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With and Without Galton

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Nikolai Krementsov

II. “Bourgeois” and “proletarian” eugenics

6. Resonance: Euphenics, Medical Genetics, and Rassenhygiene

Texte intégral

“True eugenics can only be a product of socialism.”
H. J. Muller, May 1936

1Volotskoi’s reprint gave Florinskii’s book a new lease on life. This time, Human Perfection and Degeneration found a receptive audience. The book proved influential in shaping not only discussions around eugenics and its “stepsister” genetics, but also the adoption of certain social policies and legislation in the new Soviet Russia. Indeed Volotskoi’s use of Florinskii’s ideas as a model and justification for his “bio-social eugenics” stimulated heated debates about the place of eugenics in a socialist society and about the necessity and possibility of creating a particular “proletarian,” “socialist” eugenics. If Volotskoi and his like-minded colleagues did not succeed in creating a fully-fledged bio-social eugenics out of Florinskii’s “marriage hygiene,” it was certainly not for lack of trying. But the radical transformations of the country’s political, ideological, and institutional landscapes in the course of the Great Break of 1929, the Great Terror of 1936-1938, the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, and finally, the rapid escalation of the Cold War during 1947-1948, obstructed their efforts to advance “bio-social” eugenics and to promote the “conscious betterment of the human breed” in the Soviet Union.

Reception

  • 1 N. K. Koltzoff [Kol’tsov], “Die rassenhygienische Bewegung in Russland,” ARGB, 1925/26, 17: 96-99; (...)

2Volotskoi’s re-publication breathed new life into Florinskii’s book. This time, its appearance did not go unnoticed, and it garnered attention both at home and abroad. Even before the book came out, Kol’tsov had published in the German Archiv für Rassen- und Gesellschafts-Biologie a lengthy report on “the racial-hygienic movement in Russia.”1 He opened his report with a long paragraph on Florinskii and his treatise: Although “the organized racial-hygienic movement has emerged in Russia only a few years ago,” the RES president wrote, “its scientific foundations had been laid down” much earlier, with the publication in 1866 of Florinskii’s book “On the perfection and degeneration of mankind.” Its author, a “broadly-educated physician and biologist, also known for his scientific works in the fields of anthropology, ethnology, and archeology,” Kol’tsov claimed, had “formulated clearly and scientifically the fundamental principles of racial biology.” In Kol’tsov’s opinion, Florinskii had espoused “quite modern views” on a variety of important subjects, including “the non-inheritance of acquired characteristics,” “the double-sided effect of consanguineous marriages (in the sense of the accumulation of both good and bad hereditary characteristics),” “selection as the main cause of human evolution,” and even “the mathematical laws of the inheritance and distribution of hereditary traits in breeding.” Kol’tsov noted that Florinskii had “devoted about half of his book” to “questions of racial biology” and what he had described as “marriage hygiene” would later be “referred to as ‘eugenics’ or ‘racial hygiene’.”

  • 2 The only source of information on Vaisenberg’s biography I was able to find is his obituary publis (...)
  • 3 S. Weisenberg [S. Vaisenberg], “Theoretische und praktische Eugenik in Sowjetrussland,” ARGB, 1926 (...)
  • 4 S. Weisenberg [S. Vaisenberg], “Florinsky, W. M. Die Verbesserung und Entartung des menschlichen G (...)
  • 5 See “Florinsky, W. M., 1926, Die Verbesserung und Entartung des menschlichen Geschlechts. (Russisc (...)

3In 1927, the same journal carried an overview of “theoretical and practical eugenics in Soviet Russia” as seen not from its centers in Moscow and Leningrad (as Petrograd was renamed after Lenin’s death in 1924), but from the periphery. The article was written by Samuil Vaisenberg, a well-known anthropologist, who resided in the city of Elisavetgrad in the Kherson province (today’s Ukraine).2 Obviously impressed by Volotskoi’s publicity campaign, Vaisenberg favorably mentioned Florinskii’s treatise in his survey. Asserting that “the scientific treatment of eugenic questions” in Russia has begun only after the Great War, he, nevertheless, thought it necessary to point to the “long-forgotten book, whose author was, in many respects, a predecessor of Galton.”3 A few months later, upon the appearance of the book’s new edition, Vaisenberg reviewed it for the same journal.4 He summarized each of its four chapters, noting Florinskii’s “surprising, intuitive grasp” of its complicated subjects, at a time “when Darwinism has just come into existence and no one has even heard of Mendelism at all.” “It is most regrettable,” the reviewer lamented, “that the estimable editor used the rather long introduction to political ends, to attack what he perceives as the bourgeois tendency of [modern] eugenics.” “The unbiased reader,” he observed, would find in the book “nothing Marxist,” but rather “a romantic glorification of the common man in contrast to the degenerate nobility, which had been characteristic of Russia at that time.” Vaisenberg’s review prompted the leading German anthropology journal, Anthropologischer Anzeiger, to include Florinskii’s book in its annual bibliography under the rubric “Rassenhygiene, Leibesübungen.” The bibliographic record was supplemented with a short explanatory note: “A new edition of the book [originally] published in 1866 that in many respects is regarded as a precursor to contemporary eugenic ideas.”5

  • 6 Vas. Slepkov, “Prof. V. M. Florinskii. Usovershenstvovanie i vyrozhdenie chelovecheskogo roda. ‘Se (...)

4Of course, coupled with Volotskoi’s extensive “advertising,” the book made a much bigger splash in its homeland. Pravda, the mouthpiece of the Bolshevik party, greeted its publication with a stellar review by Vasilii Slepkov, an active “materialist-biologist.”6 Although Slepkov confirmed Volotskoi’s opinion that “from the viewpoint of modern scientific data” much of the book looks “mistaken and naïve,” he enthusiastically supported its editor’s claim that Florinskii’s treatise “has far from an exclusively historical interest.” In contrast to many modern eugenicists, though “armed with immeasurably greater amounts of scientific materials,” the reviewer stressed, “Florinskii poses the question about the betterment of humankind much more broadly and correctly.” In Slepkov’s opinion, “the author does not reduce all of eugenics, as do modern eugenicists, to heredity and the study of its regularities,” but acknowledges the role of the “external social environment,” as both an influential factor in determining “human hereditary qualities” and a “means of perfecting human nature.” According to Slepkov, Florinskii also correctly approaches the issue of “eugenic worthiness” of different social groups: he neither “hails the eugenic worth of the aristocracy, the bourgeoisie, [and] the intelligentsia,” nor “belittles the heredity of the proletariat and the peasantry.” In the “lower” classes, Slepkov maintained, Florinskii “sees those social groups which are destined to prevent physical and moral degeneration and to better human heredity.” The reviewer praised Volotskoi’s “interesting foreword and commentaries” and recommended the book to a “wide circle of readers interested in eugenics.”

  • 7 V. S[lepkov], “Gosudarstvennyi Timiriazevskii nauchno-issledovatel’skii institut,” Izvestiia, 18 A (...)

5A month later, Slepkov also published a brief notice on Florinskii’s “valuable book” in Izvestiia.7 He again pointed out that the book was a reprint of the 1866 edition, but it “addresses the same questions that nowadays are studied by a special science, eugenics.” Although in the actual content of the book “many things are outdated, many simply wrong and naïve,” the reviewer reiterated, “this does not preclude it being extremely valuable, for it provides a series of correct general viewpoints.”

  • 8 B. Vishnevskii, “Zabytyi russkii evgenik,” Priroda, 1926, 3-4: 100-01. There are almost no biograp (...)

6Another adulatory review appeared in the country’s leading popular-science magazine Priroda. It was written by Boris Vishnevskii, the curator of the Academy of Sciences Anthropology and Ethnography Museum in Leningrad.8 A student of Anuchin who had graduated from Moscow University just two years ahead of Volotskoi, Vishnevskii had actually helped his former schoolmate find some biographical materials on Florinskii in Leningrad’s libraries. His review, though no less enthusiastic than Slepkov’s, paid much more attention to the actual content of Human Perfection and Degeneration and the personality of its author. Vishnevskii noted that Florinskii’s book “had attracted no attention from his contemporaries and remained undeservedly forgotten” and that “the honor of its discovery” belongs to Volotskoi, who prepared the new edition. The reviewer briefly recounted the contents of each chapter, asserting that “V. M. Florinskii was far ahead of his age in many respects.” “In talking about the perfection of humankind, he envisioned a whole system of measures,” Vishnevskii stated, which, alas, “turned out to be ill-timed.” The reviewer stressed the originality of Florinskii’s book that “simultaneous to, but independently from, Galton’s work” had begun “the propaganda of the ideas of the perfection of humankind.” But the very title of his review, “A forgotten Russian eugenicist,” affirmed the equation of Florinskii’s “marriage hygiene” with Galton’s eugenics.

7By far the most detailed and extensive review, published in the Bolsheviks’ major bibliographical outlet, The Press and the Revolution, however, came from the pen of Kol’tsov. Two years earlier, when Volotskoi’s first report on Florinskii’s book had appeared in the REZh, its editor-in-chief prefaced the publication with a brief introduction:

  • 9 N. K[ol’tsov], “Ot redaktsii,” REZh, 1924, 2 (1): 50.

On the world scale, the eugenics movement was, of course, created by the works of F. Galton. On the other hand, there is no doubt that he had predecessors. F. Galton’s ideas stemmed, first of all, from Ch. Darwin’s evolutionary theory. After the publication of the theory of natural selection, expectedly, attempts to apply Darwin’s theory to human evolution were [undertaken] in various countries. In Russia, the first such attempt was made by Prof. V. M. Florinskii… Since the book’s publication went completely unnoticed and it remained forgotten, we consider useful to remind [our readers] of its [contents] at the present time.9

  • 10 See Nik. Kol’tsov, “V. M. Florinskii. Usovershenstvovanie i vyrozhdenie chelovecheskogo roda. Izda (...)
  • 11 Here Kol’tsov is somewhat exaggerating, for Darwin had introduced the concept of sexual selection (...)

8Now, reviewing the actual text of the book, contrary to Slepkov’s and Vishnevskii’s assessments, Kol’tsov emphasized further the historical value of Florinskii’s treatise, while completely denying its contemporary import.10 “As historical material,” he readily admitted, “it is, of course, a very remarkable book.” He again stressed the role of Darwin’s ideas in Florinskii’s treatise, hailing it as “one of the first original books on Darwinism in Russia” that had appeared before Darwin published “his books on the variation of domesticated animals and plants (1868) and on the descent of man (1871).” “The young obstetrician had boldly taken on the problem of the application of evolutionary principles to the betterment of the human breed,” Kol’tsov continued, which “only several decades later would become the subject of a special discipline, eugenics.” According to Kol’tsov, Florinskii “had placed marriage hygiene, marital selection (brachnyi podbor) in the foundation of the betterment of mankind” and, “in this respect, he is not only a follower, but also a predecessor of Darwin, who only published his own doctrine of sexual selection (polovoi podbor) [in humans] a few years later.”11 “Anticipating Darwin’s idea of sexual selection,” the reviewer elaborated, Florinskii, “in full accord with the then current views, had demonstrated how the development of unhealthy tastes and fashions, as well as chasing after wealth and nobility, in the choice of a spouse among the higher classes often leads to their degeneration.”

9Kol’tsov particularly stressed Florinskii’s close attention to the role of heredity in the processes of human perfection and degeneration. It is not surprising, the leader of Soviet eugenics pointed out, that Florinskii’s views on heredity are outdated, for at the time of his writing all of the major discoveries in the mechanisms of heredity — from Mendel’s laws to August Weismann’s germplasm concept to Thomas Hunt Morgan’s chromosomal theory — were still far in the future. What is surprising, according to Kol’tsov, is “how correctly he had evaluated the relative importance of various hereditary factors, and in most cases, had ascribed the leading role to the selection (podbor) of hereditary potentials and not to the inheritance of acquired characteristics.”

  • 12 N. Kol’tsov, “R. Gets. Nasledstvennost’i evgenika. Avtorizovannyi perevod s angl. pod red. Iu. A. (...)

10As did Volotskoi in his editorial commentaries, Kol’tsov effectively “translated” Florinskii’s ideas on human heredity, variability, development, and evolution into the language of modern genetics. He praised Florinskii’s clear distinction between “hereditary, genotypical human nature and a phenotypical manifestation of that nature dependent on external conditions.” “The very notions of genotype and phenotype were introduced [by Danish geneticist Wilhelm Johannsen] only twenty years ago,” the reviewer marveled, and “many biologists (including the editor of the book under review) still do not quite understand them.” Kol’tsov forcefully refuted Volotskoi’s juxtaposition of Florinskii’s treatise to modern eugenics: “Instead of emphasizing that the author had by forty years presaged the newest advances of genetics, the editor of the second edition, for some reason, decided to enter into inappropriate and unfounded polemics with modern eugenicists, who [actually] stand much closer to V. M. Florinskii’s views than to those of M. V. Volotskoi.” “The historical interest of Florinskii’s book is not diminished by the fact that its various parts — the doctrine of [human] races, the issue of sex determination, the influence of parental age on the progeny, inbreeding, and so on — are outdated and full of mistakes,” Kol’tsov reiterated. Yet, he warned, “numerous commentaries by the book’s editor were often incomplete and not always corresponding to the state of modern science” and thus could easily mislead “an unprepared reader.” Therefore, he insisted, the book’s readership should be limited to “the specialists interested in the history of biological ideas.” This suggestion contrasted markedly with Kol’tsov’s assessment of several other books on eugenics, which appeared the same year and which he reviewed for the same journal. For instance, in his very favorable review of the translation of R. Ruggles Gates’s Heredity and Eugenics, prepared by Filipchenko, the RES president recommended the book to “wide circles of Russian readers.”12

  • 13 M. Beliaev, “Obzor literatury po evoliutsionnomu ucheniiu,” Narodnyi uchitel’, 1927, 9: 112-18 (p. (...)
  • 14 Volotskoi, “K istorii i sovremennomu sostoianiiu evgenicheskogo dvizheniia,” p. xix.

11The new edition of Human Perfection and Degeneration certainly made the ideas of its author well known in Soviet Russia. Three thousand copies was a huge print run for a long-forgotten sixty-year-old scientific treatise. Reaffirming Volotskoi’s suggestion, which was repeated in Slepkov’s and Vishnevskii’s reviews, a 1927 overview of eugenic literature for school teachers reiterated that “the book could be recommended to anyone interested in the subject.”13 As Volotskoi had hoped, Florinskii’s book did “find its place in the libraries of sociologists, hygienists, [and] anthropologists.”14 Copies of the new edition appeared on the library shelves of universities and other schools of higher learning in Russia.

  • 15 See, for instance, T. Iudin, Evgenika. Uchenie ob uluchshenii prirodnykh svoistv cheloveka (M.: M. (...)
  • 16 T. Iudin, “Evgenika,” Bol’shaia meditsinskaia entsiklopediia (M.: entsiklopediia, 1929), vol. 9, p (...)

12It is impossible to estimate how many people actually read the new edition of Florinskii’s book. But “the specialists interested in the history of biological ideas,” as Kol’tsov had defined the book’s readership, certainly did. Every general overview of eugenics published in Russia after its rediscovery took note of Florinskii’s treatise. Following Volotskoi’s characterization of its author “as one of the founders of our discipline,” they repeated its editor’s statement that, even though the book had been unnoticed and forgotten, “in many of his ideas, Florinskii had been a predecessor of Galton’s.”15 Florinskii’s name thus became firmly incorporated into the history of “Russian eugenics.” To give but one example, in a lengthy entry on eugenics published in the Great Medical Encyclopedia in 1929, Iudin included the new edition of Human Perfection and Degeneration in the list of recommended literature alongside Galton’s works.16

13Slepkov’s statement that Florinskii’s treatise “has far from an exclusively historical interest” was more than rhetorical praise. Indeed, there are some indications that Volotskoi’s active popularization of Florinskii’s “marriage hygiene” influenced not only the discussions of the history of eugenics in Russia, but also the contemporary debates surrounding the adoption of new marriage laws and the establishment of “marriage consultations.”

  • 17 For a brief overview, see Becky L. Glass and Margaret K. Stolee, “Family Law in Soviet Russia, 191 (...)
  • 18 See “O grazhdanskom brake, o detiakh i o vedenii knig aktov sostoianiia,” Sobranie uzakonenii RSFS (...)
  • 19 See “Kodeks zakonov ob aktakh grazhdanskogo sostoianiia, brachnom, semeinom i opekunskom prave,” S (...)

14The Bolshevik Revolution had separated church and state and placed all matters of marriage and family under the authority of the latter.17 As early as December 1917, the Bolshevik government introduced the institution of “civic marriage.”18 The newborn state established throughout the country special offices that took over the functions of parish churches in registering births, marriages, divorces, and deaths of its citizens. The old laws and church rules pertaining to marriage and family were abolished and a set of new civic regulations introduced.19

  • 20 See Anon., “Okhrana zdorov’ia brachuiushchikhsia,” Izvestiia, 11 August 1923, p. 4; and L. Vasilev (...)
  • 21 A. Sysin, “Brak, zdorov’e i potomstvo,” Izvestiia, 18 September 1923, p. 3.
  • 22 See an announcement of the report in Pravda, 23 November 1923, p. 4
  • 23 See “Kafedra sotsialnoi gigieny,” Sotsial’naia gigiena, 1923/1924, 2: 170-72.
  • 24 See A. N. Sysin, “Pervye shagi evgenicheskogo zakonodatel’stva v Sotsial’naia gigiena, 1924, 3-4: (...)

15In the early 1920s, social hygienists closely associated with the Russian Eugenics Society began to lobby for the adoption of “eugenic legislation.”20 The head of Narkomzdrav’s Sanitary-Epidemiological Department, Aleksei Sysin, became the spokesman of this extensive campaign. In September 1923, he published in Izvestiia a lengthy article titled “Marriage, Health, and Progeny.”21 Tellingly, to support his proposals, Sysin referred to Volotskoi’s pamphlet Elevating the Vital Forces of the Race, which, as we saw in the previous chapter, had first introduced Florinskii’s ideas of “marriage hygiene” to Soviet readers. A month later, Sysin delivered a lengthy report to a special meeting of the RES on “The Eugenic Evaluation of a Law Proposed by Narkomzdrav on the Protection of Health of the Persons Entering Marriage.”22 The same subject was discussed again in early January 1924 at a joint meeting of the State Institute of Social Hygiene, the Institute for the Protection of Maternity and Infancy (OMM), and the RES.23 In the summer, Sysin published an extensive summary of his reports in the oracle of social hygienists, edited personally by Commissar Semashko.24

16Sysin provided a detailed overview of historical and current legislative initiatives and actual laws promulgated in various countries to further the “principles of eugenics.” Echoing the opening statement of Florinskii’s treatise, Sysin asserted that “no matter how one considers the attempts at bettering the quality of future generations by means of eugenic laws, one thing remains indisputable, namely that the state can no longer go on on being indifferent to this issue.” According to Sysin, the first Soviet Civic Code adopted in 1918 “did not reflect in the least degree any eugenic issues” and “did not pursue any eugenic goals.” Since the adoption of the NEP necessitated a revision of the Civic Code that the People’s Commissariat of Justice was currently conducting, he explained, Narkomzdrav officials took the initiative of introducing in the revised code certain “socio-eugenic” articles aimed at “the protection of the health of prospective spouses and their progeny.”

17None of the proposed articles even mentioned the coerced sterilization or the segregation of individuals with “bad” heredity. The planned legislation introduced largely voluntary measures, Sysin emphasized, using marriage registration as a suitable moment for “sanitary-eugenic propaganda” that would force prospective spouses, as Florinskii had suggested in his book, “to look at their future marriage from the viewpoint of health.” According to the recommended new law, prior to registering their marriage, a prospective couple must inform each other of their personal “medical histories,” particularly “in relation to venereal, mental, and tubercular diseases,” which at the time were seen as “hereditary.” The law required bride and groom to present to the marriage registration agency a written deposition to that effect. If they refused to give such a deposition, the agency would not register their marriage. And if they lied in their deposition, they would face criminal charges.

  • 25 See, for instance, P. I. Liublinskii, “Evgenicheskaia sterilizatsiia,” Vestnik znaniia, 1925, 6: 4 (...)
  • 26 For an analysis of certain aspects of this campaign, especially in relation to sex education, see (...)
  • 27 See D. I. Kurskii, ed., Sbornik statei i materialov po brachnomu i semeinomu pravu (M.: Iuridiches (...)
  • 28 N. I. Mikulina-Ivanova, “Oplodotvorenie i nasledstvennost’,” Zhenskii zhurnal, 1927, 1: 14-15.

18The lobbying campaign was supported by detailed analyses of the “eugenic consequences” of various pieces of legislation in Russia and abroad published by several jurists with a longstanding interest in eugenics, notably by Pavel Liublinskii, who in 1924 joined Kol’tsov and Filipchenko as a co-editor of the REZh.25 The campaign for “eugenics legislation” proved successful.26 The new Civic Code promulgated in 1926 put all of the initiatives outlined by Sysin into law.27 Furthermore, the new code also incorporated certain restrictive measures, such as the prohibition on marriage before eighteen years of age and on marriages between close relatives and between mentally ill persons, which read as if they had been lifted almost wholesale from Florinskii’s treatise. Indeed, in its discussion of the new legislation, a popular article published in Women’s Magazine at the beginning of 1927 referred directly to Florinskii’s views on the detrimental effects of “kin marriages.”28

  • 29 See Il. Poltavskii, “Institut sotsial’noi gigieny,” Vecherniaia Moskva, 13 December 1926, p. 3. Th (...)
  • 30 S. N. Davidenkov, “Geneticheskoe biuro pri M. O. N. i P.,” REZh, 1928, 6 55-56.
  • 31 See S. N. Davidenkov, “Geneticheskoe napravlenie v nervno-psikhiatricheskoi profilaktike,” Klinich (...)
  • 32 See T. I. Iudin, Zdorov’e, brak i sem’ia (M.: Narkomzdrav, 1928); and P. Rokitskii, “Evgenika i br (...)
  • 33 See also a series of popular articles by obstetrician N. I. Mikulina-Ivanova, “Oplodotvorenie i na (...)

19Moreover, the same year, as if answering Florinskii’s suggestion that “in doubtful cases” the prospective spouses should seek a doctor’s opinion that “without limiting personal freedom could do more good than any law,” the State Institute of Social Hygiene, the cradle of Soviet eugenics, established a “marriage consultation” to advise prospective brides and grooms on “certain eugenic aspects” of marriage (see fig. 6-1).29 The next year, the Moscow Society of Neurologists and Psychiatrists created a special “genetics bureau for the study of hereditary diseases.”30 Run by Sergei Davidenkov (1880-1961), a well-known neurologist and RES member, the bureau became a springboard for a “genetic consultation” that Davidenkov soon founded at his neurological clinics.31 “Eugenic” advice to prospective spouses became a staple of Soviet eugenicists’ propaganda as witnessed by Iudin’s 1928 brochure on Health, Marriage, and Family, or a 1930 article on “Marriage and Eugenics” by Kol’tsov’s former student and one of the architects of population and mathematical genetics in the Soviet Union, Petr Rokitskii, both of which included many passages that sounded exactly like Florinskii’s and/or Volotskoi’s.32 Rokitskii, for instance, reaffirmed Volotskoi’s distinction between “creative” and “preventive” eugenics and strongly endorsed Florinskii’s notion of marriage as a matter of social concern and, hence, of state regulation.33

Fig. 6-1. An illustration that accompanied a 1930 article, titled “Marital Choice,” in the popular weekly Hygiene and Health of Worker’s and Peasant’s Family. The article opened with a simple statement: “Eugenics is a science about the protection of health of the future generations; its goal is the betterment of the human breed [and] the facilitation of the making of a healthy and strong replacement [of the current generation].” The caption under the picture says: “Do not enter marriage blindfolded — consult a physician beforehand.” From Gigiena i zdorov’e rabochei i krest’ianskoi sem’i, 1930, 17-18: 12. Courtesy of BAN.

