlov Prize.

In 1928, Airapetyants graduated from the biological department of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics. He served in the Turkestan Rifle Division as a military investigator. During the Great Patriotic War he was in the ranks of the Red Army, working in an evacuation hospital. In 1943 he was appointed head of the laboratory of the Sanitary Medical Institute and in the same year (from May to demobilization in August 1944) he became a teacher at the Military Medical Academy in Kirov.

In 1949 he received the Pavlov Prize for the study of higher nervous activity and physiology.

In 1950-1954, he served as deputy director for the scientific part of the I. P. Pavlov Institute of Physiology, both at that time and after, in charge of the laboratory of physiology.

From 1956 until the end of his life he headed the Department of Physiology of the Functions of the Nervous System.

A number of studies conducted by Airapetyants and co-workers were devoted to the problem of the plasticity of the nervous system and, as one of its specific expressions, to the problem of compensation.

E. S. Arapetyans wrote more than 200 scientific papers, including monographs and brochures, textbooks and articles, reviews and numerous scientific reports.

E. S. Airapetyans received the following awards:

-Order of the Patriotic War II degree
-Order of the Red Banner of Labor
-Medal “For Labor Valor”
-Pavlov Prize of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR
-Medal “For the Defense of Leningrad”
-Medal “For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”


N. K. KRUPSKAYA (1869-1939, pedagogue)

Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya was an important Bolshevik revolutionary, leading Soviet pedagogue and Lenin’s wife.

“Krupskaia, Nadezhda Konstantinovna. (N. K. Ul’ianova). Born Feb. 14 (26 ), 1869, in St. Petersburg; died Feb. 27, 1939, in Moscow. Participant in the revolutionary movement, Soviet governmental and party figure, one of the founders of the Soviet system of public education, doctor of pedagogical sciences (1936), and honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1931). Member of the Communist Party from 1898.

The daughter of an officer with democratic sympathies, Krupskaia joined Marxist student groups in 1890, while attending the Advanced Courses for Women in St. Petersburg. From 1891 to 1896 she taught at an evening and weekend school outside the Neva Gate (Nevskaia Zastava) and spread revolutionary propaganda among the workers. In 1894 she met V. I. Lenin. In 1895 she helped organize and worked in the St. Petersburg Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. Arrested in August 1896, she was sentenced in 1898 to three years of exile in Ufa Province, which was changed at her request to exile in the village of Shushenskoe, Eniseisk Province, where Lenin was in exile; there, Krupskaia became his wife.

While completing her term of exile in Ufa in 1900, she conducted classes in a workers’ group and trained future correspondents for the newspaper Iskra. In 1901, after her release, she joined Lenin in Munich, where she became secretary of the editorial board of the newspaper Iskra and later of the newspaper Vpered (from December 1904). She was also secretary of the Foreign Bureau of the Central Committee of the RSDLP from May 1905.

Krupskaia returned to Russia with Lenin in November 1905, serving as secretary of the party Central Committee, first in St. Petersburg and, from late 1906, in Kokkola, Finland.

At the end of 1907, Lenin and Krupskaia again emigrated. In Geneva, she worked as editorial secretary of the newspaper Proletarii and subsequently of the newspaper Sotsial-Demokrat. In 1911 she was an instructor at the party school in Longjumeau. In Kraków in 1912 she helped Lenin maintain his ties with Pravda and with the Bolshevik group in the Fourth State Duma.

In late 1913 and early 1914, Krupskaia helped organize the legal Bolshevik journal Rabotnitsa. She was a delegate to the Second, Third, and Fourth Congresses of the RSDLP and participated in party conferences, including the Sixth, or Prague, Conference, and important party meetings held prior to 1917, among them the Convocation of Twenty-two Bolsheviks. On April 3 (16), 1917, she returned to Russia with Lenin. She was a delegate to the Seventh April Conference and the Sixth Congress of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) and helped found socialist youth associations. She played an active part in the October Revolution of 1917. Through Krupskaia, Lenin sent letters of instructions to the Central Committee, the party’s St. Petersburg committee, and the Military Revolutionary Committee. She was a member of the Vyborg district committee of the RSDLP (B) and worked in the committee during the October armed uprising. According to M. N. Pokrovskii, before the October Revolution, Krupskaia, as Lenin’s closest associate, “did just what good deputies do nowadays—she freed Lenin from all routine work, conserving his time for such important works as What Is To Be Done?” (Vospominaniia o N. K. Krupskoi, 1966, p. 16).

[NOTE: Pokrovskii was a revisionist, mechanical materialist and a renegade. This article is from the 1979 edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, written during the Khrushchevite revisionist period, which is why it cites a renegade like Pokrovskii]

After the establishment of Soviet power, Krupskaia became a member of the collegium of Narkompros (People’s Commissariat of Education) of the RSFSR. Together with A. V. Lunacharskii and M. N. Pokrovskii, she prepared the first directives on public education and was one of the organizers of political education. In 1918, Krupskaia was elected a member of the Socialist Academy of Social Sciences. In 1919 she traveled down the Volga on the steamboat Krasnaia Zvezda (Red Star) as a participant in the propaganda campaign through Volga regions recently liberated from the White Guards. She became the chairman of the Central Committee for Political Education under Narkompros in November 1920, and in 1921 she became chairman of the scientific methodology section of the State Academic Council of Narkompros. Krupskaia taught at the Academy of Communist Upbringing. She organized a number of volunteer societies, including Down With Illiteracy and The Children’s Friend and was chairman of the Society of Marxist Educators. In 1929 she became deputy people’s commissar of education of the RSFSR.

Krupskaia made a major contribution toward solving important problems of Marxist pedagogy relating to the aims and tasks of communist education, the relationship between the school and socialist construction, vocational and poly technical education, the content of education, developmental pedagogy, the principles of the organizational forms of the children’s communist movement, and the inculcation of group spirit. Krupskaia ascribed great importance to combating child neglect, to the work of children’s homes, and to preschool education. She edited many journals, including Narodnoe Prosveshchenie (Public Education), Narodnyi UchiteV (People’s Teacher), Na Putiakh k Novoi Shkole (On the Road to the New School), O Nashikh Detiakh (About Our Children), Pomoshch ’ Samoobrazovaniiu (Aid to Self-education), Krasnyi Bibliotekar* (The Red Librarian), Shkola Vzroslykh (School for Adults), and IzbaChitarnia (The Cottage Reading Room).

Krupskaia was a delegate to the Seventh through Seventeenth Party Congresses. In 1924 she became a member of the Central Control Commission and in 1927 a member of the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik). She was a permanent member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Central Executive Committee of the USSR and a deputy and a member of the Presidium of the first convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. She attended all but the third congress of the All-Union Lenin Communist Youth League. An active member of the international communist movement, she was a delegate to the Second, Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Congresses of the Comintern. She was a prominent publicist and orator, addressing many party, Komsomol, and trade union congresses and conferences and meetings of workers, peasants, and teachers. Krupskaia wrote many works about Lenin and the party and on questions of public education and communist upbringing. Her memoirs of Lenin are an invaluable historical source for Lenin’s life and work and important events in the history of the Communist Party.

Krupskaia was awarded the Order of Lenin and the order of the Red Banner of Labor. She is buried in Red Square near the Kremlin wall.

Vospominaniia o Lenine. Moscow, 1957.
O Lenine: Sbornik stat’ei, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1965.
Lenin i partiia. Moscow, 1963.
Pedagogicheskie soch. , vols. 1–11. Moscow, 1957–63.

Krzhizhanovskii, G. M. Drug i pomoshchnik Lenina: Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1957.
Zelikson-Bobrovskaia, Ts. S. “N. K. Krupskaia.” In the collection Slavnye bol’shevichkl Moscow, 1958.
Riadom s Leninym: Vospominaniia o N. K. Krupskoi: K 100-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia. Moscow, 1969.
N. K. Krupskaia: Bibliografiia trudov i titeratury o zhizni i deiatel’nosti. Moscow, 1969.
Pedagogicheskie vzgliady i deiatel’nost’ N. K. Krupskoi. [Moscow, 1969.]” (The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1979)

See also the KRUPSKAYA section in the theory page

G. S. SKOROVODA (1722-1794, philosopher, educator)

“Skovoroda Grigory Savvich (1722-1794) – an outstanding Ukrainian philosopher, humanist, democrat and educator, who expressed the protest of the peasant masses against serfdom. After graduating from the Kiev Theological Academy, he was a poetics teacher at the Pereyaslavl Theological Seminary, then at the Kharkov Collegium. For progressive views, he was persecuted. The hostile attitude of the clergy and the ruling classes forced him to give up teaching.

In order to spread his views among the people, he chose the lifestyle of an itinerant philosopher. One of the first in the history of Russian and Ukrainian social thought, Skovoroda, raised the struggle against official religion and dead church scholasticism. He turned to man and his mind, to nature. His philosophical views are contradictory. The main question of philosophy he solved idealistically, recognizing the primary spiritual principle. At the same time, there was a strong materialistic tendency in his worldview. Following Mikhail Lomonosov, he came to the conclusion that matter is eternal in time and infinite in space.

He believed that law prevails in nature. His fluctuations between materialism and idealism took the form of a dualistic theory of three worlds and two natures. He argued that the whole world consists of a macrocosm (nature), a microcosm (man) and a world of symbols (the Bible). Each of them has two natures: an external material and an internal spiritual. Nature consists of many worlds, it is not created by anyone, cannot be destroyed, has no beginning or end, for the end of one is the beginning of another. This is the materialistic tendency of Skovoroda’s philosophy. Skovoroda believed that the world is cognizable, but in order to cognize the macrocosm, one must first know oneself, since the laws of the macro- and microcosm are the same. The other side of his epistemology is ethics: truth is complete in unity with virtue outside of it it is empty and turns into idle curiosity; knowledge and science should serve the people.

Skovoroda considered the Bible as a means of cognition of the spiritual principle, as a third, symbolic world. He singled out in it the external material side and internal divine content: the Bible for him is both God and the serpent. Here Skovoroda’s contradictory attitude towards religion and the Bible is reflected. He vigorously criticized the official religion (its orthodoxy, dogmatism and scholasticism, as ridiculous lies and the fables of the shameless, harmful and lying Bible), thereby rising to the level of militant anti-clericalism. At the same time, he clothed his preaching of enlightenment and ethics in a religious form. He wanted to create a religion of love, virtue and truth. God for him is nature, man, truth, virtue, etc. Skovoroda criticized the church, hated the white and black clergy.

Skovoroda fought for the interests of the oppressed common people, he angrily criticized the rich for money-grubbing, for their parasitism. In money-grubbing, he saw the source of all social disasters: litigation, robbery, flattery, buying and selling, extortion, wars, the fall of states and republics. The people are in chains, politically oppressed, deprived of rights, in ignorance, Skovoroda said. He called to wake the people up. Skovoroda saw salvation in self-knowledge: having cognized the evil inclination, people must free themselves from it and build a new society based on reason, truth and virtue. He dreamed of seeing the mountainous Rus as a mountainous Republic. Skovoroda passionately loved his homeland and people. With all intransigence, he spoke out against anti-patriots and cosmopolitans. He ardently defended the unity of Ukraine with Russia, the friendship of these two fraternal peoples.

Skovoroda was realistic and strong in criticizing the rich, landowners, officials, official religion and clergy, but he was weak and utopian in addressing issues of social development. His worldview evolved towards materialism and towards a more acute formulation of social problems. But he did not come to a materialistic solution to the fundamental question of philosophy; in public views, although he went beyond the enlightenment of the 18th century, he did not reach revolutionary positions. His views reflected the weakness and narrowness of the peasant anti-serf movement. Philosophical and literary works of Skovoroda: The initial door to Christian good behavior (1766), Dialogue about the ancient world (1772), Friendly conversation about the spiritual world, Alphabet of the world (1775), The struggle of the Archangel Michael with Satan (1783) and others.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)


A. A. POTEBNIA (1835-1891, Linguist)

Aleksandr Potebnia was an important progressive materialist linguist in pre-Revolutionary Russia.

“Potebnia, Aleksandr Afanas’evich. Born Sept. 10 (22), 1835, in the village of Gavrilovka, Romny District, Poltava Province; died Nov. 29 (Dec. 11), 1891, in Kharkov. Ukrainian and Russian Slavic philologist and Slavicist. Corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1877). Brother of the revolutionary A. A. Potebnia.

Potebnia graduated from the University of Kharkov in 1856. He defended his master’s dissertation, On Certain Symbols in Slavic Folk Poetry, in 1860. In 1875 he became a professor at the University of Kharkov.

