The times did not choose
“A great scientist, a genius, the pride of Russian science, academician Vavilov died — it died!!! Died like a dog in the Saratov prison!!!” — shouted the scientific community of the Soviet geneticist Vladimir Efroimson
Exactly 70 years ago, on 26 January 1943 died sentenced to 20 years in prison on an outstanding Soviet geneticist and plant breeder Nikolai Vavilov
In the unfathomable history of Stalinist repression and other atrocities of the Soviet regime, in the terrible hell of the mass extermination of the 30’s many were only camp coal mine dust, bone-dust of rotten barracks of the Gulag, the mass grave of Solovki Yes snow baby Kolyma. I must say that this total human Mor today often used as a justificatory point — say, the time was such. Collapsing the old world, built a new, wood — chips fly. Chips had millions of dollars, but even such an incredible scale and the cycle of terror stubbornly continue to write off costs as not as much building, how much of the construction. “We ours, we will build a new world…”. Brave, new world…
“WHO ARE YOU?”. “I AKADEMIK VAVILOV”
Actually, the main cynicism of the Stalinist machine of extermination was the fact that through the infinite host of executed and tortured, it was impossible to discern individual human destiny and personality. “Unit – nonsense unit – zero, the voice unit thinner than a squeak…”. The individual is always cause for sympathy, mass destruction is always a bit akin to a natural cataclysm. Therefore one of the Stalinist machine was equal to zero, and zeros among the victims were many.
In General, the mass extermination characteristic feature not only of the Stalinist Union, and any murderous regime which consistently destroys individuality. But, in addition to the inhuman rules, regulations and laws invented by people, there are the laws of the universe. And in accordance with these laws evil sooner or later begins to cannibalize itself, and human destiny, from which it seems to survive no word, no memory, appear as stigmata, on the faceless faces of the executioners.
It is for these destinies today it is possible to recover, albeit very approximate, picture of what was happening then. Surviving in the dry documents, letters and terse sentences, they are the main verdict of the country with its construction, the great experience that it would be still removing, since, as we know, history repeats itself – first as tragedy, then as farce.
“Me, doctor Stepanova N. L., fieldservice Scriping M. E., examined the corpse of a prisoner Vavilov Nikolai Ivanovich born. 1887, convicted under article 58 for 20 years, has died in hospital of prison No. 1 of the city of Saratov on 26 January 1943 at 7 o’clock. The figure is correct, the fatness decreased sharply, pale skin, musculoskeletal system unchanged. According to history, a prisoner Vavilov Nikolay Ivanovich was in the prison hospital treated from January 24, 1943 regarding lobar pneumonia. Death occurred as a result of the decline of cardiac activity”.
“Who are you?”. “I Akademik Vavilov”. – “Shit you not an academician”. Probably about the dialogue academician with the investigator Grip heard even those who are not interested in genetics. Parents gave the investigator the name of speaking, the universe has taken care to ensure that this heavy moral monster preserved in the historical memory only because he was tortured academician.
Another distinctive feature of time – for the then sadists and torturers, from the camp lackey to the father of the peoples, comrade Stalin, was important was not only to destroy the victim physically, but also tortured her mentally. Sometimes, psychological brutality was even better. As, for example, in the case of writer Mikhail Bulgakov, who at the end of life was all of his phobias and were afraid to go out alone on the street. Go out on the street feared, but wrote a novel about Christ. Thank you, comrade Stalin, for the first Soviet Bible.
“IN THE INTERESTS OF ANTI-SOVIET ORGANIZATIONS ENGAGED IN EXTENSIVE SABOTAGE ACTIVITIES”
The fate of Nikolai Vavilov, an outstanding Soviet geneticist, botanist, breeder, geographer, Explorer and thinker, who made a giant contribution to world science, it is highly typical for its time. And equally unique.
Born into a wealthy family of a merchant of the second Guild, a Shoe manufacturer and public figure Ivan Ilyich Vavilov, who before the revolution was the Director of the manufacturing company. Since childhood, I loved to observe animals and plants, in addition the house had a huge library with rare books, herbarium specimens and maps. At the insistence of his father Nicholas entered the commercial College, then the Institute of agriculture.
Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and VASKHNIL (all-Union Academy of agricultural Sciences named after Lenin), President, Vice-President of agricultural Sciences, President of the all-Union geographical society, Director of the all-Union Institute of plant industry and the Institute of genetics of the USSR, member of the Expedition Commission of the USSR Academy of Sciences, member of Collegium of people’s Commissariat of the USSR, member of the Presidium of the all-Union Association of Oriental studies, member of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR, member of the all-Russian Central Executive Committee. A non-partisan.
The Creator of the doctrine of the world centers of origin of cultivated plants, to justify the doctrine of immunity of plants, discovered the law of homological rows, laid the foundations of the system of state testing of varieties of field crops, the founder of the network of scientific institutions in the field of agriculture.
Organizer and participant of Botanical-agronomic expeditions, covering every continent except Australia and Antarctica.
Under the guidance of Vavilov had created the world’s largest collection of cultural seeds, and all this happened at a time when the giant country had to feed, and grain, wagons sent abroad, sold for gold.
“The journey is probably the most successful, robbed the whole of Afghanistan, made his way to India, Balochistan. About India we reached a date palm, found prorail have seen wild watermelon, melon, hemp, barley, carrots. Four times crossed the Hindu Kush, once the path of Alexander the great. Gathered darkness of medicinal plants…”. (From a letter N. I. Vavilov).
In 1940, Nikolai Vavilov, was arrested on the basis of fabricated charges.
The investigation was conducted 11 months, 9 July 1941, a meeting of the Military Collegium of the Supreme court of the USSR, which lasted only a few minutes and where the accused were present and only three military judges, witnesses, and the defense was absent.
Vavilov was sentenced to death, having recognized guilty in that he was one of the leaders of “anti-Soviet organization” (never existed) under the title “Labour peasant party” and was an active member of “anti-Soviet organization of the rights” (also never existed).
“Using official position in the interests of anti-Soviet organizations engaged in extensive subversive activities aimed at undermining and liquidation of the collective farm system, the collapse and decline of the socialist agriculture in the Soviet Union, maintained relations with foreign emigres, gave them the information, constituting state secret of the Soviet Union”. The defendant pleaded guilty partially. After a while the shooting was replaced with a 20-year sentence. Rehabilitated posthumously in 1950.
“AFTER GREY COME BLACK”
In 1941, Nikolai was 54. Not very young and not very strong person forever undermine health in the expeditions, which has repeatedly miraculously survived after suffering typhoid and malaria. 11 months court, of brutal interrogations, terrible conditions in prison, the lack of basic medical care, endless moral humiliation. He was beaten, he days not allowed to sleep, he knew nothing about the fate of their relatives, including sons from his first and second marriage. On Vavilov mocked with gusto, and every meeting with the investigator Grip began with the question: “who are You?”.
After the rehabilitation of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR Vavilov will restore the lists of academics, and the illegality of the action of the Grip, including the use of physical torture will record documented.
“Later brought to criminal responsibility, the NKVD grip on the court has admitted that what konveyerny endless interrogation were subjected to N. Vavilov: “hours-long stand at four, five days, his feet were so swollen I had to cut the pant legs”. According to the documents, was conducted more than 230 interviews, which lasted about 900 hours.
Alexander G. grip he graduated from the school of the 2nd stage at the station of Bologoe. He held the position of chief of Department “T,” then the Department “TT” MGB. In 1954 he retired. Presumably died after 1990 in Moscow, where he lived on the First Tverskaya-Yamskaya street in the so-called “NKVD house”.
Sometimes do not understand how there was a huge country that systematically exterminated people bright, intelligent and educated, but knackers and idiots who barely graduated from school, could take up leadership positions.
The main opponent of the Vavilov agronomist Trofim Lysenko, the man hopeless and ignorant, struggling struggling with genetics, was the head of domestic science for many years.
The closest ally Lysenko Isai Izrailevich Prezent, a lawyer by training, was a doctor of biology. Investigator enough with his school of the 2nd stage was a Colonel in the KGB. Creeping mediocrity is always dangerous not only for its bleak misery. As written Strugatsky brothers: “After grey black will come”…
Many colleagues of Vavilov have been through arrests, exile, prison and camp terms, some were sentenced to death. Nikolai Kuleshov was arrested twice. Margarita Yulevna Grossman was arrested and deported. Asya V. Doroshenko was arrested and deported. Tatyana Abramovna Krasnoselsky-Maximov arrested and deported. Grigorii Andreevich Levitsky was arrested three times, died after the third arrest in prison during the investigation. Viktor Viktorovich Talanov sat three times, died in 1936.