20Despite the considerable attention it commanded and contrary to Volotskoi’s hopes and despite his extensive efforts, Florinskii’s treatise did not become the foundation of “bio-social” or “proletarian” eugenics.

The Dialectics of Nature and Nurture

21There could be little doubt that Florinskii’s ideas played a key role in the sharpening of Volotskoi’s personal critical attitude towards “bourgeois” eugenics and in the development of his own “bio-social” version. In turn, Volotskoi’s active popularization of Florinskii’s “marriage hygiene” and his relentless critique of Galtonian eugenics provided an inspiration and a template for many other “Marxist” critics and, thus, contributed considerably to the rising suspicion of and mounting opposition to eugenics. The path of eugenics in Soviet Russia was not all smooth — there were also dangerous potholes. The position of the country’s main “State Publishing House” (Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’stvo, GIZ) in regard to issuing books on the subject, most notably, Galton’s Essays on Eugenics, provides a telling illustration.

  • 34 See, GARF, f. A2307, op. 8, d. 278, ll.
  • 35 See Iu. A. Filipchenko, Frensis Gal’ton i Gregor Mendel’ (M.: GIZ, 1924). The second printing came (...)
  • 36 Kol’tsov was a member of the editorial board of the series and profoundly influenced the choice of (...)
  • 37 See GARF, f. R395, op. 9, d. 313, ll. 14-14 rev; d. 315, ll. 180,
  • 38 See Gregor Mendel’, Opyty nad rastitel’nymi gibridami (M.-Pg.: GIZ, 1923).

22In 1922, as part of extensive efforts to popularize both eugenics and genetics, their Soviet proponents enthusiastically celebrated the dual centennial of Galton’s and Mendel’s births. The RES, for instance, devoted several meetings to reports on various facets of Galton’s life and works. Iudin spoke on “Francis Galton, His Life and Scientific Activities,” Kol’tsov on “The Genealogy of Galton and Darwin,” the eminent psychologist Georgii Chelpanov on “Galton’s Role in Modern Scientific Psychology,” and Bunak on “Galton as the Founder of the Biometric School.”34 To mark the anniversaries, eugenicists also planned a series of publications, including biographies of Galton and Mendel and Russian translations of their major works. Filipchenko took it upon himself to write a double biography of the “founders of modern genetics,” which in 1924 came out under the GIZ trademark in two different printings.35 For his part, Kol’tsov undertook the task of editing the translations of Mendel’s and Galton’s key works to be issued by the same publisher in its popular series “The Classics of Natural Sciences.”36 In the summer of 1922, the GIZ board approved contracts for the publication of Galton’s Essays on Eugenics and Mendel’s Experiments on Plant Hybrids.37 In the fall, the translation of Mendel’s works was duly submitted to the publisher. It appeared in print about a year later.38 Galton’s, however, did not.

  • 39 Volotskoi recounted the story in a lengthy footnote in his 1925 pamphlet on Class Interests and Mo (...)
  • 40 One could only speculate that, if Volotskoi did complete his translation in 1922, the translation (...)

23As mentioned previously, at Kol’tsov’s suggestion, Volotskoi had begun translating Galton’s Essays after joining the IEB eugenics department in late 1921. Over the course of the next year or so, he had translated several chapters, but then asked Kol’tsov to be released from the task. Available materials do not reveal his reasons for refusing to finish the job, but the contents of his pamphlet on Class Interests and Modern Eugenics written around that very time strongly suggest that Volotskoi came to see Galton’s “gospel” as useless, if not outright detrimental, to the development of his own “bio-social” eugenics.39 Reportedly, Kol’tsov assigned one of his students to finish the translation. It was completed and submitted to the GIZ office in the late spring of 1924. But, although regularly advertised by the publisher as “forthcoming,” it never came out (see fig. 6-2).40

  • 41 Apparently, the manuscript never went into production, see GARF, f. R395, op. 9, d. 77, l. 51; d. (...)
  • 42 GARF, f. R395, op. 9, d. 313, l. 30 rev.
  • 43 Iu. A. Filipchenko, Puti uluchsheniia chelovecheskogo roda (Evgenika) (L.: GIZ, 1924).

24Surviving documents are completely mute on the reasons for this odd situation.41 GIZ materials pertaining to the publisher’s handling of several other books on eugenics during the same time period, nevertheless, offer certain clues as to why the translation of Galton’s Essays was not published. In April 1923, the GIZ Petrograd office accepted for publication Filipchenko’s manuscript, Paths to the Betterment of the Human Type (Eugenics).42 It was the first extensive (nearly 200-page long) Russian-language overview of the history, current state, and future prospects of eugenics and human genetics, based on the latest available English, German, and Russian literature. A year later, Filipchenko’s volume came out, but not exactly in the form he had written it.43

  • 44 Anon., “Predislovie redaktsii,” in Filipchenko, Puti uluchsheniia chelovecheskogo roda, pp. 3-7.

25The GIZ board supplied Filipchenko’s text with numerous “editorial commentaries” and an unsigned “editorial foreword” that, though praising the book as “valuable and interesting,” emphasized its “essential shortcomings.”44 The foreword highlighted the book’s “narrowly-biological point of view” and its neglect of a “sociological-Marxist” approach to eugenic ideas, research, and policies. The anonymous author criticized Filipchenko’s conviction that the intelligentsia as a social group represented the main reservoir of hereditary talent and recommended that he study the genealogies of “artists, scientists, and sculptors, who had come from the peasants and the proletarians,” such as the eminent writer Maxim Gorky and the famous opera singer Fedor Chaliapin.

Fig. 6-2. An advertisement for the GIZ series “Classics of Natural Science.” The first section lists nine books that have been published. The second lists four more volumes currently “in production.” The last book in this section is Gregor Mendel’s Experiments on Plant Hybrids. The third section lists ten books “in preparation.” The eighth in this list is Francis Galton’s Essays on Eugenics. This advertisement appeared on the back cover of Elie Metchnikoff’s Lectures on the Comparative Pathology of Inflammation, published as part of the series in 1923. From I. I. Mechnikov, Lektsii o sravnitel’noi patologii vospaleniia (M.: GIZ, 1923), backmatter. Courtesy of RNB.

  • 45 See GARF, f. R395, op. 9, d. 77, l. 46; d. 92, l. 40.
  • 46 On Solov’ev’s life and works, see V. A. Solov’eva, ed., Zhizn’i deiatel’nost’ Z. P. Solov’eva po v (...)

26Just as Filipchenko’s book came out, the GIZ Moscow office was preparing another, even more voluminous account of eugenics to be published in its popular series “Modern Issues in Natural Sciences.” The publisher had contracted the book, preliminarily titled Introduction to the Study of Eugenics, to Iudin a year earlier, and, along with the translation of Galton’s, Iudin’s volume was supposed to go into production in early 1924.45 As with Filipchenko’s book, the GIZ board planned to preface the volume with an editorial foreword. The board asked Zinovii Solov’ev (1876-1928), a deputy-head of Narkomzdrav, long-time member of the Bolshevik party, and Semashko’s right-hand man in building the Bolshevik health care system, to write it.46

  • 47 Z. P. Solov’ev, “Neskol’ko slov o ‘razvedenii porody cheloveka’,” in idem, Stroitel’stvo sovetskog (...)

27Admitting that he was not a biologist and even less a “specialist in modern eugenics,” Solov’ev nonetheless felt justified in saying “a few words on ‘breeding human stocks’,” as he titled his lengthy essay.47 In contrast to the anonymous author of the foreword to Filipchenko’s book, Solov’ev focused not so much on the actual contents of Iudin’s volume as on Kol’tsov’s 1921 presidential address and on a few articles that had appeared in the first issues of the Russian Eugenics Journal. But the general thrust of his foreword was very much the same: eugenicists must learn “Marxist materialist sociology.” Peppered with long quotes from Marx and Lenin, the foreword accused eugenicists of “equating biological laws with the laws of sociology and transferring [certain] regularities from the field of biology into the field of social relations.” According to Solov’ev, Marx’s critique of both “the Malthusian law of overpopulation” and the “sociological applications” of Darwin’s notion of “struggle for life” had a long time ago demonstrated the futility of biological explanations of social phenomena.

28Citing various studies, which had allegedly confirmed the inheritance of acquired characteristics, Solov’ev bitterly criticized eugenicists’ “belief in a negligible role of the external environment and in an overwhelming role of heredity.” He outright rejected eugenicists’ conviction that “human life is predetermined by hereditary features” and was particularly incensed by their claims that “all people are born unalike and unequal.” In his view, since eugenicists ignore “environment, economics, [and] social conditions,” all their practical proposals “to breed humans” the same way as chickens or pigs were no more than “fantasies.” But, Solov’ev emphasized, such fantasies were “deeply reactionary,” for they provided “scientific justification” for men-hatred, chauvinism, elitism, and racism. He offered as an example of such openly reactionary attitudes — characteristic of “corrupt, bourgeois science” — a 1923 edition of a textbook on Applied Eugenics written by well-known US eugenicists Paul Popenoe and Roswell H. Johnson that had recently been reviewed in the Russian Eugenics Journal. Solov’ev concluded his foreword with a forceful statement: “The working class’s philosophy demands [both] clarity in the issues of eugenics and essential reconsideration of eugenic theories and practices on the basis of consistent materialism, Marxism.”

  • 48 See T. Iudin, Evgenika. Uchenie ob uluchshenii prirodnykh svoistv cheloveka (M M. i S. Sabashnikov (...)
  • 49 I failed to find any materials that could explain why Kol’tsov did not the translation of Galton’s (...)

29It is unclear from available materials, whether Solov’ev’s foreword prompted the GIZ board to reject Iudin’s manuscript, or upon reading the foreword, Iudin himself decided to withdraw it. Eventually, in late 1925, Iudin did publish the volume (without Solov’ev’s foreword, of course,) with a different, private press.48 Galton’s Essays, however, never saw the light of day.49

  • 50 I was unable to find out who had written the “editorial foreword.” The GIZ Petrograd office had se (...)
  • 51 See, for instance, E. I. Berman, “Kak uluchshit’ prirodnye svoistva cheloveka? (Evgenika),” Moloda (...)

30Although in the case of the translation of Galton’s Essays on Eugenics I did not find a “smoking gun,” it seems unlikely that Volotskoi somehow directly affected the GIZ editorial decisions. But, indirectly, he perhaps did influence the attitude to Galtonian eugenics on the part of the GIZ board members. The “editorial forewords” to both Filipchenko’s and Iudin’s books sounded remarkably similar to the criticism of Galtonian eugenics advanced by Volotskoi’s in his reports and publications of 1923-1924.50 There is little doubt that Volotskoi’s critique — inspired as it was by Florinskii’s ideas — set an example and provided a template emulated by many others.51 The republication of Florinskii’s book made this example all the more accessible and appealing. Volotskoi’s foreword, together with Slepkov’s and Vishnevskii’s reviews published in periodicals with country-wide circulation, made this template easily available to any interested individual, and especially to “materialist-biologists.”

  • 52 It is worth noting that, a year earlier Filipchenko published in the same journal his review of Vo (...)

31This situation to a certain extent explains both the contents and publication venue of Kol’tsov’s review of Florinskii’s treatise. The doyen of Soviet eugenics certainly understood that Volotskoi’s commentaries, coupled with Slepkov’s and Vishnevskii’s accolades, could provide critics of eugenics and its founder Galton with powerful ammunition. His review obviously aimed at disarming them by relegating Human Perfection and Degeneration to history and denying its relevance to contemporary Soviet eugenics. Although focused almost exclusively on “the historical value” of Florinskii’s book, Kol’tsov’s review did not mention Galton at all, instead emphasizing the role of Darwin’s ideas in Florinskii’s concept of “marital selection.” But Kol’tsov did not simply assess the contents of Florinskii’s book, he specifically refuted its editor’s attempts at presenting it as a model for “bio-social” eugenics. Furthermore, the RES president published his review not in his own Russian Eugenics Journal, but in the Bolshevik major bibliographical periodical, The Press and the Revolution, addressed to and read by “Marxists” in all fields of arts and sciences.52

  • 53 N. A. Semashko, “Ikh evgenika i nasha,” Vestnik sovremennoi meditsiny, 1927, 10: 639-49. The artic (...)

32An article published in 1927 under the revealing title “Eugenics, Ours and Theirs” by no less a figure than Commissar Semashko demonstrates that the RES president had every reason to be apprehensive.53 As its title makes clear, Semashko’s article juxtaposed “theirs,” “bourgeois,” “biological” eugenics to “ours,” “proletarian,” “social” eugenics. In his view, “eugenics comprises a part of social hygiene that takes under its purview the issues of the influence of harmful or beneficial factors on progeny.” But, the commissar emphasized, the major mistake of western eugenicists, such as Galton and Siemens, as well as their Russian supporters like Kol’tsov, is that “they understand these eugenic factors very narrowly, as biological and hereditary factors,” and “want to reduce all of eugenics to zootechnique.” However humans are not chickens or cows, Semashko asserted, echoing his deputy Solov’ev’s assessment, for “in human life, social factors play a much more important role than the factors of pure heredity.” “The eugenicists forget a small difference between humans and other animals formulated by Marx,” he continued sarcastically, namely that “humans are social animals.” Furthermore, the commissar declared, although the discussion is far from over, “chances are that acquired characteristics are inherited,” and hence the role of social environment could be even greater. “Their eugenics is to encourage the propagation of talents among the nobility,” he exclaimed, and “to bar the proletariat from entering universities.” “Our eugenics,” according to its official patron, is just the opposite: “to provide education, and especially higher education, to the people.”

  • 54 See Iu. A. Filipchenko, “Intelligentsiia i talanty,” Izvestiia biuro po evgenike, 1925, 3: 83-96, (...)
  • 55 G. Shmidt, “Ne iz verkhnikh desiati tysiach, a iz nizhnikh millionov,” PZM, 1925, 7: 128-33.
  • 56 Ibid., p. 128.

33As Semashko’s article makes evident, in the mid-1920s criticism of eugenics was elaborated along the three main lines clearly identified by Volotskoi: egalitarianism, Marxism, and Lamarckism. Although Soviet eugenicists tried very hard to distance their own research and propaganda from the race and class biases underpinning much of western eugenic research and debates, they still shared with their western counterparts a strong elitist bias vividly manifested in their numerous studies on “The Intelligentsia and Talents,” as Filipchenko titled one of his programmatic articles.54 The “editorial foreword” to Filipchenko’s 1924 book shows that critics saw this elitist bias of Soviet eugenics as utterly incompatible with the proclaimed egalitarianism of the Bolshevik state. The very title (not to mention the contents) of an article published in 1925 by the Communist Academy’s mouthpiece Under the Banner of Marxism, “Not From the Upper Ten Thousands, But From the Lower Millions,” demonstrates that this attitude to eugenics became a staple of “Marxist” critics.55 As did Solov’ev in his foreword to Iudin’s volume, they branded eugenics a “bourgeois science” and charged its Soviet proponents with advancing “capitalist,” “reactionary” ideas about human heredity, variability, development, and evolution, which meant to divert “the revolutionary energy of the proletariat” from its first and foremost task — the struggle against capitalism.56 In Florinskii’s emphasis on the “hereditary potentials” of the “lower” classes, they found substantial support for this line of criticism.

  • 57 See, for instance, Vas. Slepkov, “Nasledstvennost’i otbor u cheloveka,” PZM, 1925, 4: 102-22; idem (...)
  • 58 For a brief sketch of Batkis’s life and works, see Nora Karlsen, “Abramovich Batkis (k 110-letiiu (...)
  • 59 See G. A. Batkis, “Sovremennye evgenicheskie techeniia v svete sotsial’noi gigieny,” Sotsial’naia (...)

34Following Volotskoi’s lead, many critics accused Galtonian eugenics of focusing exclusively on heredity (nature) and ignoring environment (nurture), above all, social and economic conditions, which, according to Marx, play a defining role in the formation of the “social human being.” They criticized eugenicists for overemphasizing biology to the detriment of sociology, reiterating Marx’s dictum that human beings are “the result of social conditions and upbringing.”57 The writings of Grigorii Batkis (1895-1960), a young Bolshevik lecturer at the Department of Social Hygiene established by Semashko at Moscow University, offer an illustrative example.58 Batkis insisted that there was a conflict between social hygiene aimed at eliminating the social conditions conducive to the spread of disease and degeneration, on the one hand, and “eugenics understood in a narrow sense, i. e. as the improvement of humankind by biological methods,” on the other. He disparaged “bourgeois” eugenics for overemphasizing “biological methods, i. e. the selection of procreators” to the detriment of “the protection of the progeny from hereditary venereal diseases [and from] weakening by alcoholism and TB,” which he saw as the main task of social hygiene. Batkis concluded, however, by endorsing a “broad understanding” of “socialist eugenics,” which, in his opinion, was nothing else but “the very same social hygiene.”59 In this respect, too, with its extensive discussion of various external conditions conducive to either perfection or degeneration, Florinskii’s treatise provided critics of eugenics with weighty arguments.

  • 60 For a detailed historical analysis of the interrelations among Marxism, Darwinism, Lamarckism, and (...)

35Furthermore, the emphasis on “environment” led many Marxist critics of eugenics (and genetics) to supporting the Lamarckian notion of the inheritance of acquired characteristics in their explanations of human heredity, variability, development, and evolution.60 The first decades of the twentieth century witnessed a resurgence in the popularity of the Lamarckian explanation of evolution spurred by the rapid development of experimental biology. Various experiments conducted by embryologists, endocrinologists, biochemists, and physiologists all over the world seemed to confirm the validity of its central idea that certain features acquired by an organism during its lifetime could become inherited, thus undermining the main postulates of both Mendelian genetics and the corresponding “mutation theory” (mutationstheorie) of evolution advanced by Hugo de Vries, one of the co-discoverers of Mendel’s forgotten works.

  • 61 See, for example, Preformizm ili epigenezis? (Volodga: Severnyi pechatnik, 1926); P. A. Novikov, T (...)
  • 62 On Kammerer’s work, see Sander Gliboff, “The Case of Paul Kammerer: Evolution and Experimentation (...)
  • 63 P. Kammerer, Obshchaia biologiia (M.-L.: GIZ, 1925). The translation was made from the second upda (...)
  • 64 On Kammerer’s life story, see Arthur Koestler, The Case of the Midwife-Toad (New York: Random Hous (...)
  • 65 See P. Kammerer, Zagadka nasledstvennosti (L.: Priboi, 1927) and (M.: GIZ, 1927). For the original (...)

36Many Russian biologists came to support what was now called neo-Lamarckism.61 They regularly reviewed and abstracted works by western proponents of Lamarckism, particularly the Austrian biologist Paul Kammerer who gained wide notoriety for his experiments on the inheritance of acquired coloration patterns in salamanders.62 Indeed, in 1925, the GIZ issued Kammerer’s voluminous treatise on “general biology” that spelled out his Lamarckian views with a sympathetic (though anonymous) foreword.63 Lamarckism found a particularly large number of adherents among “materialist-biologists.” Indeed in early 1926, the Communist Academy leadership even planned to establish a special laboratory to prove the existence of the inheritance of acquired characteristics and invited Kammerer to head it. Kammerer accepted the invitation, but on the eve of his departure for Moscow, faced with accusations of scientific fraud, he committed suicide, and the plan fell through.64 Nevertheless, in 1927, two publishers, one in Moscow, another in Leningrad, released almost simultaneously the Russian translations of Kammerer’s book, The Enigma of Heredity, which reiterated his views on the heritability of acquired characteristics and contained an extensive discussion of eugenics in light of Lamarckian inheritance.65

  • 66 See, for instance, M. I. Lifshits, Uchenie o konstitutsiiakh cheloveka s ocherkom sovremennogo pol (...)
  • 67 See, for instance, S. Levit, “Evoliutsionnye teorii v biologii i marksizm,” Vestnik sovremennoi me (...)
  • 68 See, Vestnik sovremennoi meditsiny, 1925, 9: 27; and ibid., 1927, 23:
  • 69 S. Levit, “Problema konstitutsii v meditsine i dialekticheskii materialism,” Meditsina i dialektic (...)
  • 70 See, for instance, I. I. Rozenblium, “Popytka marksistkogo podkhoda k nekotorym problemam konstitu (...)
  • 71 See, for instance, “Preniia po dokladu M. V. Volotskogo,” VKA, 1927, 20: 232-54 (p. 237).

37Widely popularized by “materialist-biologists,” Lamarckism also attracted under its banners a number of physicians. Many doctors interested in what at that time was construed as “hereditary diseases,” from TB and hemophilia to syphilis and schizophrenia, sought to reconcile the old ideas of “inborn constitution” with the recently introduced notions of genetics.66 But at the same time, they wanted to defend the principles of prophylactic medicine — a cornerstone of the Bolshevik health protection system — that seemed to be ineffectual in the fight against diseases “rooted in heredity.” Lamarckism appeared to offer a way out of this conundrum. The numerous publications of Solomon Levit (1894–1938),67 a Bolshevik party member and the founder of the “Circle of Materialist-Physicians” at Moscow University’s medical school, who favorably reviewed several publications by Volotskoi, provide an illuminating example.68 In his article, expressively titled “The Problem of Constitution in Medicine and Dialectical Materialism,” Levit stated categorically that “the reconstruction of Soviet medicine on a prophylactic basis” would be theoretically unthinkable without “recognition of the inheritance of acquired characteristics.”69 As Kol’tsov’s review of Florinskii’s treatise indicates, the notions of genotype and phenotype in their application to human heredity and hereditary diseases became a major point of contention and a subject of heated debate. Some thought that “constitution” corresponded exclusively to genotype, others to phenotype, and for many on both sides of the debate, Lamarckian inheritance offered a convenient bridge between the two.70 Some physicians even proposed a “synthesis” of genetics and Lamarckism.71

  • 72 Ibid., p. 246.
  • 73 See, for instance, B. M. Zavadovskii, “Darvinizm i lamarkizm i problema nasledovaniia priobretenny (...)
  • 74 This quote comes from a commentary by Mikhail Mestergazi, a geneticist and Bolshevik party member, (...)

38In a similar way, Lamarckism appealed to a number of Marxist historians and sociologists who sought to unify the notions of human biological (Darwinian) and social (Marxian) evolution. As one of them frankly admitted, “as a person interested in the synthesis of the concepts of sociological and biological progress, I cannot imagine how such synthesis could be accomplished without the Lamarckian idea.”72 As a result, for many “materialist-biologists,” “materialist-historians,” and “materialist-physicians,” Lamarckism became an integral part of Marxism.73 They insisted that “a Marxist is necessarily obliged to be a Lamarckist,”74 and decried as “anti-materialist” and “anti-Marxist” any attempt to criticize the inheritance of acquired characteristics.

Fig. 6-3. The author of “bio-social” eugenics Mikhail Volotskoi. This photo was taken at Volotskoi’s apartment in either 1926 or 1927, at the very time that he was actively involved in debates over “socialist” eugenics and was elaborating his own “bio-social” eugenics. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of N. Bogdanov.