Potebnia, who shared the views of the mythological school, did work in the theory of literature, folklore, and ethnology. He also studied general linguistics, phonetics, morphology, syntax, and semantics. He made major contributions in Slavic dialectology and comparative-historical grammar. On the theoretical level, he chiefly studied the origin of language and the interrelationships between language and thought and between language and nations. His philosophical views were influenced by the ideas of A. I. Herzen, N. G. Chernyshevskii, V. G. Belinskii, N. A. Dobroliubov, and I. M. Sechenov. He was also influenced by W. von Humboldt and H. Steinthal.

According to Potebnia, the thought-speech act is a creative individual mental act. In the process of speech, however, the social element that is language—or more correctly, its sound aspect—acting as “objectified thought” is also involved. This gives rise to a certain duality in Potebnia’s linguistic position: on the one hand, he holds that the word exists as the individual usage of the word, thus denying polysemy and the reality of the word as a unit of a word form; on the other hand, he shows great interest in the process of the historical development of concrete language, thus departing from Steinthal and others. In tracing the development of concrete language, Potebnia drew various conclusions about historical changes in the nature of the linguistic thinking of a given people and humanity in general.

Of particular interest are Potebnia’s “linguistic poetics” and his views on poetic language, the nature of poetry, and the nature of art in general. His main thesis defines art as cognition and the work of thought, analogous to scientific cognition; his theory thus proves to be rationalistic. In the poetic word and in the poetic work as a whole, Potebnia distinguishes three components: outer form (sound), meaning (semantics), and inner form (image). For example, in the word podsnezhnik (“snowdrop”) there is both the direct meaning and the notion of a flower growing under the snow (pod snegom). The poetic aspect of a word and a work of literature lies in its capacity for imagery. The inner form represents the means of comprehending something new not by way of scientific abstraction but by the correlation of new impressions with a preexisting image.

Potebnia’s ideas were further developed by D. N. Ovsianiko-Kulikovskii, D. I. Kudriavskii, A. V. Dobiash, V. Jagić, A. M. Peshkovskii, and A. A. Shakhmatov. His works have influenced the development of modern philology, especially linguistics. His major contributions are in the field of syntax.

Potebnia’s Thought and Language (1862) analyzed the link between language and thinking. His doctoral dissertation, From Notes on Russian Grammar (vols. 1–2, 1874; vol. 3, 1899; vol. 4, 1941), mainly treats syntactic problems, such as the analysis of the concepts of word, grammatical form, and grammatical category. Another of his major works is From Notes on the Theory of Literature (1905).

Potebnia actively participated in the creation of Ukrainian culture, the development of which he saw closely related to the history of Russian culture. He wrote a number of works on the Ukrainian language and Ukrainian folklore. The A. A. Potebnia Linguistics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in Kiev is named in his honor.

Vol’ter, E. A. A. A. Potebnia, 1835–1891: Bibliograficheskie materialy dlia biografii A. A. Potebni. St. Petersburg, 1892.
Ovsianiko-Kulikovskii, D. N. A. A. Potebnia kak iazykoved-myslitel’. Kiev, 1893.
Khartsiev, V. “Osnovy poetiki A. A. Potebni: Po lektsiiam A. A. Potebni.” In the collection Voprosy teorii i psikhologii tvorchestva, vol. 2, fasc. 2. St. Petersburg, 1910.
Belyi, A. “Mysl’ i iazyk: Filosofiia iazyka A. A. Potebni.” Logos, 1910, book 2.
Vinogradov, V. V. “Russkaia nauka o russkom literaturnom iazyke.” Uch. zap. MGU, 1946, issue 106.
Vinogradov, A. A. Iz istorii izucheniia russkogo sintaksisa: Ot Lomonosova do Potebni i Fortunatova. Moscow, 1958.
Bulakhovskii, L. A. “Potebnia-lingvist.” Uch. zap. MGU, 1946, issue 107.
Bulakhovskii, L. A. Al. Af. Potebnia: K 60-letiiu so dnia smerti. Kiev, 1952.
O. O. Potebnia: Iubileinyi zbirnyk do 125-richchia z dnia narozhdennia. Kiev, 1962. (Full bibliography.)
O. O. Potebnia i deiaki pytannia suchasnoi slavistyky. Kharkov, 1962.” (The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1979, article written by A. A. LEONT’EV and R. M. TSEITLIN)

D. N. KUDRYAVSKY (1867-1920, Linguist)

Dmitry Nikolaevich Kudryavsky was a Russian linguist and and Indologist. He belonged to Lenin’s St. Petersburg Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. According to A. Chikobava, Stalin studied Kudryasky’s works.

G. A. GAPANTSYAN (1887-1957, Linguist)

Grigory Ayvazovich Gapantsyan was a Soviet historian, linguist, academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR. He graduated from St. Petersburg University in 1913. In 1930 he became a professor, earned a doctorate in philology in 1942 and became an academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR in 1943. He was given the Honored Scientist of the Armenian SSR award.

Gapantsyan was an active critic of the idealist theories of N. Ya. Marr. (See Stalin’s criticism of Marrism in “Marxism and Problems of Linguistics”)

L. A. BULAKHOVSKY (1888-1961, Linguist)

Leonid Arsenievich Bulakhovsky was a Soviet Ukrainian linguist, professor at Perm (1917-1921 ), Kharkov and Kiev universities (1944-1947), Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (1939), Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1946), Director of the A. A. Potebni Institute of Linguistics of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (1944-1961). Expert on Russian and Ukrainian languages and Slavic accentology.

Bulakhovsky was an active critic of the idealist theories of N. Ya. Marr. (See Stalin’s criticism of Marrism in “Marxism and Problems of Linguistics”)

He was awarded two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (1944 and 1948) and the Order of Lenin.

V. M. ZHIRMUNSKY (1891-1971, Linguist and literary historian)

Viktor Maksimovich Zhirmunsky was a Russian Soviet literary historian and linguist. He was an expert on German and Yiddish but also studied other languages, such as Kazakh and Kyrgyz.

In April 1948 Zhirmunsky self-criticized for “comparativism” and “Veselovskyism”.

He earned the following awards:
-Order of Lenin (1954)
-Two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (1945 and 1961)
-Honored Worker of Science and Technology of the Uzbek SSR

V. V. VINOGRADOV (1895-1969, Linguist)

Viktor Vladimirovich Vinogradov was a leading Soviet linguist and philologist.

He made his mark as a scholar of Russian literature with a series of works examining the style and language of Russian classical writers, including Alexander Pushkin (1935, 1941), Nikolai Gogol (1936), Mikhail Lermontov (1941), and Anna Akhmatova (a family friend, 1925)*.

[*See Zhdanov’s criticism of Akhmatova (text version) (audio version)]

He was implicated in the pan-slavic nationalist case known as the “Slavists case” and was exiled to the town of Vyatka in Kirov oblast in 1934 for two years.

As a leading linguist and an anti-Marrist (See Stalin’s criticism of Marrism in “Marxism and Problems of Linguistics”), Vinogradov was appointed Director of the Linguistics Institute (1950). He was elected into the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union and was awarded the Stalin Prize (1951).

ARNOLD CHIKOBAVA (1898-1985, Linguist)

Arnold Chikobava was a Soviet Georgian linguist and philologist best known for his contributions to Caucasian studies. He graduated from Tbilisi State University in 1922, later serving as a docent (1926-33) and professor (1933-85). He headed the Department of Caucasian Studies at Tbilisi State University (1933-60), and the Department of Ibero-Caucasian languages at the Institute of Linguistics in Tbilisi (1936-85). The institute, briefly directed by Chikobava from 1950 and 1952, now bears his name. In 1941, he became one of the founding members of the Georgian Academy of Sciences and was elected to its Presidium in 1950.

Chikobava was one of the most active critics of the idealist theories of N. Ya. Marr. (See Stalin’s criticism of Marrism in “Marxism and Problems of Linguistics”)

He received the following awards:

Order of the Red Banner (1944)
Order of the Badge of Honor (1945)
Order of Lenin (1951, 1966, 1978)


A. V. SHESTAKOV (1877-1941, historian)

Andrey Vasilievich Shestakov was a Soviet historian, a specialist in the agrarian history of Russia. Professor (1935), Doctor of Historical Sciences (1937), Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union (1939).

Short History of the USSR by A. V. Shestakov (ed.)

V. P. VOLGIN (1879-1962, historian)

Vyacheslav Petrovich Volgin was a Soviet historian, public figure. Specialist in the history of socialist and communist ideas of the pre-Marxian period. Full member (1930), and vice-president of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1942-1953). Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947-1951).

Recipient of the Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1949), Three times Order of Lenin Laureate (1945; 1954; 1959), Laureate of the Lenin Prize (1961).

“Dialectical materialism and Historical Science” by V. P. Volgin

A. M. PANKRATOVA (1897-1957, historian)

Anna Mikhailovna Pankratova was a Soviet historian, party and public figure. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1953, corresponding member since 1939), Academy of Sciences of the BSSR (1940), Academician of the Academy of Education of the RSFSR (1944). Corresponding member of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin and the Academy of the Romanian People’s Republic, honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Member of the RCP(b) since 1919, member of the Central Committee of the CPSU (1952-1957).

Anna Pankratova earned the following awards:

-Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1943)
-Honored Scientist of the Kazakh SSR (1943)
-Stalin Prize of the first degree (1946) – for the scientific work “History of Diplomacy” vols. II—III (1945; with co-authors)
-The order of Lenin
-two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor
-Medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”
-Medal “In memory of the 800th anniversary of Moscow”

A History of the USSR by A. M. Pankratova (ed.) (part 1), (part 2), (part 3)

N. N. VORONIN (1904-1976, archeologist)

Nikolai Nikolaevich Voronin was a Soviet architect and archaeologist, Doctor of Historical Sciences (1945), specialist in ancient Russian architecture. Laureate of the Stalin (1952) and Lenin (1965) prizes.

N. N. Voronin received the following awards:

-2 Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (1945; 1954)
-Stalin Prize of the second degree (1952) – for the 2-volume scientific work “History of the Culture of Ancient Russia” (1951)
-Lenin Prize (1965) – for scientific work in 2 volumes “Architecture of North-Eastern Russia of the XII-XV centuries”
-Honorary citizen of the city of Vladimir (1974)


D. S. SAMOILOVICH (1744-1805, physician, epidemiologist)

Danilo Samoilovich Samoilovich was a Russian military physician and the founder of Russian epidemiology. He made ground-breaking discoveries during his work to contain epidemics of the bubonic plague. He was held in very high regard in the USSR, considered a great scientist and a hero of his people.

During the 1771 Moscow plague outbreak he was helped by famous pediatrician Pyotr Ivanovich Pogoretsky and Kasyan Osipovich Yagelsky in fighting the plague.

“From 1761 to 1770, Samoilovich was a student and physician’s assistant at the St. Petersburg Admiralty Hospital. In 1771 he was a staff physician at the military hospital in Moscow. He received his doctor of medicine degree in 1784. From that year Samoilovich participated in the struggle against plague, and in 1793 he became physician in charge of quarantines in southern Russia. From 1800 he was an inspector for the Black Sea Medical Board. He generalized the experience gained in the struggle to control plague, which he regarded as a special nosologic form. Samoilovich was the first Russian scientist to give a clinical description of plague, and he came to the conclusion that after recovering from the disease, the patient was no longer susceptible to it. He demonstrated the contagiousness of the disease and substantiated the necessity for anti-plague inoculations. Samoilovich developed a congruous system of antiepidemic measures, including reporting each incidence of the disease, isolating the patient, carrying out disinfection, involving the populace in the control of epidemics, and setting up quarantines. Samoilovich was a member of 12 foreign academies of science.” (The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979))

Samoilovich was a pioneer ahead of his time. The tsarist regime did not value his work sufficiently and his work had to be rediscovered by other pioneers: “the work on anti-plague inoculations that Danilo Samoilovich had begun, had been discontinued when he died, and was forgotten.” (A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, p. 24)

“Life Triumphs” by A. Sharov contains a vivid description of the work of Samoilovich.

P. I. POGORETSKY (1734-1780, pediatrician)

Pyotr Ivanovich Pogoretsky, comrade of D. S. Samoilovich, was one of the founders of pediatrics in Russia. He graduated from the University of Leiden (Kingdom of Holland), became Doctor of Medicine in (1765). He wrote the first Russian manual on childhood diseases, published in Latin in 1768.

N. I. PIROGOV (1810-1881, surgeon)

Nikolay Ivanovich Pirogov was a Russian scientist, medical doctor, pedagogue, public figure, and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1847), one of the most widely recognized Russian physicians. He was held in high regard in the USSR. He is considered to be the founder of field surgery, he was the first surgeon to use anaesthesia in a field operation (1847) and one of the first surgeons in Europe to use ether as an anaesthetic. He is credited with invention of various kinds of surgical operations and developing his own technique of using plaster casts to treat fractured bones.

