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Microform Collection: History of Russia's Study of Genetics

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Published by Primary Source Microfilm

From The Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ARAN)

Few of the sciences were more deeply affected by Stalinism than genetics. As historian Robert Tucker writes in Stalin in Power (1990): "Stalin made his most notorious interventions into scientific life by supporting an upstart plant breeder, Trofim Lysenko, in a series of sensational projects to make agriculture flourish, which came to nothing, and a crusade to destroy the science of genetics, which succeeded."

In the early 1930s, as the forced "collectivization" of agriculture proceeded, resulting in chaos and famine, Lysenko caught Stalin's attention by promising a new scientific method to increase crop yields dramatically. Lysenko's experiments and schemes yielded nothing and drew the criticism of Soviet geneticists, principal among them Nikolai Vavilov. With Stalin's full support Lysenko ultimately stigmatised his foes as "enemies of the people." "By early 1938," writes Tucker, "Lysenko was in administrative command and his followers were taking over key posts in all related scientific institutions. He was on his way to the total program of genetics that he would carry through in 1948 with Stalin's blessing."

Documenting the transformation of Russian genetics, this publication contains the records of experimentation and the personal papers of the leading scientists as well as the documents and records of the scientific institute. It contains the full archives of the following scientists:

  • T. D. Lysenko (31 reels)
  • I. Prezent (11 reels)
  • O. V. Lepishinsakaya (15 reels)
  • Kh. S. Koshtoyants (5 reels)
  • N. K. Kol'tsov (67 reels)
  • M. M. Zavadovskii (16 reels)
  • O.V. Serebrovskii (42 reels)

An valuable resource for Slavic and Russian studies, this collection will be of tremendous interest to those researching the history of science, geneticists and historians of the Great Terror who will gain valuable insight into science and scientific research during this period in Russia's history.

Scope: 188 reels

A 2 volume published guide to the collection is in the Microtext Reading Room under the call number Z2519.H57 1999 (LC)+ Oversize.

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LOCATION: SML, Microform (Non Circulating)
CALL NUMBER: Film B18839