  • 75 See, for instance, his favorable review of the book published by a supporter of Lamarckism under t (...)
  • 76 For a sample of publications by members of the Lamarck Circle, see E. S. Smirnov, Iu. M. Vermel’, (...)
  • 77 See ARAN, f. 356, op. 1, d. 38, ll. 53-54. Unfortunately, the file does not contain the text of th (...)

39Volotskoi’s lack of basic training in genetics, as well as his association with the Timiriazev Institute that became a major bastion of Lamarckism, certainly influenced the anthropologist’s views on the subject (see fig. 6-3).75 Upon his transfer from IEB to the Timiriazev Institute, Volotskoi joined the “Lamarck Circle,” an informal group organized by several members of the institute for the studies and propaganda of the inheritance of acquired characteristics.76 He regularly attended its meetings and even delivered a report on “Modern eugenics and its relation to Lamarckism.”77 As we saw, in all of his critical assessments of western eugenics and its Soviet followers, especially their leaders Kol’tsov and Filipchenko, he repeatedly emphasized that, in contrast to Galton and his disciples, Florinskii had acknowledged the role of the inheritance of acquired characteristics in human perfection and degeneration. There is little doubt that Volotskoi’s publication and active popularization of Florinskii’s treatise added fresh fuel to the heated polemics over Lamarckism in the Soviet Union.

  • 78 See, for instance, lengthy analyses of the concept of the inheritance of acquired characteristics (...)
  • 79 See, for instance, N. K. Kol’tsov, “Noveishie popytki dokazat’nasledstvennost’blagopriobretennykh (...)
  • 80 T. H. Morgan and Iu. A. Filipchenko, Nasledstvenny li priobretennye priznaki (Leningrad: Seiatel’, (...)

40Soviet eugenicists spent considerable efforts answering these “Marxist” criticisms. Kol’tsov, Filipchenko, and their numerous students waged a concerted campaign against Lamarckism.78 Kol’tsov published several articles on the subject in professional and popular periodicals.79 Filipchenko, meanwhile, arranged for the publication of a special brochure under the revealing title Are Acquired Characteristics Inherited?. The brochure included two pieces: one was the translation of an article by the most influential US geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan, and the other was written by Filipchenko himself.80 Both critically examined some recent experiments conducted by various scientists to prove the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Needless to say, both answered the question posed in the brochure’s title in the negative. But it is worth noting that the only Russian scientist whom Filipchenko mentioned by name as a supporter of Lamarckism was Volotskoi.

41Indeed, Filipchenko wrote a special section on Volotskoi’s “bio-social” eugenics and severely criticized the anthropologist’s articles that had appeared in Physical Culture in Light of Science in the preceding year. As we saw in the previous chapter, in these articles Volotskoi had emphasized the role of the environment, and particularly physical culture, in the betterment and degeneration of humankind and supported his views with extensive excerpts from Florinskii’s treatise. Filipchenko did not mention Florinskii’s name in his article, but its very language shows that he was well aware of where Volotskoi had found his inspiration and took his fellow eugenicist to task. “If the inheritance of acquired characteristics exists,” Filipchenko argued:

  • 81 Iu. A. Filipchenko, “Nasledstvennost’priobretennykh priznakov,” in Morgan and Filipchenko, Nasleds (...)

then, obviously, the representatives of this [lower] class would carry the footprints of all those unfavorable influences that during long periods of time had affected their fathers, grandfathers, and a number of more remote ancestors. And because of this, our longsuffering proletarians and peasants must possess much fewer favorable hereditary potentials (nasledstvennye zachatki), the genes of the most valuable special abilities, than do [the representatives of] other classes that had lived for so long under very favorable conditions.81

42If Kol’tsov and Filipchenko countered the propaganda of Lamarckism in print, Serebrovskii confronted its supporters from within their own stronghold — the Communist Academy. Much like Volotskoi, in the post-revolutionary years Serebrovskii had developed a serious interest in Marxism and eventually even joined the Bolshevik party. But, unlike Volotskoi, he was a geneticist by both training and occupation (see fig. 6-4). He put his knowledge of both genetics and Marxism to the vigorous defense of his specialty from the accusations of being “anti-Marxist” and “anti-materialist.” He actually succeeded in “converting” several ardent Lamarckists, for instance, the militant “materialist-physician” Levit, into students and supporters of genetics.

  • 82 See ARAN, f. 1595, op. 1, d. 389, l. 1.
  • 83 See a stenographic record of the report in ARAN, f. 350, op. 2, d. 112. A full text of the report (...)

43In late 1925 Serebrovskii joined the Society of Materialist-Biologists established by the Communist Academy.82 Just a few weeks later, on 12 January 1926, he delivered a long report on “Morgan’s and Mendel’s theory of heredity and Marxists” to the “section of natural sciences” recently organized within the Communist Academy.83 He argued forcefully that it was not Lamarckism, but modern genetics that represented a “truly materialist,” “dialectical,” “revolutionary,” and, hence, “Marxist” view of heredity.

Fig. 6-4. During the Fifth International Genetics Congress in Berlin, September 1927. Left to right: US geneticist Leslie C. Dunn, German poultry breeder Bruno Duringen, and Alexander Serebrovskii at Duringen’s Poultry Museum in Berlin. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of ARAN.

44Like his teacher Kol’tsov, Serebrovskii critically analyzed recent publications by the proponents of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. And like Filipchenko, he switched almost seamlessly from defending genetics to a lengthy discussion of eugenics. Serebrovskii readily admitted that some western eugenicists, including Galton, did approach the issues of the betterment of humankind from “the viewpoint of their own class.” But, he insisted, this is not “the reason to accuse Mendel-Morgan’s theory of complicity [in this position].” Echoing Volotskoi’s report on “bio-social” eugenics delivered just a few weeks earlier, he stressed that, unlike genetics, “eugenics is not an exact science, but a normative doctrine that uses the modern understanding of heredity as a basis for its own conclusions regarding how one could better human society.” But the moment we begin to discuss “good” and “bad,” norms and values, we leave the ground of exact science and enter a “wide field of class interests,” Serebrovskii continued, and “naturally, since it evaluates something, [it] cannot be uniform: every class must create its own eugenics.” Just because bourgeois eugenicists use modern genetics to substantiate their views, he asserted, it does not mean that “in creating its own eugenics, the proletariat should use Lamarckism.” This approach “mixes together two parts of the phenomenon”: a biological doctrine (genetics) with a normative doctrine (eugenics), and, as Serebrovskii put it, “with the dirty bourgeois-class bathwater [of eugenics], it throws out the biological baby [of genetics].”

45Serebrovskii rejected all attempts at evaluating the “hereditary worth” of any particular social group that so irked the Marxist critics of eugenics. But, he asserted carefully, since we know that the distribution of such human traits as height, skin color, temperament, etc. in a population is not uniform, from a theoretical point of view, it is possible that “elements of talents, elements of giftedness are not spread across humanity in a uniform way.” Therefore, he argued, we should consider the country’s entire population as “our societal capital, in exactly the same way we consider such assets as the entirety of wheat, cattle, [and] horses, which constitute the economic might of our country,” and, hence, the biological, hereditary quality of the population must be our utmost concern.

46Serebrovskii suggested that “the entirety of [all] genes, which in a human society create talented, prominent individuals, or, on the contrary, idiots, must be seen as national capital, a genofond (gene fund), from which the country draws its people.” This genofond is constantly changing under the influence of such processes as mutations, differential fecundity, and differential mortality, he continued, and these changes could result in the accumulation of either “bad” or “good” genes in the population, and, hence, could lead to either its hereditary degeneration or its hereditary improvement. We do not yet know the exact causes of mutations, Serebrovskii elaborated, but the mutation process occurs independently of human actions, whilst the processes of differential fecundity and differential mortality could be directly influenced by “government policies.” “Nearly every action of every government agency, in one way or another, affects the genofond,” he concluded.

  • 84 Volotskoi, “O nekotorykh techeniiakh v sovremennoi evgenike,” p. 85. For the original citation see (...)
  • 85 See A. S. Serebrovskii, “Genogeografiia i genofond sel’skokhoziaistvennykh zhivotnykh SSSR,” Nauch (...)
  • 86 On the further development of this concept within the framework of population genetics and evoluti (...)

47In his report, Serebrovskii did not mention by name either Volotskoi or Florinskii, but the essence of his arguments indicates that he was familiar with and perhaps even inspired by the works of both. As an active RES member, Serebrovskii had undoubtedly heard Volotskoi’s report on Florinskii’s treatise and then read it on the pages of the Russian Eugenics Journal. As an avowed Marxist himself, he must have paid close attention to the critique of Galtonian eugenics advanced by his fellow Marxist: he might well have attended the November 1925 meeting at the Timiriazev Institute where Volotskoi presented his “system of eugenics as a bio-social discipline.” Indeed, Serebrovskii’s notion of genofond appears remarkably akin to Florinskii’s sentiment, regarding “many excellent, talented individuals [who] remain hidden in the mass of the people as wasted, unproductive capital that has neither purpose, nor use,”84 which Volotskoi had repeatedly quoted and emphasized. Serebrovskii’s notion of genofond as “the entirety of genes” contained in a population profoundly influenced the development of population genetics, geno-geography,85 and what would later be called modern evolutionary synthesis.86 It also proved instrumental in the debates over the directions of Soviet eugenics.

  • 87 See, for instance, Anon., “U nas ogromnyi genofond,” 30 dnei, 1926, 12: 84-85.
  • 88 N. K. Kol’tsov, “Rodoslovnye nashikh vydvizhentsev,” REZh, 1926, 4 (103-43, [Babkov, pp. 152-95].

48Kol’tsov quickly seized the possibilities presented by the ideas of his former student. In November 1926, he delivered a public lecture that had considerable resonance.87 In this lecture, soon published in the REZh and deliberately crafted to respond to the Marxist critics of eugenics, Kol’tsov presented the “eugenic genealogies” of several prominent cultural figures, who came not from the intelligentsia, but from the peasantry. Probably with the “editorial foreword” to Filipchenko’s 1924 book on eugenics in mind, he devoted more than half of his lecture to the pedigrees of Maxim Gorky and Fedor Chaliapin. Based on these genealogies, Kol’tsov argued that the country’s population possessed “a gigantic genofond,” containing countless genes of creativity, talent, and genius, and that the utilization of this “genetic wealth” was the primary task of Soviet eugenics.88 Answering the accusations of ignoring the role of social and economic conditions in human development, Kol’tsov echoed both Florinskii’s and Volotskoi’s claims by emphasizing that this genofond had been all but lost under the tsarist regime, since many bearers of the genes of creativity among proletarians and peasants could not realize their “genetic potentials.” Only the Bolshevik Revolution had created the conditions, he declared, that allow everyone to develop fully their “hereditary talents.”

  • 89 For a stenographic record of the report and its discussion, see ARAN, f. op. 2, d. 68, ll. 1-71. T (...)

49To be sure, Volotskoi did not remain silent. Just two weeks after Kol’tsov’s lecture, on 7 December, he answered his opponents blow by blow in a two-hour-long report on “Issues in Eugenics” delivered to a meeting of the Society of Materialist-Biologists.89 He touched upon practically all of the arguments, objections, and criticisms advanced by Filipchenko, Serebrovskii, and Kol’tsov: the interrelations among eugenics, genetics, Lamarckism, Darwinism, and Marxism, the race and class biases of modern eugenics, the place of the struggle for existence and selection in eugenic ideas and programmes, and the role of “positive” and “negative” eugenics in the betterment of humanity. To support his views, Volotskoi again invoked Florinskii’s treatise, especially, the professor’s idea that the removal of all barriers to the intermixing of different races and classes constitutes the main instrument of human perfection.

  • 90 “Preniia po dokladu M. V. Volotskogo,” p. 236.

50The report spurred a heated discussion on the floor, with nine commentators, including Serebrovskii, addressing various points in Volotskoi’s arguments. This time, Volotskoi evidently managed to persuade at least some of his opponents. Mikhail Mestergazi, a geneticist and Bolshevik party member, agreed with him (and Florinskii) that “Wide intermixing and favorable conditions for development are the foundations for the betterment of the human type.”90 All of the nine discussants concurred with Volotskoi’s “class analysis” of the essential differences between “bourgeois” eugenics developed by Galton and his followers in the West and in Russia, on the one hand, and “bio-social,” “proletarian,” “socialist,” “objective” eugenics that must be advanced by “materialist-biologists,” on the other. Much of the discussion revolved around the interrelations between heredity and environment, genotype and phenotype, nature and nurture, and their relative role in defining necessary actions and policies that could further eugenics ’major goal of the betterment of humankind. Naturally, everyone spoke at length either for or against the Lamarckian inheritance of acquired characteristics.

  • 91 “Preniia po dokladu M. V. Volotskogo,” p. 243.

51Eminent physician and RES member Fedor Andreev suggested, however, that the main “issue in eugenics” was not the inheritance of acquired characteristics, but whether interventions aimed at the improvement of humanity should be directed at genotypes or phenotypes. Eugenicists, he argued, echoing numerous Marxist critics, are concerned exclusively with genotypes. But since under different external conditions the same genotype could produce vastly different phenotypes, he declared, “it might be more effective to advance euphenics,” instead of eugenics.91

52In his comments Andreev articulated a notion that had already been floating in the air. Indeed, just two weeks prior, Mestergazi had voiced a very similar idea in his report to the same society that also addressed the debate between geneticists and Lamarckists. “No matter the way the genotypes are formed,” he stated poetically:

  • 92 M. Mestergazi, “Epigenezis i genetika,” VKA, 1927, 19: 197-233 (p. 232).

it is the phenotypes that live, suffer, fight for world revolution, and build socialism. We should not be afraid of truth, but seek to penetrate the mystery of genes, conquer them, and then the field of eugenics would become as momentous as euphenics that should for the moment be in the focus of our attention and should direct all its forces to the betterment of phenotypes.92

  • 93 The debates over “bourgeois” and “proletarian” eugenics also found vivid expression in a variety o (...)
  • 94 N. Kol’tsov, “Evfenika,” BME, 1929, 9: 689-92. All the following quotations are from this source. (...)

53The discussions spurred by Volotskoi’s bio-social eugenics and its underpinnings in Florinskii’s Human Perfection and Degeneration proved highly stimulating.93 Following Andreev’s line of reasoning, Kol’tsov elaborated further the notion of “euphenics” as “a doctrine that constitutes a necessary supplement to eugenics.” According to the RES president, the goal of euphenics was to study the “methods of changing the phenotype, without changing the genotype, in order to obtain the most valuable for us phenotypes of cultivated plants, domesticated animals, and humans.”94 Kol’tsov clearly aimed at separating eugenics, with its goal of the hereditary betterment of mankind, from various actions and policies, which Volotskoi and his like-minded colleagues advocated under the names of “bio-social,” “proletarian,” and “socialist” eugenics, blurring the differences between hereditary and non-hereditary improvements. According to Kol’tsov, such “social measures” as education, prophylactic medicine, and the protection of children’s, adolescents’, and mothers’ health cannot affect the genotype and, thus, have no direct eugenic consequences. But they do affect the phenotype and thus work as “powerful euphenic instruments,” facilitating or inhibiting the expression of certain genes. “Euphenics requires,” Kol’tsov emphasized, “that every child be accorded such conditions of upbringing and education under which his/her special hereditary abilities can find the fullest and most valuable expression in his/her phenotype.”

  • 95 See ARAN, f. 1595, op. 1, d. 323, ll. 1-2.
  • 96 See S. L [evit], “Otchet o rabote kabineta nasledstvennosti i konstitutsii cheloveka pri Mediko-bi (...)
  • 97 See N. Kol’tsov, “Zadachi i metody izucheniia rasovoi patologii,” REZh, 1929, 7 (2-3): 69-87, [Bab (...)
  • 98 A. Serebrovskii, “Galton,” Bol’shaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia (hereafter (M.: Sovetskaia entsiklo (...)
  • 99 T. Iudin, “Evgenika,” BME, 1929, 9: 663-70; N. Kol’tsov, “Evfenika,” ibid., 9: 689-92.

54During the 1924-1928 period, eugenicists managed to fend off “Marxist” critics and to continue the institutional and intellectual development of their discipline. In early 1927, the Communist Academy’s section of natural sciences established a genetics laboratory headed by Serebrovskii, and anthropogenetics became its major focus.95 A year later, the “materialist-physician” Levit, who had converted to genetics under Serebrovskii’s tutelage, organized an “Office of Human Heredity and Constitution” at the Medical-Biological Institute (MBI) funded by Narkompros.96 The same year, Kol’tsov spearheaded the establishment of a new “Society for the Study of Racial Pathology and the Geographical Distribution of Diseases” under Narkomzdrav’s patronage.97 At the very beginning of 1929, both the Great Soviet Encyclopedia and the Great Medical Encyclopedia published Serebrovskii’s extensive articles on Galton.98 The medical encyclopedia also carried a lengthy article on eugenics written by Iudin, followed by Kol’tsov’s entry on euphenics.99 But just a few months later, Soviet eugenicists found themselves under attack once again.

The Demise of Eugenics?

  • 100 For details, see Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1928-1941 (New York (...)
  • 101 On the Shakhty trial, see Kendal Bailes, Science and Russian Culture in an Age of Revolutions (Blo (...)
  • 102 For a general assessment of the relations between specialists and the state in the field of health (...)
  • 103 For a detailed analysis of the impact of the “revolution from above” on the Soviet science system, (...)

55The new attack on eugenics reflected profound transformations in the economic, ideological, institutional, and political landscapes of Soviet Russia induced by a new revolution — a “revolution from above.” During the late 1920s, the General Secretary of the Bolshevik Party Joseph Stalin began to consolidate his own power over the party and that of the party apparatus over the nation.100 The infamous 1928 “Shakhty Trial” of “bourgeois specialists” — a highly publicized show-trial of several engineers accused of sabotage and of “wrecking” the coal mines entrusted to their direction — heralded the end to the role played by educated professionals as government advisers and experts in all fields of the country’s life.101 That role was now entrusted to party bureaucrats and ideologues, while professionals were obliged merely to follow the directives of the party apparatus.102 The year 1929, which Stalin himself named the “Great Break,” marked drastic changes in all facets of life, including the abolition of NEP, the collectivization of the peasantry, crash industrialization, extensive militarization, and the all-out launching of the ambitious first Five-Year Plan. It also resulted in the replacement of practically all commissars, including Semashko, with trusted Stalinists. The “revolution from above” greatly diminished the autonomy and authority enjoyed by the scientific community during the 1920s and led to the rapid “Stalinization” of Soviet science: science and scientists were “mobilized to the service of socialist construction” and placed under the watchful gaze of the party-state apparatus and its head, the “Great Teacher” Stalin.103

  • 104 See P. Rokitskii, Mozhno li uluchshit’chelovecheskii rod (M.-L.: GIZ, 1928).

56Already the first wave of Marxist criticism during 1924-1928 made many Soviet proponents of eugenics wary of “ideological” dangers inherent to their studies. Some of them began avoiding the very word “eugenics,” as well as the name of its founder, Galton. In late 1925, Filipchenko added the word “genetics” to the name of his Bureau of Eugenics, and from that time on, its journal, renamed accordingly Herald of the Bureau of Eugenics and Genetics, stopped publishing any work on eugenics and human heredity more generally, focusing exclusively on the genetics of cultivated plants and domesticated animals. In 1928, Filipchenko dropped the word “eugenics” from the names of his bureau and his journal altogether. The same year, Rokitskii published a popular brochure, titled Can Mankind Be Bettered, which discussed eugenics at length, but did not even mention Galton’s name.104

  • 105 See ARAN, f. 356, op. 3, d. 60, l. 301.
  • 106 V. M. Volotskoi, Professional’nye vrednosti i potomstvo (M.: Institut, 1929).
  • 107 See Trudy Vsesoiuznogo s” ezda po genetike i selektsii, 6 vols. (L.: Redkollegiia, 1930). See also (...)
  • 108 A. Sh. Shorokhova, “Novye puti v selektsii cheloveka i mlekopitaiushchikh,” Vrachebnaia gazeta, 19 (...)
  • 109 See RO RNB, f. 813, op. 1, d. 363 and d. 736.

57The Great Break exacerbated this trend. To give but one example, Volotskoi had initially titled his 1926 book Eugenics and Occupational Hazards.105 But when it finally appeared in print in late 1929, it bore the title Occupational Hazards and the Progeny.106 Furthermore, the entire subject of human heredity seemed to have become suspect. The First All-Union Congress on Genetics and Breeding, which was held (after several delays) in January 1929 in Leningrad and brought together nearly 2,000 participants, did not have a single session on human genetics.107 The only report on “hereditary diseases” dealt not with human but animal ailments. The only report mentioning humans as research subjects, titled “New Paths in the Selection of Humans and Mammals,” was delivered by the gynecologist Antonina Shorokhova at a session on the genetics of domesticated animals presided over by Serebrovskii. Shorokhova’s presentation, based on more than a decade of research on artificial insemination in women as a means to fight infertility, suggested that her experience might prove useful for animal breeders.108 Just a few months after the congress, in May, Filipchenko rejected the offer to renew the membership of his bureau in the International Federation of Eugenic Organizations. In December, he informed Kol’tsov of his intention to withdraw from the REZh editorial board, and only his untimely death from meningitis the following spring prevented Filipchenko from making his intentions public.109

  • 110 A. S. Serebrovskii, “Antropogenetika i evgenika v sotsialisticheskom obshchestve,” Trudy Kabineta (...)

58Of course, several proponents of eugenics tried to adjust their enterprise to the new situation. In late 1929, the first volume of Proceedings issued by the MBI Office of Human Heredity and Constitution opened with two programmatic articles by its editors. One was written by Serebrovskii on “Anthropogenetics and Eugenics in Socialist Society,” and another by Levit on “Genetics and Pathology (Regarding the Current Crisis in Medicine).”110 Following the current party line on “mobilizing science for the needs of building socialism,” both articles presented research on human heredity as vital for socialist construction. Serebrovskii even suggested that “probably, it would be possible to fulfill the Five-Year Plan in just two and a half years,” if only the country’s genofond would have been “purged of various forms of hereditary diseases.” Perhaps inspired by Shorokhova’s report at the genetics congress, he found a “truly socialist” way of achieving this eugenic goal: the “separation of love and reproduction” through the artificial insemination of willing women with “recommended sperm” from a “talented producer,” who thus could “father up to 1,000 or even 10,000 children.” If this program were adopted, Serebrovskii opined, “human selection would make gigantic leaps forward,” and would lead to the increased productivity, efficiency, and creativity of “new forms of human beings” in the USSR. To implement this vision, Serebrovskii noted, the country, of course, needed to expand research in anthropogenetics considerably.

59Although much less visionary and more technical that Serebrovskii’s, Levit’s article also advanced the view that anthropogenetics held the key to solving nearly all of the major problems facing modern medicine, ranging from the etiology and epidemiology of various diseases in human populations to the variability of infectious agents and human susceptibility to pathogens. Following Kol’tsov, Levit emphasized the distinction between eugenic and euphenic consequences of medical and social interventions and insisted, contrary to his own earlier pronouncements, that “it is genetics that provides a scientific foundation for prophylactic medicine.”

  • 111 For a detailed, though dated analysis of the Bolshevization of the Academy of Sciences, see Loren (...)
  • 112 For detailed, but also dated analyses of these campaigns in English, see David Joravsky, Soviet Ma (...)

