Advertisement

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov: Bolshevism’s Sharpest Critic

  • Vera Tolz
Part of the Studies in Russian and East European History and Society book series (SREEHS)

Abstract

The case of the Russian physiologist Academician Ivan Petrovich Pavlov represents one of the most peculiar examples of the relationship between scientists and the Soviet government. Among Russian/Soviet scientists and scholars, Pavlov was the sharpest and the most persistent critic of the Bolshevik regime. According to the widely accepted view, by the end of his life Pavlov had abandoned his adamant opposition to the October Revolution. Pavlov’s letters to the Soviet government, published in the Russian press in the late 1980s, seem to suggest, however, that this was not the case and that the physiologist in fact always remained firm in his critical view of Stalin’s policy. And yet, his approach to physiology, proclaimed materialistic by Soviet ideologists, and the world fame his theories acquired, impressed the Bolsheviks and served Pavlov well as protection. Moreover, in the 1930s, Pavlov ‘was officially proclaimed…the discoverer of the dialectical materialist way to an understanding of the psyche’.1

Keywords

Military Medical Academy Soviet Government October Revolution Soviet Leader Soviet Psychology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    David Joravsky, ‘The Construction of the Stalinist Psyche,’ in Sheila Fitzpatrick (ed.), Cultural Revolution in Russia, 1928–1931 (Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press, 1978) p. 128.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Quoted in B.P. Babkin, Pavlov, A Biography (London: Victor Gollancz LTD, 1951) p. 5.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Loren R. Graham, Science, Philosophy, and Human Behavior in the Soviet Union (Columbia University Press: New York, 1987) p. 162Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    LP. Pavlov, Dvadtsatiletnii opyt ob’ektivnogo izucheniya vysshei nervnoi deyatel’nosti (povedeniya) zhivotnykh (Moscow and Leningrad; Izdatel’stvo Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1938), p. 16.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    V.I. Lenin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 5th edition (Moscow: Politizdat, 1965) vol. 51, p. 222.Google Scholar
  6. 24.
    Pavlov in Psikhiatricheskaya gazeta, no. 8, 1917, quoted in Joravsky, ‘The Construction of the Stalinist Psyche,’ p. 276 (footnote, 88). On the paradoxical elements in the Bolsheviks’ attitude towards Pavlov, see also David Joravsky, ‘Cultural Revolution and the Fortress Mentality,’ in Abbott Gleason et al. (eds), Bolshevik Culture: Experiment and Order in the Russian Revolution (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985) pp. 101–107.Google Scholar
  7. 34.
    I.P. Pavlov, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, vol. 5 (Moscow: Medizdat, 1952).Google Scholar
  8. 41.
    Voprosy istorii estestvoznaniya i tekhniki, no. 3, 1988, pp. 129–41. On the round table, see also ibid., no. 4, 1988, and no. 1, 1989. On the Pavlovian session, see also E.M. Kreps, O prozhitom i perezhitom (Moscow: Nauka, 1989) pp. 143–50.Google Scholar
  9. 42.
    Robert C. Tucker, The Soviet Political Mind. Studies in Stalinism and Post-Stalin Change (New York, London: Praeger, 1963) pp. 91–121.Google Scholar
  10. see also Gustav A. Wetter, Dialectical Materialism. A Historical and Systematic Survey of Philosophy in the Soviet Union (New York: Praeger, 1958) pp. 469–88.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Vera Tolz 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vera Tolz
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SalfordEngland

Personalised recommendations