Stalinist Science

Princeton University Press
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Some scholars have viewed the Soviet state and science as two monolithic entities--with bureaucrats as oppressors, and scientists as defenders of intellectual autonomy. Based on previously unknown documents from the archives of state and Communist Party agencies and of numerous scientific institutions, Stalinist Science shows that this picture is oversimplified. Even the reinstated Science Department within the Central Committee was staffed by a leading geneticist and others sympathetic to conventional science. In fact, a symbiosis of state bureaucrats and scientists established a much more terrifying system of control over the scientific community than any critic of Soviet totalitarianism had feared. Some scientists, on the other hand, developed more elaborate devices to avoid and exploit this control system than any advocate of academic freedom could have reasonably hoped.

Nikolai Krementsov argues that the model of Stalinist science, already taking hold during the thirties, was reversed by the need for inter-Allied cooperation during World War II. Science, as a tool for winning the war and as a diplomatic and propaganda instrument, began to enjoy higher status, better funding, and relative autonomy. Even the reinstated Science Department within the Central Committee was staffed by a leading geneticist and others sympathetic to conventional science. However, the onset of the Cold War led to a campaign for eliminating such servility to the West. Then the Western links that had benefited genetics and other sciences during the war and through 1946 became a liability, and were used by Lysenko and others to turn back to the repressive past and to delegitimate whole research directions.

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About the author

Nikolai Krementsov is a senior researcher at the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of the History of Science and Technology, the Russian Academy of Sciences.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Nov 25, 1996
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781400822140
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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