Works by Pirogov

“Pirogov” (1947) a Soviet film about the life of the great surgeon.

G. N. MINKH (1836-1896, pathologist)

Grigory Nikolaevich Minkh carried out important research related to the bubonic plague and other contagious diseases. He did not receive support from the tsarist government and his work was not adequately respected. However he served his people, made an important contribution to science, and was correctly appreciated in the USSR.

“When Grigory Minkh had collected a host of irrefutable facts throwing light on the laws of the spread of epidemics, he prepared for the press a serious work on plague, a handbook scientifically correct and passionately human for all those who would continue his work Unfortunately he was unable to publish his book; he had insufficient money to cover the cost of printing. But after his death, his family stinted themselves for many long years, denying themselves every comfort in order to buy paper and pay for the work of the compositors. Finally they achieved their goal and the brilliant scientist’s book made its appearance and rendered a great service.” (A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, p. 30)

“Life Triumphs” by A. Sharov contains a vivid description of the life and work of Minkh.

V. K. VYSOKOVICH (1854-1912, pathologist, bacteriologist, epidemiologist)

Vladimir Konstantinovich Vysokovich was an important epidemiologist, co-worker of I. I. Mechnikov and N. F. Gamaleya.

Life Triumphs by A. Sharov contains a vivid description of the work of Vysokovich.

V. I. RAZUMOVSKY (1857-1935, surgeon, doctor of medicine)

Vasily Ivanovich Razumovsky was a surgeon and scientist, author of about 150 scientific papers. He was awarded the Title of Hero of Labor (1923 ) and Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1934).

VLADIMIR KHAVKIN (1860-1930, bacteriologist, epidemiologist)

Vladimir Aaronovich Khavkin developed the first effective vaccines against cholera and plague. He studied under E. Mechnikov.

“Upon graduation from Novorossiia University in Odessa in 1884, Khavkin worked at the Odessa Zoological Museum. In 1888 he became assistant professor at the University of Geneva; he held a similar position at the Pasteur Institute in Paris from 1889 to 1893. From 1893 to 1915 he worked in India, serving as a bacteriologist for the government from 1893 to 1904. Khavkin helped organize the Plague Research Laboratory in Bombay, and served as its director from 1896 to 1904. The laboratory, which was reorganized and renamed the Haffkine Institute in 1925, became a center for the study of bubonic plague and cholera in Southeast Asia.

Khavkin’s principal works dealt with cholera and plague. He revealed the infectious nature of cholera and was the first to develop effective vaccines against cholera (1892) and plague (1896). He tested the vaccines on himself to prove their safety. Khavkin was directly involved in the vaccination of the Indian population during the cholera epidemic of 1893–95 and the plague epidemic of 1896–1902. On the 60th anniversary of Khavkin’s anti-plague laboratory, the Indian president R. Prasad remarked that “we in India are greatly indebted to Doctor Khavkin. He helped India rid itself of its principal epidemics—plague and cholera.” (The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979))

“Life Triumphs” by A. Sharov contains a vivid description of the work of Khavkin.

I. A. DEMINSKY (1864-1912 medical doctor, epidemiologist)

Ippolit Aleksandrovich Deminsky was a brave pioneering bacteriologist. He specialized in combating plague. He traveled to epidemic zones, treated people and researched plague spreading animals. Deminsky supported D. K. Zabolotny’s theory that between outbreaks plague survived among animals. Deminsky came to conflict with the tsarist government, because the government refused to spend adequate funds on medical care and prevention of epidemics. In those years plague was mainly combated and researched by self-sacrificing heroes such as Deminsky, who received no significant support from the government and risked their own lives to help mankind. Deminsky died as a result of contracting pneumonic plague during his work. This was largely because the tsarist government neglected to provide anti-plague medical workers with protective equipment in sufficient quantities and in a timely manner.

Life Triumphs by A. Sharov contains a vivid depiction of the work of Deminsky.


Elena Merkuryevna Krasilnikova was a co-worker of I. A. Deminsky.

Life Triumphs by A. Sharov contains a vivid depiction of the work of Krasilnikova.

V. I. TURCHINOVICH-VYZHNIKEVICH (1865-1904, veterinary scientist, bacteriologist)

Vladislav Ivanovich Turchinovich-Vyzhnikevich was a brave pioneering bacteriologist who specialized in combating plague. He died after having contracted pneumatic plague during his research.

Life Triumphs by A. Sharov contains a vivid depiction of the work of Turchinovich-Vyzhnikevich.

D. K. ZABOLOTNY (1866-1929, bacteriologist, epidemiologist)

Daniil Kirillovich Zabolotny was an important early Soviet epidemiologist. In 1920, he created the world’s first department of epidemiology in Odessa. He became Academician of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (1922), Academician of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences (1928), Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1929) and was the President of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (1928-1929).

He led expeditions to Asia to fight plague there, to discover its sources, how it reproduced and survived outside human hosts. In 1922 he discovered the zoonoses of the plague, i.e. he discovered that it was transmitted by and survived in various wild animal species, and only occasionally passed to humans, causing an outbreak.

“Zabolotny and other scientists after him put forward the supposition that steppe rodents are the carriers of plague from one epidemic to another. If only the officials in the government offices of the Russian Empire and other countries had listened to a brilliant Russian scientist, subsequent epidemics might have been averted and large numbers of lives saved. But the work had to be done almost single-handed.” (A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, p. 67)

“Sometime in the future when communism is victorious over the whole world, scientists will strive to achieve what is at present a dream: they will study and destroy all the centres of dangerous microbes to be found on our planet. This will not come about all at once. Gradually one disease after another, together with the natural disease-carriers, will vanish for all time even from the memory of mankind. Daniel Zabolotny was one of the initiators of this splendid trend in science. Almost nothing was known of the paths along which plague was spread, before Zabolotny made his investigations.” (A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, p. 56)

He also saw the terrible results of colonialist imperialism and condemned it in his notes:

“Famine is the most terrible scourge affecting this vast country. The English have inundated India with cotton fabrics and in Dacca, the ancient centre of Indian weaving, only 20,000 remain of the original 150,000 inhabitants; the rest either died of famine or fled. In 1741 five million people, being one-third of the population, died of famine in the single Indian province of Bengal. In 1874 there was famine in Bombay, Madras and Hyderabad. Between 1874 and the middle of the nineties more than 20 million Indians died of famine.” (quoted in A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, p. 35)

A socialist student studying with him at the Novorossiya University in Odessa named Makar Saulyak “supplied Zabolotny with thick volumes of Sovremennik [Magazine founded by Pushkin, where Chernyshevsky often published articles] for 1856 and other years, books by Belinsky and Pisarev and research papers by Darwin and Chernyshevsky…” (Ibid., p. 69) These gradually introduced Zabolotny to democratic revolutionary and socialist thinkers, and to materialist philosophy. There were also materialist teachers at the university, who struggled against clericalism and for democracy.

“Only a short time previously Sechenov and Mechnikov had been lecturing there. The university still cherished the traditions of the great Russian natural scientists. Nikolai Umov, the physicist, and Alexander Kovalevsky, the famous embryologist, read lectures there. These professors trained the students to have clear materialist ideas, taught them to seek in the external world for the causes of internal changes, as Sechenov had done when he proved that the external world determines the character of the higher nervous activity of animals and man, as Mechnikov and Pasteur had done when they explained the role of the external world in the origin and spread of diseases.” (A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, pp. 74-75)

Darwin’s theories also became a very important factor in Zabolotny’s life-work. Zabolotny was expelled from the university for revolutionary activities and imprisoned. However, in prison his health became worse and the authorities were afraid his death would cause disturbances, so they released him. After his release “friends of Mechnikov, Bardakh and Gamaleya gave Zabolotny a friendly welcome to the Mechnikov laboratory.” (Ibid. p. 78) where he carried out research. Later he embarked on his many expeditions.

Western reactionary scientists opposed Zabolotny and denied his theory that the plague survives among animals and is transmitted from animals to humans. Instead they insisted that plague is only spread by contact with infected persons or their belongings. Zabolotny also came into fierce conflict with supporters of Malthus who considered epidemics a necessary population control mechanism.

“Life Triumphs” by A. Sharov contains a vivid description of the work of Zabolotny.

N. F. GAMALEYA (1859-1949, bacteriologist)

Nikolay Fyodorovich Gamaleya was a pioneer of microbiology and vaccine research, one of the greatest Soviet microbiologists.

After graduating from Odessa’s Novorossiysky University in 1880 and the St. Petersburg Military Medical Academy in 1883 he traveled to France in 1886 to work in Louis Pasteur‘s laboratory (Pasteur is the main developer of the germ theory of disease). Gamaleya defended Pasteur’s research against reactionary dogmatists in the scientific community. Pasteur’s opponents sabotaged and delayed his research, ordering him not to treat rabies patients until further tests had been done. Pasteur’s opponents falsely claimed his rabies vaccines were dangerous and caused disease. Gamaleya knew that any delays were lethal and patients were dying all the time, as rabies was considered incurable and practically always fatal. He proved that Pasteur’s opponents were sabotaging vaccine tests intentionally by a campaign of lies and due to their incompetent unhygienic methods. He tested the vaccine on himself and showed it to be safe.

After his return to Russia he joined I. I. Mechnikov in organizing an Odessa bacteriological station for rabies vaccination studies and research on combating cattle plague and cholera, diagnosing sputum for tuberculosis, and preparing anthrax vaccines. He improved upon the work of Pasteur. The Odessa Bacteriological Institute became Russia’s first-ever bacteriological observation station. Despite lack of resources the scientists were able to succeed in figuring out the conditions under which the rabies vaccination was most effective. Gamaleya’s proposal for using killed bacilli in anti-cholera vaccines was later successfully applied on a wide scale as well. Similar stations were soon founded in Kiev (1886), Yekaterinoslav (1897), and Chernigov (1897).

After defending his dissertation in 1892, Gamaleya served as director of the Odessa Bacteriological Institute in 1896-1908. Researching anthrax in 1898, Gamaleya was the discoverer of the bacteria-destroying antibodies known as bacteriolysins.

Gamaleya initiated a public health campaign of exterminating rats to fight the plague in Odessa and southern Russia and pointed to the louse as the carrier of typhus. In 1910-1913, Gamaleya edited the journal Hygiene and Sanitation.

Gamaleya organized the supply and distribution of smallpox vaccines for the Red Army and made strides toward the eventual eradication of smallpox in the USSR.

The author of more than 300 academic publications on bacteriology, Gamaleya was a member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences. He also served as head of the All-Union Society of Microbiologists, Epidemiologists and Infectionists.

Gamaleya received two Lenin Orders, the Order of the Red Banner of Labour, the Stalin Prize in 1943 and other awards.

Life Triumphs by A. Sharov contains a vivid description of the work of Gamaleya.

N. P. GUNDOBIN (1860-1908, pediatrician)

“Gundobin, Nikolai Petrovich. Born Nov. 15 (27), 1860, in Shuia; died Sept. 15 (28), 1908, in St. Petersburg. Russian pediatrician.

Gundobin graduated in 1885 from the medical department of Moscow University. In 1897 he became a professor in the subdepartment of childhood diseases of the Academy of Military Medicine in St. Petersburg. His principal work dealt with the age-related features of the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the child. Gundobin was chairman of the school section of the Society for the Protection of Public Health and one of the organizers (1904, with N. A. Russkikh) of the Union to Combat Infant Mortality.

Vospitanie i lechente rebenka do semiletnego vozrasta, 3rd ed, Moscow, 1913.
Osobennosti detskogo vozrasta. St. Petersburg, 1906.

Vail’, V. S. Odin iz osnovopolozhnikov nauchnoi pediatrii, N. P. Gundobin. Stalinabad, 1957.” (The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1979)

“Among the measures to combat child mortality at the beginning of the 20th century [In the Russian Empire], pediatricians called for improved economic conditions, increased doctors’ numbers, the protection of the health of women who combined motherhood with professional work, the opening of new children’s hospitals and child care units. They stressed the need for recognition by the whole of society that children’s mortality was a national disaster, and undermined not only economic well-being, but also threatened the further development of Russia. N. P. Gundobin, D. A. Sokolov and G. N. Speransky argued that the care of children should be conducted with the cooperation of the state, local governments and private charity.” (“Nikolai Semashko – social activist and health care organizer” by O. A. Trefilova)

G. N. SPERANSKY (1873-1969, pediatrician)

Georgy Nestorovich Speransky was a Soviet pediatrician, active participant in the creation of a system for the protection of motherhood and childhood, corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1943), academician of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (1944).

