Party Control of Science-Genetics

Presidium of the Academy of Sciences, On the Question of the Status and Problems of Biological Science in the Institutes and Institutions of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. August 26, 1948


Original Source: Resolution of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 26 August 1948.

The Session of the V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences (LAAAS) has placed a number of important problems before Soviet biological science, whose solution must contribute to the great work of socialistic construction. The Session of the LAAAS has revealed the reactionary, anti-national nature of the Weismann-Morgan-Mendel movement in biological science, and has exposed its actual bearers. The destruction of the anti-Michurinist movement has opened new possibilities for the creative development of all branches of advanced biological science.

The materials of the LAAAS Session have shown, with all transparency, that there has been in progress a struggle between two diametrically opposite, according to their ideological and theoretical concepts, movements in biological science: the struggle of a progressive, materialistic, Michurinist movement against a reactionary, idealistic, Weismannist-Morganist movement.

The Michurinist movement, having creatively enriched the theory of evolution and revealed the laws of development of living nature, has through its methods of controlled alteration of the nature of plants and animals made an outstanding contribution to the practice of socialistic agriculture. The Weismannist-Morganist movement, maintaining the independence of hereditary changes of an organism from its characteristics of form and its conditions of life, has supported the idealistic and metaphysical views, torn apart from life; has disarmed practical workers in agriculture from their goal of improving existing and creating new varieties of plants and animal breeds; and has occupied itself with fruitless experiments.

The Academy of Sciences not only failed to take part in the struggle against the reactionary bourgeois movement in biological science, but actually supported representatives of formal-genetic pseudo-science in the Institute of Cytology, Histology, and Embryology; in the Institute of Morphological Evolution; in the Institute of Plant Physiology; in the Main Botanical Gardens; and in other biological institutions of the Academy of Sciences.

The Presidium of the Academy of Sciences, USSR, admits that its work in directing the Academy’s biological institutes was unsatisfactory …

The brilliant transformer of nature, I. V. Michurin, created by his efforts a new epoch in the development of Darwinism. The teaching of I. V. Michurin is founded on the great creative force of Marxist-Leninist philosophy. Michurinist teaching sets for itself the most important task of controlling organic nature; of creating new forms of plants and animals necessary for a socialistic society.

Tsarist Russia was incapable of evaluating the significance and transforming force of I. V. Michurin’s scientific creative genius.

Michurin was discovered for our people and for advanced science through the genius of Lenin and Stalin. In an epoch of Socialism, Michurin’s teaching has proved to be a powerful lever in the matter of the transformation of nature. It has received wide opportunities for its development, and popular acclaim.

If in its old form Darwinism set before itself only the problem of explanation of the evolutionary process, then Michurin’s teaching, receiving further development through the works of T. D. Lysenko, has set and solves the problem of controlled alteration of hereditary characteristics of plants and animals, has set and solves the problem of controlling the process of evolution.

T. D. Lysenko and his adherents and students have made an essential contribution to Michurinist biological science, to the goal of the development of socialistic agricultural economy, to the concern of the struggle for abundant yields of agricultural crops and productivity of animal husbandry.

The Presidium of the Academy of Sciences, USSR, obliges the Division of Biological Sciences, biologists, and all naturalists working in the Academy of Sciences to reorganize their work radically; to assume the leadership in the struggle against idealistic and reactionary teachings in science; against toadyism and servility to foreign pseudo-science. The natural-history scientific institutes of the Academy of Sciences must fight actively for a continual progress of native biological science and, in the first place, for the further development of the teachings established by I. V. Michurin, V. V. Dokuchaev, and V. R. Williams, continued and developed by T. D. Lysenko.

Source: Conway Zirkle, ed., Death of a Science in Russia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1949), pp. 285-86, 288.


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