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TRAGIC PAGES IN THE HISTORY OF BIOLOGY IN THE AS OF UKRSSR

1 V.G. HARMASAR

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7903-0111

1 Dobrov Institute for Scientific and Technological Potential and Science History Studies of the NAS of Ukraine

Nauka naukozn. 2018, 2(100): 121-132

https://doi.org/10.15407/sofs2018.02.121

Section: Science and Technology History

Language: Ukrainian

Abstract: The article contains an account of the history of biological sciences on the whole and genetics in particular in Ukraine in 30—50s of the past century, when it was part of the Soviet Union. The overall situation in the science system of that time is shown, dominated by strict control, political pressures and administrative interventions in the research work.

A review of the history of genetic research in Ukraine beginning with 1923, when it was launched in most part of the institutes of biological and agricultural profile, is given. It is demonstrated that the largest confrontation in biology of that time was between geneticists and agrobiologists headed by T.D. Lysenko, a graduate from Kyiv Agricultural Institute. Methods proposed by Lysenko, although not theoretically grounded and experimentally verified, were enforced in collective farms, and their effectiveness was assessed through questioning. The data collected in this way were overstated, to show the alleged fantastic success that was informed in mass media. In addition, Lysenko said that his theory was based on dialectic and materialist teaching of Marxism. As a result, classical genetics was labeled “fascist science” and geneticists were subjected to political persecutions. The origins of “lysenkivshchyna” phenomenon in the soviet genetics are shown; events and facts are given to illustrate the abovementioned confrontation.

Ruining effects of party and political interventions in biological sciences (genetics, cytology, physiology and related psychology and medical practice) in the Soviet Union as a whole and Ukraine in particular are highlighted. Important institutional events in biological sciences of Ukraine in times of “lysenkivshchyna” rule are discussed: The Republican Meeting of Workers of Biological, Agricultural and Medical Sciences (August-September 1948), and the Session of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (October 1948); the Scientific Session of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, devoted to the issues of physiological teaching of I. Pavlov (November 1950), which was a follow up of the Joint Scientific Session of the Academy of Sciences of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR, devoted to the physiological teaching of I. Pavlov (June-July 1950).

Keywords: Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, biological sciences, lysenkivshchyna, genetics, psychology, “Pavlov session”, session of VASGNIL.

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