60Serebrovskii’s and Levit’s panegyrics to “socialist eugenics” proved ill-timed. They appeared amidst two major campaigns of the Great Break aimed at placing trusted Stalinists in positions of power within the entire Soviet science system. One campaign was directed “against bourgeois scientists” and resulted in the “Bolshevization” of the leadership of practically all scientific institutions, beginning with the Academy of Sciences.111 Another was waged “against mechanistic materialism and menshevizing idealism,” which Stalin personally identified with the “left” and “right” deviations from the orthodox party line, and resulted in drastic changes of leadership in the institutions of “communist science.”112 Under these conditions, Serebrovskii’s “manifesto” of socialist eugenics, with its assertion of the role of specialists in human heredity as leading experts on the Five-Year Plan (and the county’s future more generally), was bound to backfire.

  • 113 D. Bednyi, “Evgenika,” Izvestiia, 4 June 1930, p. 4. On Bednyi and his role in Soviet literature, (...)
  • 114 Тhe texts of Bednyi’s poem and Serebrovskii’s response have been in R. A. Fando, “Polemika o sud’b (...)

61The first volley came in early June 1930, when Izvestiia published a lengthy satirical poem, titled “Eugenics,” written by Dem’ian Bednyi, a well-known “proletarian” poet.113 The poem interspersed certain phrases from Serebrovskii’s manifesto with a sarcastic commentary by the poet and excerpts from an indignant letter he had allegedly received from an anonymous female correspondent. Bednyi mocked both Serebrovskii’s vision of “socialist eugenics” and his claim to authority in questions related to the Five-Year Plan and Soviet reproductive policies. Serebrovskii did not take Bednyi’s satire quite seriously and even tried to publish on the pages of the same newspaper a similarly sarcastic response, also written in verse. But his attempt at a public retort proved futile: Izvestiia rejected his poem.114

  • 115 Anon., “Po povodu proizvodstvennogo plana ‘sotsialisticheskoi evgeniki’,” Moskovskii meditsinskii (...)
  • 116 A. S. Serebrovskii, “Pis’mo v redaktsiiu,” Mediko-biologicheskii zhurnal, 4-5: 447-48, [Babkov, pp (...)
  • 117 A. I. Abrikosov, “Trudy kabineta nasledstvennosti i konstitutsii cheloveka. Vyp. 1,” Russkaia klin (...)
  • 118 For the standard instructions to a workers’brigade conducting an inspection, see GARF, f. А2307, o (...)
  • 119 See G. Sobolev, “Russkoe evgenicheskoe obshchestvo,” VARNITSO, 1930, 5: 49-50. On the campaign dir (...)

62A few months later, much heavier guns entered the fray. In September, the “Leninism in Medicine” society, a major stronghold of “materialist-physicians” in Moscow, issued a ten-page exposé, under the telling title “Regarding the Production Plan of ‘Socialist Eugenics’,” which characterized Serebrovskii’s eugenic ideas as “psychotic delusion.”115 The unsigned article did not oust eugenics from building socialism outright. But it stated that the true path of “socialist eugenics” was “the path of prophylactic medicine, regular health check-ups, and making labor and life conditions healthier,” thus substituting euphenics for eugenics. Serebrovskii immediately published a repentant letter, admitting that his 1929 manifesto contained a number of “anti-party mistakes” and “mechanistic formulas” and suffered from “abstract theorizing.” Yet, he clearly did not see the writing on the wall and defiantly insisted that “these mistaken statements [are] in no way related to the main thoughts developed in the article.”116 Perhaps this new attack would have proven insufficient to spell the end of eugenics in the Soviet Union. Indeed, several concurrent reviews of the MBI Proceedings that appeared in specialized medical and biological periodicals praised the research conducted at the Office of Human Heredity and Constitution and called for “distributing it [the Proceedings volume] as widely as possible.”117 But the attack on eugenics in print also coincided with certain institutional actions undertaken by the Soviet authorities. Contrary to the assertions of some later historians, these actions were not directed specifically against eugenics. In early 1930, in its drive for establishing control over the entire system of Soviet science, the party apparatus initiated the “inspection” of all learned societies to investigate their “conformity to the goals of the Five-Year Plan and socialist construction” and their “links with industry and agriculture.”118 In the course of the inspection, usually conducted by a “workers’ brigade” from a nearby factory, every scholarly society had to present its charter and membership roll (indicating the percentage of workers, peasants, and Bolshevik party members) for review and approval to the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) — an arm of the country’s security services. At the same time, the party apparatus moved to install trusted party members — recruited mostly from among the members of the Communist Academy and the graduates of the Institutes of Red Professors — on the editorial boards of all scholarly periodicals. Emphasizing “deep contradictions between Marxism and eugenics,” its critics immediately singled out the Russian Eugenics Society, together with its president, for a particularly thorough “inspection.”119

  • 120 The plan is preserved among Kol’tsov’s personal papers in ARAN, f. 450, op. 4, d. 7, ll. 3-7.

63In this tense situation, Kol’tsov apparently decided not to subject the society, its journal, and its members to the scrutiny of Stalin’s security services: he simply did not submit the required papers to the NKVD. The society ceased to exist and its journal was discontinued with the last 1930 issue. In a few months, preparing the IEB plan for 1931, Kol’tsov renamed its “eugenics department” as the “department of anthropogenetics.” In a clear response to Marxist critics, he reformulated the tasks of the “new” department as “studying the various phenomena of human heredity and variability, defined not only by heredity, but also by the influences of external environment.”120

  • 121 A manuscript of this article is preserved among Kol’tsov’s personal papers in ARAN, f. 450, op. 5, (...)

64If the “pure science” of eugenics could perhaps still be pursued under the name of anthropogenetics, the “applied science” was clearly out. In the spring of 1930, Davidenkov, the head of the Genetics Bureau of the Moscow Society of Psychiatrists and Neurologists, wrote a lengthy article, titled “Our Eugenic Perspectives.”121 It was clearly aimed at adjusting Soviet eugenics to the realities of the Great Break. Echoing Serebrovskii’s 1929 manifesto, Davidenkov advanced an elaborate “practical eugenic programme” suitable for a socialist society. The programme included the creation of a “Central Eugenics Institute” to prepare the cadres necessary for its administration and a “Supreme State Eugenic Council” to coordinate all eugenic actions and policies. The first step in the implementation of this programme was “the obligatory eugenic screening of the entire urban population.” Such screening would identify the “hereditary endowment” of every individual and thus place every single person in a specific “higher or lower eugenic category.” “Medico-eugenic bureaus” established throughout the country would advise prospective couples on “eugenic consequences” and on possible benefits or disadvantages that their marriage could have for their future children. Marriages between individuals of the “highest eugenic category” would be encouraged and supported by a number of subsidies and allowances for each child. Marriages between individuals of the “lowest eugenic category” would be discouraged and such individuals enticed (by education and financial incentives) to undergo “voluntary sterilization.” Marriages between all other persons would remain uncontrolled. According to Davidenkov, this long-term programme would eventually result in a substantial increase in the number of “hereditary gifted” individuals in the country’s population. Davidenkov probably planned to publish the article in the Russian Eugenics Journal, but, expectedly, it never saw the light of day.

  • 122 Tkachev, Sotsial’naia gigiena, pp. 11, 153.
  • 123 G. Batkis, “Evgenika,” BSE, 1931, 23: 812-19, [Babkov, pp. 519-24].
  • 124 Solov’ev, “Neskol’ko slov o ‘razvedenii porody cheloveka’,” in idem, Stroitel’stvo sovetskogo zdra (...)

65Social hygienists, the most active proponents of “applied eugenics” during the preceding years, were hit hard by the dismissal of Semashko from Narkomzdrav and rushed to distance their field from its former “constituent part,” as the commissar had defined eugenics just a few years prior. During the 1920s, they had presented social hygiene as “a science of the future, which studies and shapes the facts that promote the biological well-being of humanity,” and saw eugenics as “the ultimate goal of all sanitary-medical activities.”122 After the Great Break their attitude changed drastically. In 1931, Batkis published an entry on eugenics in the new edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Obviously trying to forget his own earlier equating of social hygiene with eugenics, he offered an extensive critique of capitalist, western, bourgeois eugenics, peppered with quotations from Marx and Engels. He then turned to the Soviet proponents of this “pernicious” doctrine, characterizing Kol’tsov and Filipchenko as “fascists” and Serebrovskii and Levit as “menshevizing idealists.”123 The next year, Moisei Langis, another member of the State Institute of Social Hygiene, produced a volume of Solov’ev’s collected works. Along with numerous articles and speeches on various facets of “building the Soviet health protection system,” the volume carried the text of Solov’ev’s “foreword” to Iudin’s book on eugenics, which appeared in print for the first time and was obviously meant to demonstrate social hygienists’ critical attitude towards eugenics.124

  • 125 On “public discussion” as an instrument of Bolshevik policies, Krementsov, Stalinist Science.

66The labels “fascists” and “menshevising idealists” Batkis attached to the Soviet proponents of eugenics were not merely a reflection of “the sharpening of the class struggle” and the division between “us” and “them” forcibly imposed by the party-state apparatus during the “revolution from above.” Although the fierce campaign “against mechanistic materialism and menshevizing idealism” aimed first and foremost at establishing the party apparatus’s control over scientific institutions, it was given the form of a “public discussion” and as such had important intellectual consequences.125

  • 126 See, for instance, P. I. Valeskaln and B. P. Tokin, eds., Uchenie Darvina marksizm-leninzm (M.: Pa (...)
  • 127 Engels’s brochure appeared in Russia in numerous editions and translations, see F. Engels, Ot obez (...)

67One “side effect” of the campaign was the expulsion of “the biological” from any substantive discussion of human nature and humanity’s future. Darwinism, one of the “two pillars” of Volotskoi’s bio-social eugenics, was swallowed whole by the other one — Marxism. Any attempt to consider the role that the biological factors identified by Darwin, such as variability, heredity, and selection, could play in the future evolution of humanity, and especially, “its vanguard,” the Soviet Union, was now condemned as “pernicious” biologization (or zoologization) and viciously attacked by the new generation of Marxists nurtured by the Soviet educational system.126 Marxist critics did not deny the role of biological factors in the past evolution of the human species. To the contrary, they hailed Darwinism as the “scientific foundation” of their sacred doctrine, Marxism, as the full name of the Timiriazev Institute clearly manifested. But, for them, the role of biology in human evolution had ended with the emergence of “labor” and “class society,” at which point, according to Engels’s widely publicized brochure on “Anteil der Arbeit an der Menschwerdung des Affen” (The Role of Labor in the Origin of Humans from Apes), social factors took over the determination of the further development of humanity.127

  • 128 See L. Vygotskii, “Sotsialisticheskaia peredelka cheloveka,” VARNITSO, 1930, 9-10: 36-44. For a da (...)
  • 129 V. I. Kremianskii, “Perekhod ot vedushchei roli estestvennogo otbora k vedushchei roli truda,” Usp (...)
  • 130 See, for instance, materials of the First All-Union Conference of Teachers of Deaf-Mute Children h (...)

68From now on, the future Homo superior would be created not by managing reproduction and altering heredity, but by manipulating upbringing and education. This point was forcefully articulated in the fall of 1930 by Lev Vygotskii, one of the leaders of “Marxist” psychology and pedagogy, in an article that appeared under the characteristic title “Socialist Reconstruction of Man” in VARNITSO, the mouthpiece of the campaign to subjugate science to the tasks of building socialism.128 As an article published in the Advances of Modern Biology under the revealing title “The Transition from the Leading Role of Natural Selection to the Leading Role of Labor” clearly indicated, in the Marxist view of human evolution, Nurture has overcome Nature.129 The revolutionary dream of creating a “higher socio-biological type, an Ubermencsh,” as Trotsky had put it, was replaced by the task of the “socio-political upbringing of the builders of socialism” put forward by Stalin and his ideologues.130

69The exclusion of biology from the Marxist vision of humanity’s future and, with it, the elimination of any substantive discussion of eugenics from Soviet discourse on human reproduction, heredity, variability, development, and evolution, was not merely a result of the imposition of the new policies by the party-state apparatus during the Great Break. It was facilitated by sharp disagreements over the actual contents of “Soviet” eugenics among its proponents, fueled by their different disciplinary affiliations, institutional positions, and general worldviews.

70The materials presented above allow one to distinguish roughly three broad groups involved with eugenics in the Soviet Union. The first was a cohort of established, older scientists, born in the 1870s and early 1880s (such as Davidenkov, Filipchenko, Kol’tsov, and Iudin), with a long-standing interest in the issues of human reproduction, heredity, development, and evolution, whose involvement with eugenics had predated the Bolshevik Revolution and who spearheaded its propaganda and institutionalization during the 1920s. This group was largely indifferent or even hostile to Marxism and the Bolsheviks’efforts to build their own “proletarian” science. But they were willing to reach a compromise with the new rulers and serve as advisors, experts, and consultants to government agents and agencies in exchange for the opportunity to continue and expand their own scientific pursuits.

71The second was a group of first generation Bolsheviks, also born in the 1870s (such as Radin, Semashko, Solov’ev, and Sysin) who after the revolution became the patrons and conduits of eugenics in various government agencies, especially Narkomzdrav. All of them were avowed Marxists and saw the creation of “proletarian” science as their major task. Yet they valued the expertise of the older “bourgeois” generation of Russian scientists and followed the scientists’ recommendations in promoting the development of particular scientific disciplines and research directions, such as eugenics.

72The third was a cohort of younger scholars, born mostly in the 1890s, who were starting their academic careers just after the Bolshevik Revolution (such as Batkis, Levit, Serebrovskii, Slepkov, and Volotskoi). They embraced both Marxism and the Bolshevik efforts to build “proletarian,” “communist” science whose institutions provided them with employment and career opportunities. It was this last group that supplied the most vocal critics of “bourgeois” eugenics and proponents of “proletarian” science. Each of these groups had its own vision of what eugenics was and what kind of eugenics should be developed in the Soviet Union, illustrated by their diverging views on both Galton’s eugenics and Florinskii’s eugamics.

73As its editor, reviewers, and commentators all readily agreed, the “scientific contents” of Human Perfection and Degeneration were outdated and did not correspond to the current state of knowledge. How, then, could the book serve as a model for “socialist” eugenics? How could Volotskoi use Florinskii’s treatise to criticize Kol’tsov’s vision of eugenics, while the latter could claim that modern-day eugenicists were actually “much closer to V. M. Florinskii’s views than to those of M. V. Volotskoi”? The answers, I believe, lay in the close intertwining of the institutional development of eugenics and genetics and in the nature of eugenics as an amalgam of ideas, values, problems, and practices concerning human reproduction, heredity, development, and evolution, fused together into a more or less coherent doctrine. Agreements and disagreements among Soviet eugenicists regarding the importance of both Florinskii’s eugamics and Galton’s eugenics for their own work derived largely from divergent evaluations of the constituent elements of these fusions, and from “reading-into” the works of both Galton’s and Florinskii’s their own understandings of various issues addressed by the British and Russian “founders.”

74The first element — the notion of human nature embodied in the ideas about human reproduction, diversity, heredity, individual and social development, and evolution — became a major source of friction among Soviet eugenicists. For the younger generation of “Marxist” biologists, physicians, historians, psychologists, and so on, Florinskii’s tacit acknowledgement of the inheritance of acquired characteristics represented the unquestionable strength of his eugamic concept and became one of the arguments for its suitability as a model for “bio-social” eugenics. The infusion of Lamarckism into Marxism also made the interpretation of Florinskii’s ideas as “socialist” eugenics attractive to Bolshevik officials, as Semashko’s and Solov’ev’s pronouncements readily demonstrate. For geneticists, such as Kol’tsov, Filipchenko, and Serebrovskii, however, it was an understandable (since Florinskii had shared it with most of his contemporaries, including Darwin) but notable weakness. For them, the implicit acceptance of Lamarckian inheritance precluded the use of Florinskii’s treatise as a foundation of their own vision of Soviet eugenics, which was based on Mendelian genetics.

  • 131 See F. Galton, “Experiments in Pangenesis,” Proceedings of the Royal 1871, 19: 393-410.

75At the same time, as Kol’tsov’s review made clear, geneticists appreciated Florinskii’s pioneering distinction between the two basic processes undergirding hereditary phenomena — transmission and development of “hereditary potentials.” For their opponents, thanks to their Lamarckian convictions, such a distinction appeared immaterial and was consistently blurred in their equation of eugenics with social hygiene and physical culture. In contrast, it is this very distinction that led Kol’tsov to elaborate the notion of euphenics as a set of distinct policies that could supplement, but not replace eugenics. On the other hand, Galton’s opposition to the Lamarckian inheritance, exemplified by his vocal critique and experimental refutation of Darwin’s pangenesis hypothesis,131 certainly appealed to geneticists, who even made him one of the “founding fathers” of their discipline, as Filipchenko’s dual biography of Mendel and Galton showed. But it was unacceptable to Lamarckists, who largely ignored Galton’s actual views on heredity and saw him, first and foremost, as the major proponent of the “class bias” in eugenics.

  • 132 The main apostles of this value system — Nikolai Chernyshevskii, Nikolai Dobroliubov, and Dmitrii (...)

76In a very similar way, the three groups diverged in their attitudes to the value systems that underlay Florinskii’s eugamics and Galton’s eugenics, respectively. Many ideals, norms, and beliefs advanced by the raznochintsy of the 1850s and 1860s, which had informed Florinskii’s views, became incorporated into the value system of the prerevolutionary intelligentsia, whose members introduced and developed eugenics in Bolshevik Russia, including the country’s new rulers who funded and promoted this development.132 Seen in this light, Florinskii’s treatise with its focus on the people (narod), as opposed to Galton’s focus on the ruling and cultural elites, appealed to many Soviet eugenicists. Similarly, Florinskii’s ideal of “physical and mental health” that had infused his notions of human perfection and degeneration was certainly very attractive to physicians (from gynecologists to neurologists) and public health doctors (social hygienists) who together formed arguably the largest disciplinary group among Soviet eugenicists. Furthermore, the same ideal resonated very strongly with the agendas of the main state patron of Soviet eugenics — Narkomzdrav.

77The third element — specific social concerns (both hopes and fears) addressed by Florinskii’s and Galton’s concepts — also evoked far from unanimous responses, though all Soviet eugenicists shared an interest in the “physical and moral health” of the population common to eugenics and eugamics. The older generation of Soviet eugenicists fully embraced Galton’s hope of creating “a galaxy of genius” and his anxiety about the purported decrease of “hereditary talents,” which focused, especially, on scientists (and the intelligentsia more generally) as the bearers of such talents.

78Perhaps one reason why this particular concern became a centerpiece of Soviet eugenics was that during the years of revolution and civil war, proportionately very high emigration and mortality rates had severely depleted the numbers of the Russian intelligentsia, while massive ideological attacks on the “bourgeois” intelligentsia had raised fears about its very survival under “proletarian rule.” Certain policies adopted by the Bolsheviks at the very beginning of their regime to create their own “proletarian” intelligentsia, such as the administrative barriers for the children of the old intelligentsia, and the preferential treatment of the children of the proletariat, in entering schools of higher learning, amplified such fears even further. As Kol’tsov stressed in his 1921 address:

  • 133 Kol’tsov, “Uluchshenie chelovecheskoi porody,” p. 20.

The state must first of all take care of the strong and provide for their families [and] their offspring. The best and only method of eugenics is to identify progenitors who are valuable in their hereditary qualities — physically strong, endowed with exceptional intellectual and moral qualities people — and to put these talents (mandatorily and preferentially as compared to the people who do not exceed the average) in such conditions under which they not only could express their capacities to the fullest, but could feed and nurture a large family.133

79The numerous publications on “the intelligentsia and talents” produced by Soviet eugenicists during the early 1920s could be seen as a manifestation of this particular concern and an attempt both to mobilize public opinion and to prod the Bolshevik government into adopting measures (from enlarged food rations to social support for procreation and education) aimed at preserving and increasing the nation’s “creative capital.” Yet this elitist bias of Galtonian eugenics and its promotion by the older generation of Soviet eugenicists provoked sharp critique from both the younger generation of “Marxist” eugenicists and their Bolshevik patrons. This critique eventually led to the disappearance of this concern from the agendas of Soviet eugenics and its replacement with a deep interest in genofond as the source of the nation’s “human capital.”

80The fourth element — the array of actions, policies, and practices proposed in the name of Galton’s eugenics and Florinskii’s eugamics — also proved highly contentious, as Soviet eugenicists’ debates on sterilization and marriage laws readily show. Strong opposition to sterilization on the part of the majority of Soviet eugenicists derived not only from the perceived impossibility to define and identify “hereditary defectives.” It was also deeply rooted in the ideals of personal liberties and their protection from the government dictate, which had been upheld by the pre-revolutionary intelligentsia (and had clearly been articulated in the early critique of sterilization laws by Russian jurists).

  • 134 See P. I. Liublinskii, “Evgenicheskie tendentsii i noveishee zakonodatel’stvo o detiakh,” REZh, 19 (...)

81Even when proposing marriage laws that limited such liberties, older eugenicists emphasized their voluntary nature, stressing that the major goal of these laws was “sanitary-eugenic propaganda” that would force prospective spouses, as Florinskii had wanted, “to look at their future marriage from the viewpoint of health.” This was why they advocated not for marriage restrictions and sterilization but for the creation of “marriage” or “genetic” consultations as the main tool in the struggle against “hereditary diseases.”134 Yet for the younger generation of Soviet eugenicists, whose worldviews had been profoundly shaped by the horrors of World War I and the civil war, government infringement on personal liberties in the name of eugenics appeared acceptable, as Volotskoi’s propaganda of sterilization and Serebrovskii’s proposal of mass artificial insemination as the instruments of eugenics clearly show.

82The difference between the two particular constellations of ideas, values, concerns, and practices embedded in Galton’s eugenics and in Florinskii’s eugamics became a key point in the heated discussions over the foundations, research agendas, practices, and ultimate goals of eugenics in the Soviet Union. Indeed, Soviet eugenicists “co-constructed” the two concepts to fit their own agendas. Combined with the absence of Russian translations of Galton’s actual texts, Volotskoi’s edition of Florinskii’s treatise made such “co-construction” heavily tilted in favor of the Russian “founder.”

  • 135 Galton, “Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope and Aims,” p. 45.
  • 136 Galton, “Probability, The Foundation of Eugenics,” p. 81.

83Consider for instance, the key issue in debates on eugenics — the interrelations between, in Galton’s terms, nature and nurture or, in the terms of Marxist critics, the biological and the social. Neither supporters, nor critics, ever mentioned Galton’s 1904 definition of eugenics as “the science which deals with all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race; [and] also with those that develop them to the utmost advantage.”135 This definition was very close to Florinskii’s notions of “hereditary potentials” and “conditions conducive” to their realization. But this particular similarity between the views of the two “founders” was consistently muted, albeit for different reasons, in Soviet debates. For critics, the implication of the equal importance of nature (inborn qualities) and nurture (environmental influences on the development of such inborn qualities) contained in this definition undermined their favorite accusation of Galtonian eugenics of privileging the biological over the social. For supporters, especially among geneticists, the ambiguity of this definition opened the door to a Lamarckian interpretation of those influences “that develop [the inborn qualities] to the utmost advantage.” Both critics and supporters preferred to use Galton’s later definition of eugenics as “the study of agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations, either physically or mentally,”136 actively propagated by his western followers such as Pearson, Davenport, or Leonard Darwin, which tacitly excluded “nurture” from Galton’s eugenic programme, and thus better suited the interests of both groups.

