Zhores Medvedev

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(5214b) Medvedev, Zhores (1925-). Ocherki Po Istorii Biologo-Agronomicheskoi Diskussii “Essays on the History of the Biological-Agronomic Discussion”.

Original typescript, 2nd/ 3rd copies. 258 pages. Bound in blue hardbound binding. Samizdat dated 1969.

The field of academia was privy to many socio-political battles during the Soviet era and in 1964 the rivalries between conflicting ideologies in the biological and genetic fields of study was at its peak. Aggravated by blatant nepotism shown by Stalin (who considered himself as being a specialist in the biological sciences) to Trofim Lysenko and his cronies which included the creation of special posts in the Academy of Sciences when members refused to elect the aforementioned to the Academy, Medvedev took up arms in the form of these essays.
Several events of 1964 enabled such criticism of Lysenko. The ousting of Khrushchev who supported Lysenko after Stalin and the open criticism by Andreï Sakharov, considered a national treasure, denouncing Lysenko as a “charlatan” and “responsible for heavy shameful pages in the development of Soviet Science” and worse still as the cause for the arrest, defamation, firing and even death of scientific rivals contributed heavily. Such criticism was still unofficially tolerated as it was considered an attack on Soviet scientific capabilities. Medvedev had been fortunate enough to finish his studies just before the reign of Lysenko as the “Tsar” of Soviet science he was too junior to be a target; his professors Zhebrak and Zhukovskii were less fortunate and suffered heavily.
To understand the full political effect of the “Essays” one need only see that the book is still blacklisted in Russia as it contains information the dissemination of which is prohibited under the Federal Law of 27 July 2006. The “Essays” were never released during the existence of the Soviet era and only published in 1993. Thousands of people read the text as it was widely circulated by samizdat; Solzhenitsyn himself wrote to Medvedev to convey how impressive he found the text. Medvedev was himself sent to a State asylum for his political activities, the chief physician in charge of the asylum declared that he had doubts on Medvedev’s psychic well-being based on extracts of his work, and it was only after extensive campaigning on his behalf by his twin brother, Roy Medvedev, and other public figures that he was released. In 1973 on a trip the United Kingdom Medvedev’s Soviet citizenship was revoked and although reinstated during in 1990 he has never returned to the country of his birth.

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(5214) Medvedev, Zhores. Biologicheskaia Nauka I Kul’t Lichnosti (Ocherki Po Istorii biologo-agronomicheskoi Diskussii). The New Biological Science and the Cult of Personality.

Original typescript, 1st copy. 168 looseleaf sheets printed recto placed in hardbound grey binding. 28,5cm. Example of Samizdat buried in the grounds of a State asylum. Samizdat dated “Moskva 1962”.

Outlining the infamous meeting of the Agricultural Sciences in August 1948 Medvedev was, in this piece, not shy about tackling the perversions of science for political ends, the discriminations and abuses of power carried out by Lysenko and his supporters. The vitriol does not stop short of implying the hypocritical pseudo-scientific methods of the Lykosenists but also includes the accusation that the repression of scientists during the years after the meeting was planned and executed precisely for the purpose of eliminating any scientific competition.
Included in Barbakadze’s Anthology of Samizdat by Barbakadze.

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