“Among the measures to combat child mortality at the beginning of the 20th century [in the Russian Empire], pediatricians called for improved economic conditions, increased doctors’ numbers, the protection of the health of women who combined motherhood with professional work, the opening of new children’s hospitals and child care units. They stressed the need for recognition by the whole of society that children’s mortality was a national disaster, and undermined not only economic well-being, but also threatened the further development of Russia. N. P. Gundobin, D. A. Sokolov and G. N. Speransky argued that the care of children should be conducted with the cooperation of the state, local governments and private charity.” (“Nikolai Semashko – social activist and health care organizer” by O. A. Trefilova)

Speransky was given the following awards:
-Hero of Socialist Labor (1957)
-4 orders of Lenin (1942; 1947; 1951; 1957)
-2 Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (1945; 1963)
-Lenin Prize (1970, posthumously)
-Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1934)
-Honorary Member of the Czechoslovak Medical Society. J. Purkyne (1959).
-Honorary Member of the Scientific Societies of Pediatricians of the People’s Republic of Belarus and the People’s Republic of Poland

N. A. SEMASHKO (1874-1949, medical doctor, medical organizer)

Dr. Nikolai Aleksandrovich Semashko was a communist revolutionary and scientist, People’s Commissar of Public Health in 1918-1930. He was one of the organizers of the health system in the Soviet Union (often called the Semashko system), an academician of the Academy of Medical Sciences (1944) and of the Russian SFSR (1945).

“In 1917, Semashko had already set the government the task of saving millions of children’s lives. Together with A. M. Kollontai, V. M. Bonch-Bruevich and V. L. Lebedeva, Semashko did much to fulfill this task. In December 1917, the board of the People’s Commissariat of State Charity decided to establish the Department of Mothers’ and Children’s Protection, which began to operate from January 1, 1918, led by Lebedeva.

Prominent pediatricians G. N. Speransky, A. A. Kisel, A. A. Koltypin, V I. Molchanov and S. I. Fedynsky actively participated in his work. In difficult conditions of havoc they developed new forms of preventive and curative care… In 1921, under the direction of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the Commission for Improving the Lives of Children was established with auditing and facilitating functions. Semashko actively participated in the work.” (“Nikolai Semashko – social activist and health care organizer” by O. A. Trefilova)

This article discusses the scientific and organizing work of Nikolai Semashko, but it also goes into great detail about the creation of the Soviet health system and maternal and childcare system. Strongly recommended reading:
“Nikolai Semashko – social activist and health care organizer” by O. A. Trefilova

E. I. MARTSINOVSKY (1874-1934, pathologist)

Evgeny Ivanovich Martsinovsky was a Soviet parasitologist and infectious disease specialist; Doctor of Medicine (1909), Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1934). Laid the scientific foundations for the fight against malaria in the USSR.

Born in 1874 in Mstislavl. He studied at the Smolensk Gymnasium. In October 1899 he graduated from the medical faculty of Moscow University. Then for 25 years he worked in the 4th Gradskaya hospital, first as a bacteriologist, and since 1902 as a dissector and junior intern at the infectious department of the hospital. At the same time, in 1900-1904, he was a supernumerary laboratory assistant at the Pathological and Anatomical Institute; in 1908-1909 – an assistant in the department of bacteriology of the medical faculty of the Moscow Higher Women’s Courses (MVZhK). He also read bacteriology at a private dental school.

Since February 1910 he was privatdozent of the Department of General Pathology of the Medical Faculty of Moscow University; lectured the course “Pathogenic Protozoa and their role in human pathology”. In 1911 he left the university in protest against the policy of the Minister of Education L. A. Kasso. In WWI he was engaged in 1914-1917 organizing medical teams to combat infectious diseases at the front, being on the Caucasian front, he studied tropical diseases, pappatachi fever, dengue, Maltese fever, etc. After the October Revolution in 1917-1919 was the director of the Central Bacteriological Institute in Moscow. In 1920 he organized the Tropical Institute of the People’s Commissariat of Health, the director of which he was until the end of his life; Since 1934, the institute has been named after him.

Since 1932, the chairman of the scientific council of the People’s Commissariat of Health of the RSFSR and the International Malaria Commission of the League of Nations. He was a deputy of the Moscow Council of several convocations.

His main works concern the problems of parasitology, epidemiology, and the study of parasitic diseases. In 1904, together with S. Bogrov, he established the nature of the causative agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis. Many of his works were devoted to the clinic and epidemiology of malaria. Participated in the creation of a wide network of malaria stations in the USSR. Organizer and participant of many expeditions to fight malaria and other diseases.

A. I. ABRIKOSOV (1875-1955, pathologist)

Aleksey Ivanovich Abrikosov was a Soviet pathologist and a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (since 1939) and the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences (since 1944).

Abrokosov published works on the subject of the pathological morphology of tuberculosis and tumors, including the neuroectodermal tumor. This was described by Abrikosov as “myoblastomyoma.” Based upon his work, this type of tumor was named “Abrikosov’s tumor”. He was the author of a multi-volume handbook in special pathology for which he received the Stalin Prize.

He was awarded the following awards:
Stalin Prize, first class (1942)
Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1945)
Hero of Socialist Labour (1945)
Three Orders of Lenin (1940, 1945, 1953)

K. I. SKRYABIN (1879-1972, Helminthologist)

Konstantin Ivanovich Skryabin was a Soviet biologist, founder of Russian helminthological science. Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences since 1939, academician of USSR Academy of Medical Sciences, Hero of Socialist Labor (1958), winner of Stalin Prize and Lenin Prize. He was a founder of the helminthology school, and an author of landmark books on helminths in Soviet Union. He was a Head of the Department of the Moscow Veterinary Institute (1920-1925) and (1933-1941), and at the same time Head of Helminthology Division of the Central Tropical Institute (1921-1941).

Born in 1878 in St. Petersburg, he graduated from the Yuriev Veterinary Institute in 1905. From 1907 to 1911 he worked as a veterinarian in Central Asia in the city of Aulie-Ata (now Taraz ), and then until 1917 in St. Petersburg. In 1917-1920 he worked as a professor at the Don Veterinary Institute (Novocherkassk).

In 1920 he moved to Moscow, where from 1920 to 1931 he worked at the State Institute of Experimental Veterinary Medicine. In 1931, the department was transformed into the All-Union Institute of Helminthology (now the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Helminthology), of which Skryabin was director until 1957.

In 1920 he founded the Department of Parasitology – and from the same time (until 1964) headed it – at the Moscow Veterinary Institute (now the Moscow State Academy of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnology), and also in 1921-1949 – the helminthological department of the Tropical Institute (now the Institute medical parasitology and tropical medicine named after E. I. Martsinovsky).

On January 29, 1939, K. I. Skryabin was elected Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences to the Department of Mathematical and Natural Sciences with a degree in Helminthology, General Veterinary Medicine. Full member of VASKhNIL (1935) and the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (1944).

In 1940, Skryabin headed the All-Union (now All-Russian) Society of Helminthologists organized on his initiative. In 1942 he became director of the Laboratory of Helminthology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (now the Institute of Parasitology of the Russian Academy of Sciences), and in 1956-1961 he was vice -president of the All-Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

K. I. Skryabin was a member of a number of foreign academies and scientific societies: a full member of the Helminthological Society of the USA (1928), a member of the Royal Zoological Society of London (1928), an honorary member of the American Society of Parasitologists (1930), a member of the Veterinary Academy of France (1946), a member German Academy of Naturalists “Leopoldina” (1956), honorary member of the Polish Parasitological Society(1956), honorary member of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences of Poland (1957), honorary member of the Society of Tropical Medicine of Belgium (1958), honorary member of the Helminthological and Corresponding Member of the Zoological Societies of India (1958), foreign member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1958), foreign member of the Polish Academy of Sciences (1959), corresponding member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts (1959), honorary doctor of sciences of the University of Berlin. Humboldt (1960), honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1960), full member of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (1960), honorary doctor of the Budapest Veterinary University (1962), member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Services (1965), honorary doctor of science of the Higher School of Agriculture and Forestry farms in Brno (1965).

Deputy of the USSR Supreme Council of 2-3 convocations (1946-1954).

K. I. Skryabin earned the following awards and prizes:
-Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1927)
-Honored Scientist of the Kirghiz SSR (1945)
-Honored Scientist of the Uzbek SSR (1968)
-Lenin Prize (1957) – for scientific work in 12 volumes “Trematodes of animals and humans” (1947-1956)
-Stalin Prize of the first degree ( 1941 ) – for scientific work on veterinary and medical helminthology: “Helminthiasis in cattle and its young” (1937), “Fundamentals of General Helminthology” (1940).
-Stalin Prize of the first degree ( 1950 ) – for the 3-volume scientific work “Trematodes of animals and humans” (1947-1949)
-I. I. Mechnikov Gold Medal (1949) – for a set of outstanding research and work in the field of helminthology.
-Hero of Socialist Labor (12/06/1958)
-six Orders of Lenin (1936, 1949, 1953, 1953, 1958, 1968)
-three Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (1945, 1945, 1951)
-Order of the Red Star (1946)
-Order of Georgy Dimitrov (Bulgaria)
-Order “Cyril and Methodius” I degree (Bulgaria)

V. P. LEBEDEVA (1881-1968, medical scientist, specialist on mothers and children)

Lebedeva, Vera Pavlovna was a revolutionary, member of the Bolshevik party since 1907, the first organizer and leader of the protection of motherhood and infancy in the USSR. Doctor of Medical Sciences (1935). She was awarded 3 Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and medals.

“In 1917, [Nikolai] Semashko had already set the government the task of saving millions of children’s lives. Together with A. M. Kollontai, V. M. Bonch-Bruevich and V. L. Lebedeva, Semashko did much to fulfill this task. In December 1917, the board of the People’s Commissariat of State Charity decided to establish the Department of Mothers’ and Children’s Protection, which began to operate from January 1, 1918, led by Lebedeva.” (“Nikolai Semashko – social activist and health care organizer” by O. A. Trefilova)

A. M. Kollontai wrote about the work of V. P. Lebedeva in “The Labour of Women in the Evolution of the Economy

A. A. BOGOMOLETS (1881-1946, pathophysiologist)

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Bogomolets was a Soviet scientist who mainly researched cancer and aging. His parents were revolutionaries and Aleksandr was born at the infirmary of women’s prison. The opponent during his doctoral defense was I. P. Pavlov, who valued Bogomolets highly. In his early career Bogomolets worked at the so-called “Plague Fort”, a pioneering anti-disease station where legendary Russian and Soviet immunologists spent their early careers. He joyfully greeted the October Revolution and carried out medical and research work for the Red Army.

A. A. Bogomolets is the founder of the Russian and Ukrainian schools of pathophysiology, endocrinology and gerontology. In 1936 he developed the Anti-reticular Cytotoxic Serum, which helped treat certain illnesses and was hoped to prolong life. Bogomolets organized the first ever scientific conference on aging and longevity in Kiev in 1938. He made significant discoveries in cancer treatment and created the doctrine of the interaction between the tumor and the body.

He was awarded the following awards:
-First Degree Stalin Prize (1941) – for the scientific work “Guide to pathological physiology” in three volumes (1935-1937)
-Hero of Socialist Labor (1944) for outstanding achievements in science, for the creation of valuable drugs for the treatment of wounds and bone fractures.
-Two orders of Lenin (1940; 1944)
-Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class (1945)
-Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1944)
-Medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”

V. A. DOGIEL (1882-1955, zoologist, parasitologist, protozoologist)

Valentin Alexandrovich Dogiel (sometimes “Dogel”). Professor at the St. Petersburg (Later Leningrad State University) since 1913, and head of the Leningrad Laboratory of Protozoology at the Zoological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences since 1944. In 1923 he founded the Laboratory of Parasitology at the Fisheries Research Institute VNIORKh in Leningrad.

Dogiel contributed significantly in the field of taxonomy of parasites and protozoa in general. He also worked on more general questions of comparative anatomy and zoology. He was appointed a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1939, and a foreign member of the Linnean Society of London in 1944. He was a co-worker of Y. N. Pavlovsky.

He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1945 and the Order of Lenin in 1953.

Y. N. PAVLOVSKY (1884-1965, zoologist, entomologist, parasitologist)

Yevgeny Nikanorovich Pavlovsky was an important parasitologist. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1939), the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR (1944), honorary member of the Tajik Academy of Sciences (1951), and a lieutenant-general of the Red Army Medical Service in World War II.

In 1908, Yevgeny Pavlovsky graduated from the St. Petersburg Military Medical Academy. He became a professor at his alma mater in 1921. In 1933–1944, he worked at the All-union Institute of Experimental Medicine in Leningrad and simultaneously at the Tajik branch of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (1937–1951). Yevgeny Pavlovsky held the post of the director of the Zoology Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1942–1962. In 1946, he was appointed head of the Department of Parasitology & Medical Zoology at the Institute of Epidemiology & Microbiology of the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences. He was the president of the Soviet Geographical Society in 1952–1964. Under Pavlovsky’s direction, they organized numerous complex expeditions to the Central Asia, Transcaucasus, Crimea, Russian Far East and other regions of the Soviet Union to study endemic parasitic and transmissible diseases (tick-borne relapsing fever, tick-borne encephalitis, Pappataci fever, leishmaniasis etc.).

