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  • 05 Августа, 2019


В статье предпринята попытка дальнейшего изучения евгеники с учетом накопленного международного опыта и достигнутого научно-технического прогресса за годы глобализации.  Евгеника – учение о путях улучшения наследственных качеств человека –  была очень популярна в прошлом столетии.  Данная тема не утратила своей актуальности и в наши дни. По-прежнему продолжаются поиски ученых разных стран, поскольку она связана  с развитием человеческого капитала.  В предлагаемой публикации  сделан всесторонний анализ различных идей и теорий ведущих специалистов международного научного сообщества. 

In 1925, one of the Russian eugenicists Volotskoi published his book called «Class Interests and Modern Eugenics», where he proposed his new eugenic scientific discipline based on biosocial foundation – mix of the Darwinism with Marxism. Volotskoi considered his new proposed scientific discipline as his reaction towards Western – bourgeois eugenics, whose main proponents stressed the fact that «Privileged class of people» or (in Russian) «Intelligentsia» should be the main focus of eugenics and this class of people should be preserved in our society, while the representatives of the lower class, such as criminals, feeble-minded people, alcoholics and syphilitics should be eliminated from this society. In Volotskoi’s viewpoint eugenics should represent the interests of the «proletariat» and «peasants», whom he considers as the main power of his nation, that is why his new scientific discipline was heavily influenced by Marxism. But, what is the importance of Volotskoi’s works on eugenics? Most of the secondary sources written on the subject of Russian eugenics and historiography of Russian eugenics argue that Russian eugenicists were strong opponents of the «Western negative eugenics», criticized the implementation of negative eugenic measures, such as, sterilization, prohibition of marriage and mostly supported the ideas «positive eugenics». Founders of Russian eugenics stressed the importance of development of protection and support of motherhood and infancy, creation of better conditions for the «valuable» part of the population (mostly Intelligentsia and upper class). But Volotskoi, in his book argued that, «the consideration of the idea of sterilization shows us that there is nothing in it that goes against the ethical foundations of cultural society, and at the same time it gives us new ways to improve race» (p.81), which shows that he was the proponent of the negative eugenics. And according to Voloskoi’s citation and his works, «Class Interests and Modern Eugenics» and «Raising the life force of the Race», it can be clearly seen that among Russian eugenicists existed the supporters of «negative eugenic measures», for example, one of the main points of Volotskoi was his justification of sterilization against criminals and insane people.


The term «eugenics» was coined by Francis Galton in 1883 and the main idea of this concept was to «improve the quality of the human population». In its initial phases, it could not gain sufficient amount of attention to become worldwide phenomenon. However, after the Industrial Revolution, countries like, United Kingdom, USA, Germany, Sweden began to concern about the quality of health and condition of their population and became obsessed with the ideas of improving the genetic quality of their population through understanding of heredity and putting certain middle and high class of the population above the others. For example, United States of America received a lot of migrants and in most of the aforementioned countries experienced deterioration of the sanitary conditions among population, especially in poor slums, influx of the migrants, who as they thought, were lazy and carrier of different disease. Therefore, these kind of ideas helped eugenics to find its application in political arena. USA and Germany began to implement sterilization and marriage laws (Nazi Germany implemented involuntary euthanasia of the «ill» and «unfit» part of the population), which, helped them to constrain and eliminate reproduction of the «unfit» part of the population and also they implemented laws which restricted immigration of certain race of people. These type of practices were called «negative» eugenics. While, «positive» eugenics emphasized the role of the policies which encouraged reproduction of the «fit» part of the population and marriage. Therefore, we can see that the «core states», like USA, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden were the initiators and main proponents of the eugenics policies. While, on the other hand, there were range of other states who also embraced these ideas, but only borrowed those policies which dealt mostly with the «positive» eugenics or who implemented those type of eugenics which was convenient for their current state of politics, whom we can call as «periphery» states. As were mentioned above, Russian eugenicists mostly relied on ideas of «positive eugenics» and that is why it can be classified as «periphery» state. Initially, the works of the scholars were focused on negative eugenics in «core» states (For example, Sharon Leon in his book «An Image of God: The Catholic struggle with eugenics talks how Catholic Church successfully struggled against negative eugenics in the USA by means of engaging into scientific debate with eugenicists1) and only later scholars began to focus on «periphery» states where they could see the influence of eugenics on different fields of science. For example, Rudling in his article «Eugenics and Racial Biology in Sweden and the USSR: Contacts across the Baltic Sea» states that Swedish eugenicists had lasting effect on Soviet anthropologists, shaping their understanding of race and sharing ideas, and even Soviet anthropologists cited Swedish eugenicist’s works2. When Francis Galton’s translated version of Hereditary Genius came into Russia in 1874, it could gain only a little attention and was not able to give impetus to some kind of eugenic ideas. This could be attributed to the fact that during that period Russian Empire was not involved in massive industrialization campaigns like her European neighbors. However, during early 20th centuries, with the increased growth of legal professions and development of industrialization, translations of different works