  • 137 M. Gremiatskii, “Evgenika,” Malaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia (M.: Sovetskaia entsiklopediia, 1936) (...)
  • 138 See G. A. Batkis, Sotsial’naia gigiena. Sanitarnoe sostoianie naseleniia i sanitarnaia statistika (...)

84As a result of the “revolution from above,” however, the peculiar amalgam of ideas, values, concerns, and actions regarding human reproduction, heredity, development, and evolution, which together comprised “proletarian” eugenics, was broken apart. Its constituent elements were taken over by other disciplines. The “betterment of humankind” was now considered exclusively within the frameworks of social hygiene, physical culture, the protection of maternal, child, and adolescent health, psychology, and pedagogy. As anthropologist Mikhail Gremiatskii emphasized in his entry on eugenics for the 1936 edition of the Small Soviet Encyclopedia, “Instead of eugenics, our task is the development and implementation of social-hygienic measures.”137 In a textbook on social hygiene published the same year, Batkis elaborated the same idea in a special chapter on “Bourgeois Theories of Healthification (Eugenics, Racial Hygiene),” stating categorically that “in their theoretical and practical conclusions eugenicists stand in utter conflict with social hygiene.”138 On the other hand, Marxism (in whatever version currently endorsed by Bolshevik ideologues, starting with Stalin himself) provided a general framework for the evaluation of specific practices and policies that targeted human reproduction and development, such as abortions or psychological tests for school children, both of which were prohibited in the same year: 1936.

The Birth and “Death” of Medical Genetics

  • 139 The history of human genetics in Russia has attracted considerable attention and generated substan (...)

85For all intents and purposes, by the end of 1930 eugenics in the Soviet Union was dead. It had lost its patrons, allies, institutions, and journals, while courses on eugenics at various schools of higher learning, such as the course taught at the Institute of Physical Culture by Volotskoi, had been abolished. But members of the defunct Russian Eugenics Society, along with the extensive networks they had built throughout the Soviet science system, remained very much alive and did everything they could to save their enterprise. They “gave up” two of the three elements of eugenics identified by Kol’tsov in 1921: the applied science of anthropotechnique and the religion/ideology of human betterment. But they saved its third element — the pure science of anthropogenetics — by reconstituting it as a new discipline, soon named “medical genetics.”139

86A close-knit network of individuals closely involved in the prior development of eugenics, including Bunak, Davidenkov, Iudin, Kol’tsov, and Levit, quickly mobilized to legitimize and institutionalize their new endeavor. They cultivated new patrons and allies, created new institutional niches and publishing outlets, built new networks of personal contacts with colleagues at home and abroad, and trained a new generation of “clinical” and “medical” geneticists. They elaborated a broad research programme, ranging from the morphological analysis of human chromosomes to the clinical investigation of the heritability of pernicious anemia to the detailed examination of conditional reflexes in twins. Yet, surprisingly, in their extensive efforts to build the new discipline, its champions never once invoked Florinskii and his eugamics.

  • 140 The same year, Serebrovskii became chairman of the first genetics department at Moscow University (...)
  • 141 S. Levit, “Chelovek kak geneticheskii ob” ekt i izuchenie bliznetsov kak metod antropogenetiki,” T (...)

87The “materialist-physician” and Bolshevik Party member Levit became the leading spokesman for medical genetics. After the 1930 rebuke, Serebrovskii stopped all work in human genetics.140 And it was his student Levit who picked up the fallen banner of “socialist anthropogenetics.” With the zeal of a recent convert, Levit put his formidable energy to the advancement of his newly acquired faith. In March 1930, as part of the general move to place trusted party members at the helm of scientific institutions, Levit was appointed director of the Medical-Biological Institute (MBI). He immediately “upgraded” his Office of Human Heredity and Constitution to the status of the institute’s major department, expanding its personnel and agendas. In the fall, Levit issued the second volume of the MBI Proceedings, which included fourteen research articles introduced by his programmatic editorial, titled “Man as a Genetic Subject and Twins Studies as a Method of Anthropogenetics.”141

88The main purpose of Levit’s editorial was to distance anthropogenetics from its stepmother, eugenics. As we saw, during the preceding decade, anthropogenetics had been presented as a key component, a foundation of eugenics. This link had provided a principal justification for the rapid institutional development of both genetics and eugenics, as the close involvement of the leaders of Soviet genetics, Filipchenko, Kol’tsov, Serebrovskii, and even Vavilov vividly demonstrates. With eugenics now deemed unacceptable, the champions of anthropogenetics had to reconfigure its relation to eugenics and to find new justifications for its independent existence and further development. And this is exactly what Levit did in his editorial. He opened with a forceful statement that “sometimes, anthropogenetics is completely erroneously equated with eugenics” and proceeded to rectify this “error.” In contrast to his previous article on “Genetics and Pathology” published just a year earlier, Levit now presented anthropogenetics not merely as the practical application of the principles of genetics to human diseases and medicine writ large, but as a separate discipline in its own right. According to Levit, anthropogenetics was more than a subdivision of general genetics, as were plant and animal genetics, for “man as a genetic subject” is in many respects unique. Anthropogenetics, therefore, could investigate hereditary phenomena that were inaccessible to researchers studying the genetics of any other animal (not to mention plant) species.

  • 142 The term “Phänogenetik” was coined in 1918 by the one-time student of August Weismann, Halle Unive (...)

89Among the unique features characterizing the human species Levit noted “the almost complete absence of natural selection,” which led to the accumulation in human populations of many “Mendelian characters” that otherwise would have been eliminated. He stressed “the possibility of studying the inheritance of psychiatric features and their anomalies.” Levit also emphasized “the much greater knowledge of human physiology and morphology (including histology) than those of any other animal,” which presents a great advantage in investigating the interrelations between the genotypical nature and the phenotypical expression of certain characters that became the subject of “phenogenetics,” a new area of research that combined genetics, developmental mechanics, and evolutionary theory.142 He further pointed out the benefits of studying humans for the advancement of population genetics, especially geno-geography — the study of the diffusion and distribution of certain genetic traits in human populations.

  • 143 On the Rockefeller fellowships for Russian scientists and physicians, see Susan G. Solomon and Nik (...)
  • 144 Muller apprised his Russian colleagues of the remarkable progress the Morgan group had made during (...)
  • 145 See a letter from the RF officer Daniel O’Brian to Serebrovskii, of 11 February 1931, in ARAN, f. (...)
  • 146 See A. Serebrovskii, “Chetyre stranitsy, kotorye vzvolnovali uchenyi mir,” Pravda, 11 September 19 (...)
  • 147 See, H. J. Muller, “Mutation,” in Eugenics, Genetics and the Family: Scientific Papers of the Seco (...)

90At the end of the year, Levit had to interrupt his feverish efforts to institutionalize and promote anthropogenetics: he received a year-long Rockefeller Foundation fellowship to “advance his qualifications in genetics.”143 He chose to do so at the University of Texas under the mentorship of H. J. Muller, a former member of Thomas Hunt Morgan’s “fly group,” who had visited Russia shortly after the end of the civil war.144 Judging by extant materials, it was Serebrovskii who had recommended that Levit take his fellowship with Muller (see fig. 6-5).145 Serebrovskii had first met Muller during the latter’s 1923 visit to Moscow. The two geneticists renewed their acquaintance at the 1927 Fifth International Genetics Congress in Berlin where Muller announced his success in obtaining the first artificial mutations in Drosophila by X-ray irradiation — an achievement whose import for biology Serebrovskii likened, on the pages of Pravda, to that of the Bolshevik Revolution for the world.146 Muller was not only one of the United States’ leading geneticists, he also had a long-standing interest in eugenics and participated in the Second International Eugenics Congress, which, too, probably played a role in Serebrovskii choosing him as Levit’s future advisor.147

  • 148 On Davenport and his genetics department, see Jan A. Witkowski, The to Discovery: A Short History (...)

91During his fellowship, Levit also spent two months at the Genetics Department of the Carnegie Institution at Cold Spring Harbor headed by US leading eugenicist Charles Davenport.148 Levit wanted to stay in the United States for the summer of 1932 to take part, along with his mentor Muller, in both the Third International Eugenics Congress planned for July in New York City and the Sixth International Genetics Congress scheduled for August in Ithaca, NY. But unlike the imperial authorities in the case of the similar request by Florinskii, the Soviet authorities refused to extend his stay abroad.

Fig. 6-5. Solomon Levit at Herman J. Muller’s laboratory in Texas, 1931. Left to right: S. Levit, H. J. Muller, C. Offerman, I. Agol. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

92Upon his return to Moscow in early 1932, Levit found that his temporary replacement as MBI director had curtailed genetics research at the institute. By that time the turmoil of the “revolution from above” had largely subsided, and Levit was able to use his extensive contacts within the party-state apparatus to gather together the scattered pieces of his enterprise and reorient the entire institute to studies of human genetics. As he noted in a foreword to the third volume of the MBI Proceedings:

  • 149 [S. Levit], “Ot redaktora,” Trudy mediko-biologicheskogo instituta (M.-L.: Biomedgiz, 1934), vol. (...)

As of the fall of 1932, the institute… concentrated on the studies of issues in human biology, pathology, and psychology through the application of the newest achievements of genetics and related fields (cytology, developmental mechanics, [and] evolutionary theory). The institute’s main works went in three directions: clinical genetics, twins studies, and cytology.149

  • 150 See S. Levit, “Darvinizm, rasovyi shovinizm i sotsial-fashizm,” in Valeskaln and Tokin, eds., Uche (...)

93Expectedly, the distancing of his current research from eugenics remained a major focus of Levit’s efforts to legitimize human genetics. In April 1932, on the occasion of a bizarre jubilee campaign to mark the semi-centennial of Darwin’s death, he published an article with a telling title, “Darwinism, Race Chauvinism, and Social-Fascism.” The article’s main purpose was “to cleanse Darwin’s theory from its bourgeois mistakes and perversions,” including, of course, eugenics.150

94A year after his return from the United States, Levit acquired a powerful ally in his efforts to justify and advance “socialist anthropogenetics.” In the spring of 1933, Muller came to the Soviet Union at the invitation of leading plant geneticist Nikolai Vavilov. After Filipchenko’s death in 1930, Vavilov had “inherited” the Bureau of Genetics and quickly reconstituted it into the Academy of Sciences Laboratory of Genetics. Vavilov offered Muller the “scientific directorship” of this institution, which at that very time was expanded even further to become the Academy of Sciences Institute of Genetics. Although, according to Vavilov’s plans, Muller’s main task was to guide research at the Institute of Genetics and to acquaint its personnel with the latest techniques and concepts of US genetics, Muller immediately extended a helping hand to his former mentee Levit.

  • 151 G. I. Meller [H. J. Muller], “Evgenika v usloviiakh obshchestva,” Uspekhi sovremennoi biologii, 19 (...)
  • 152 G. Meller [H. J. Muller], “Evgenika na sluzhbe Priroda, 1934, 1: 100-6.
  • 153 See also H. J. Muller, “Lenin’s Doctrines in Relation to Genetics,” in Pamiati V. I. Lenina (M.: P (...)

95Just a few months after his arrival to Leningrad, Muller published a Russian translation of his speech at the Third International Eugenics Congress in the recently created journal Advances of Modern Biology, under the title “Eugenics under the Conditions of a Capitalist Society.”151 When during the next spring Vavilov’s Institute of Genetics was relocated from Leningrad to Moscow, Muller also became a “scientific consultant” at Levit’s MBI, and published an article on “Eugenics in the Service of the National-Socialism” in the April issue of Priroda.152 Both publications advanced Muller’s critique of “bourgeois” eugenics and his ideas of “socialist” eugenics, which resonated strongly with the class analysis of Galtonian eugenics developed a few years earlier by Volotskoi, Serebrovskii, and other “Marxist” critics.153

  • 154 See Konferentsiia po meditsinskoi genetike. Doklady i preniia, issued as supplement to the journal(...)

96By 1934, former eugenicists had cut their losses and regrouped. On 15 May, Levit organized under the MBI’s auspices a “conference on medical genetics,” attended by more than 300 participants from Moscow, Leningrad, Kazan, Kharkov, and other provincial centers.154 He opened the conference with a keynote address on “Anthropogenetics and Medicine.” Then Muller delivered a plenary lecture on “Certain basic stages in the development of theoretical genetics and their significance from the viewpoint of medicine.” What followed was quite remarkable indeed: four former leaders of Soviet eugenics — Kol’tsov, Davidenkov, Iudin, and Bunak — presented papers on the interrelations of genetics and medicine. All speakers emphasized the profound differences between Soviet and western approaches to human genetics and the path-breaking nature of many research projects pursued by its practitioners in the land of the victorious proletariat.

97Following a general discussion, the conference adopted a resolution that fell nothing short of a manifesto of medical genetics. After the now obligatory “critique” of “bourgeois eugenic perversions,” the resolution called upon Narkomzdrav to “create scientific research centers for medical genetics and cytology” in every large city throughout the country, to establish “departments of medical genetics” at all medical institutions, to include genetics on the curricula of medical education (creating corresponding teaching departments at every medical school), to produce necessary textbooks, and to expand the programme of graduate studies in medical genetics at the MBI. The conference also approved the syllabus of a remedial, 52-hour-long lecture “course on genetics for physicians” delivered by Levit at the MBI the previous year as an example to be emulated elsewhere. The course included a special four-hour section on “bourgeois eugenics and its class character” that spelled out the profound differences between socialist and capitalist approaches to various issues in human heredity.

  • 155 See Todes, Ivan Pavlov.
  • 156 See, for instance, S. G. Levit and S. N. Ardashnikov, eds., Trudy Mediko-geneticheskogo nauchno-is (...)

98The future of medical genetics seemed bright. The new head of Narkomzdrav Grigorii Kaminskii enthusiastically supported Levit’s enterprise. Less than a year later, the labors of the former eugenicists culminated in the reconstitution of the MBI into the world’s first Institute of Medical Genetics (IMG) under Levit’s directorship. Other laboratories and clinics devoted to research in medical genetics sprung up in Leningrad (under Davidenkov), Kharkov (under Iudin), and several other provincial cities. An important center emerged in Koltushi, a “science village” built in the late 1920s-early 1930s on the outskirts of Leningrad for Ivan Pavlov’s research, as well as at several clinics associated with Pavlov’s institutional empire.155 A sizeable cohort of scientists and clinicians became engaged in investigations on human (medical) genetics, focusing particularly on twins-based research.156

  • 157 See, for instance, a report on a 1935 visit to Moscow and Levit’s IMG the secretary of Eugenics Re (...)
  • 158 See, for instance, S. G. Levit and N. N. Malkova, “A New Mutation in Man: Haemophilia-a,” Journal (...)
  • 159 For a detailed history of the Seventh International Genetics Congress, Nikolai Krementsov, Interna (...)

99Soviet eugenicists-turned-medical-geneticists continued to develop and maintain close links with their foreign colleagues,157 exchanging letters and reprints and publishing research papers in American and British journals, including Journal of Heredity, Eugenics Review, Nature, and Annals of Eugenics.158 Given the isolationist policies implemented in the wake of the Great Break, which had radically curtailed the foreign trips of Soviet scientists, the Seventh International Genetics Congress scheduled to convene in Moscow in the summer of 1937 occupied a special place in their efforts.159 In January 1936, Levit was appointed the “scientific secretary” to the Soviet organizing committee for the congress, while Muller became the head of the congress’s programme committee. During the ensuing discussions, Levit, with Muller’s support, made sure that his favorite subject figured prominently on the congress’s agenda, with Davidenkov slated to deliver a keynote address to a special session on “human genetics and racial theories.”

  • 160 H. J. Muller, Out of the Night. A Biologist’s View of the Future (New Gollancz, 1935). See a conte (...)
  • 161 Mark B. Adams found a draft of Muller’s letter to Stalin among Muller’papers, see Adams, “Eugenics (...)
  • 162 For details on Muller’s further development of these ideas, see Chapter 8.

100In early May, perhaps hoping to secure support for human genetics from the very top of the Bolshevik party, Muller sent Stalin his recently published book Out of the Night that elaborated on his report to the Third International Eugenics Congress and spelled out his vision of “socialist” eugenics.160 In a letter sent along with the book, Muller urged Stalin to implement his ideas in the Soviet Union.161 “True eugenics can only be a product of socialism,” Muller assured the Soviet leader, “and will, like advances in physical technique, be one of the means used by the latter in the betterment of life.” Castigating “the evasions and perversions of this matter … seen in the futile mouthing about ‘Eugenics’ current in bourgeois ‘democracies’, and in the vicious doctrine of ‘Race Purity’ employed by the Nazis as a weapon in the class war,” Muller reiterated Serebrovskii’s idea that the well-being of the nation could be radically improved through the artificial insemination of willing women with the sperm of “gifted individuals.”162

  • 163 “Notes of the Quarter,” Eugenics Review, 1935, 27(3): 188.
  • 164 Charles Davenport to the Secretary of State, 17 December 1936. APS, Davenport Papers.

101It seemed that the future of eugenics-turned-medical-genetics in the Soviet Union was assured. Reporting on research conducted at Levit’s IMG, an editorial in the October 1935 issue of Eugenics Review forecasted that “It almost seems as if geneticists in this country will have to add Russian to their already formidable linguistic equipment.”163 A year later Davenport affirmed the impressions of his British colleagues: “I have told many students of human genetics in the United States that Russia is taking the lead away from the United States in this subject, which it formerly held.”164

102But within just a few months, the fortunes of medical genetics in the Soviet Union turned once again. The beginning of the Great Terror in the summer of 1936 inaugurated a new nationwide witch-hunt for “wreckers,” “traitors,” and “agents of imperialism” in all walks of life. It prompted Levit’s expulsion from the Bolshevik party membership for his alleged association with the “opposition,” which in turn led to his dismissal from the IMG directorship in December 1936. The rising political tensions between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia (clearly manifested during the Spanish Civil War that flared up in September 1936) apparently sensitized the Soviet leadership to the historical and current links among eugenics, medical genetics, and Rassenhygiene.

  • 165 For details, see Adams, Allen, and Weiss, “Human Heredity and Politics,” pp. 232-62; and Krementso (...)
  • 166 See, for instance, G. I. Petrov, Rasovaia teoriia na sluzhbe u fashizma (M.-L.: Sotsekizdat, 1934) (...)
  • 167 G. Frizen, “Genetika i fashizm,” PZM, 1935, 3: 86-95.
  • 168 E. Kol’man, “Chernosotennyi bred fashizma i nasha mediko-biologicheskaia nauka,” PZM, 1936, 11: 64 (...)
  • 169 L. Karlik, “Trudy Mediko-geneticheskogo instituta im. M. Gor’kogo,” PZM, 1936, 12: 169-86.
  • 170 See, Anon., “Po lozhnomu puti,” Pravda, 26 December 1936, p. 4.

103A variety of factors contributed to the “death” of medical genetics in 1936-1937.165 But the close connections of the new discipline with eugenics — at the level of ideas, methods, and practitioners — undoubtedly played a major role in its demise. Like eugenics just a few years prior, medical genetics was labeled a “reactionary,” “bourgeois” science that had no place in socialist society. But this time, the major accusation leveled at medical genetics and its proponents was that they advanced a “fascist science.” Since Hitler’s ascent to power the very name “eugenics” (particularly its German variant, Rassenhygiene) in the Soviet Union had become strongly associated, if not completely equated, with the explicit racist policies of the Nazis.166 Despite the protracted efforts of Soviet geneticists — inaugurated by Muller’s damning 1934 article on “Eugenics in the Service of National-Socialism” in Priroda — to “expose” Rassenhygiene and to dissociate, in the words of one of them, “real genetics” from its “perversions” in Nazi propaganda and policies, human genetics, in the minds of many, retained strong fascist connotations.167 In early December 1936, the mouthpiece of party ideologists, Under the Banner of Marxism, published an article under the revealing title “The Black-Guard Nonsense of Fascism and Our Medical-Biological Science.” Signed by the head of the Moscow party science department, the article accused Levit and his IMG co-workers of holding “fascist views” on human genetics.168 The journal’s next issue carried a denigrating review of the IMG’s latest publications advancing the same accusation.169 The equating of human genetics with eugenics and Nazi racism figured prominently in practically all pronouncements against Levit and his staff, as happened, for instance, at the All-Union Congress of Neurologists and Psychiatrists held in late December 1936.170 Furthermore, in his attack on genetics during the same month, December 1936, Trofim Lysenko cleverly exploited these links to discredit the leading Soviet geneticists Kol’tsov and Serebrovskii by accusing them of promoting “bourgeois eugenics.”

  • 171 For the meeting’s transcripts, see GARF, f. R8009, op. 1, d. 113.

104In early May 1937, a special meeting in Narkomzdrav discussed the future of Levit’s IMG.171 Despite strong advocacy by Davidenkov and the sympathetic attitude of Commissar Kaminskii, most participants repeated the accusations against Levit and his co-workers of promoting a “fascist science.” Even the research methods of medical genetics such as twins-based studies came to be labeled “fascist.” A few months later, the arrest of Kaminskii as a “member of the Trotskyist conspiracy” sealed the IMG’s fate: the institute was closed and its staff dispersed. Muller, its main “scientific consultant,” left the Soviet Union for Britain. The next spring, Levit was arrested as an “enemy of the people” and executed. With the dissolution of its main research center and the death of its most active champion, the field of medical genetics in the Soviet Union disintegrated. Around the same time, Kol’tsov’s IEB was transferred to the Academy of Sciences, and Soviet genetics completely lost Narkomzdrav’s patronage, even though some clinical work on hereditary diseases continued at certain medical institutions, such as Davidenkov’s neurological clinic in Leningrad.

  • 172 For details, see Krementsov, International Science; and idem, “Eugenics, Rassenhygiene, and Human (...)

105The demise of Soviet eugenics-turned-medical-genetics had considerable resonance beyond the borders of the USSR.172 The perceived links between human genetics, Rassenhygiene, and eugenics had played a significant role in the “postponement” by Soviet authorities of Moscow’s hosting of the Seventh International Genetics Congress in late 1936. This event, in turn, profoundly shaped the international genetics community’s attitude towards their discipline’s political and ideological ramifications in both Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany and led to the relocation of the congress to Britain. It also deeply affected the community’s standing vis-à-vis eugenics in general. One of the highlights of the Moscow congress was supposed to be a “discussion of questions relating to racial and eugenic problems” initiated by a group of US geneticists and aimed at delivering a concerted critique of German Rassenhygiene. The discussion was to feature presentations by the leading Soviet medical geneticists Davidenkov and Levit and by several eminent western geneticists, including Britons Julian Huxley and Lancelot Hogben, Norwegian Otto Mohr, and American Herbert S. Jennings. The “postponement” of the Moscow congress dampened the resolve of the international community to face the challenges posed by Rassenhygiene head on, and pushed it to distance genetics as a discipline from its stepsister, eugenics. After its withdrawal from Moscow and relocation to Edinburgh, the congress’s organizing committee adamantly rejected the offer by the British Eugenics Society to hold an international eugenics congress jointly with the genetics one. Furthermore, the committee made sure that the congress’s sessions on human genetics touched on neither Rassenhygiene, nor eugenics.

  • 173 See “Men and Мice at Edinburgh,” Journal of Heredity, 1939, 30: 371-74. All the subsequent quotati (...)