Yevgeny Pavlovsky introduced the concept of natural nidality of human diseases, defined by the idea that microscale disease foci are determined by the entire ecosystem. This concept laid the foundation for the elaboration of a number of preventive measures and promoted the development of the environmental trend in parasitology (together with the works of parasitologist Valentin Dogiel). Yevgeny Pavlovsky researched host organism as a habitat for parasites (parasitocenosis), numerous matters of regional and landscape parasitology, life cycles of a number of parasites, pathogenesis of helminth infection. Pavlovsky and his fellow scientists researched the fauna of flying blood-sucking insects (gnat) and methods of controlling them and venomous animals and characteristics of their venom.

Pavlovsky’s principal works are dedicated to the matters of parasitology. He authored several textbooks and manuals on parasitology. Pavlovsky was a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th convocations. He was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1941 and 1950) and the Mechnikov Gold Medal of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1949), and gold medal of the Soviet Geographical Society (1954). Yevgeny Pavlovsky was awarded five Orders of Lenin, four other orders, and numerous medals.

“If the causative organisms of the disease passed only from one human being to another, then having killed the last person in their path in a particular locality, the microbes themselves should then cease to exist. But for millions of years bacteria had been adapting themselves to the changing environmental conditions. The microbes of many most dangerous diseases make the complicated journey not in space, not from one country to another, but on one and the same restricted territory, passing from one species of animal to another. This path of infection, when the virus does not go beyond the bounds of wild nature, can be called its “minor cycle.”

People who have penetrated the depths of the Far Eastern taiga suffered from taiga encephalitis—an inflammation of the brain which is dangerous to life Years of heroic labour were spent before Yevgeny Pavlovsky and other Soviet scientists deciphered the “minor cycle” of the movement of encephalitis, discovered its natural haunts and proved that the tick which lives in the taiga introduces the virus of this disease into the blood when it bites a human being. The infection existed before, but it would now be visible and would pass along the “major cycle” which includes mankind.

During the years of the first five-year plan, when building began on the desert shores of Vakhsh in Central Asia, doctors observed the appearance of a serious disease which was a special variety of Leishmaniasis. Soviet scientists succeeded in establishing that the jackal is one of the links in the movement in nature of the Leishmania.

In this way scientists are investigating the limits of the spread of one or other microbe. In taiga, forests, steppes, deserts, mountains, swamps, wherever human beings live or will live, this work Is in progress. Scientists are discovering the invisible, well-concealed haunts of the enemy, They are laying bare the repositories, the reservoirs of the disease-creating microbe in order to protect mankind from it…

Soviet doctors are abolishing malaria by draining swamps and using aeroplanes to spray chemical substances on malaria-infested localities and so destroy mosquitoes. In all the main centres of malaria throughout the entire territory of our country, this exhausting disease, which afflicted millions of people, is almost entirely wiped out. As they master the depths of the taiga, scientists are destroying the haunts of the tick which carries the virus of taiga encephalitis. They find and destroy the natural bases, the secret natural haunts of the microbes which are the sources of infection.” (A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, pp. 55-56)

“Evgeny Nikanorovich Pavlovsky elaborated his theory that diseases have their natural centres” (A. Sharov, Ibid. p. 196)

M. A. LEBEDEVA (1894–1957, bacteriologist)

Maria Alekseyevna Lebedeva was a brave pioneering bacteriologist and revolutionary. She specialized in combating plague, and was a co-worker of D. K. Zabolotny.

She was imprisoned for revolutionary activity by the tsarist regime. She continued her scientific work after serving her sentence.

“Geneva, the taiga, revolutionary work, prison, work in an epidemic—this was the perfectly straight road taken by a woman who lived to bring the future nearer.” (A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, p. 124)

Life Triumphs by A. Sharov contains a vivid depiction of the work of Lebedeva.

M. P. POKROVSKAYA (1901-1980, bacteriologist)

Magdalena Petrovna Pokrovskaya. She is known as the creator of the world’s first effective anti-plague vaccine (1934). In reality, an earlier vaccine had already been created by Soviet scientist Vladimir Khavkin. However, Pokrovskaya’s vaccine was far superior.

In 1934-1952 she worked at the Stavropol anti-plague station, headed the laboratory of microbiology. With the reorganization of the station into the Scientific Research Anti-Plague Institute of the Caucasus and Transcaucasia in 1952-1953, she held the position of Deputy Director for Research.

The anti-plague vaccine she developed used a living strain of plague bacteria which had been bred to be non-dangerous (avirulent). As a result it was able to provide particularly strong immunizing effect. The earlier vaccine developed by Khavkin had used dead plague bacteria. In order to accelerate the vaccine program, Pokrovskaya tested the vaccine on herself. She took this step because she was convinced the vaccine was effective, and because she was afraid Fascist Japan and Nazi Germany were going to invade the USSR and could have developed plague based bacteriological weapons. It turns out she was correct, as Japanese “Unit 731” really had developed such weapons.

Pokrovskaya was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, the Order of the Red Star, and the medal “For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War.”

Life Triumphs by A. Sharov contains a vivid depiction of the work of Pokrovskaya.

G. Y. KHVOLES (1902-1969, physician)

Grigory Yakovlevich Khvoles was a Soviet scientist, physician, doctor of medical sciences (1940), professor, one of the founders of the theory of the blood-brain barrier.

Born in 1902 in Odessa to a Jewish family. After graduating from Moscow State University, he worked for several years as a military doctor (he was drafted into the Red Army in 1924), then as a surgeon in one of the hospitals in Moscow. In 1938 he headed the Department of Normal Physiology of the Ivanovo Medical Institute. In 1940 he defended his doctoral dissertation, and later summarized the results of research in the monograph “The state of the secretory and motor functions of the digestive tract with the direct effect of potassium and calcium on the vegetative centers” (Moscow, 1946). 1950s founded the department of normal physiology at the newly opened Karaganda Medical Institute and headed it in 1950-1959.

Khvoles was given the Order of the Red Star and the Medal “For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”.

A. L. BERLIN (1903-1939, microbiologist)

Abram Lvovich Berlin was a Soviet microbiologist.

N. N. ZHUKOV-VEREZHNIKOV (1908-1981, microbiologist, immunologist)

Nikolai Nikolaevich Zhukov-Verezhnikov. Academician of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences. He was a strong advocate of Michurin biology.

Graduated from the Medical Faculty of the 2nd Moscow University (1930). In 1932-1948 he worked in various research institutions in Saratov and Rostov-on-Don. In 1948 he organized and headed the laboratory of experimental immunobiology at the Institute of Experimental Biology of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences. From 1948-1950 he was director of the institute. Academician of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences since 1948 and its vice president in 1949-1953.

In 1949, he acted as the Chief Forensic Medical Expert at the Khabarovsk trial of Japanese war criminals.
In 1952 he became Deputy Minister of the USSR Ministry of Health.

Scientific papers
-He researched plague and cholera and proposed methods of preventing these diseases.
-In 1944 he created a new live anti-plague vaccine (“ZhV”).
-Developed a method for treating pneumonic plague. Previously it was considered fatal in practically all cases.
-He put forward the theory of species-forming variability of bacteria.
-Developed the principle of obtaining vaccines against influenza.

“Zhukov-Yerezhnikov and Khvorostukhina together created a new live vaccine “ZhV,” which possessed a wonderful power of producing immunity” (A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, p. 228)

Zhukov-Yerezhnikov was awarded the Stalin Prize of the second degree (1950), the Honored Scientist of the RSFSR award, two Orders of Lenin, Order of the October Revolution, two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor and various medals.


“Soviet scientists Yoff and Tiflov made a close study of the fleas which live as parasites on steppe rodents, and they have explained the importance of certain species of fleas in the spread of plague.

Tumansky and Polyak were the first to prove that it was possible for plague microbes to be preserved for a long time in the organism of fleas, during the period separating one outbreak of epizootic disease from another…

Stupnitsky, Tinker and many others completed the chain of investigations. It appeared that the microbes fully preserve their strength; they, together with the blood of the plague-stricken suslik, could only have entered the belly of the insect when the summer epizootic disease was at its height and long before the rodents’ winter hibernation.” (A. Sharov, Life Triumphs, p. 206)


N. M. PRZHEVALSKY (1839-1888, geographer, explorer of Central and East Asia)

Nikolay Mikhaylovich Przhevalsky was a Russian geographer and renowned explorer of Central and East Asia. He traveled through regions then unknown to the West and discovered many previously unknown species. His contribution to science and his people was recognized in the USSR.

“Przhevalsky” a nice Soviet film about his career.

MIKLUKHO-MAKLAI (1846-1888, legendary explorer, ethnologist, anthropologist, biologist)

Nicholas Miklukho-Maklai (sometimes “Miklouho-Maclay”) was a legendary traveler and explorer who became famous as one of the earliest scientists to settle among and study indigenous people of New Guinea who had never seen a European.

He was a brave fighter for democracy and freedom. He sought to defend indigenous people from colonial exploitation. During his research he became convinced that racism was not scientific:

“His conclusion – that all races possessed identical intellectual potential – led him to campaign against slavery and for the rights of indigenous people.” (The Guardian, The dashing Russian adventurer who fought to save indigenous lives, June 21, 2020)

“Miklukho-Maklai” a nice Soviet film about his career.


“The ideas that the higher layers of the atmosphere… are inaccessible have also… receded into the past: Fedoseyenko, Vasenko and Usyskin, Soviet stratonauts, have made the first successful attempts at mastering the altitudes at the peril of their lives.” (A. Fersman, Geochemistry for everyone, pp. 267-268)

Osoaviakhim-1 was a ground-breaking mission to launch a manned stratospheric balloon. The balloon reached the altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet) successfully and began to descend. The flight lasted 7 hours. However, as the balloon descended to 12,000 meters, it experienced loss of buoyancy and crashed as a result, killing the crew.

The crew consisted of the following persons:

Pavel Fedorovich Fedoseenko (1898-1934) military pilot, aeronaut, commander of the crew. Was previously awarded the Order of the Red Banner and other honors.
Ilya Davydovich Usyskin (1910-1934) physicist.
Andrei Bogdanovich Vasenko (1899-1934) aerological engineer and designer.

All three crew members were posthumously awarded the Order of Lenin. Postage stamps were issued in their honor and their ashes were buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis. They have become immortalized as fearless heroes of science.

IVAN PAPANIN (1894-1986, Polar explorer)

Ivan Dmitrievich Papanin was a Soviet polar explorer, scientist, Counter Admiral, and twice Hero of the Soviet Union, who was awarded nine Orders of Lenin.

In 1931 he took part in the expedition of the icebreaker Malygin to Franz Josef Land. In 1932-1933 he was the head of a polar expedition on Tikhaya Bay on Franz Josef Land. In 1934-1935 he was in command of a polar station on Cape Chelyuskin. In 1937-1938 he was in charge of the famous expedition North Pole-1. Four researchers, Ivan Papanin, Ernst Krenkel, Yevgeny Fyodorov and Petr Shirshov, landed on the drifting ice-floes in an airplane flown by Mikhail Vodopyanov. For 234 days, Papanin’s team carried out a wide range of scientific observations in the near-polar zone, until taken back by the two icebreakers Murman and Taimyr. It was the first expedition of its kind in the world. All members of the expedition received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, which was extremely rare before World War II. In 1939-1946 Papanin was the successor to Otto Schmidt as head of the Glavsevmorput’ (Glavniy Severniy Morskoy Put’) – an establishment that oversaw all commercial operations on the Northern Sea Route. In 1940 he received a second Hero of the Soviet Union title for organizing the expedition that saved the icebreaker Sedov. During World War II he was the representative of the State Defence Committee (Gosudarstvennij Komitet Oborony) responsible for all transportation by the Northern Sea Route. In 1941-1952 he was a member of the Central Revision Commission of the Communist Party. In 1948-1951 he was the deputy director of Institute for Oceanology of the USSR Academy of Sciences and from 1951 the Head of the Academy’s Department of Maritime Expeditions.

OTTO SCHMIDT (1891-1956, mathematician, astronomer, geophysicist, polar explorer)

Otto Yulyevich Shmidt was a Soviet scientist, Hero of the USSR (27 June 1937), and member of the Communist Party. He made important contributions especially to geology, but also to mathematics and astronomy. However, he is probably most famous for his leadership of the Polar Expedition North Pole-1.