Sergei Sobolev was arrested in 1934, exiled, after a petition Vavilov released. Konstantin Matveyevich Chingo-Chingas arrested twice, he died in prison. Robert Ivanovich Abolin arrested and shot in 1938. Arkady Borisovich Aleksandrov arrested and shot in 1937. Alexander Kondratievich Lapin arrested and shot in 1937.
July 9, 1941, the day the death sentence Vavilov, was sentenced to death Vice-President of agricultural Sciences Alexander Bondarenko, who in 1935 along with the organizer Klimov wrote a denunciation of the academician: “the Presidium of the Academy manifests itself most vigorously only when advocating for additional staff and money for his Institute. Is constantly in Leningrad and occasionally travels to Moscow per month for 1 day and then more in the Affairs of the Academy of Sciences. Always prefer taking any of the alien (or the Harland Muller), to go away for 6 months on a tour of the Soviet Union, completely uncontrolled”.Bondarenko was charged with subversive activities and communication with the agents of American intelligence, the sentence was executed on July 27, 1941.
Vavilov and Stalin to execute did not dare. After the verdict it became known that Nikolai Ivanovich was elected an honorary member of the Linnaean society in London, and the execution of the disgraced academician could have a negative effect on the attitude of Western society to Soviet leader who in 1941 are expected to establish allied relations with Britain. In addition, the days of Vavilov and so were considered – after a long investigation, he was beyond physical and mental exhaustion. Dystrophy, scurvy, pellagra, cardiac insufficiency, neurosis, In the Saratov prison will be added to it dysentery and lobar pneumonia. To “cure” in a prison hospital he arrived on 24 January and the morning of the 26th it forever discharged…
“I ASK AND BEG YOU FOR EASING MY FATE”
“Well, citizen Vavilov, and will do flowers, petals, suddenly the other Botanical like a fancy? And who will work to enhance crop yields?” – sternly asked Stalin in his last meeting with the academician in November 1939. Startled, Nikolai Ivanovich as he could told about the nature, need and importance of the Institute’s research. Sit the guest of Stalin was not offered, and he reported standing. The chief listened in silence and concluded: “you Have everything, the citizen Vavilov? Go. You are free”.
There is a widespread belief that, in numerous disadvantages and problems of Stalin, there is one clear achievement, before which, supposedly, all pales – took the country with a wooden plow and left with the peaceful atom. So, I am deeply convinced that after the death of the father of Nations, the country was left with the peaceful atom is not thanks to the wise leadership, but in spite of.
The best of what this country was created, saved and saved during the years of Stalin’s tyranny, was contrary to historical patterns, in spite of the ignorant rabble of maniacs in power, despite mass terror, and bureaucratic fear of dementia. But thanks to the courage, intelligence and talent of individuals, many of whom died. One of the unfathomable mysteries of the Russian selection and anti-selection.
And another example of the fate of Nikolai Vavilov becomes quite clear that all of his personal hell reflects not just a confrontation between genius and disgusting power. It was a conflict bipedal creatures and human civilization. For the kind of Grip a reasonable man like Vavilov – is extremely offensive and dangerous. And here we are not talking about class hatred and struggle, and on the species. As a species Vavilov almost could not survive in Stalin’s scoop.
“I’m 54 years old, having a lot of experience and knowledge, especially in the field of crop production, owning freely the most important European languages, I would be happy to give them completely to my homeland, to die for useful work to my country. I would be happy in difficult times for my country to be used for defense is my specialty, as a grower in the production of plant food and technical raw material, what he wrote to You from Butyrka prison.
I ask and beg You for easing my fate, the revelation of my future destiny on the granting of work is my specialty, at least in modest form (as a scientific researcher, a grower and teacher) and to permit communication in one form or another with my family, which I have no information more than two years. Most earnestly requested to expedite the decision on my case.” (From a letter N. Sampresources I. Vavilov of the USSR comrade L. P. Beria).
Now it is impossible to believe that the light of the world and the pride of national science, educated man, explained in 40 languages and is able to hold a conversation even with the African natives, would beg the Soviet illiterate vampire Beria to give him the opportunity to work “at least in modest form.” But the life of the wider literature.