written by prominent eugenicists began to influence Russian professional communities3. According to Krementsov, who is the scholar whose works focused on history of 19th-20th century Russian medicine, genetics and eugenics, the main difference of the Russian eugenic thinkers from their Western counterparts was that they were against negative eugenic measures which were implemented in USA and Sweden. For example, most of the Russian supporters of eugenics took and try to adopt the «positive» eugenics with its emphasis on healthy environment, nurture and education. There were two main figures in history of Russian eugenics – Nikolai Kol’tsov and Iurii Filipchenko, who were leading geneticists of that time and founded Russian eugenic institutions. Kol’tsov established Russian Eugenics Society in Moscow in November of 1920 and was the editor of Russian Eugenic Journal, while Filipchenko created a Bureau of Eugenics in St. Petersburg in early 1921. Kol’tsov and other members of Russian Eugenics Society published their works in Russian Eugenic Journal. One of the reasons for such rapid establishment of eugenic institutions is described by Krementsov, «Like eugenicists, the Bolsheviks believed in social progress and in the ability of humans to direct it. This congruence of interests allowed Soviet eugenicists quickly to institutionalize their field in Post-revolutionary Russia»4. However, the history of Russian eugenics quickly ended in 1930, when the Bolshevik Party established its own control over science in Russia. The Eugenic society was dissolved, Russian Eugenic Journal also ceased to exist, while medical genetics was proclaimed as the «fascist science»5. Therefore, after 1930s, the existence of eugenics in Russia was ceased by the Soviet government, however, the works of prominent Russian eugenicists, Kol’tsov and Filipchenko published in Russian Eugenic Journal survived till these days. It is important to understand, that the history of Russian eugenics has been covered in several secondary sources, but the theme of perception of eugenics by Russian eugenicists as an ideology has not been covered yet. We have to look at works of Kol’tsov, Filipchenko and Volotskoi to understand what they saw as the main aim of Russian eugenics, what was the point of agreement and difference between these eugenicists. One of my main findings was that, despite the common perception of Russian eugenics as being anti-racist and anti-classist, Kol’tsov and Filipchenko in their early works argued for the preservation of the «valuable» part of the population which they regarded as «Intelligentsia». While another finding showed that Volotskoi, in his works tried to justify the implementation of sterilization in Russia by relying on Western reports on sterilization, which showed that sterilization could be beneficial for the human organism. Therefore, this paper will look at the unexplored field of Russian eugenics in terms of an ideology to understand the main goals of the Russian eugenicists and try to illustrate the main points of disagreement between them. The first part of the paper will look at Kol’tsov’s and Filipchenko’s works to show how they understand the implication of eugenic and Russia and show why Russian eugenicists were against negative eugenics. While, the second part of the paper will look at Volotskoi’s works to understand what he meant by biosocial eugenics and how he tried to justify sterilization in Russia.


In 1923, Kol’tsov published his work called «Improving the Human Race», where he proposed the main goals of the Russian eugenics. However, his book begins with the laws of inheritance among the animals and plants and the explanation of how these laws worked. And from these examples Kol’tsov states that human laws of inheritance work in similar way as in the animals. He believes that if human could breed certain type of animals using the selection method, then humans can also apply this method to themselves. Kol’tsov argues that in the past people used to live under very harsh conditions and this led to the natural selection, where the strongest people survived. However, today most of the people live under the same conditions and equal rights, and there is no way that natural selection could happen. Therefore, humanity need to apply artificial selection. Because, most of the population living today are not able to perceive certain level of knowledge, and our population on its way to the degradation. Because, today we do not have the same kind of fight for the survival which our ancestors have. Moreover, one of the main concerns of the Kol’tsov was that even though if people will implement artificial selection, it was still not clear which ideal type of human should be created, «А до тех пор отдельные люди и отдельные группы людей будут стремиться провести в жизнь в тех или иных скромных размерах свои собственные, часто не согласованные между собой идеалы» – «Until then, individuals and individuals groups of people will seek to carry out in life their own, often not agreed between themselves ideals.»6 Kol’tsov believed that human brain was complex organ, whose potential cannot be measured. And the human evolution has always have been led by the ones who always achieve new heights or discover new technologies. Therefore, this kind of population should be preserved in the Russian society. Therefore, he proposed «улавливание ценных по своим наследственным свойствам производителей: физически сильных, одаренных выдающимися умственными или нравственными способностями людей и постановка всех этих талантов в такие условия, при которых они не только сами могли бы проявить эти способности в полной мере, но и прокормить и воспитать многочисленную семью» – «catching valuable on their hereditary properties producers: physically strong, gifted outstanding mental or moral abilities of people and setting all these talents in such conditions, in which they not only could exercise these powers in full, but feed and raise a large family.»7 Hence, Kol’tsov believed that the main goal of the eugenics was to ensure such conditions, where certain «valuable» part of the population will have a chance to breed with each other and leave more «gifted» people after themselves. Kol’tsov even named new species of human, which should consist of such «gifted» people, which he called Homo Creator. Homo Creator should be the king of the nature and always strive