He worked at Narkompros (People’s Commissariat for Education), the State Scientific Board at the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR, and the Communist Academy. He was Chair of the Foreign Literature Committee from October 1921. He was also employed as the director of the State Publishing House (Gosizdat) from 1921 to 1924, and chief editor of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia from 1924 to 1941. From 1923 he was a professor at the Second Moscow State University and later at the Moscow State University, and from 1930 to 1932, Schmidt was the head of the Arctic Institute.

From 1932 to 1939, he was appointed head of Glavsevmorput’ (Glavnoe upravlenie Severnogo Morskogo Puti) – an establishment that oversaw all commercial operations on the Northern Sea Route. From 1939 to 1942, Schmidt became a vice-president of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, where he organized the Institute of Theoretical Geophysics (he was its director until 1949). Otto Schmidt was a founder of the Moscow Algebra School, which he directed for many years.

In the mid-1940s, Schmidt suggested a new cosmogonical hypothesis on the formation of the Earth and other planets of the Solar System, which he continued to develop together with a group of Soviet scientists until his death.

Schmidt was an explorer of the Arctic. In 1929 and 1930, he led expeditions on the steam icebreaker Georgy Sedov, establishing the first scientific research station on the Franz Josef Land, exploring the northwestern parts of the Kara Sea and western coasts of Severnaya Zemlya, and discovering a few islands. In 1932, Schmidt’s expedition on the steam icebreaker Sibiryakov with Captain Vladimir Voronin made a non-stop voyage from Arkhangelsk to the Pacific Ocean without wintering for the first time in history. From 1933 to 1934, Schmidt led the voyage of the steamship Cheliuskin, also with Captain Vladimir Voronin, along the Northern Sea Route. In 1937, he supervised an airborne expedition that established a drift-ice station “North Pole-1”. In 1938, he was in charge of evacuating its personnel from the ice.

Otto Schmidt was a member of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR and a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of the first convocation (1938-1946).


B. M. KEDROV (1903-1985, philosopher of science)

B. M. Kedrov, “Criticism by modern materialist chemists of the idealistic theory of resonance-mesomerism” (From the book Evolution of the Concept of the Element in Chemistry)

M. B. MITIN (1901-1987, philosopher, philosopher of science)

Mitin was a Marxist-Leninist philosopher. He studied philosophy at the Institute of Red Professors in 1925-1929, became a member of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) in 1919. From 1944 to 1950 he served on the editorial board of the journal Bolshevik. In 1939 he was elected to the Central Committee and as the director of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the CPSU Central Committee.

Mitin together with P. F. Yudin spearheaded the campaign against Deborin’s menshevizing idealism in the 1930s and consistently defended and developed Dialectical Materialism throughout his career.

Works of Mitin on marxist theory

P. F. YUDIN (1899-1968, philosopher, philosopher of science)

Pavel Fyodorovich Yudin was a Marxist-Leninist philosopher. Born in to a family of poor Russian peasants, Yudin worked as a lathe operator in a railway workshop in 1917-19. He joined the Russian Communist Party (b) in 1918, served in the Red Army 1919-21, and graduated from the Stalin University in 1924, after which he began a post graduate course at the Institute of Red Professors.collectivisation of agriculture. Together with M. B. Mitin, he spearheaded the attack on Menshevizing Idealism.

In 1940-42 Yudin and Mitin wrote a 3 volume history of philosophy, and received a Stalin Prize for the first 2 volumes. However, the 3rd volume was severely criticized for its lack of criticism of the reactionary aspects of Hegel’s views.

Since its creation in 1947, Yudin worked as the editor-in-chief of the Cominform journal “For a Lasting Peace, for a People’s Democracy!”.

Since 1950 Yudin worked in China to help in publication of the works of Mao Zedong. He was the Soviet ambassador to China in 1953-59. Yudin blamed the Sino-Soviet split on Khrushchev and sympathized with Mao Zedong.

Yudin spent his later career distant from political power, working at the Institute of Philosophy of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1960-68, Yudin. He wrote the 1967 A Dictionary of Philosophy with M. M. Rosenthal.

Works of Yudin on marxist theory


A Visit to Soviet Science by Stefan Heym

In The World Of Soviet Science by Oleg Pisarzhevsky

Istoriia Akademii nauk SSSR [History of the USSR Academy of Sciences] (in Russian)

История черной металлургии в СССР [History of ferrous metallurgy in the USSR] Volume 1, by S. G. Strumilin (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)

«Наука и жизнь» . [“Science and life”] no. 5 (1953) (in Russian, but auto-translate works pretty well)


Kachalov – Basic economic law of socialism

The successes of Soviet science:

V. Venikov – Simulation of electrical systems.
V. Dogel – In the world of protozoa.
V. Orekhovich – Conversion of proteins into organisms
L. Masevich – The origin of Stars…
M. Nikolskaya – Insects against insects.
N. I. Nikitin – Lumber Chemistry.
A. Fedorov – In the new China by the paths of Michurin.
L. Solsviev – Increasing the fat content of milk.

Development of I.P. Pavlov’s ideas:

P. Frolov – Hygiene of mental labor…

Science and production:

V. A. Kolesov – 10 norms per shift!

Science and technology news:

S. Samoilov – Gas generator diesel locomotive
V. Zheleznov – Ftivazid
P. Kholopov – Catalog of Professor Kharadze
I. V. Yakushkin, M. Edelstein – Pre-harvest beet feeding

Our homeland:

G. Ushakov – On untouched land

Criticism and bibliography:

N. Shcherbinovsky – Creators of soil science



August Weismann (1834-1914) was a reactionary biologist who invented the so-called “germ-plasm theory”. According to this reactionary theory, heredity is only contained in small particles called the germ-plasm. According to Weismann, the germ-plasm is indestructible, unchangeable and totally separate from the rest of the organism. By this he meant that the heredity of the organism cannot be influenced in any way by its living conditions. The organism inherits the eternal germ-plasm from its parent, and passes it to its own offspring. The living body is only a temporary vessel for the immortal germ-plasm. The germ-plasm basically reincarnates into different bodies. The germ-plasm can never change, it can only grow and divide. Weismann explained hereditary change by claiming that elements of the germ-plasm mix during sexual procreation, although they can never truly change and new heredity can never be added. The existing hereditary elements have existed since the beginning of time. By this Weismann practically denied the possibility of evolution and development from lower to higher organisms. Through fallacious experiments Weismann focused on trying to debunk the inheritance of acquired characteristics, which he failed to do.

The idealist-mystical notion of the eternal germ-plasm which is isolated from the body of the organism is known as weismannism.

Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) was an Austrian augustinian monk. Mendel is considered the founder of modern reactionary bourgeois genetics. Living at a monastery he carried out a number of experiments with peas. He developed the idea that heredity consists of “hereditary factors” (now called ‘genes’). He held similar views to weismannism and believed hereditary factors are not influenced by material conditions. Mendel was interested in mathematics, and his main focus was trying to impose statistical laws on biology. He believed that hereditary traits mix during sexual procreation according to mathematical ratios (most famous is his 3:1 ratio). Mendel also developed a number of other views, now often called “Mendel’s laws” such as the idea that traits are passed down separately from each other and that there is no relation between one hereditary trait and another, that there is no blending of hereditary traits etc. It is now recognized that these are not laws, and apply only to a limited extent and only in certain cases.

Mendel’s ratios only apply to certain plants, and as T. D. Lysenko said, they are only a statistical reality, an average, but not something which applies to every individual organism. The phenomena of dominance discovered by Mendel is a real fact but Mendel understood it metaphysically as something absolute. In reality traits can be dominant or recessive depending on the circumstance, and dominance can change.

Mendel’s discoveries did not have any scientific importance during his life and he was ignored, although he was able to present his findings to scientific bodies. He rejected his own findings in his second paper, because he realized his findings only applied to peas (to the degree that they apply at all) and he wasn’t able to replicate them. Mendel’s follower R. A. Fischer also concluded that Mendel had fabricated the data in the paper which showed all his “discoveries”.

Mendel is usually associated with the theory of the “gene” although Mendel didn’t use the term himself. The theory that heredity is contained only in small particles called “genes” which are located in chromosomes, which are mixed during sexual procreation is called mendelism. Mendelism is idealist because it does not recognize heredity as a property of the entire organism in relation its environment, because it sees the genes as something isolated from the rest of the organism and impervious to change and impervious to effects of the material conditions.

According to the chromosome theory of reactionary biologists Sutton and Boveri, the genes, and thus all heredity, are located only in the chromosomes. Soviet science debunked this long ago, and even modern bourgeois science admits that this is not true. The chromosome theory still remains a core principle of mendelism. However, after the theory was debunked and after DNA was discovered, mendelism has begun claiming that genes consist of DNA, and are located where ever DNA exists. This only demonstrates that while DNA actually exists, genes are not real physical things, but merely a theoretical concept.

Mendelism originally opposed Darwinian evolution. Leading mendelists such as Wilhelm Johannsen (1857-1927) denied Darwinian evolution because it was incompatible with mendelism. Darwin also advocated the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, while mendelism denies it. Modern mendelism upholds the so-called “modern synthesis” which attempts to combine darwinism with mendelism. They achieved this by distorting darwinism into neo-darwinism. The term “modern synthesis” was coined by reactionary imperialist geneticist Julian Huxley.

Mendelists quickly adopted the pseudo-science known as “eugenics”, which is closely associated with racism and fascism. Developers of the “modern synthesis” Julian Huxley, Theodosius Dobzhansky and their supporters were leaders of the eugenics movement. Eugenics or “population hygiene” is the idea that “inferior people” such as the poor, the disabled or the non-whites, should be killed, aborted, sterilized etc. and thus removed from the “gene pool”. Eugenics is the continuation of “race science”, sterilization of natives and other similar colonialist and fascist policies.

Mendelist Cyril Dean Darlington (1903-1981) also contributed to the “neo-darwinian synthesis”. Darlington who was often criticized in the USSR, supported eugenics and racism:

“English biologist, geneticist and eugenicist, who discovered the mechanics of chromosomal crossover, its role in inheritance… contributed to modern evolutionary synthesis… In 1972 he, along with 50 other prominent scientists signed “Resolution on Scientific Freedom Regarding Human Behavior and Heredity” in which a genetic approach to understanding the behaviour of man was strongly defended. He staunchly defended his colleague in the fight against Lysenkoism, John Baker, who published the controversial book “Race” in 1974. Races are, according to Baker (and Darlington), breeding populations with demarcations drawn at whatever level of detail is required for the problem at hand. Asked by a reporter for the Sunday times whether or not he was a racist, Darlington replied: “Well, I’m regarded as one by everyone except the Jews, who are racist, and who utterly agree with my views.”” (wikipedia)

Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866-1945) carried out mutation experiments with fruit-flies. His work was important for creating the neo-darwinian view of evolution, which is incompatible with the teaching of Darwin but is compatible with mendelism. In the view of Morgan, evolution happens because of mutations which are purely random. He fallaciously claimed there were no governing principles or biological laws behind mutations, because he could not discover any. His theory denies the possibility of discovering the laws behind evolution and also denies the possibility of guiding development of organisms. His theory proclaims man’s powerlessness before nature, and promised absolutely no practical utility.

Morgan also admitted that his mutation experiments using radiation, were not able to produce any beneficial mutations, but only harmful mutations. As a result he questioned whether evolution towards more advanced organisms was possible.

The notion that evolution is entirely random and its laws are unknowable is called morganism. It provides mendelism-weismannism with a way to excuse any changes caused by material conditions and any inherited acquired characteristics, as nothing but “random mutations”. Morganism is unfalsifiable and thus unscientific even by bourgeois standards.

From the Short Philosophical Dictionary:

Eugenics (from the Greek for good and birth) is a bourgeois pseudoscience that propagates the most reactionary ideas about the biological and mental inequality of people and human races, allegedly due to the difference in their immutable hereditary nature. Biological inequality, according to the false doctrine of eugenicists, is the main and main cause of the socio-economic inequality of people.

Eugenics was created to deceive the working masses and mask the true socio-economic causes of the social inequality of people under capitalism. Serving the class interests of the bourgeoisie, eugenicists argue that poverty and poverty of the working masses are due not to the fact that the masses are cruelly exploited by the capitalists and that the products of their labor are appropriated by the bourgeoisie, but to the fact that they allegedly consist of “biologically inferior” and “mentally ungifted” people. The bourgeois classes represent, from the point of view of the eugenicists, “the biologically selective color of the nation.” In the most frank and impudent form, this vile “theory” was expressed by the founder of the pseudoscience of eugenics, the English biologist and obscurantist Galjun, who claimed that “the mind of the nation is its upper classes.”