“AND I ONLY AN EQUAL WILL KILL”
In 1985 in Moscow Polytechnic Museum premiere very bold at the time of the documentary “the Star of Vavilov”. The show was attended by the scientific community. After viewing the scene to the microphone began to approach the scientists, who spoke about the tragic fate of the academician, about the injustice, about the need to remember and not to forget about certain villains, whose names were not called. And when the flow of speakers was exhausted, the scene was suddenly broken by the Soviet geneticist Vladimir Efroimson, who don’t give. He ran up to the microphone and shouted.
“I don’t blame either the filmmakers or those who spoke before me now! But this movie is not true! Or rather, even worse! It’s a half-truth! In the film the main thing! Does it say that the Vavilov – not a tragic event in our history! Vavilov is one of the many tens of millions of victims of the most despicable, the most shameless, most oppressive system! System, which destroyed, at the mildest estimate, 50, but rather 70 million innocent people! And this system – Stalinism! This system is socialism! Socialism, which reigned Supreme in our country and which is still not convicted of their crimes. I do not blame the filmmakers that they are unable to tell the truth about the death of Vavilov. They modestly said – “he died in the Saratov prison”… He was killed – he was dead!!! Died like a dog! Died from pellagra! It’s a disease that is called absolute, transcendent exhaustion. It is from this disease die homeless dogs. I saw these dogs in the winter on manholes. So: a great scientist, a genius of world of rank, the pride of Russian science by academician Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov died like a dog in the Saratov prison! And we need all who are gathered here, know and remember that!”.
Speech of Efraimson made a lasting impression on those present, causing most of the shock, the very same Vladimir Pavlovich – the person of uneasy destiny, too, was imprisoned, was enrolled a number of representatives of Russian science into the category of raving lunatics. In 1937 Efraimson would be judged immediately outside the door, with no witnesses and no protection, in 1985, he simply ignored. Vegetarian modes of personality is not destroyed, and to ignore that is definitely more progressive.
The cry of Efroimson that really screamed then at the Polytechnic, worrying that not all will hear, finally petered out in a gushing stream of revelatory perestroika publications. Today the Vavilov decided to write with a restrained sympathetic tone. And now because a growing number of Russians consider Stalin a hero, worthy to bear the “Name of Russia”, the tone is becoming more reserved and restrained.
Speaking of pellagra was once mentioned Shalamov’s story “the Glove” “the skin was falling with me as the husk”… No Varlam Tikhonovich or Nikolai, the three leaders of “Name of Russia” was not included. As Osip Mandelstam, shortly before his horrible death, wrote one of the most sincere and poignant poems of the era of socialist construction.
For rattling valour
in ages to come,
For the high tribe of people –
I lost the Cup on the feast of the fathers,
And fun, and honor her.
My shoulders catches century-wolfhound,
But I’m not a wolf by blood his:
Shove me better
as a cap in the sleeve
Hot fur coat of the Siberian steppes…
Not to see nor the coward,
no flimsy grassy,
Nor the bloody bones in the wheel;
That shone all night blue foxes
Me in its primal glory.
Shake me into the night where the Enisey flows
And pine the star gets
Because I’m not a wolf by blood his
And me only an equal will kill.
In 2000, the Russian film Director Alexander Proshkin has shot in co-production with Germany’s six-part biographical movie “Nikolai Vavilov”. Fascinating, delicate, sometimes expressive. Agronomist Lysenko did Bogdan Silvestrovich Stupka. “Excuse me, can you read German? Do you have any scientific publications? Well, at least the law of Mendel know?” – “And the nasho meni Mendel, I fields are not seen!”. Well, the General degradation of science as a progressive human neglect shown tastefully. Not enough, perhaps the author’s personal involvement, emotional copyright statements such that ventured once geneticist Efroimson.
But in the film there is another statement belonging to comrade Stalin, as a sad conclusion, dropped by the leader of an audience with the brother of the academician of the Soviet physicist Sergei Vavilov: “This scientist is ruined…”.
“Ruined” is a beautiful word. High. Esenin. “The lost boy” – was this article on Leonid Leonov Sergei Yesenin.
I have no special claims to the authors of the film. Better a movie than none at all, but Vavilov is not ruined. His first slandered, then tortured, and then buried.
26 January 1943, the genius of world of rank, the pride of Russian science, an honorary member of the London Linnaean society, new York geographical society, American Botanical society, Mexican agronomic society, the Royal Spanish society of naturalists, the British Association of biologists, honorary doctor of the Sofia University and the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, foreign member of the Royal society of London buried along with other goner in the pit of the city of Saratov not far from the prison. Place of burial is known, the individual grave is missing.
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