106But despite the organizing committee’s efforts, the “racial and eugenic problems” would not simply go away. Shortly before the congress’s opening in Edinburgh in late August 1939, the committee received a cable from “Science Service,” a US-based news outlet specializing in science reports. The cable asked the congress’s “representative participants” to provide the news agency with “several hundred words discussing how could [the] world[‘s] population [be] improve[d] most effectively genetically.” Muller, the head of the congress’s programme committee, enthusiastically took on the job of answering the cable and wrote a long — nearly 1,300 words — memorandum on the subject.173 Muller carefully crafted his answer: he did not even use the words “eugenics” and “racial hygiene.” Yet its contents largely repeated the pointed critique of “bourgeois eugenics” and “racial hygiene” advanced in numerous articles he and his Soviet colleagues had published in the previous years. Echoing the arguments for “socialist eugenics,” Muller stated that “the effective genetic improvement of mankind is dependent upon major changes in social conditions.” A “major hindrance to genetic improvement,” according to Muller, “lies in the economic and political conditions, which foster antagonism between different people, nations, and ‘races’.” “Both environment and heredity constitute dominating and inescapable complementary factors in human well-being,” he elaborated, “but factors both of which are under the potential control of man and admit of unlimited but interdependent progress.”

107Muller’s memorandum was aimed not only at bourgeois eugenics and racial hygiene — it was also intended to help his Soviet colleagues in their struggles with Lysenko’s clique promoting the Lamarckian notion of heredity. “It must... be understood,” Muller emphasized,

that the effect of bettered environment is not a direct one on the germ cells and that the Lamarckian doctrine is fallacious, according to which the children of parents who have had better opportunities for physical and mental development inherit these improvements, biologically, and according to which, in consequence, the dominant classes and peoples would have become genetically superior to the underprivileged ones.

  • 174 The original signatories were F. A. Crew, J. B. S. Haldane, S. C. Harland, L. Hogben, J. S. Huxley (...)

108Muller did not even attempt to make his memorandum a subject for public discussion at the congress. Instead he personally asked several participants to add their signatures to his text. Twenty-one geneticists signed on to Muller’s statement that soon appeared in print in the oracle of US genetics, Journal of Heredity, and became known as the “geneticists’ manifesto.”174

  • 175 For details, see Krementsov, “Printsip konkurentnogo iskliucheniia,” pp. 107-64; and idem, Stalini (...)
  • 176 For published materials on the conference, see M. Mitin, “Za peredovuiu sovetskuiu geneticheskuiu (...)

109The situation in Soviet genetics, however, could not be remedied by mere manifestos. Although more than forty Soviet geneticists had been scheduled to deliver reports at the Edinburgh congress and their leader Vavilov elected its president, none of them came to Scotland. The Soviet leadership forbade the participation of Soviet scientists in the international meeting. It was a heavy blow to Soviet geneticists who had counted on the congress and the support of their western colleagues as a powerful tool in their attempts to stop Lysenko and his cronies’ continuing attack on their discipline. Deprived of international support, Soviet geneticists appealed to the party-state apparatus to halt Lysenko’s encroachment on genetics institutions and to permit a “public discussion” of their disagreements with Lysenko.175 The Central Committee Secretariat — one of the Bolshevik party’s top decision-making bodies — permitted the discussion. But, contrary to the expectations of Soviet geneticists who had hoped to hold it under the aegis of their stronghold, the Academy of Sciences, the party bosses put “Marxist” philosophers in charge of adjudicating the disagreements. In October 1939 the editorial board of Under the Banner of Marxism conducted a week-long conference that gathered 159 participants and featured 53 presentations by the members of three competing groups: geneticists, Marxist philosophers, and Lysenkoists.176

110Although its main theme was the “practical achievements” of genetics, especially in agriculture, as one would have expected, the conference could not stay clear of eugenics and medical genetics. Lysenko’s supporters repeated their stock accusations of “formal” genetics’ close links to eugenics. But, given the new political alliance of the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany embodied in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed on 23 August 1939, the day the International Genetics Congress opened in Edinburgh, they had to drop their favorite indictments of both human genetics and eugenics as “fascist.” Similarly, geneticists had to mute the references to their western colleagues’ antifascist stance against Rassenhygiene.

  • 177 Kolbanovskii, “Spornye voprosy genetiki i selektsii,” p. 116.
  • 178 See, the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (hereafter RGASPI), f. 71, op. 3, d. 109 (...)

111Nevertheless, the only representative of medical genetics at the meeting, Davidenkov, felt it necessary to begin his report with a declaration that “Soviet geneticists decisively reject all eugenic and racist theories. These theories do not derive from genetics, they have specific socio-economic roots. In certain countries, genetics is raped as are other sciences, for instance, anthropology and history.”177 Davidenkov also lamented that the unfounded critique by Lysenko’s supporters made many physicians stay away from medical genetics as incompatible with building socialism. Even so, in its report to Stalin and the Politburo, the editorial board emphasized: “in capitalist countries, the doctrine of ‘genes’ is used again and again to substantiate the men-hating theories of racism. In the USSR, academician Serebrovskii, and especially Prof. Kol’tsov, based on the theory of ‘genes’, develop in their ‘works’ extremely reactionary views and conclusions.”178

  • 179 See Peter Pringle, The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011).

112The discussion of issues in genetics “under the banner of Marxism” ended in an impasse, with the geneticists, Lysenkoists, and philosophers all able to maintain their current positions. But the very next year Soviet genetics suffered heavy losses. Kol’tsov passed away. Vavilov, along with a number of his closest co-workers, was arrested and two years later he died of starvation in prison.179 Lysenko’s followers seized administrative control over both Kol’tsov’s IEB and Vavilov’s Institute of Genetics, the last two strongholds of genetics under the Academy of Sciences.

113By the end of the 1930s, then, the broad research programme conceived by the founders of medical genetics was radically curtailed and limited to just a few disparate studies. The Nazi attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 broke the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and plunged the country into World War II. The Great Patriotic War, as it was called in the Soviet Union, lasted four years and put the studies in medical genetics on the back burner. Doctors now had much more urgent tasks of tending to wounded soldiers and preventing epidemics than collecting clinical genealogies or studying twins. Yet almost immediately after the war, research on human and medical genetics was resumed, particularly in Leningrad, where since the early 1930s Davidenkov and his numerous co-workers had conducted their studies under the umbrella of various medical clinical, research, and educational institutions. Pavlov’s institute in Koltushi — “inherited” after its founder’s death in 1936 by his oldest and most respected student, Leon Orbeli — became a major hub of research on medical and human genetics, with Davidenkov as its principal “scientific consultant.”

  • 180 For a detailed description of the establishment of the new institution its operations in the immed (...)
  • 181 S. N. Davidenkov, Evoliutsionno-geneticheskie problemy v nevropatologii (L.: GIDUV, 1947).
  • 182 Ibid., p. 94. Here Davidenkov cited the 1875 Russian edition of Hereditary Genius.

114During the war, Davidenkov had become a member of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (AMN), a new agency established by Narkomzdrav in 1944 to administer and control nearly all medical research in the country.180 He clearly intended to use this elevated position to promote medical genetics. In 1947, he published (with Orbeli’s highly praising foreword) a solid tome on Evolutionary-Genetic Problems in Neuropathology, which synthesized his twenty-plus-year experience in clinical studies on human heredity and hereditary diseases.181 Tellingly, in his text Davidenkov did not mention eugenics at all, though he did cite several studies that had appeared in the Annals of Eugenics. He did mention Galton, once, in relation to his discussion of the evolutionary origins of the “imperfection” of the human nervous system manifested in numerous nervous disorders that plagued humanity.182 Summarizing his findings, Davidenkov called for the expansion of research on the genetics of psychiatric and neurological ailments in the clinic and the laboratory.

  • 183 The literature on the so-called Lysenko affair is vast. For recent overviews, see Krementsov, Stal (...)

115Just a year later, however, such investigations were completely abandoned. The rapidly escalating Cold War set up a stage for Lysenko’s renewed attack on “western,” “bourgeois,” “imperialist” genetics, this time endorsed personally by Stalin.183 In August 1948, at a special session of the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VASKhNIL) the entire discipline of genetics was officially banned in the Soviet Union. Lysenko and his supporters rechristened genetics as “pernicious” Mendelism-Weismannism-Morganism, after its acknowledged western founding fathers Gregor Mendel, August Weismann, and Thomas Hunt Morgan. They seized administrative control over nearly all facilities involved with genetics research. They also replaced the teaching of genetics in schools and universities with Lysenko’s own doctrine, named “new genetics” or, more often, “Michurinist biology,” after Ivan Michurin, an amateur plant breeder accorded the status of a national hero in the 1930s. Genetics research institutions were closed or reorganized, many geneticists fired, and genetics publications removed from libraries. After 1948, in the Soviet Union “classical” genetics in all its forms, including medical genetics, disappeared.

  • 184 A. N. Studitskii, “Mukholiuby-chelovekonenavistniki,” Ogonek, 1949, 11: 14-16.
  • 185 See, Anon, “Gal’ton, Fransis,” BSE, 1952, 10: 179; Anon, “Genetika,” ibid., 10: 430-38; and Anon., (...)

116An article published in March 1949 in the popular illustrated weekly Flash (Ogonek) by an ardent supporter of Lysenko demonstrates that in the public mind, “classical” genetics became tightly bound to eugenics, racism, fascism, and Anglo-American imperialism. Its very title, “Fly-lovers and Men-haters,” equated geneticists (dubbed “fly-lovers” in a clear reference to their favourite research object, the fruit-fly Drosophila) with the inhumane (“men-hating” in the current Soviet parlance) practices of racism, colonialism, and fascism. The subtitles of the article’s various sections speak for themselves: “Mendelian genetics and fascism,” “Mendelism defends racial ideology,” and “The science of ‘horror and fear’.”184 Flash was one of the most widely distributed weekly journals with a print-run of more than half a million copies, and to make sure the readership got the article’s message its text was interspersed with cartoons drawn by Boris Efimov (1900-2008), a well-known political cartoonist. To convey the article’s contents the artist deployed easily recognizable images — a dollar sign, a swastika, a characteristic outfit of a Klu Klux Klan member, a fat capitalist in the appropriate attire, and a policeman with a machine gun — to which the Soviet readership had long been conditioned (thanks in no small part to Efimov’s numerous cartoons that appeared regularly in Pravda and Izvestiia). These images were accompanied by customary symbols of science/genetics, including a test tube with fruit flies, a textbook (whose title is tellingly written in English, not Russian), a microscope, and a Petri dish (see fig. 6-6). Predictably, a large portion of the article was devoted to eugenics, presented as an extension of “pernicious” Mendelian genetics to the issues of human heredity. As entries on Galton, genetics, and eugenics in the new 1952 edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia made manifest, in Lysenkoist rhetoric, Galton became a “reactionary racist anthropologist;” eugenics — a “pseudoscience” used by the Nazis and by American imperialists for their nefarious purposes; and genetics — an expression of “mysticism and idealism” characteristic of capitalism and its science.185

117From 1930 on, then, in the Soviet Union eugenics was no longer “ours,” only “theirs.” The very word eugenics became a pejorative reserved exclusively for “bourgeois science,” while its Soviet proponents reconstituted their enterprise into medical genetics. The new discipline took over one part of the extensive programme previously advanced within the framework of eugenics — the study of human heredity and its medical applications.

  • 186 See, for instance, M. V. Volotskoi, “Sluchai nasledstvennoi anomalii pigmentatsii zubov v sviazi s (...)

118Surprising as it might seem, in their extensive efforts to build medical genetics on the ruins of eugenics, the champions of the new discipline did not refer to Florinskii’s Human Perfection and Degeneration. Actively advertised as the foundation of “bio-social,” “socialist,” and “proletarian” eugenics during the 1920s, Florinskii’s treatise might well have served as a suitable instrument to hide the origins of medical genetics in what during the 1930s was invariably called “bourgeois,” “fascist,” and “racist” eugenics founded by Galton. With its clear focus on “physical and moral health” Florinskii’s book would seem an ideal tool for differentiating medical genetics from eugenics. Yet, even the discoverer of Florinskii’s treatise, Volotskoi, seemed to have completely forgotten his earlier admiration for the book and its author. Although he actively contributed to the development of medical genetics, Volotskoi never mentioned Human Perfection and Degeneration in any of his published works on the subject in the 1930s.186

Fig. 6-6. A series of cartoons depicting genetics as a “fascist,” “racist,” and “imperialist” science, by Boris Efimov. From Flash, 1949, 11: 14-16. Courtesy of BAN.

  • 187 See Zhurnal’naia letopis’gosudarstvennoi tsentral’noi knizhnoi palaty, 1926-39.

119This silence speaks volumes. It suggests that during the 1930s any form of eugenics was quite deliberately excluded from the scientific discourse on human variability, heredity, development, and evolution. All discussion of eugenics was now confined solely to the political and the ideological. Contrary to the claims of many later commentators, in 1930 eugenics in the Soviet Union was neither forbidden, nor outlawed. Throughout the 1930s, Journals Chronicle, the country’s major bibliographical periodical, maintained its section on “eugenics,” established in 1926.187 But the publications, which were referenced under this rubric after 1930, were nearly all devoted to the political and ideological attacks on eugenics as the embodiment of bourgeois, racist, fascist, capitalist, and imperialist ideas, values, concerns, and practices. Under these conditions, the founders of medical genetics used every possibility to obscure all and any links between their new enterprise and eugenics. They spared no efforts to distance the new discipline from its stepmother. The total silence that once again enveloped Florinskii’s treatise was likely a result of these determined efforts. All the projects of “bio-social,” “proletarian,” “socialist,” “Soviet” eugenics advanced during the 1920s were abandoned. And with them, one of their major inspirations — Florinskii’s Human Perfection and Degeneration — slipped into oblivion, again.

Notes

1 N. K. Koltzoff [Kol’tsov], “Die rassenhygienische Bewegung in Russland,” ARGB, 1925/26, 17: 96-99; all the subsequent quotations are from this source. It is worth noting that in his Russian-language texts on the subject, Kol’tsov almost never used the term “racial hygiene,” and it seems likely that the title of this particular article, as well as some of its language, was supplied by the journal’s editor.

2 The only source of information on Vaisenberg’s biography I was able to find is his obituary published in the Russian Anthropological Journal, see V. Bunak, “S. A. Vaisenberg (1867-1928). Nekrolog,” RAZh, 1929, 18(1-2): 71-72.

3 S. Weisenberg [S. Vaisenberg], “Theoretische und praktische Eugenik in Sowjetrussland,” ARGB, 1926, 18: 69-83 (pp. 71-72).

4 S. Weisenberg [S. Vaisenberg], “Florinsky, W. M. Die Verbesserung und Entartung des menschlichen Geschlechts. (Russisch.) XIX und 165 Seiten. Wologda 1926,” ARGB, 1927, 19: 105-07.

5 See “Florinsky, W. M., 1926, Die Verbesserung und Entartung des menschlichen Geschlechts. (Russisch.) Wologda, XIX u. 165 S. Eine Neuauflage eines 1866 erschienenen Buches, das in mancher Beziehung als Vorläufer der gegenwärtigen eugenischen Ideen zu betrachten,” in Anon., “Bibliographie,” Anthropologischer Anzeiger, 1927, 4 (1): 1-19 (p. 6).

6 Vas. Slepkov, “Prof. V. M. Florinskii. Usovershenstvovanie i vyrozhdenie chelovecheskogo roda. ‘Severnyi pechatnik’. Vologda. 1926.164 str.,” Pravda, 17 March 1926, p. 3; all the following quotations are from this source. On Slepkov and his involvement with genetics and eugenics, see A. I. Ermolaev, Istoriia geneticheskikh issledovanii v Kazanskom universitete (Kazan’: Izd-vo Kazanskogo universiteta, 2004), pp. 29-76.

7 V. S[lepkov], “Gosudarstvennyi Timiriazevskii nauchno-issledovatel’skii institut,” Izvestiia, 18 April 1926, p. 5.

8 B. Vishnevskii, “Zabytyi russkii evgenik,” Priroda, 1926, 3-4: 100-01. There are almost no biographical materials for this interesting man, only brief obituaries in various journals. See, for instance, M. S. Spirov and N. G. Zalkind, “B. N. Vishnevskii (1892-1965),” Voprosy antropologii, 1967, 26: 182.

9 N. K[ol’tsov], “Ot redaktsii,” REZh, 1924, 2 (1): 50.

10 See Nik. Kol’tsov, “V. M. Florinskii. Usovershenstvovanie i vyrozhdenie chelovecheskogo roda. Izdanie 2-e. Pod red. i so vstup. stat’ei V. M. Volotskogo. Gos. Timiriazevskii nauchno-issledovatel’skii institut. Seriia V. Bib-ka materialista. Vyp. 1. ‘Severnyi pechatnik’. Vologda. 1926. Str. 164. Tir. 3000 ekz. Ts. 1 r. 75 kop.,” Pechat’i revoliutsiia, 1926, 4: 191-93; all the subsequent quotations are from this source.

11 Here Kol’tsov is somewhat exaggerating, for Darwin had introduced the concept of sexual selection already in Origin. But he indeed discussed its application to humans only in the Descent of Man, six years after the first publication of Florinskii’s book.

12 N. Kol’tsov, “R. Gets. Nasledstvennost’i evgenika. Avtorizovannyi perevod s angl. pod red. Iu. A. Filipchenko. ‘Seiatel’. L. 1926. Str. 267,” Pechat’ i revoliutsiia, 1926, 2: 206-07 (p. 207). For the English original of the reviewed book, see R. Ruggles Gates, Heredity and Eugenics (London: Constable; New York: Macmillan, 1923).

13 M. Beliaev, “Obzor literatury po evoliutsionnomu ucheniiu,” Narodnyi uchitel’, 1927, 9: 112-18 (p. 116).

14 Volotskoi, “K istorii i sovremennomu sostoianiiu evgenicheskogo dvizheniia,” p. xix.

15 See, for instance, T. Iudin, Evgenika. Uchenie ob uluchshenii prirodnykh svoistv cheloveka (M.: M. i S. Sabashnikovy, 1925), p. 40; idem, Evgenika. Uchenie ob uluchshenii prirodnykh svoistv cheloveka (M.: M. i S. Sabashnikovy, 1928), pp. 53-54; and V. Slepkov, Evgenika. Uluchshenie chelovecheskoi prirody (M.: GIZ, 1927), pp. 18-19.

16 T. Iudin, “Evgenika,” Bol’shaia meditsinskaia entsiklopediia (M.: entsiklopediia, 1929), vol. 9, pp. 663-70 (p. 670); hereafter references to this encyclopedia will be given as BME, 1929, 9: 663-70.

17 For a brief overview, see Becky L. Glass and Margaret K. Stolee, “Family Law in Soviet Russia, 1917-1945,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1987, 49(4): 893-902. For more detailed analyses written largely from a feminist perspective, see Dorothy Atkinson, Alexander Dallin, and Gail Lapidus, eds., Women in Russia (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1977); Wendy Z. Goldman, Women, the State and Revolution: Soviet Family Policy and Social Life, 1917-1936 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); and Elizabeth A. Wood, The Baba and the Comrade: Gender and Politics in Revolutionary Russia (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1997).

18 See “O grazhdanskom brake, o detiakh i o vedenii knig aktov sostoianiia,” Sobranie uzakonenii RSFSR, 1917, 11: 160. For an English-language collection of the Soviet legal documents on family, see Rudolf Schlesinger, ed., The Family in the USSR (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, [1949] 1998).

19 See “Kodeks zakonov ob aktakh grazhdanskogo sostoianiia, brachnom, semeinom i opekunskom prave,” Sobranie uzakonenii RSFSR, 1918, 76-77: 818.

20 See Anon., “Okhrana zdorov’ia brachuiushchikhsia,” Izvestiia, 11 August 1923, p. 4; and L. Vasilevskii, “Zdorov’e i brak. K proektu Narkomzdrava,” Pravda, 9 September 1923, p. 1.

21 A. Sysin, “Brak, zdorov’e i potomstvo,” Izvestiia, 18 September 1923, p. 3.

22 See an announcement of the report in Pravda, 23 November 1923, p. 4

23 See “Kafedra sotsialnoi gigieny,” Sotsial’naia gigiena, 1923/1924, 2: 170-72.

24 See A. N. Sysin, “Pervye shagi evgenicheskogo zakonodatel’stva v Sotsial’naia gigiena, 1924, 3-4: 11-20. All the subsequent quotations are from this source.

25 See, for instance, P. I. Liublinskii, “Evgenicheskaia sterilizatsiia,” Vestnik znaniia, 1925, 6: 443-50; and idem, “Evgenicheskie tendentsii i noveishee zakonodatel’stvo o detiakh,” REZh, 1925, 3(1): 3-29.

26 For an analysis of certain aspects of this campaign, especially in relation to sex education, see Frances Lee Bernstein, “‘What Everyone Should Know about Sex’: Gender, Sexual Enlightenment, and the Politics of Health in Revolutionary Russia, 1918-1931.” doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 1998; and idem, The Dictatorship of Sex: Lifestyle Advice for the Soviet Masses (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2007).

27 See D. I. Kurskii, ed., Sbornik statei i materialov po brachnomu i semeinomu pravu (M.: Iuridicheskoe izdanie, 1926). Many documents from this collection appeared in English translations in Schlesinger, ed., The Family in the USSR.

28 N. I. Mikulina-Ivanova, “Oplodotvorenie i nasledstvennost’,” Zhenskii zhurnal, 1927, 1: 14-15.

29 See Il. Poltavskii, “Institut sotsial’noi gigieny,” Vecherniaia Moskva, 13 December 1926, p. 3. The State Institute of Social Hygiene established the consultation jointly with the Moscow Venereal Dispensary and the Moscow Psycho-Neurological Dispensary.

30 S. N. Davidenkov, “Geneticheskoe biuro pri M. O. N. i P.,” REZh, 1928, 6 55-56.

31 See S. N. Davidenkov, “Geneticheskoe napravlenie v nervno-psikhiatricheskoi profilaktike,” Klinicheskaia meditsina, 1929, 23-24: 1478-92.

32 See T. I. Iudin, Zdorov’e, brak i sem’ia (M.: Narkomzdrav, 1928); and P. Rokitskii, “Evgenika i brak.” Zhenskii zhurnal, 1930, 6: 18. See also Tat’iana Pletneva, “Obshchestvenno-nauchnyi podkhod k materinstvu,” Zhenskii zhurnal, 1927, 7: 13.

33 See also a series of popular articles by obstetrician N. I. Mikulina-Ivanova, “Oplodotvorenie i nasledstvennost’,” Zhenskii zhurnal, 1927, 1: 14-15; and idem, “Brak i evgenika: O kontrole nad zdorov’em lits, vstupaiushchikh v brak,” ibid., 1929, 1: 22; as well as her voluminous manual on Woman’s Health, idem, Zdorov’e zhenshchiny (M.: OMM NKZ, 1928).

34 See, GARF, f. A2307, op. 8, d. 278, ll.

35 See Iu. A. Filipchenko, Frensis Gal’ton i Gregor Mendel’ (M.: GIZ, 1924). The second printing came out in a slightly larger format and under a slightly different title, see idem, Gal’ton i Mendel’: Ikh zhizn’i trudy (M.: GIZ, 1924).

36 Kol’tsov was a member of the editorial board of the series and profoundly influenced the choice of books that were to comprise it. See GARF, f. R395, op. 9, dd. 315-318.