Eugenics was based on the idealistic theory of Weismannism-Mendelism-Morganism about eternal and unchanging heredity, about the “immortal germ plasm” that exists independently of any external and internal influences of the material environment and is transmitted from generation to generation. Proceeding from this anti-scientific position, eugenicists argue that the mental and physical development of people does not depend on the social conditions of their existence, but is entirely determined by their heredity. On the same basis, eugenicists develop their crazy fascist theories about “higher” and “lower” races, about the race of “masters” and the race of “slaves”, about the superiority of whites over black and colored peoples, the superiority of the Aryan and Anglo-Saxon races over all other races and similar reactionary nonsense.

Eugenics became widespread under Hitler’s fascism in Germany, and is now being especially actively promoted by the ideologues of American-British imperialism. Eugenists recommend pastoral methods of “ennobling” the human race. The arsenal of these means includes forced sterilization of “inferior” elements, artificial insemination of women, etc. At the VIII International Congress of Genetics in Stockholm in 1948, Seymour made a report on the need to use artificial insemination as a “way to improve” the human breed. All these fanaticisms are not only promoted in theory, but also find their application in practice.

A number of states in America currently have laws on forced sterilization of “socially inferior” elements. The ideologues of American imperialism are strenuously propagating the “ideas” of the superiority of the American race, which should dominate the whole world. The American racist Hanington spreads the “theory” that only the American “superman” needs to reproduce; in this regard, the eugenicist Leon Whitney proposes to eliminate 10 million Americans from reproduction by sterilization, who are not supposedly “purebred” representatives of the American race. In the 1920s, some scientists who bowed to the West tried to spread eugenics in our country too, but received a resolute rebuff.

Marxism long ago exposed as unscientific and reactionary all attempts to biologize social phenomena that have their own specific patterns of development. Man, his spiritual and physical development, entirely depends on the social conditions in which he lives. The destruction of capitalism also means the destruction of the social inequality of people. Socialism creates all the prerequisites for the all-round development of man. Advanced, Michurinist biology completely exposed the teachings of Weismannism-Morganism about the nature of heredity as unscientific and thereby undermined the theoretical basis of eugenics.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

Social Darwinism is a reactionary trend in bourgeois sociology, based on the pseudoscientific application of Darwin’s doctrine of the struggle for existence and natural selection in the world of animals and plants to explain the laws of social development and relations between people. Considering this law as a universal law of nature, the social Darwinists (Lange, Ammon, Kidd, Voltman, Weismann, etc.) argued that it retains its effect in human society, where supposedly only the “strong” and “adapted” individuals survive in the struggle for existence, the weak die.

The bourgeois-class background of these reactionary ideas lies in the desire to justify the social injustices of capitalism, the ugliness of its social life, to obscure the class consciousness of the working masses, to divert them from the path of the class struggle against capitalism, for socialism.

At one time, this essence of social Darwinism was frankly expressed by the bourgeois positivist sociologist Spencer(see), who wrote that socialism, seeking to eliminate the struggle for existence in the human world, should cause a general intellectual and physical decline. The ideas of social Darwinism began to spread widely in the era of imperialism and were used as a means of combating Marxism. Thus, a major predator of German imperialism, Krupp established at the beginning of the 20th century. large cash prizes for the best works that popularize the ideas of social Darwinism among workers. The vulgar ideas of social Darwinism were also spread by all kinds of renegades of Marxism.

One of the most rabid representatives of social Darwinism in German social democracy, L. Voltmann, propagated the idea that the history of human culture and society, just as it happens in nature, develops on the basis of the biological principles of adaptation, heredity and improvement in the struggle for existence. The works of the renegade of socialism K. Kautsky (see) also promoted the anti-scientific ideas of social Darwinism. At present, social Darwinism is widely spread in the countries of American-English imperialism, especially in the USA, where a number of reactionary biologists and sociologists (Morgan, East, Jennings, Conklin, etc.) used the ideas of social Darwinism and Malthusianism to justify racial discrimination against blacks, imperialist wars and crises.

The ideologists of imperialism, based on the Malthusian theory of overpopulation, recommend destroying a number of “inferior” peoples. Thus, the modern ideologists of American imperialism (W. Vogt, R. Cook, and others) propagate the delusional ideas that the threat to humanity is the excessively high birth rate in the USSR, in the countries of people’s democracy and other countries, which can only be stopped by a war using atomic , bacteriological weapons and other means of mass destruction. The founders of Marxism-Leninism resolutely exposed the reactionary and anti-scientific character of social Darwinism. The anti-scientific essence of social Darwinism is that it mechanically transfers biological laws to the realm of social phenomena.

The development of society, as Marxism-Leninism proved, is subject to its own special laws, which cannot be reduced to the laws of nature. Therefore, the explanation of social phenomena by means of biological or physical concepts is a reactionary and anti-scientific undertaking; “… no study of social phenomena, no elucidation of the method of the social sciences,” wrote Lenin, “can be given with the help of these concepts. There is nothing easier than sticking an “energetic” or “biological-sociological” label on phenomena like crises, revolutions, class struggle, etc., but there is nothing more fruitless, scholastic, deader than this occupation.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

Mendelism is a false, metaphysical doctrine of heredity, created by the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel in the 60s of the last century and accepted by modern bourgeois science of heredity. According to this theory, there are laws of heredity that are the same for all organisms, from peas to humans. Hereditary properties (factors) do not depend on changes in the organism and the conditions of its life; they pass unchanged from ancestors to descendants in a free, independent combination, forming a random mosaic of properties. According to Mendelism, individual traits of ancestors reappear in descendants unchanged, and the distribution of parental traits into offspring is the same for all living beings, regardless of the difference and complexity of their organization.

For every offspring with a paternal hereditary trait, there is one with a maternal and two intermediate types. The latter contain both paternal and maternal “factors”, and thus, according to Mendel, “splitting of signs” occurs in a ratio of 1:2:1. Mendelism followed the formal path of counting traits in offspring, and not the path of studying the process, causes and conditions for the development of these traits. Therefore, on the basis of Mendelism it is impossible to control heredity. The assertion by Mendelism of the identity and immutability of the “factor” in parents and offspring denies development, is metaphysical. The numerical ratio of traits in the offspring assumed by Mendelism, supposedly the same for all living beings, does not correspond to reality, since the degree of diversity of offspring is not the same for different parental forms under different conditions of their development.

Knowledge of the laws of development of the organism allows more and more control over the formation and development of traits in the offspring. Destroying criticism of Mendelism as a false doctrine of heredity was given in their writings by K. A. Timiryazev, I. V. Michurin and T. D. Lysenko. Timiryazev gave a crushing rebuff to the group of Mendelians (Betson, Keeble, and others), who tried to reject Darwin’s materialistic theory of the origin of species by means of natural selection and replace it with the reactionary teachings of Mendel. On this occasion, Timiryazev wrote: “Obviously, the cause of this unscientific phenomenon should be sought in circumstances of an unscientific order. The sources of this craze, before which the future historian of science will stop in perplexity, must be sought in another phenomenon that goes not only in parallel, but also, undoubtedly, in connection with it. This phenomenon is an intensification of the clerical reaction against Darwinism.”

Michurin, in an article published in 1915 “On the inapplicability of Mendel’s laws to hybridization,” brilliantly proved, on the basis of his experiments, the inapplicability of Mendel’s notorious “pea” laws to the analysis of the phenomena of heredity in fruit and berry plants. The experiments of Academician Lysenko on various varieties of wheat showed that with an appropriate selection of crossed forms and under conditions of education corresponding to the nature of the hybrids, it is possible to achieve complete uniformity of the offspring. Lysenko in his work Agrobiology (1948) cites a large number of experimental data that completely refute Mendelism and its false laws.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)

Weismannism-Morganism is a reactionary anti-Darwinist trend in biological science, named after the biologists Weismann (1834-1914) and Morgan (1866-1945), masking its idealistic and metaphysical essence with the false sign of neo-Darwinism. Weismannism-Morganism arose in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. as a bourgeois ideological reaction to the materialist theory of the development of organic forms of matter. Posing as followers of Darwin, the Weisman-Morganists tried in every possible way to distort the main thing in Darwinism – its materialistic theory of the development of organisms, the doctrine of natural selection, the variability of organisms and their hereditary qualities under the influence of the external environment, the theory of the inheritance of acquired changes.

Weismannism-Morganism is based on a perverted interpretation of the heredity of organisms, adopted from the metaphysical, anti-scientific theory of Mendel. Despite the diverse terminological arsenal in the interpretation of heredity (genes, determinants, gene pool, mutations, etc.), all Weismann-Morganists agree that heredity is a special substance in organisms that is located in the chromosomes of germ cells. Weismann-Morganists consider the hereditary substance to be eternal, not changing.

According to them, regardless of the external environment in which organisms live, it never arises anew, but is transmitted from generation to generation without any qualitative changes. In this case, the hereditary substance is unknowable. The organism, from the point of view of this theory, consists of two unrelated parts – an immortal and unchanging hereditary substance and a mortal body. The body of an organism is only a nutrient medium – a case for hereditary substances. All signs and properties of the organism depend on the hereditary substance. Whatever changes the organism experiences, they cannot be of significance for the future generation, since these changes do not affect the immortal and unchanging hereditary substance. New qualities acquired by organisms are not inherited.

The Weismann-Morganists try to explain the diversity of organisms and species by the recombination of unchanged genes, mutations of the hereditary substance, etc. However. no explanations of the Morganists-Weismannists can hide the fact that their views on the immortal and unchanging hereditary substance and the mortal body are nothing but a modified theological doctrine of the immortal and non-corporeal soul and mortal body, as a kind of vitalism.

The metaphysical views of the Weismann-Morganists on the immutability of species and organisms manifest themselves in various forms. Hugo de Vries and Morgan believed that species do not change for millennia, and from time to time, for unknown reasons, shocks and explosions occur, as a result of which ready-made new species immediately appear. The Morganists come up with the so-called “mutation reserve”, which is allegedly constantly being used up. As soon as this “reserve of mutation” dries up, evolution allegedly stops. On this basis, the Morganists preach the hypothesis of the fading evolution of species and wildlife in general. According to this theory, it turns out that, having used up the “mutation reserve”, living matter must inevitably come to its end. Such theories vividly demonstrate the idealistic and metaphysical nature of the Weismann-Morganist pseudoscience.

The falsity of the Weismann-Morganist concept is obvious. You can not consider a plant or animal outside the conditions in which they live. A change in the conditions of existence, such as the exchange of substances between organisms and the external environment, inevitably leads to a change in the heredity of organisms. Michurin biology considers the process of development of the organic world as a process of not only quantitative, but also qualitative change, in which new organic forms arise. Heredity, according to the definition of T. D. Lysenko, is, as it were, a concentrate of external conditions mastered by organisms in a number of previous generations. Michurin’s theory is fundamentally opposed to Weismannism-Morganism.

The philosophical basis of Weismannism-Morganism are Kantianism, Machism, pragmatism and other idealistic schools. All the main categories and provisions of idealist philosophy—the denial of objective regularities in the development of matter and the absolutization of accidents, the replacement of real reality by mathematical fictions, the Kantian division of things into phenomena and noumena, the recognition of the unknowability of the essence of things, etc.—are used by the Weismannists-Morganists in order to distort the biological Sciences. As one of the links in the bourgeois ideological reaction, Weismannism-Morganism serves the goals of the exploiting classes.

Eugenics, bourgeois pseudoscience, designed to justify capitalism, grew out of it. Weismannism-Morganism was used by the fascist racists and is now being used by the ideologues of imperialism. Some biologists in the USSR were subject to the influence of Weismannism-Morganism (Filipchenko, Serebrovsky, Schmalhausen, Dubinin, Zhebrak, and others). Starting from the principles of dialectical materialism and relying on the practice of socialist agriculture, Michurin biology exposed the complete theoretical and practical inconsistency of Weismannism-Morganism and armed agricultural practitioners with a clear understanding of the objective laws of plant and animal life. Michurininist biology at the session of VASKhNIL in July-August 1948 inflicted a complete defeat on the reactionary theory of Weismannism-Morganism.” (Pavel Yudin and Mark Rosenthal, Short Philosophical Dictionary, 5th ed., 1954)


Rudolf Ludwig Carl Virchow (1821-1902) was a physician who invented the doctrine that life can exist only in the form of cells, and that cells can only emerge from other cells. Virchow did not invent the cell-theory, but instead he distorted it. Virchow’s theory is unscientific because it makes it necessary to believe the first cell somehow emerged complete and fully formed. That would be a miracle which presupposes divine creation.

Soviet scientists Olga Lepeshinskaya, Alexander Oparin and their collaborators demonstrated that life began with forms much simpler than a fully formed cell. Even modern bourgeois science doubts Virchowism and it is widely understood that life began with self-replicating proteins. However, Virchowism is still the mainstream consensus among the bourgeois academia.