for new discoveries. To achieve this goal, human kind should understand that through passage of the certain time, the «unfit» part of the population should be replaced by the «valuable» ones – «Люди, неспособные к восприятию современных знаний и современной культуры, должны мало-по-малу уступить место представителям более совершенного по устройству мозга типа» – «People incapable of perception of modern knowledge and modern culture should give way little by little to representatives of a more advanced type of brain.»8 Not by means of negative eugenics, rather through isolation of certain groups of people and preservation of their «valuable» traits, so they will be able to pass them to their children. Therefore, from the assertions of Kol’tsov we can see that his ideas have certain «classist» premises. But he believed that this was the only way to reach that «ideal» type of Human race which everyone looked for. Because, in his book, Kol’tsov also tried to suggest certain types of society which would be considered as an ideal model of society, but every time he found new drawbacks and came up with the idea of «Homo Creator». However, he also knew that our current state of knowledge cannot tell us everything about genetics and only through the passage of certain time people will reach the «Homo Creator»9. Filipchenko, in his book called, «Ways for the Improvement of Human Race», stated almost the same things as Kol’tsov did. Both of them believed that the government should financially and socially help to «Intelligentsia» to develop the state of the Human Race. Both of them agreed that as the time passes people are becoming more degenerate, number of diseased people are getting higher as natural selection plays lesser and lesser role. They believed that only way of achieving genetically clean and develop society is to ensure the safety of the «Intelligentsia», to put them under favorable social conditions. Therefore, it is very fascinating to learn that even though Russian eugenicists deprived from the «Western» understanding of eugenics, with its emphasis of the racism and class division, they also stressed the importance of preservation of certain class of people, even though they lived in the Communist country. However, they still refused to accept the Western negative eugenics in their realms.


One of the main points of the differentiation between Russian and Western eugenics is the criticism and rejection of the negative eugenics by the Soviet eugenicists. But before going to this topic, we have to define what Soviet eugenicist meant by «negative eugenics», because it had a lot of different applications in different countries all over the world. Soviet eugenicists criticized the implementation of the negative eugenics, mostly, by the United States, because, before the formation of Russian Eugenics Society in 1920, the United States has already implemented first compulsory sterilization laws in 1907. While the other European States, such as Great Britain, Germany, Sweden were the proponents of forced sterilization, segregation and prohibition of marriage between «unfit» part of the population. Krementsov, in his article argues that Soviet geneticists «largely rejected «negative measures» (be it sterilization or segregation) promoted by U.S., German, and Scandinavian eugenicists»10. Moreover, during the First International Eugenics Congress of 1912 held in London, Russians responded very negatively against sterilization, stressing the prevailing importance of the environment which affected behavior of human11. Therefore, we have to take a look at works of Kol’tsov and Filipchenko to understand why they criticized negative eugenics. In 1923, Kol’tsov published his article called «Improving the Human Race», in which he has a chapter on «Difficulties of the Implementation of Eugenic Goals». In this chapter, he has three subdivisions. In the last one, called «Methods of Eugenics», he speaks against the negative eugenic measures implemented in the USA and Sweden and his discontent based on two points. As his first point, he talks about prohibition of marriages which can potentially cause degeneration in the produced offspring, which he refers as «какогенический брак (cacogenic marriage)», cacogenic means degeneration12. He writes that USA and Sweden had already established laws against marriage between «defected people» (syphilitics, epileptics, and alcoholics). Moreover, Kol’tsov anticipated that this measure would spread among countries and almost every state would implement these laws. Kol’tsov argues that modern genetics does not have full knowledge regarding the genes of the people and that most of the hereditary defects are recessive. The child has to inherit defective traits from both of the parents’ genes to become defected, because if he inherits the defective gene of one parent, then he will possess recessive form of the defected gene, which will not make him «defected» person. But he can transfer his genes to his children and this cycle will continue. Kol’tsov argues that genetics does not possess technologies, which can identify people with recessive genes and it will take time to reach that level. Moreover, he also adds that, some of people can have a combination of «defective» and «valuable» qualities. He argues that, some of the talented and gifted people in the history possessed those qualities in themselves, and that it did not stop them from being «genius», from creating great pieces of art. Therefore, from his point of view, we can see that he does not support this eugenic measure, by stating that human’s mind still has not reached that level of knowledge regarding nature of «defected» genes. And even if governments will apply this method, it will still remain ineffective, because some people with «defective» traits will also possess «valuable» traits and have mixed pool of genetic traits. Therefore, according to Kol’tsov, government will eliminate potential «gifted» and «talented» part of the population. In this argument, Kol’tsov brings the example of Russian historians and writers, such as Dostoevsky, Uspensky and Garshin, who possessed «defective» traits, but still were the brightest minds of the Russian Intelligentsia. His second point discourages sterilization laws in the USA. Kol’tsov argues that one of the aspects of sterilization was the elimination of the criminal element of the population, but he questions