37 See GARF, f. R395, op. 9, d. 313, ll. 14-14 rev; d. 315, ll. 180,

38 See Gregor Mendel’, Opyty nad rastitel’nymi gibridami (M.-Pg.: GIZ, 1923).

39 Volotskoi recounted the story in a lengthy footnote in his 1925 pamphlet on Class Interests and Modern Eugenics, see Volotskoi, Klassovye interesy, p. 13.

40 One could only speculate that, if Volotskoi did complete his translation in 1922, the translation of Galton’s book might have perhaps been published by the GIZ in the next year, along with Mendel’s.

41 Apparently, the manuscript never went into production, see GARF, f. R395, op. 9, d. 77, l. 51; d. 92, l. 40; d. 313, l. 14.

42 GARF, f. R395, op. 9, d. 313, l. 30 rev.

43 Iu. A. Filipchenko, Puti uluchsheniia chelovecheskogo roda (Evgenika) (L.: GIZ, 1924).

44 Anon., “Predislovie redaktsii,” in Filipchenko, Puti uluchsheniia chelovecheskogo roda, pp. 3-7.

45 See GARF, f. R395, op. 9, d. 77, l. 46; d. 92, l. 40.

46 On Solov’ev’s life and works, see V. A. Solov’eva, ed., Zhizn’i deiatel’nost’ Z. P. Solov’eva po vospominaniiam sovremennikov (M.: Meditsina, 1980).

47 Z. P. Solov’ev, “Neskol’ko slov o ‘razvedenii porody cheloveka’,” in idem, Stroitel’stvo sovetskogo zdravookhraneniia (M.: Medgiz, 1932), pp. 320-34. All the subsequent quotations are from this source.

48 See T. Iudin, Evgenika. Uchenie ob uluchshenii prirodnykh svoistv cheloveka (M M. i S. Sabashnikovy, 1925). The second updated and expanded edition was released by the same private press three years later.

49 I failed to find any materials that could explain why Kol’tsov did not the translation of Galton’s book with a different press.

50 I was unable to find out who had written the “editorial foreword.” The GIZ Petrograd office had several regular reviewers for biological literature, including such well-known specialists as expert in biology education Boris Raikov, zoologist Petr Shmidt, and parasitologist Evgenii Pavlovskii. None of them had ever published anything even remotely similar to the “Marxist” assessment of eugenics presented in the foreword. To the contrary, Raikov, for instance, published several favorable reviews of Filipchenko’s various publications on eugenics in the journal Natural Sciences in School, see Estestvoznanie v shkole, 1922, 1-2: 78; 1926, 2: 90; 1926, 3: 95-96.

51 See, for instance, E. I. Berman, “Kak uluchshit’ prirodnye svoistva cheloveka? (Evgenika),” Molodaia gvardiia, 1926, 2: 108-16. The article, written by young Moscow pediatrician Efim Berman (1894-1963), was basically a recapitulation of Volotskoi’s arguments advanced in his pamphlet on Class Interests and Modern Eugenics. For a similar reiteration of Volotskoi’s work, see also B. A. Ivanovskii, Sovetskaia meditsina i fizkul’tura (M.: Gosmedgiz, 1928), pp. 25-29.

52 It is worth noting that, a year earlier Filipchenko published in the same journal his review of Volotskoi’s book, Elevating the Vital Forces of the Race, that first introduced Florinskii’s treatise to its Soviet audiences. See Iu. A. Filipchenko, “M. V. Volotskoi, Podniatie zhiznennykh sil rasy. Novyi put’. Iz-vo ‘Zhizn’ i znanie’. M. 1923 g. Str. 96,” Pechat’i revoliutsiia, 1924, 6: 248-50.

53 N. A. Semashko, “Ikh evgenika i nasha,” Vestnik sovremennoi meditsiny, 1927, 10: 639-49. The article was an excerpt from a public lecture Semashko has delivered. Alas, I was unable to find either the date or the venue of this lecture.

54 See Iu. A. Filipchenko, “Intelligentsiia i talanty,” Izvestiia biuro po evgenike, 1925, 3: 83-96, [Babkov, pp. 279-87].

55 G. Shmidt, “Ne iz verkhnikh desiati tysiach, a iz nizhnikh millionov,” PZM, 1925, 7: 128-33.

56 Ibid., p. 128.

57 See, for instance, Vas. Slepkov, “Nasledstvennost’i otbor u cheloveka,” PZM, 1925, 4: 102-22; idem, “Biologiia cheloveka,” ibid., 1925, 10-11: 115-42; idem, Evgenika (M.-L.: GIZ, 1927); and B. M. Zavadovskii, “Darvinizm i marksizm,” Vestnik Kommunisticheskoi akademii (hereafter VKA), 1926, 14: 226-74.

58 For a brief sketch of Batkis’s life and works, see Nora Karlsen, “Abramovich Batkis (k 110-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia),” Demoskop Weekly, 2005, 225, http://demoscope.ru/weekly/2005/0225/nauka03.php.

59 See G. A. Batkis, “Sovremennye evgenicheskie techeniia v svete sotsial’noi gigieny,” Sotsial’naia gigiena, 1927, 1(9): 97-98; and, especially, idem, “Sotsial’nye osnovy evgeniki,” ibid., 1927, 2(10): 7-25. All the subsequent quotations are from the latter article.

60 For a detailed historical analysis of the interrelations among Marxism, Darwinism, Lamarckism, and genetics in Russia, see Krementsov, “Marxism, Darwinism, and Genetics,” pp. 215-46. As any “ism,” the label “Lamarckism” meant many different things to its various users, see Snait B. Gissis and Eva Jablonka, eds., Transformations of Lamarckism: From Subtle Fluids to Molecular Biology (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011). In the 1920s, this label was largely used (often in the form of “neo-Lamarckism”) to signify a particular concept of biological evolution that considered the inheritance of acquired characteristics to be its major mechanism. Neo-Lamarckism, thus, contradicted both the contemporary notions of heredity developed by geneticists on the basis of Mendel’s and Weismann’s works and the contemporary notions of evolution developed by Darwin’s followers, which considered natural selection to be the major mechanism of biological evolution.

61 See, for example, Preformizm ili epigenezis? (Volodga: Severnyi pechatnik, 1926); P. A. Novikov, Teoriia epigeneza v biologii: Istoriko-sistematicheskii ocherk (M.: Izdatel’stvo komakademii, 1927); E. S. Smirnov, Problema nasledovaniia priobretennykh priznakov: Kriticheskii obzor literatury (M.: Izdatel’stvo komakademii, 1927). For a historical assessment of the debate between geneticists and Lamarckists, see A. E. Gaissinovitch, “The Origins of Soviet Genetics and the Struggle with Lamarckism, 1922-1929,” JHB, 1980, 13: 1-51; and Krementsov, “Marxism, Darwinism, and Genetics.”

62 On Kammerer’s work, see Sander Gliboff, “The Case of Paul Kammerer: Evolution and Experimentation in the Early 20th Century,” JHB, 2006, 39: 525-63.

63 P. Kammerer, Obshchaia biologiia (M.-L.: GIZ, 1925). The translation was made from the second updated edition of the original, Paul Kammerer, Allgemeine biologie (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1920).

64 On Kammerer’s life story, see Arthur Koestler, The Case of the Midwife-Toad (New York: Random House, 1971).

65 See P. Kammerer, Zagadka nasledstvennosti (L.: Priboi, 1927) and (M.: GIZ, 1927). For the original, see idem, Das Rätsel der Vererbung: Grundlagen der allgemeinen Vererbungslehre (Berlin: Ullstein, 1925). See also, P. Kammerer, Pol, razmnozhenie i plodovitost’: Biologiia vosproizvedenia (L.: Priboi, 1927). Furthermore, also in 1927, the head of Narkompros Anatolii Lunacharskii — the official patron of all “pure” science in the country and an active member of the Communist Academy — wrote a movie script loosely based on Kammerer’s life-story. Directed by a young talented director, Grigorii Roshal’, and featuring Lunacharskii’s wife in the lead female part, the movie, entitled Salamander, hit screens across the country in late 1928. The movie portrayed Kammerer as a progressive scientist, whose research on the inheritance of acquired characteristics in salamanders earned him the hatred of the clergy and the bourgeoisie. His opponents (who apparently subscribed to the views of modern genetics on the impossibility of Lamarckian inheritance) plot to destroy his reputation by tampering with his research. Driven out of his lab and haunted by lack of money, the scientist is saved from poverty and disgrace (and his salamanders from inevitable death) by the invitation of the Soviet government to come to Moscow to continue his research. The official press greeted the movie with much enthusiasm. See, for example, Kh. Khersonskii, “Salamandra,” Pravda, 30 December 1928, p. 5.

66 See, for instance, M. I. Lifshits, Uchenie o konstitutsiiakh cheloveka s ocherkom sovremennogo polozheniia voprosa o nasledstvennosti (Kiev: GIZ Ukrainy, 1924); A. A. Krontovskii, Nasledstvennost’i konstitutsiia (Kiev: GIZ Ukrainy, 1925); S. Davidenkov, Nasledstvennye bolezni nervnoi sistemy (Kiev: GIZ Ukrainy, 1925); T. I. Iudin, Psikhopaticheskie konstitutsii (M.: Sabashnikov, 1926); and many others.

67 See, for instance, S. Levit, “Evoliutsionnye teorii v biologii i marksizm,” Vestnik sovremennoi meditsiny, 1925, 9: 15-24; idem, “Evoliutsionnye teorii v biologii i marksizm,” Meditsina i dialekticheskii materialism, 1926, 1: 15-32; idem, “Dialekticheskii materializm v meditsine,” Vestnik sovremennoi meditsiny, 1927, 23: 1481-90. For a brief biography of Levit, see Mark B. Adams, “Levit, Solomon Grigorevich,” in Holmes, ed., Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol. 18, suppl. II, pp. 546-49.

68 See, Vestnik sovremennoi meditsiny, 1925, 9: 27; and ibid., 1927, 23:

69 S. Levit, “Problema konstitutsii v meditsine i dialekticheskii materialism,” Meditsina i dialekticheskii materializm, 1927, 2: 7-34 (pp. 20-21).

70 See, for instance, I. I. Rozenblium, “Popytka marksistkogo podkhoda k nekotorym problemam konstitutsii i nasledstvennosti,” Leningradskii meditsinskii zhurnal, 1926, 4: 48-63; L. Syrkin, “Uluchshenie chelovecheskogo roda ili evgenika,” V pomoshch’ sanitarke, 1928, 8: 1-2, and Berman, “Kak uluchshit’ prirodnye svoistva cheloveka? (Evgenika).”

71 See, for instance, “Preniia po dokladu M. V. Volotskogo,” VKA, 1927, 20: 232-54 (p. 237).

72 Ibid., p. 246.

73 See, for instance, B. M. Zavadovskii, “Darvinizm i lamarkizm i problema nasledovaniia priobretennykh priznakov,” PZM, 1925, 10-11: 79-114; and idem, Darvinizm i marksizm (M.: GIZ, 1926).

74 This quote comes from a commentary by Mikhail Mestergazi, a geneticist and Bolshevik party member, to Volotskoi’s report on “issues in modern eugenics” delivered to a meeting of the Society of Materialist-Biologists in December 1926, see “Preniia po dokladu M. V. Volotskogo,” VKA, 1927, 20: 232-54 (p. 234).

75 See, for instance, his favorable review of the book published by a supporter of Lamarckism under the title “Are Acquired Characteristics Transmitted by Heredity?”, M. Volotskoi, “A. P. Vladimirskii. Peredaiutsia li po nasledstvu priobretennye priznaki? Darvinovskaia bib-ka pod red. prof. M. M. Zavadovskogo. GIZ. M.-L. 1927. Str. 184. Tirazh 4000. Ts. 1 r. 25 k.,” Pechat’i revoliutsiia, 1927, 6: 179-80.

76 For a sample of publications by members of the Lamarck Circle, see E. S. Smirnov, Iu. M. Vermel’, and B. S. Kuzin, Ocherki po teorii evolutsii (M.: Krasnaiia nov’, 1924); and E. S. Smirnov, Problema nasledovaniia priobretennykh priznakov: Kriticheskii obzor literatury (M.: Izdatel’stvo Komakademii, 1927).

77 See ARAN, f. 356, op. 1, d. 38, ll. 53-54. Unfortunately, the file does not contain the text of the report.

78 See, for instance, lengthy analyses of the concept of the inheritance of acquired characteristics produced by Filipchenko’s student Theodosius Dobzhansky in F. G. Dobrzhanskii, “K voprosu o nasledovanii priobretennykh priznakov,” in Preformizm ili epigenezis?, pp. 27-47; and idem., Chto i kak nasleduetsia u zhivykh sushchestv? (L.: GIZ, 1926).

79 See, for instance, N. K. Kol’tsov, “Noveishie popytki dokazat’nasledstvennost’blagopriobretennykh priznakov,” REZh, 1924, 3 (2-3): 159-67.

80 T. H. Morgan and Iu. A. Filipchenko, Nasledstvenny li priobretennye priznaki (Leningrad: Seiatel’, 1925). For Morgan’s original article, see T. H. Morgan, “Are Acquired Characteristics Inherited?” Yale Review, 1924, 13(4): 712-29.

81 Iu. A. Filipchenko, “Nasledstvennost’priobretennykh priznakov,” in Morgan and Filipchenko, Nasledstvenny li priobretennye priznaki, p. 57. Here Filipchenko used the same “translation” of Florinskii’s “hereditary potentials” as “genes,” which had been used by Volotskoi.

82 See ARAN, f. 1595, op. 1, d. 389, l. 1.

83 See a stenographic record of the report in ARAN, f. 350, op. 2, d. 112. A full text of the report soon appeared on the pages of Under the Banner of Marxism, see A. S. Serebrovskii, “Teoriia nasledstvennosti Morgana i Mendelia i marksisty,” PZM, 1926, 3: 98-117. All the following quotations are from this source. Unless noted otherwise, all the emphasis is Serebrovskii’s.

84 Volotskoi, “O nekotorykh techeniiakh v sovremennoi evgenike,” p. 85. For the original citation see Florinskii, 1866, p. 73.

85 See A. S. Serebrovskii, “Genogeografiia i genofond sel’skokhoziaistvennykh zhivotnykh SSSR,” Nauchnoe slovo, 1928, 9: 3-22.

86 On the further development of this concept within the framework of population genetics and evolutionary synthesis, see Mark B. Adams, “From ‘Gene Fund’ to ‘Gene Pool’: On the Evolution of Evolutionary Language,” in William Coleman and Camille Limoges, eds., Studies in the History of Biology (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979), vol. 3, pp. 241–85.

87 See, for instance, Anon., “U nas ogromnyi genofond,” 30 dnei, 1926, 12: 84-85.

88 N. K. Kol’tsov, “Rodoslovnye nashikh vydvizhentsev,” REZh, 1926, 4 (103-43, [Babkov, pp. 152-95].

89 For a stenographic record of the report and its discussion, see ARAN, f. op. 2, d. 68, ll. 1-71. The report and its discussion soon appeared in print in the Herald of the Communist Academy, see M. V. Volotskoi, “Spornye voprosy evgeniki,” VKA, 1927, 20: 212-32; and “Preniia po dokladu M. V. Volotskogo,” ibid., 232-54.

90 “Preniia po dokladu M. V. Volotskogo,” p. 236.

91 “Preniia po dokladu M. V. Volotskogo,” p. 243.

92 M. Mestergazi, “Epigenezis i genetika,” VKA, 1927, 19: 197-233 (p. 232).

93 The debates over “bourgeois” and “proletarian” eugenics also found vivid expression in a variety of literary, theatrical, and cinematographic productions. For a brief introduction to this theme, see my analysis of the play I Want a Baby, written in 1926 by Sergei Tret’iakov, a popular poet and playwright; Krementsov, “From ‘Beastly Philosophy’ to Medical Genetics.” I am currently preparing a manuscript that explores these productions in their scientific and social contexts.

94 N. Kol’tsov, “Evfenika,” BME, 1929, 9: 689-92. All the following quotations are from this source. Although there were slight differences in the Russian spelling of the term — Kol’tsov spelled it evfenika, Andreev eufenika, Mestergazi eutenika — their explanations and use in the respective texts leave no doubt that all three meant exactly the same thing, representing merely different Russian transliterations of the term “eu-phenics” modeled after “eu-genics.”

95 See ARAN, f. 1595, op. 1, d. 323, ll. 1-2.

96 See S. L [evit], “Otchet o rabote kabineta nasledstvennosti i konstitutsii cheloveka pri Mediko-biologicheskom institute za 1928-29 akad. g.,” Mediko-biologicheskii zhurnal, 1929, 5: 115-16.

97 See N. Kol’tsov, “Zadachi i metody izucheniia rasovoi patologii,” REZh, 1929, 7 (2-3): 69-87, [Babkov, pp. 479-92]; and Anon., “Kratkii otchet o deiatel’nosti obshchestva po izucheniiu rasovoi patologii i geograficheskogo rasprostraneniia boleznei,” ibid.: 113.

98 A. Serebrovskii, “Galton,” Bol’shaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia (hereafter (M.: Sovetskaia entsiklopediia, 1929), vol. 14, pp. 443-44; idem, “Galton,” BME, 1929, 6: 253-54.

99 T. Iudin, “Evgenika,” BME, 1929, 9: 663-70; N. Kol’tsov, “Evfenika,” ibid., 9: 689-92.

100 For details, see Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1928-1941 (New York: Norton, 1990); also Sheila Fitzpatrick, ed., Cultural Revolution in Russia, 1928-1931 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1978).

101 On the Shakhty trial, see Kendal Bailes, Science and Russian Culture in an Age of Revolutions (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1990); Loren R. Graham, The Ghost of the Executed Engineer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993); for much more extensive and informative Russian-language publications, see S. A. Kislitsyn, Shakhtinskoe delo: nachalo stalinskikh repressii protiv nauchno-tekhnicheskoi intelligentsii v SSSR (M.: Logos, 1992) and, especially, S. A. Krasil’nikov, ed., Shakhtinskii protsess 1928 g.: podgotovka, provedenie, itogi, 2 vols. (M.: ROSSPEN, 2011).

102 For a general assessment of the relations between specialists and the state in the field of health protection in Russia, see Susan G. Solomon, “The Expert and the State in Russian Public Health: Continuities and Changes Across the Revolutionary Divide,” in D. Parker, ed., The History of Public Health and the Modern State (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1994), pp. 183-223.

103 For a detailed analysis of the impact of the “revolution from above” on the Soviet science system, see Krementsov, Stalinist Science.

104 See P. Rokitskii, Mozhno li uluchshit’chelovecheskii rod (M.-L.: GIZ, 1928).

105 See ARAN, f. 356, op. 3, d. 60, l. 301.

106 V. M. Volotskoi, Professional’nye vrednosti i potomstvo (M.: Institut, 1929).

107 See Trudy Vsesoiuznogo s” ezda po genetike i selektsii, 6 vols. (L.: Redkollegiia, 1930). See also a brief report on the congress by Erwin Baur, one of its German guests, E. B., “Der Allrussische Kongres für Genetik, Tier-und Pflanzenzüchtung in Leningrad, Januar 1929,” Der Züchter, 1929, 1(1): 24-25.

108 A. Sh. Shorokhova, “Novye puti v selektsii cheloveka i mlekopitaiushchikh,” Vrachebnaia gazeta, 1929, 3-4: 179-84.

109 See RO RNB, f. 813, op. 1, d. 363 and d. 736.

110 A. S. Serebrovskii, “Antropogenetika i evgenika v sotsialisticheskom obshchestve,” Trudy Kabineta nasledstvennosti i konstitutsii cheloveka pri Mediko-biologicheskom institute, published as a special issue of Mediko-biologicheskii zhurnal, 1929, 5: 3-19, [Babkov, pp. 505-16]; S. Levit, “Genetika i patologiia (v sviazi s sovremennym krizisom v meditsine),” ibid., 20-39, [Babkov, pp. 552-65].

111 For a detailed, though dated analysis of the Bolshevization of the Academy of Sciences, see Loren R. Graham, The Soviet Academy of Sciences and the Communist Party, 1927-1932 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967); for a more recent assessment based on newly available archival materials, see F. F. Perchenok, “‘Delo Akademii nauk’ i ‘velikii perelom’ v sovetskoi nauke,” in Tragicheskie sud’by: repressirovannye uchenye Akademii nauk SSSR (M.: Nauka, 1995), pp. 201-35.

112 For detailed, but also dated analyses of these campaigns in English, see David Joravsky, Soviet Marxism and Natural Science, 1917–1932 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961); and Loren R. Graham, Science and Philosophy in the Soviet Union (New York: Knopf, 1974); for a more recent analysis, focusing specifically on the “ideological” impact of the campaigns in biological sciences, see E. I. Kolchinskii, V poiskakh sovetskogo ‘soiuza’ filosofii i biologii (SPb.: D. Bulanin, 1999).

113 D. Bednyi, “Evgenika,” Izvestiia, 4 June 1930, p. 4. On Bednyi and his role in Soviet literature, see Robert Horvath, “The Poet of Terror: Dem’ian Bednyi and Stalinist Culture,” Russian Review, 2006, 65(1): 53-71.

114 Тhe texts of Bednyi’s poem and Serebrovskii’s response have been in R. A. Fando, “Polemika o sud’be evgeniki (v poeticheskom zhanre),” VIET, 2002, 3: 604-17. However, in this publication, Bednyi’s poem is misdated.

115 Anon., “Po povodu proizvodstvennogo plana ‘sotsialisticheskoi evgeniki’,” Moskovskii meditsinskii zhurnal, 1930, 9: 77-87.

116 A. S. Serebrovskii, “Pis’mo v redaktsiiu,” Mediko-biologicheskii zhurnal, 4-5: 447-48, [Babkov, pp. 517-18].

117 A. I. Abrikosov, “Trudy kabineta nasledstvennosti i konstitutsii cheloveka. Vyp. 1,” Russkaia klinika, 1930, 13(72): 522-23 (p. 522); see also V. Bunak, “Medio-biologicheskii zhurnal, vyp. 5, 1929,” RAZh, 1930, 19(3-4): 209; N. P. Dubinin, “Trudy kabineta nasledstvennosti i konstitutsii cheloveka. Vyp. 1.1929,” Nauchnoe slovo, 1930, 4: 122-26; idem, “Uspekhi sovremennoi genetiki i meditsina,” Tsentral’nyi referativnyi meditsinskii zhurnal, 1930, 6: 330-50; and Ia. I. Cherniak, Genetika i meditsina (Kharkov: Nauchnaia mysl’, 1930).

118 For the standard instructions to a workers’brigade conducting an inspection, see GARF, f. А2307, op. 17, d. 151, l. 3. On the general campaign to reform “medical-scientific societies,” see S. Subotnik, “Meditsinskie nauchnye obshchestva nuzhdaiutsia v ozdorovlenii,” Izvestiia, 11 January 1930, p. 4; and Anon., “Nauchno-meditsinskie obshchestva otorvany ot shirokoi nauchnoi obshchestvennosti. Obsledovanie nauchnykh meditsinskikh obshchestv rabochimi brigadami,” Izvestiia, 12 February 1930, p. 5.

119 See G. Sobolev, “Russkoe evgenicheskoe obshchestvo,” VARNITSO, 1930, 5: 49-50. On the campaign directed personally against Kol’tsov, see B. Zavadovskii, “Prof. N. K. Kol’tsov,” Izvestiia, 18 January 1930, p. 2; and against his IEB, M. Rokhlina, “Obshchestvennyi smotr In-ta eksperimental’noi biologii,” VARNITSO, 1930, 5: 44-48.