As a reactionary idealist Virchow denied the materialist theory of Darwinian evolution and called Darwin an ignoramus. He also did not accept the materialist germ-theory of disease developed by Louis Pasteur.


N. K. KOLTSOV (1872-1940)

Nikolai Konstantinovich Koltsov was a reactionary scientist, supporter of mendelism in the USSR. Koltsov supported the fascist pseudo-science of eugenics and was active in the Russian Eugenic Society until it was closed down. Koltsov was arrested and held under arrest in 1920-1921 because of his involvement in the anti-Bolshevik Tactical Center which united reactionary intellectuals to overthrow the government.

I. I. SCHMALHAUSEN (1884-1963)

Ivan Ivanovich Schmalhausen was a leading reactionary mendelist geneticist in the USSR. He advocated neo-darwinism and helped the eugenicists J. Huxley and T. Dobzhansky develop the so-called neo-darwinian “modern synthesis”. His work was translated into english by Dobzhansky. Schmalhausen was removed from his position in the Institute of Evolutionary Morphology and Department of Darwinism of Moscow University in 1948 because of his reactionary views. After the death of Stalin Schmalhausen was a leading figure in the anti-michurinist movement.

N. I. VAVILOV (1887-1943)

Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov was a prominent reactionary mendelist geneticist in the USSR. He supported eugenicist pseudo-science and was connected to international eugenicists such as Hermann Joseph Muller. He was also connected to the Right-Opposition. N. I. Vavilov was sentenced to prison in 1940 for sabotage in agriculture and espionage on behalf of Britain. He died in a Leningrad prison in 1943 due to hardships of WWII. His brother was the successful physicist and communist S. I. Vavilov.

P. M. ZHUKOVSKY (1888-1975)

Pyotr Mikhailovich Zhukovsky was a reactionary mendelist geneticist. He was a follower of N. I. Vavilov and involved in the anti-michurinist movement after the death of Stalin.

N. P. DUBININ (1907-1998)

Nikolai Petrovich Dubinin was a leading reactionary mendelist geneticist in the USSR. After the death of Stalin he was a leader of the anti-michurinist movement. During the revisionist period he was promoted and became the head of the Laboratory of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1956.


A Soviet mendelist who defected to Germany and worked for the Third Reich. After the defeat of Nazism in 1945 he returned to the USSR and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was supported by other mendelists and continued to promote reactionary views after his release.

N. I. SHAPIRO (1906-1987)

Reactionary Soviet mendelist-weismannist. Biophysicist and radiobiologist.

M. M. ZAVADOVSKY (1891-1957)

Famous Soviet mendelist. He is the one who challenged Lysenko at the 1948 VASHNIL session and said he would complain to the party, to which Lysenko replied that the party was behind him, and got a standing ovation.

A. R. ZHEBRAK (1901-1965)

Reactionary mendelist geneticist. He was a follower of N. I. Vavilov and involved in the anti-michurinist movement after the death of Stalin.

V. P. EFROIMSON (1908-1989, mendelist)

Vladimir Pavlovich Efroimson was a prominent reactionary mendelist geneticist in the USSR. He arrested in 1949 for propaganda against the Soviet army and, according to reactionary writer S. E. Schnoll (“Geniuses and Villains of Russian Science”, chapter on the Pavlovian session), as a socially dangerous element. Efroimson also collaborated with Solzhenitsyn, who cites him as a witness in The Gulag Archipelago.

P. G. SVETLOV (1892-1974)

“on August 23, 1948, by order of the Ministry of Higher Education, the dean of the biological faculty of the university M. E. Lobashev, professors Yu. I. Polyansky and P. G. Svetlov were dismissed…

At the beginning of 1950, Professor B. Tokin from Leningrad, the future Hero of Socialist Labor, Honored Scientist, addressed a letter to the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, where he reported that the secretary of the Jewish Masonic lodge, Professor V. Ya. Alexandrov “put together” a group of the Zionist type at VIEM, which included the director of the institute, D. N. Nasonov, professors P. G. Svetlov, A. A. Brown, A. D. Brown and other scientists…

In another denunciation to the Leningrad City Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, Professor T.V . Vinogradova said: “All the main representatives of Morganism gathered at the scientific meetings of the institute – Yu. Polyansky, Kheisin, Brown, Strelkov, Kanaev, Olenov, Graevsky, Svetlov, Nasonov and others. Their works were [deceptively and falsely] recognized as “Michurinist”, although not a single Michurinist participated in the discussion”…

Times changed, the “Khrushev thaw” came, and in 1956 P. G. Svetlov headed the newly restored VIEM embryology laboratory” (Web article “Pavel Grigoryevich Svetlov (1892-1976) – embryologist, zoologist, professor, corresponding member USSR Academy of Medical Sciences, Graduate of the Tsarskoselsky Nikolaev Gymnasium 1910”, by Kirill Finkelstein)

D. N. NASONOV (1895-1957) 

Nasonov was a respected scientist who even earned a second degree Stalin Prize in 1943 for the scientific work “The reaction of living matter to external influences” (1941), but he was exposed as a morganist and zionist and signed the infamous ‘letter of the 300’ in 1955. He was rewarded by the khrushchevite revisionists for his reactionary views.


L. A. ORBELI (1882-1958) received harsh criticism for distorting Pavlov’s theories in support of reactionary mendelism.

P. K. ANOKHIN (1882-1958) attempted to replace Pavlov’s theories with reactionary mechanistic cybernetic theories. Anokhin pretended to support Michurinism (probably so he could steal Orbeli’s position) but showed his true colors when he himself was criticized as a reactionary soon after Orbeli. He signed the notorious anti-Michurinist “Letter of the 300” in 1955.

PETR KUPALOV (1888-1964) was heavily criticized for his distortions of Pavlov’s theory.

A. D. SPERANSKY (1888-1961) was heavily criticized for his distortions of Pavlov’s theory.

Students of L. A. Orbeli, A. G. GINETSINSKY (1895-1962) and G. V. GERSHUNI (1905-1992) (who also signed the “Letter of the 300”), were heavily criticized for distortions of Pavlov’s theory.


A. B. ZALKIND (1888-1936)

Aron Borissovich Zalkind was a Soviet reactionary psychologist, paedologist and psychoanalyst. He was behind many of the paedological distortions condemned in 1936 and a supporter of idealist freudism.


B. E. RAIKOV (1880-1966)

Boris Evgen’evich Raikov was a soviet pedagogue who was harshly criticized at a meeting of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences on September 4, 1948, for his promotion of mendelism-morganism and distorting darwinism. Revisionists later rehabilitated him and the 1979 edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia falsely portrays him in a positive light without mentioning the criticisms.


Mendelists in medicine were Leonid Bliakher, Aleksandr Gurvich and Sergei Davidenkov who also attempted to distort pavlovism.


M. N. POKROVSKY (1868-1932)

Mikhail Nikolayevich Pokrovsky was a revisionist historian, closely aligned with Bogdanov and Bukharin. He advocated crude ultra-deterministic mechanistic views, and minimized the role of consciousness in history.


“Cybernetics: a reactionary pseudoscience that appeared in the U.S.A. after World War II”
(Soviet Short Philosophical Dictionary, 1954)

Cybernetics is a reactionary mechanistic and idealist worldview developed mainly by N. Wiener, which denies dialectical materialism. It claims that humans are basically the same as machines. In the 1960s and 70s the term “cybernetics” began to be used for computer science and automation in general, but this is a mistaken usage of the term.

A detailed critique and historical overview of Cybernetics: Cybernetics in the USSR: A Marxist-Leninist Perspective

A. I. BERG (1893-1979, electrical engineer, saboteur, revisionist)

Axel Ivanovich Berg was a Soviet physicist and electrical engineer who at one time held certain responsible positions. He was an Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences since 1946 and member of the CPSU since 1944.

Berg was arrested in 1937 for sabotage and held in custody for 3 years. He was released in 1940 due to insufficient evidence. In the revisionist period he was one of the founders of cybernetics in the USSR.

E. KOLMAN (1892-1979)

Cybernetics was promoted in the USSR by Ernest Kolman who Benjamin Peters in his article “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics” characterizes as “a failed mathematician” (p. 159).

Kolman was described as a “true stalinist” but in reality he was only a careerist. His commitment to marxism had always been self-serving and disingenuous. He was hardly someone defending the integrity of marxism from bourgeois pseudoscience and “had spent time in a Stalinist labor camp after World War II for straying from the party line in his interpretation of Marxism.” (p. 160).

Later Kolman defected to Sweden where he openly rejected Leninism entirely and strongly criticized Marx and Engels.


Like Sakharov and Timofeev-Ressovsky, Nikolai Kobozev was a reactionary collaborator of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Like the other two, he was also an idealist falsifier of science:

“By 1948, quite independently of Norbert Wiener and without the least knowledge of his works, Kobozev had single-handedly elaborated—albeit by a different method and using a different terminology—what became known as cybernetics … he reformulated cybernetic theory in terms of thermodynamics, and in the course of his exposition, he offered a thermodynamic justification for the existence of God.” (Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The invisible allies, p. 29)


N. YA. MARR (1865-1934, renegade linguist)

Nikolai Yakovlevich Marr was a leading renegade linguist in the USSR in the 1920s and 1930s. He advocated ultra-leftist, idealist and anti-Marxist theories and presented himself as the developer of a new Marxist science of linguistics. Marr’s theories were supported by the anti-Marxist revisionist historian Pokrovskii. Marr was strongly criticized by Stalin in “Marxism and Problems of Linguistics”.

V. B. APTEKAR (1899-1937, renegade linguist)

Valerian Borisovich Aptekar was a Soviet renegade linguist, supporter of the idealist theories of N. Ya. Marr and a Trotskyist saboteur. He was sentenced to death for treason in 1937.

IVAN MESHCHANINOV (1883-1967, renegade linguist)

Ivan Meshchaninov was the leading follower of N. Ya. Marr. His idealist theories and bureaucratic practices were strongly criticized by Stalin in “Marxism and Problems of Linguistics”.

B. A. SEREBRENNIKOV (1915-1989, renegade linguist)

Boris Aleksandrovich Serebrennikov was a Soviet renegade linguist. He was a complete opportunist who jumped on the anti-Marr bandwagon, writing works such as “Comparative historical method and criticism of the so-called four-element analysis N. Ya. Marr” in Questions of linguistics in the light of the works of I. V. Stalin, ed. V. V. Vinogradova, but during ‘destalinization’ also wrote works such as “On the Elimination of the Consequences of Stalin’s Personality Cult in Linguistics”.



“Russian natural scientists, like the Machian physicist A. Bachinsky or the chemist V. Sharvin, referred to Mach and Ostwald, or even to Berkeley, as spokesmen for supposedly the latest philosophical trends in world natural science. Appealing to the most vulgar variety of idealism, our domestic Machists and their echoes among natural scientists showed themselves to be typical cosmopolitans: they opposed the materialist traditions among Russian naturalists, represented by Stoletov, Timiryazev and others, against the traditions of materialistic philosophical thought of revolutionary democrats, against the philosophy of Leninism.” (A. A. Maksimov. Marxist philosophical materialism and modern physics)

P. A. MOLCHANOV (1893-1941, meteorologist, traitor)

Pavel Alexandrovich Molchanov was a Soviet meteorologist who held certain responsible posts such as the head of the Department of Air Navigation at the Leningrad Institute of Civil Air Fleet Engineers, until he was arrested for treason in 1941 and shot.

L. D. LANDAU (1908-1968, physicist)

Lev Davidovich Landau was a soviet physicist and quantum physicist. He held important positions and made contributions to science. However, he also made numerous idealistic mistakes in science and philosophy of science. From 1937 until 1962, Landau was allowed to be the head of the Theoretical Division at the Institute for Physical Problems.

He was held in prison for interrogation in 1938-1939 because he spread counter-revolutionary leaflets which equated Marxism and Nazism.

A. D. SAKHAROV (1921-1989)

Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was a physicist and counter-revolutionary from the USSR. He was involved in nuclear physics. The USSR was the most advanced country in that field. Since he worked under a team led by brilliant physicists such as Igor Tamm and Igor Kurchatov who won the Stalin Prize for their achivements, Sakharov was also awarded one in 1953. He kept his reactionary views secret while working on nuclear physics and succeeded in leeching off the success of his colleagues. Secretly and later publically Sakharov supported capitalism and imperialism, and after Stalin’s death began campaigning against progressive sciences such as michurinism. He was later stripped of all his awards.

When he was carrying out scientific work he was not given any awards by the West and generally his work was entirely overshadowed by his more capable colleagues, but later he was given a Nobel Prize for being an anti-Soviet dissident.

The Sakharov-Solzhenitsyn Fraud