the nature of this element. Because, «Наполеона или Вильгельма II одни считают преступниками, другие — гениями (Some people consider Napoleon and Wilhelm II as criminals, while others as geniuses)»13. He refers to the modern population of America, Australia and Siberia, by stating that their progenitors were actually part of the criminal element, but nevertheless, they could build foundation of the modern society and if they would not be allowed to live because of their affiliation to the criminal element, there would be no modern America, Australia. Kol’tsov then concludes by saying that «the aim of eugenics is not protection from degeneration of race, but the betterment of the human race»14, and prohibitive measures are not invalid. Then he stresses the importance of the «positive measures», which is the positive eugenics. Filipchenko, in his book, divides eugenics into two parts: restrictive (negative) and incentive (positive). In comparison with what Kol’tsov said, Filipchenko adds that almost every country has already implemented to certain degree restrictive rules and he brings the example of prohibition of marriage between relatives, or between healthy and insane person. However, Filipchenko stresses the same point which Kol’tsov has already in his first point regarding prohibition of marriages between alcoholics, epileptics, and syphilitics. Filipchenko also refers to Swedish laws of prohibition of marriage. Partially, this resemblance in their views can be explained, because Kol’tsov published his article in 1923 and Filipchenko published his book in 1924, the year after the Kol’tsov’s work. Hence, may be Filipchenko’s view was influenced by Kol’tsov. Then Filipchenko discusses sterilization laws in America. Here he talks about plans of Special Committee for Eugenics, where they proposed the program on sterilization of the «unfit» part of the population and by 1920s there should be 100,000 sterilized people, while by 1980s, this number would increase to 400,000 people. Filipchenko shows his concern regarding support of this measure in the scientific literature, «Тем не менее, идея стерилизации всех тех, чье размножение нежелательно и даже опасно для общества, имеет ряд убежденных защитников, особенно в американской литературе» – «Nevertheless, the idea of sterilization of those, whose reproduction is undesirable and even dangerous for the society has a number of convinced defenders, especially in American literature»15. However, then he proceeds to his own position regarding these methods and strongly advocates for the «incentive» (positive) eugenics. Filipchenko says that our current state of knowledge regarding genetics is not deep enough to advocate for the implementation of the «restrictive» measures and that these measures were untimely to certain degree. He also argues that the main aim of eugenics or the priority of eugenicists is to ensure the development of valuable qualities among people, not the massive implementation of negative eugenics, because humankind cannot be sure about the effectiveness of those methods. On the other hand, he argues that it will be hard for the government to prohibit the marriage between close relatives, because in some cases this kind of marriage proved different, and there are some cases where the marriage between close relatives produced the offspring with «good qualities». For example, Charles Darwin was married to his cousin, and their marriage also produced several «gifted» or «talented» offspring. Instead of implementation of these methods Filipchenko suggests that, first of all, eugenicists have to study uncharted territories of genetics and acquire sufficient amount of knowledge, so then humanity can proceed to the implementation of certain measures, which will be more effective, since eugenicists will have comprehensive knowledge regarding this subject. However, Filipchenko says that «to certain degree, the implementation and practice of restrictive eugenics is justified, but humanity should not see in it some kind of radical solution to the issue of degeneration». But then he concludes that, «Ограничительная евгеника – это только отрицательный подбор, а он всегда и везде является фактором второго порядка» – «Restrictive eugenics is the form of negative selection, which is the factor of the second order»16. Then what does he mean by the second order? Because, in the understanding of Filipchenko, government’s priority should be focused on raising the fertility rate among the «intelligent class», which stands as the backbone of every country and the increase in the fertility rate of this social group will ensure that state is developing into the right direction. Moreover, Filipchenko believes that this can be achieved only through the financial help of the government. He says that average «intelligent class» family should have around four children and the government should financially reward those families and that rewards for the third and fourth children should be more in quantity, so the families will have an incentive to give birth to third and fourth children. In his suggestions Filipchenko sounds very pro-natal, which is best shown by his recommendation of introduction of financial rewards for the child birth. Overall, it can be clearly seen that both Kol’tsov and Filipchenko are suspicious towards the implementation of negative measures abroad and that their points are almost identical. To the certain extent, this similarity in viewpoints can be explained by looking at the date of their publications. Kol’tsov published his article in Russian Journal of Eugenics in 1923, while Filipchenko’s publication came out in 1924. Nevertheless, both of the authors stressed the prevalence of the «positive» eugenics over the «negative» one, with their orientation towards keeping «intelligent middle class» families as the perfect representatives of people who possess «valuable» qualities and to whom the government should direct their financial help to increase and sustain the level of such families. On the other hand, it can be explained by looking at Krementsov’s part of the article, where Russians initially were opposed against the negative eugenics, stressing the fact that Russian empire and USSR were comprised of different ethnicities and races, and it is almost impossible to adhere to the Western racist eugenics, with its focus on restriction of migration of certain races.