120 The plan is preserved among Kol’tsov’s personal papers in ARAN, f. 450, op. 4, d. 7, ll. 3-7.

121 A manuscript of this article is preserved among Kol’tsov’s personal papers in ARAN, f. 450, op. 5, d. 29, ll. 1-25 rev. All the subsequent quotations are from this source. For an English translation, see Babkov, pp. 48-56.

122 Tkachev, Sotsial’naia gigiena, pp. 11, 153.

123 G. Batkis, “Evgenika,” BSE, 1931, 23: 812-19, [Babkov, pp. 519-24].

124 Solov’ev, “Neskol’ko slov o ‘razvedenii porody cheloveka’,” in idem, Stroitel’stvo sovetskogo zdravookhraneniia (M.: Medgiz, 1932), pp. 320-34. After its first 1932 publication the article was regularly reprinted in various collections of Solov’ev’s works, see Z. P. Solov’ev, Voprosy zdravookhraneniia (M.-L.: Medgiz, 1940), pp. 300-11; idem, Izbrannye proizvedeniia (M.: Izd. Meditsinskoi literatury, 1965), pp. 83-96; idem, Izbrannye proizvedeniia (M.: Meditsina, 1970), pp. 189-99.

125 On “public discussion” as an instrument of Bolshevik policies, Krementsov, Stalinist Science.

126 See, for instance, P. I. Valeskaln and B. P. Tokin, eds., Uchenie Darvina marksizm-leninzm (M.: Partizdat, 1932).

127 Engels’s brochure appeared in Russia in numerous editions and translations, see F. Engels, Ot obez’iany k cheloveku (Gomel’: Gomel’skii rabochii, 1922); and idem, Rol’truda v protsesse ochelovechivaniia obez’iany (M.: Partizdat, 1932).

128 See L. Vygotskii, “Sotsialisticheskaia peredelka cheloveka,” VARNITSO, 1930, 9-10: 36-44. For a dated, but still useful historical account of this newfound emphasis on nurture versus nature in the specific area of “the conception of personality,” see Raymond A. Bauer, The New Man in Soviet Psychology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1952). On VARNITSO, see I. A. Tugarinov, “VARNITSO i AN SSSR,” VIET, 1989, 4: 46-55.

129 V. I. Kremianskii, “Perekhod ot vedushchei roli estestvennogo otbora k vedushchei roli truda,” Uspekhi sovremennoi biologii, 1941, 14(2): 356-71.

130 See, for instance, materials of the First All-Union Conference of Teachers of Deaf-Mute Children held in Moscow in May 1929, which appeared under the title “Socio-Political Upbringing of Mentally-Retarded and Physically-Defective Children,” M. M. Pistrak, ed., Obshchestvenno-politicheskoe vospitanie umstvenno-otstalykh i fizicheski-defektivnkh detei (M.-L.: GIZ, 1930).

131 See F. Galton, “Experiments in Pangenesis,” Proceedings of the Royal 1871, 19: 393-410.

132 The main apostles of this value system — Nikolai Chernyshevskii, Nikolai Dobroliubov, and Dmitrii Pisarev — became the “cultural heroes” of the foundational myths generated by both the Russian intelligentsia and the Bolsheviks. Lenin’s numerous pronouncements on the subject, endlessly reproduced during the 1920s and beyond, placed Chernyshevskii, Dobroliubov, and Pisarev in the pantheon of the Russian Revolution as the rightful successors to the Decembrists and Alexander Herzen, and the predecessors (via narodniki) of the Bolsheviks themselves. See, for instance, Lenin’s articles “What Legacy Do We Reject?” (1897); “What is To Be Done?” (1902); “On the Occasion of a Jubilee” (1911); “To Herzen’s Memory” (1912); and many others.

133 Kol’tsov, “Uluchshenie chelovecheskoi porody,” p. 20.

134 See P. I. Liublinskii, “Evgenicheskie tendentsii i noveishee zakonodatel’stvo o detiakh,” REZh, 1925, 3(1): 3-29; idem, “Brak i evgenika (O kontrole nad zdorov’em lits, vstupaiushchikh v brak),” REZh, 1927, 5(2): 49-89; R. Bravaia, “Mal’tuziantsy XX veka,” Zhurnal po izucheniiu rannego detskogo vozrasta, 1928, 7(1): 63-69; Z. O. Michnik, “Soznatel’noe materinstvo i regulirovanie detorozhdeniia,” ibid., 70-76; N. I. Mikulina-Ivanova, “Brak i evgenika: O kontrole nad zdorov’em lits, vstupaiushchikh v brak,” Zhenskii zhurnal, 1929, 1: 22; and P. Rokitskii, “Evgenika i brak.” ibid., 1930, 6: 18.

135 Galton, “Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope and Aims,” p. 45.

136 Galton, “Probability, The Foundation of Eugenics,” p. 81.

137 M. Gremiatskii, “Evgenika,” Malaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia (M.: Sovetskaia entsiklopediia, 1936), vol. 3, pp. 150-52.

138 See G. A. Batkis, Sotsial’naia gigiena. Sanitarnoe sostoianie naseleniia i sanitarnaia statistika (M.-L.: Biomedgiz, 1936), pp. 273-89 (pp. 277-78).

139 The history of human genetics in Russia has attracted considerable attention and generated substantial literature. See, for instance, Mark B. Adams, “The Politics of Human Heredity in the USSR, 1920-1940,” Genome, 1989, 31: 879-84; idem, “The Soviet Nature-Nurture Debate,” in Loren R. Graham, ed., Science and the Soviet Social Order (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990), pp. 94-138; and idem, Garland E. Allen, and Sheila F. Weiss, “Human Heredity and Politics: A Comparative Institutional Study of the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor (United States), the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics (Germany), and the Maxim Gorky Medical Genetics Institute (USSR),” Osiris, 2005, 20: 232-62. See also numerous Russian language studies, such as V. V. Babkov, “Meditsinskaia genetika v SSSR,” Vestnik RAN, 2001, 71(10): 928-37; idem, “Moskva, 1934: Rozhdenie meditsinskoi genetiki,” Vestnik VOGIS, 2006, 10(3): 455-78; idem, Zaria genetiki cheloveka; M. B. Konashev, “Ot evgeniki k meditsinskoi genetike,” Rossiiskii biomeditsinskii zhurnal, 2002, 3, http://www.medline.ru/public/art/tom3/eumedgen.phtml; M. D. Golubovskii, “Stanovlenie genetiki cheloveka,” Priroda, 2012, 10: 53-63; R. A. Fando, Stanovlenie othechestvennoi genetiki cheloveka. Na perekrestke nauki i politiki (M.: Maks-Press, 2013); and many others. Alas, with the exception of the last book, all other historical works focus almost exclusively on the history of medical genetics research and institutions in Moscow and, to a lesser extent, Leningrad, passing over in silence important developments in other centers, such as Kazan and Kharkov. Furthermore, despite the existence of this voluminous literature, the history of Russian human genetics is either misrepresented or altogether ignored in the general histories of human and medical genetics available in English. See Diane B. Paul, Controlling Human Heredity: 1865 to the Present (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1995); Robert G. Resta and Diane B. Paul, eds., Historical Aspects of Medical Genetics, a special issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics, 2002, 115(2): 73-110; Peter S. Harper, A Short History of Medical Genetics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008); Bernd Gausemeier, Saffan Muller-Wille, and Edmund Ramsden, eds., Human Heredity in the Twentieth Century (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2013); and Petermann, Harper, and Doetz, eds., History of Human Genetics.

140 The same year, Serebrovskii became chairman of the first genetics department at Moscow University and chairman of the genetics department at the Narkomzem Institute of Animal Breeding, which perhaps also contributed to his move away from research in human genetics.

141 S. Levit, “Chelovek kak geneticheskii ob” ekt i izuchenie bliznetsov kak metod antropogenetiki,” Trudy geneticheskogo otdeleniia pri Medikobiologicheskom institute, 2, published as a special issue of Mediko-biologicheskii zhurnal, 1930, 4-5: 273-87, [Babkov, pp. 566-76]. All the subsequent quotations are from this source. For the tables of contents of the four volumes of the MBI’s Proceedings, see Babkov, pp. 621-24.

142 The term “Phänogenetik” was coined in 1918 by the one-time student of August Weismann, Halle University zoology professor Valentin Haecker, Entwicklungsgeschichtliche Eigenschaftsanalyse: (Phänogenetik): gemeinsame Aufgaben der Entwicklungsgeschichte, Vererbungs-und Rassenlehre (Jena: Fisher, 1918). On Haecker, see Uwe Hosfeld, Elizabeth Watts, and Georgy S. Levit, “Valentin Haecker (1864–1927) as a Pioneer of Phenogenetics: Building the Bridge Between Genotype and Phenotype,” Epigenetics, 2017, 12(4): 247-53. For a detailed historical analysis of the development of phenogenetics, see K. B. Sokolova, Razvitie fenogenetiki v pervoi polovine XX veka (M.: Nauka, 1998); for a brief English-language overview of Russian contributions to the field, see Leonid I. Korochkin, Boris V. Konyukhov, and Alexander T. Mikhailov, “From Genes to Development: Phenogenetic Contributions to Developmental Biology in Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1967,” International Journal of Developmental Biology, 1997, 4: 763-70.

143 On the Rockefeller fellowships for Russian scientists and physicians, see Susan G. Solomon and Nikolai Krementsov, “Giving and Taking Across Borders: The Rockefeller Foundation and Soviet Russia, 1919-1928,” Minerva, 2001, 3: 265-98.

144 Muller apprised his Russian colleagues of the remarkable progress the Morgan group had made during the last ten years and presented them a large collection of Drosophila stocks he brought from the United States. See G. G. Meller [H. J. Muller], “Rezul’taty desiatiletnikh geneticheskikh issledovanii s Drosophila,” Uspekhi eksperimental’noi biologii, 1923, 1: 292-21; for Muller’s description of his trip, see H. J. Muller, “Observations of Biological Science in Russia,” Scientific Monthly, 1923, 16: 539-52. For a voluminous biography of Muller, see Elof Axel Carson, Genes, Radiation and Society: The Life and Work of H. J. Muller (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981). Alas, this biography glosses over both Muller’s involvement with eugenics and his relations to Soviet Russia and socialist ideas.

145 See a letter from the RF officer Daniel O’Brian to Serebrovskii, of 11 February 1931, in ARAN, f. 1595, op. 1, d. 377, l. 101; and Levit’s report on his fellowship in GARF, f. A2307, op. 19, d. 241, ll. 2-5. Isaak Agol, another active “materialist-biologist” who had converted to genetics under Serebrovskii’s tutelage also received an RF fellowship, which he took together with Levit at Muller’s lab in Texas, see his report in GARF, f. A2307, op. 19, d. 232, ll. 4-7.

146 See A. Serebrovskii, “Chetyre stranitsy, kotorye vzvolnovali uchenyi mir,” Pravda, 11 September 1927, p. 5. The title of the article, “Four Pages that Shook the Scientific World,” alluded to the title of the famous book about the Bolshevik Revolution by John Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1919).

147 See, H. J. Muller, “Mutation,” in Eugenics, Genetics and the Family: Scientific Papers of the Second International Congress of Eugenics (Baltimore, MD: Williams and Wilkins, 1923), vol. 1, pp. 106-12. On Muller’s involvement with eugenics, see Garland E. Allen, “Biology and Culture: Science and Society in the Eugenic Thought of H. J. Muller,” BioScience, 1970, 20(6): 346-53; Diane B. Paul, “Eugenics and the Left,” Journal of the History of Ideas, 1984, 45(4): 567-90; and Elof Axel Carlson, “Eugenics and Basic Genetics in H. J. Muller’s Approach to Human Genetics,” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 1987, 9(1): 57-78.

148 On Davenport and his genetics department, see Jan A. Witkowski, The to Discovery: A Short History of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2016).

149 [S. Levit], “Ot redaktora,” Trudy mediko-biologicheskogo instituta (M.-L.: Biomedgiz, 1934), vol. 3, p. i.

150 See S. Levit, “Darvinizm, rasovyi shovinizm i sotsial-fashizm,” in Valeskaln and Tokin, eds., Uchenie Darvina i marksizm-leninizm, pp. 107-25.

151 G. I. Meller [H. J. Muller], “Evgenika v usloviiakh obshchestva,” Uspekhi sovremennoi biologii, 1933, 2(3): 3-11; for the English language original, see H. J. Muller, “The Dominance of Economics over Eugenics,” Scientific Monthly, 1933, 37: 44-47.

152 G. Meller [H. J. Muller], “Evgenika na sluzhbe Priroda, 1934, 1: 100-6.

153 See also H. J. Muller, “Lenin’s Doctrines in Relation to Genetics,” in Pamiati V. I. Lenina (M.: Partizdat, 1934), pp. 565-92. The article has been reprinted in Graham, Science and Philosophy in the Soviet Union, pp. 453-69.

154 See Konferentsiia po meditsinskoi genetike. Doklady i preniia, issued as supplement to the journal Sovetskaia klinika, 1934, 20(7-8); all the subsequent quotations are from this source.

155 See Todes, Ivan Pavlov.

156 See, for instance, S. G. Levit and S. N. Ardashnikov, eds., Trudy Mediko-geneticheskogo nauchno-issledovatel’skogo instituta imeni Maksima Gorkogo (M.-L.: Biomedgiz, 1936), vol. 4; N. N. Anichkov, ed. Nevrologiia i genetika (M.-L.: VIEM, 1936), vol. 1; and S. N. Davidenkov, ed., Nevrologiia i genetika (M.-L.: VIEM, 1936), vol. 2.

157 See, for instance, a report on a 1935 visit to Moscow and Levit’s IMG the secretary of Eugenics Review E. A. Palmer, in “Notes of the Quarter,” Eugenics Review, 1935, 27(3): 187-88.

158 See, for instance, S. G. Levit and N. N. Malkova, “A New Mutation in Man: Haemophilia-a,” Journal of Heredity, 1930, 21(2): 73-78; S. Levit, “On the Heredity of Atheroma,” ibid., 1931, 22(3): 3-5; idem, “Twin investigations in the USSR,” Character and Personality, 1935, 3: 188-93; S. G. Levit, S. G. Ginsburg, V. S. Kalinin, and R. G. Feinberg, “Immunological Detection of the Y-chromosome in Drosophilia Melanogaster,” Nature, 1936, 139: 78-79; V. V. Bunak, “Changes in the Mean Values of Characters in Mixed Populations,” Annals of Eugenics, 1936, 7(3): 195-206; and many others.

159 For a detailed history of the Seventh International Genetics Congress, Nikolai Krementsov, International Science between the World Wars: The Case of Genetics (London: Routledge, 2005).

160 H. J. Muller, Out of the Night. A Biologist’s View of the Future (New Gollancz, 1935). See a contemporary review of the book by an eminent US geneticist, P. W. Whiting, “Communist Eugenics: Review of a Preview of a Possible Tomorrow for Human Society,” Journal of Heredity, 1936, 27(3): 132-35.

161 Mark B. Adams found a draft of Muller’s letter to Stalin among Muller’papers, see Adams, “Eugenics in Russia,” in idem, ed., The Wellborn Science, p. 195. A Russian translation of the letter has been found in Stalin’s personal archive, see “Pis’mo Germana Miollera — I. V. Stalinu,” VIET, 1997, 1: 65-78. The English text was published in John Glad, “Hermann J. Muller’s 1936 letter to Stalin,” Mankind Quarterly, 2003, 43(3): 305-20. The following quotations from Muller’s letter are given from the English original located in the Lilly Library of the University of Indiana (Bloomington), Muller MSS, Writings, Box 3, Folder 1936.

162 For details on Muller’s further development of these ideas, see Chapter 8.

163 “Notes of the Quarter,” Eugenics Review, 1935, 27(3): 188.

164 Charles Davenport to the Secretary of State, 17 December 1936. APS, Davenport Papers.

165 For details, see Adams, Allen, and Weiss, “Human Heredity and Politics,” pp. 232-62; and Krementsov, “Eugenics, Rassenhygiene, and Human Genetics in the late 1930s,” in Solomon, ed., Doing Medicine Together: Germany and Russia between the Wars, pp. 369-404.

166 See, for instance, G. I. Petrov, Rasovaia teoriia na sluzhbe u fashizma (M.-L.: Sotsekizdat, 1934); E. A. Finkel’shtein, “Evgenika i fashizm,” in Rassovaia teoriia na sluzhbe fashizma (Kiev: Medizdat, 1935), pp. 37-88; Z. A. Gurevich, “Fashizm, ‘rasovaia gigiena’ i meditsina,” in ibid., pp. 89-125.

167 G. Frizen, “Genetika i fashizm,” PZM, 1935, 3: 86-95.

168 E. Kol’man, “Chernosotennyi bred fashizma i nasha mediko-biologicheskaia nauka,” PZM, 1936, 11: 64-72.

169 L. Karlik, “Trudy Mediko-geneticheskogo instituta im. M. Gor’kogo,” PZM, 1936, 12: 169-86.

170 See, Anon., “Po lozhnomu puti,” Pravda, 26 December 1936, p. 4.

171 For the meeting’s transcripts, see GARF, f. R8009, op. 1, d. 113.

172 For details, see Krementsov, International Science; and idem, “Eugenics, Rassenhygiene, and Human Genetics”.

173 See “Men and Мice at Edinburgh,” Journal of Heredity, 1939, 30: 371-74. All the subsequent quotations are from this source. The text of the “manifesto” also appeared in Nature, see “Social Biology and Population Improvement,” Nature, 1939, 144: 521-22. For a detailed analysis of Muller’s role in preparing the manifesto, see Krementsov, International Science, pp. 121-22.

174 The original signatories were F. A. Crew, J. B. S. Haldane, S. C. Harland, L. Hogben, J. S. Huxley, H. J. Muller, and J. Needham. Additional signatures were those of G. P. Child, P. R. David, G. Dahlberg, Th. Dobzhansky, R. A. Emerson, John Hammond, C. L. Huskins, W. Landauer, H. H. Plough, E. Price, J. Schultz, A. G. Steinberg, and C. H. Waddington.

175 For details, see Krementsov, “Printsip konkurentnogo iskliucheniia,” pp. 107-64; and idem, Stalinist Science.

176 For published materials on the conference, see M. Mitin, “Za peredovuiu sovetskuiu geneticheskuiu nauku,” PZM, 1939, 10: 147-76; and V. Kolbanovskii, “Spornye voprosy genetiki i selektsii (Obshchii obzor soveshchaniia),” PZM, 1939, 11: 86-126. For the English translations of the three main speeches at the conference by Vavilov, Lysenko, and the PZM editor-in-chief Mitin, see “Genetics in the Soviet Union: Three Speeches from the 1939 Conference on Genetics and Selection,” Science and Society, 1940, 4(3): 183-233.

177 Kolbanovskii, “Spornye voprosy genetiki i selektsii,” p. 116.

178 See, the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (hereafter RGASPI), f. 71, op. 3, d. 109, ll. 291-80, (l. 287).

179 See Peter Pringle, The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011).

180 For a detailed description of the establishment of the new institution its operations in the immediate post-World-War-II years, see Nikolai Krementsov, The Cure: A Story of Cancer and Politics from the Annals of the Cold War (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2002), pp. 56-62.

181 S. N. Davidenkov, Evoliutsionno-geneticheskie problemy v nevropatologii (L.: GIDUV, 1947).

182 Ibid., p. 94. Here Davidenkov cited the 1875 Russian edition of Hereditary Genius.

183 The literature on the so-called Lysenko affair is vast. For recent overviews, see Krementsov, Stalinist Science; Nils Roll-Hansen, The Lysenko Effect: The Politics of Science (Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 2005); William deJong-Lambert, The Cold War Politics of Genetic Research: An Introduction to the Lysenko Affair (Dordrecht: Springer, 2012); for an overview of available historical research on the subject, see Nikolai Krementsov and William deJong-Lambert, “Lysenkoism Redux,” in William deJong-Lambert and Nikolai Krementsov, eds., The Lysenko Controversy as a Global Phenomenon (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), vol. 1, pp. 1-34.

184 A. N. Studitskii, “Mukholiuby-chelovekonenavistniki,” Ogonek, 1949, 11: 14-16.

185 See, Anon, “Gal’ton, Fransis,” BSE, 1952, 10: 179; Anon, “Genetika,” ibid., 10: 430-38; and Anon., “Evgenika,” ibid., 15: 372-73.

186 See, for instance, M. V. Volotskoi, “Sluchai nasledstvennoi anomalii pigmentatsii zubov v sviazi s problemoi tsertatsii u cheloveka,” in Davidenkov, ed., Nevrologiia i genetika, vol. 2, pp. 277-86; and idem, “K voprosu o genetike papiliarnykh uzorov pal’tsev,” in Levit and Ardashnikov, eds., Trudy mediko-geneticheskogo instituta, pp. 404-39.

187 See Zhurnal’naia letopis’gosudarstvennoi tsentral’noi knizhnoi palaty, 1926-39.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 6-1. An illustration that accompanied a 1930 article, titled “Marital Choice,” in the popular weekly Hygiene and Health of Worker’s and Peasant’s Family. The article opened with a simple statement: “Eugenics is a science about the protection of health of the future generations; its goal is the betterment of the human breed [and] the facilitation of the making of a healthy and strong replacement [of the current generation].” The caption under the picture says: “Do not enter marriage blindfolded — consult a physician beforehand.” From Gigiena i zdorov’e rabochei i krest’ianskoi sem’i, 1930, 17-18: 12. Courtesy of BAN.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7408/img-1.jpg
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Légende Fig. 6-2. An advertisement for the GIZ series “Classics of Natural Science.” The first section lists nine books that have been published. The second lists four more volumes currently “in production.” The last book in this section is Gregor Mendel’s Experiments on Plant Hybrids. The third section lists ten books “in preparation.” The eighth in this list is Francis Galton’s Essays on Eugenics. This advertisement appeared on the back cover of Elie Metchnikoff’s Lectures on the Comparative Pathology of Inflammation, published as part of the series in 1923. From I. I. Mechnikov, Lektsii o sravnitel’noi patologii vospaleniia (M.: GIZ, 1923), backmatter. Courtesy of RNB.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7408/img-2.jpg
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Légende Fig. 6-3. The author of “bio-social” eugenics Mikhail Volotskoi. This photo was taken at Volotskoi’s apartment in either 1926 or 1927, at the very time that he was actively involved in debates over “socialist” eugenics and was elaborating his own “bio-social” eugenics. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of N. Bogdanov.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7408/img-3.jpg
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Légende Fig. 6-4. During the Fifth International Genetics Congress in Berlin, September 1927. Left to right: US geneticist Leslie C. Dunn, German poultry breeder Bruno Duringen, and Alexander Serebrovskii at Duringen’s Poultry Museum in Berlin. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of ARAN.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7408/img-4.jpg
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Légende Fig. 6-5. Solomon Levit at Herman J. Muller’s laboratory in Texas, 1931. Left to right: S. Levit, H. J. Muller, C. Offerman, I. Agol. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7408/img-5.jpg
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Légende Fig. 6-6. A series of cartoons depicting genetics as a “fascist,” “racist,” and “imperialist” science, by Boris Efimov. From Flash, 1949, 11: 14-16. Courtesy of BAN.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7408/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 329k

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