As were mentioned above one of the main topics in the secondary sources on Russian eugenics is the rejection of the negative eugenic measures by Russian eugenicists, and this also can be seen from the previous examples of leading Russian eugenicists Kol’tsov and Filipchenko. However, my findings of the works of another Russian eugenicists Mikhail Volotskoi shows that this commonly perceived view is not accurate. From his works such as, «Class Interests and Modern Eugenics» and «Raising the Life Force of the Race», it can be clearly seen that Volotskoi supported certain negative eugenic measures such as sterilization and tried to find justification in its implication from the sources of the Western supporters of sterilization. Moreover, in his works, he vigorously argued against his counterparts on the topic of eugenics as an ideology. He rejected the «class» emphasis of Kol’tsov and Filipchenko and stressed the importance of the Soviet proletariat. Krementsov, in his book states that, «in the course of just a few post-revolutionary years he had become a believer not only in eugenics, but also in Marxism»17, and this may explain why Volotskoi proposed his own vision of eugenics, which would cooperate together with «proletariat». Mikhail Volotskoi was a young anthropologist, when in 1920 Kol’tsov invited him to take the position of researcher in the IEB eugenics department. Moreover, he knew English and that actually helped him to translate works of different Western eugenicists in Russian18. There, he was able to get an access to English, French works on sterilization and to documents written by American physicians, such as, Sharp, who performed sterilization on his patients. According to Krementsov, «He argued that «sexual sterilization of hereditary defectives» was an efficient, harmless and legitimate way of advancing eugenics’ goal of improving humankind and as such ought to be adopted and promoted by the RES»19. However, his assertions were not able to gain significant amount of attention and he failed in his attempts to persuade his fellow colleagues. Nevertheless, how did Volotskoi try to justify the implementation of negative eugenics? What was his proposed biosocial eugenic ideology for the Soviet government? In his book «Class Interests and Modern Eugenics», Volotskoi devotes his first chapters on topics of the complexity of the eugenic problems and antiquity of eugenics, where he goes back to the ideas of Socrates and Plato. His first criticism of the Western eugenics as «classist» ideology starts with his criticism of Galton’s works, such as, «Eugenics as a Factor in Religion», where he stresses the Galton’s assertion of «talented people being married to other talented people». Volotskoi responds to this assertion by stating, «Евгеническая религия Гальтона... несет за собой новое кастовое разделение» (Eugenics religion of Galton…carries a new caste division)20. From this point, we can see that Volotskoi has already began to stress the «caste» division of Galton’s view. Then Volotskoi focuses his attention towards German system of racial hygiene(eugenics), especially on German scholars, such as, Lenz and Siemens. Siemens, in his book «Foundations of Racial Hygiene» argued that modern culture is going to be destroyed as a result of the degeneration of the valuable part of the population and (as Volotskoi highlights this phrase with the cursive letters) «proletarianisation of the younger generation»21. Later in the next paragraph Volotskoi includes quote from Siemen’s work «the proletarization of our younger generation as a danger of anti-eugenic population policy»22. Then Volotskoi discusses how Siemens approves the extinction of the certain human population if it will happen only through the extinction of the proletariat and implementation of the contraceptive measures among proletariat. Volotskoi the brings the example of Siemen’s statement, where the latter stated the importance of the preservation of the upper class of the population by including his own family tree, where all his ancestors were talented people, successful entrepreneurs and inventors23. Later, Volotskoi brings the statements of Lenz, and argues that Lenz is the adherent of Siemens. In his final thoughts on German eugenicist, he calls them adherents of the German bourgeois eugenics and from his statements, it can be clearly seen that Volotskoi was rampant opponent of the «bourgeois» eugenics. Then he focuses on English eugenicists, where he can see the clear line of resemblance of English and German thoughts on eugenics. Proponents of eugenics in England stressed their concerns over the safety of «talented Intelligentsia». And the point of Volotskoi’s disagreement with the ideas of those eugenicists can be seen in his example of Pierson’s quote, who stated that «Интеллигентный средний класс есть позвоночный столб нации; из него выходят мыслители, вожди, организаторы последней» – «The Intelligent middle class is the backbone of the nation; thinkers, leaders come out of it»24. However, it is very interesting, that when Volotskoi moves on to the discussion of the eugenics in the United States, we cannot see any line of disagreement with the American eugenicists. Instead of it, Volotskoi decided to focus on sterilization measures implemented in several American states (topic of sterilization will be covered later). In this chapter, Volotskoi emphasized that American sterilization procedures were implemented on criminals and «the attention of Americans turned not so much on selection of best part of the population, but on elimination from the reproduction of those who are genetically defective»25. He even goes to state that those measures are not mostly used on deaf or blind people, but on poor and vagabonds26. We can see how attitude of Volotskoi sharply changed when he discussed the American eugenics, while during previous discussions we could see certain line of disagreement and even certain level of discontent. Then Volotskoi moves on to the discussion of the Russian eugenicists. He starts with the criticism of Kol’tsov’s statements and his assertion of preservation of «valuable» part of the population. Volotskoi includes him to the list of previously discussed eugenicists. Volotskoi brings Kol’tsov’s article, which basically states that how weavers, metal workers, factory workers and other representatives of the lower classes are getting bigger in numbers through reproduction and how officers, judges, businessman are leaving less offspring. And includes his quote: «новая интеллигенция, если не произойдет перелома в брачной психологии или если в этот процесс не вмешается государственная власть, также не будет размножаться интенсивно и не передаст своих способностей следующим поколениям» – «if there is no change in marriage psychology or if the state does not interfere in this process, new Intelligentsia will not multiply intensively and will not be available to transmit their valuable traits to the next generation.»27 Later, Volotskoi states that measures proposed by Kol’tsov are not going to succeed, because the members of the Communist party are not going to restrict «proletariat» from reproducing and it is unlikely that members of the party started massive reproduction companies among themselves to increase number of their children and to transmit their traits. Volotskoi even states that «попытка профессора Кольцова обречена на неудачу» – «attempts made by professor Kol’tsov is doomed to failure»28. From this point, it can be clearly seen that Volotskoi rampantly opposes the ideas proposed by Kol’tsov and tries to constrain the ideas proposed by Kol’tsov to the sphere of «bourgeois» eugenics. Then he proceeds to the criticism of Filipchenko saying that he believes and argues for the same things as Kol’tsov. Then in his final chapters, Volotskoi states that «eugenics, in its modern form, can be seen as the enemy of the working class»29. He argues that the scientific eugenic discipline should be based on biosocial foundation and should serve as a response against the common bourgeois eugenic movements. Biosocial eugenics should serve the interests of the Russian proletariat and peasants, because these part of population is the actual backbone of the nation30. Partially, these assertions of Volotskoi were influenced by Florinskii, who in the middle of the 19th century published his work called «Improvement and Degeneration of the Human Race». There he wrote that, representatives of the upper classes were in stagnation because of their wealth and representative of the lower class had to work harder to survive, which led to their increase of the level of their mental development31. It is quite remarkable to see how Volotskoi before proposing his own biosocial eugenics, brings the examples of the «bourgeois» representatives of the Western eugenics and even his Russian colleagues who did not support his view. From looking at his book, we can see that his potential audience could be the Soviet government, as he openly criticizes «bourgeois» eugenics and other Russian leading eugenicists. Nevertheless, we could see how Volotskoi perceived the development of Russian eugenics as an ideology. Probably, he thought that by criticizing western eugenicists he could gain certain level of support from the Soviet government and that his biosocial eugenics will fit in this area. Apart from criticizing the Western eugenicists and their «bourgeois» science, Volotskoi also differed from his Russian fellows as a result of his justifications of sterilization programs. In his next book, «Raising the Life Force of the Race» Volotskoi goes deep into the Works of the American eugenicists and physicians who were the proponents of the negative eugenics and especially sterilization. As he did in his previous book, in «Raising the Life Force of the Race» Volotskoi also decided to start with «convincing» data that would later help him to support his argument. His main argument in the beginning of the book is that today, most of the states are experiencing the increasing level of insane people. For example, in the United States, in the period between 1859-1910, the population increased to 81%, but the number of insane people for the same period increased to 250%32. Then he brings the example of the Ireland, where from the 1851 to 1901 number of insane people increased from 15.2 per 10,000 people to 56.2 per 10,000 people33. He shows the same kind of data for Russia, England and other countries. Then he provides data on the increasing level of «criminal degeneracy». For example, in Germany the level of crime increased from 389,658 in 1882 to 601,562 in 1903. He argues that the number of prisoners is getting bigger year by year in America, almost 1/800 part of the population is confined34. Volotskoi brought all these data about specific type of representatives of the society, criminals, insane people. Because, in his view this is the most important part of the population, which can cause the degeneration of the human race, therefore, they should be the main target. Then Volotskoi proceeds to the discussion of the sterilization programs in the united States, by listing the numbers of states which implemented sterilization and number of people who were sterilized there. In spite of this fact, Volotskoi understands that even if the certain states of USA implemented sterilization programs, this topic is still criticized by many scholars, physicians and etc. And he understands that most of the Russian scholars, eugenicists, psychologists and physicians also do not support sterilization programs. Volotskoi has a separate chapter devoted to thoughts of the Russian audience regarding the sterilization programs. He starts with the opinion of the physicians regarding this issue. For example, physician Lebedev argued that, «несомненно, что и половая сила и чувства после такой операции будут ниже...несомненно и то, что не может быть нормальной функции яичек» – «It is certain, that after such surgery sexual power and senses will decrease and that testicles will not function normally»35. Moreover, doctor Preobrazhenskii regarded sterilization process as the «act of cruel retribution»36 and added that «операция вазектомии влечет за собой тяжелые последствия» – «vasectomy surgery leads to the serious consequences»37. Then he briefly mentions the opinions of Filipchenko and Kol’tsov. However, it is very Interesting to learn, that Volotskoi also had some supporters behind him. For example, he included doctor Victorov, who after one of Volotskoi’s public performances in Moscow came to him and told that he stands for the support of the sterilization38. Most of the Russian critics of the sterilization stressed the fact that sterilization was dangerous method, leading to serious consequences and cruelty of the method. Therefore, in his next chapter, Volotskoi discussed the potential benefits and advantages of the sterilization, where he heavily relies on the reports of the American physicians who performed sterilization on criminals. He brings the example of the doctor Sharp ho stated that, «Операция вазектоми во всех тех случаях, которые дали мне возможность последующего наблюдения, ни разу не была причиной каких-либо неблагоприятных последствий. Не наблюдалось после нее ни атрофии тестикула, ни психического или нервного расстройства; наоборот, пациент становится потом более веселым, приветливым и рассудительным. Оперированные советуют своим приятелям подвергнуться этой операции в их собсвенном благе»39. It can be clearly seen why Volotskoi supported sterilization processes, because doctor Sharp states that after performing vasectomy surgery on patients he did not observe any serious consequences. He did not witness atrophy of testicles or some kind of psychologic or nervous disorders. Instead of it, most of the patients became more cheerful, pleasant and prudent. And even patients advised other inmates to go through this process. Moreover, doctor Sharp could observe the increased level of work productivity and efficiency among the patients. Volotskoi gives more examples of people who experienced vasectomy or those who injected testicular extracts to their bodies. As a result, most of the people experienced the increased level of work efficiency and as were mentioned above criminals felt themselves better after such surgeries. Nevetheless, Volotskoi also discusses the issue of sterilization from the point of view of ethics. He says that sterilization process should not be regarded as punitive measure, but rather as measures which help criminals to improve their conditions, but from the point of eugenics we have to stop their reproductive abilities40. Moreover, he argues that, «the consideration of the idea of sterilization shows us that there is nothing in it that goes against the ethical foundations of cultural society, and at the same time it gives us new ways to improve race.»41 Before introducing such measures Volotskoi asks, should we take responsibility over sterilization processes or not? And his answer is «yes», because the human race of today is responsible for the human race of the future generations and if we will introduce sterilization measures, we will alleviate the life of future generations to certain degree. In Volotskoi’s point of view, the criminals, insane people and other genetically defected part of the population are highly contagious diseases, which are not only infecting this generation, but our future generations too and that is why aforementioned methods of fighting against this disease can be applicable. Moreover, Volotskoi considers the «positive eugenics» and he frankly agrees that these measures are useful, but he believes that they are not fully effective and valid as the sterilization method42. In the final chapter of his book called «An approximate plan of preparatory work for the implementation of the sterilization program», Volotskoi says that from the point of the ethics, sterilization is not harmful for human race. However, he argues that a hasty implementation of certain sterilization measures can lead to certain contingencies. Therefore, he proposed the plan which consists of six steps. 1. Eugenics should be taught in the medical schools, so the physicians will learn not only to perform successful surgeries, but who also will be concerned with raising the life force of the race43. 2. Establishment of the special committee of scholars, who would led systematic manifestation of degeneracy44. 3. The patients who were performed sterilization or those who were released from the psychiatric institutions should serve as a subjects of further observations45. 4. As the genetic data of the confined plays significant role, his genetic data should be collected from his day of his entrance into such institutions46. 5. Establishment of certain specialists who would collect those data47. 6. Establishment of the provisional advisory eugenic commission48. Therefore, Volotskoi’s perception of eugenics clearly differed from the understanding of the eugenics by other Russian eugenicists. Volotskoi criticized «classist» eugenics of Kol’tsov and Filipchenko, while accepted negative eugenic measure, such as, sterilization, which was strictly criticized by the majority of Russian eugenicists, including Kol’tsov and Filipchenko. Therefore, it is clear, that Russian eugenics as an ideology was also complex field, because of the existence of certain figures such as Volotskoi, who proposed their own ways of eugenic development of Russian society and involvement of the leading Soviet eugenicists in different discourses which shows how some of them supported «classist» vision of eugenics while living in communist country which was built against the idea of bourgeois. Overall, as it was mentioned above, the ideas of Volotskoi could not gain sufficient amount of attention, that is why his ideas did not a lot of supporters or proponents. But it can be clearly seen, that Volotskoi, Kol’tsov and Filipchenko’s works and ideas create complicated image of Russian eugenics which was previously considered as having mostly «positive» eugenic elements. On the other hand, we can also observe how the perception of eugenics was also diverse among these eugenicists. However, after being branded «bourgeois», «fascist» science, eugenics ceased to exist after 1930s and most of the proponents of eugenics transferred all of their knowledge into the field of medical genetics. It is unclear what happened to Volotskoi after the establishment of Stalin’s regime, but it is certainly known that he lived until 1944. But as Krementsov suggested, we looked at one of the unexplored territories of Russian eugenics, which was the perception of eugenics as an ideology among Russian eugenicists. However, there are more rooms to explore. For example, Alexandra Stern, in her book «Telling Genes: The Story of Genetic Counseling in America» states that after the end of the World War II and the defeat of Nazi Germany, eugenics also ceased to exist worldwide, surviving only in few countries. However, she argues that eugenicist’s methods of gathering information about races and other features established the foundation for the development of the genetic counselling in the USA49. Genetic counsellors could detect defected genes of the future fetus and advise parents in their final decision to keep or not to keep a baby. And it was perceived that in early 1950s and 1960s most of the genetic counsellors were highly influenced by eugenics and their decisions sometimes contained certain eugenic elements. During my trip to Almaty city, I was able to find certain documents which contained potential and unexplored information regarding rewarding procedures of mothers with many children. And I found that decision of the committee to reward mother with the financial aid contained certain eugenic elements, such as proper childrearing processes, moral behavior of mother and etc. There are should be more documents in the archives related to this issue, therefore, this topic also needs to be explored in the future.

Temirlan Tileubek

Reference list

Volotskoi, Michael. 1923. Podnyatie Zhiznennyh Syl Rasy. Мoscow: Zhizn’ I Znanie Volotskoi, Michael. 1925. Classovye Interesy i Sovremennaya Evgenika. Moscow: Zhizn I Znanie Kol’tsov, Nikolai. 1923. Uluchsheniye Chelovecheskoi Porody. Petrograd:Vermya Filipchenko, Yurii. 1924. Puty Uluchsheniya Chelovecheskogo Roda. State publisher. Krementsov, Nikolai. 2018. With and Without Galton: Vasilii Florinski and the Fate of eugenics in Russia. OpenBook Publishers. Krementsov, Nikolai. 2010. «Eugenics in Russia and the Soviet Union «. The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics, 1-19.doi:10.1080/00033790.2010.527162. Leon, Sharon M. 2014. Image Of God. Chicago: University of Chicago Press Rudling, Per Anders. 2014. «Eugenics And Racial Biology In Sweden And The USSR: Contacts Across The Baltic Sea». Canadian Bulletin Of Medical History 31 (1): 41-75. doi:10.3138/cbmh.31.1.41. Stern, Alexandra. 2012. Telling Genes. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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