Copyright © 1998 by TL
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The scientific end of this issue will be fully covered in the future. This portion is not about science despite the fact that the events took place within a scientific setting and establishment: they could have taken place in a clothing factory for all that matters. Scientists are not police detectives - and police detectives are not scientists though they may have to pose as such if they are agents. The two things, 1. the science and 2. the police work, suspicions and charges: they are two things, two separate things. If Dr. Salk, the creator of the polio vaccination, turned out to be a child molestor or murderer, not only would no one stop taking the polio vaccination, but the "dirty secrets" would probably be covered up. And if they came out: so what! That does not make the polio vaccination any less than what it is nor does it invalidate Dr. Salk's work. Only the most abject scum would deny the medical validity of the vaccination due to some stupid, moral objection which amounts to treating the reality of polio like some pipe-dream. If Dr. Salk were all these things, then he'd be called immoral. So what: his vaccination and his work is still good! Zhores Medvedev was the first, translated into English, to write against Lysenko with limited information regarding the non-scientific activities but with loads of suspicions, of course, one sided despite the fact that Medvedev is not involved in police work. Valery Soyfer and Mark Popovsky were the two to later write against Lysenko, translated into English, and it is from them that "all the worst dirty laundry" has been said to have been exposed. Neither of them are involved with police work. I repeat, this is not going to get into the scientific end of things which Marsh already covered. I will present the dirt all in one place, to make it "really dirty," and present it in a way that makes the science involved irrelevant. As I said, it wouldn't matter if this took place in a clothing factory. I will also put things in perspective. First of all, the OGPU (later, NKVD), was a Secret Police organization that the head of our own CIA, Allen Dulles, in his book on the history of intelligence work, has said was the best of its type. The OGPU-NKVD opened a file on Vavilov in 1931 and even Popovsky has to admit Lysenko had nothing to do with this. But Popovsky is in no position to know why they opened this file or to dismiss their suspicions: he is not an officer of the law, nor a detective, nor an agent of the NKVD or the FBI! Trying, then, to say that the "authorities" wanted any old peasant to rise to the occasion of Proletarian Scientist and then disparaging Lysenko's work is a dirty trick. Vavilov himself refutes these charges and Vavilov was there at the time, face to face with Lysenko's work. Phil Marsh covers this part. What follows has nothing to do with science. The primary time period are the years 1936 through 1939. This is what Zhores Medvedev knows, 1960's: -Vavilov is important man in Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He used to be the head. Next, two others, in turn, replaced him. Lastly, Lysenko became the head. -Lysenko works there and now heads it. -Shlykov works there, is Lysenkoite and anti-Vavilov and is a scientist. He makes a few speeches publicly arguing Vavilov but nothing so direct as a damning accusation. -Shundenko is then pushed through to get a degree; it is obvious to everyone the man's not a scientist and is utterly not qualified but Lysenko hires him to work under Vavilov. -Shlykov and Shundenko are seen by all to constantly run to Lysenko with "reports on Vavilov," or at least to talk to him, for if no one heard what was said, then no one knows what was said. -Later on, Shundenko quits his job and joins the NKVD. Rumors are that he merely returned to his former job. Just prior to Shundenko quitting and joining NKVD, Vavilov is arrested. One can surmise what one wishes from this. There are other Lysenkoites, that is, people who agree with his line of research, Yakushkin, Ya. A. Yakovlev, I. Prezent and other people not connected to real or imagined intrigues, many others including Oparin. As Joravsky points out, some folks on both sides got into trouble during the Yezhov years so nothing is all that clear. Inferences can be made, circumstantial, based on personalities and who likes whose research better. This is all that's known, thus far. >From Soyfer and Popovsky, the two original, main sources from which all other things are cited unless indicated, such as news articles. Archives open on Vavilov case and much is found in there and in other archives to fill in Medvedev's information: -Vavilov works at Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Science. He used to head it. -Lysenko works there, he now heads it. -Prezent, the philosopher and Lysenko's theoretician comes there to lecture students. Prezent was once fired from a job presumably by Vavilov and he hates Vavilov. Prezent and Lysenko are such great friends that when Prezent got arrested due to molesting a minor, Lysenko managed to write to the NKVD, or have friends write to the NKVD, and get Prezent out. -Yakushkin and Kol were arrested in 1931 and gave statements to OGPU on Vavilov's sabotage, specifically naming him. An OGPU-NKVD file was started on Vavilov, it already existed in 1931 prior to the testimony of Yakushkin and Kol. -Professor Yakovlev (not Ya. A.) testified, in the 1934 Kamenev trial, that Kamenev put him in charge of a terrorist group at the Academy of Science ("The Terror, a Reassessment" R. Conquest, page 96). Vavilov had been a corresponding member of this academy since 1923. He was the Head of it later. -Shlykov works there (at the Lenin All Union Academy), is Lysenkoite and anti-Vavilov and is a scientist. He makes a few speeches publicly arguing Vavilov but nothing so direct as damning accusation. But Shlykov not only makes public speeches countering Vavilov, he also writes letters to the science section of the Party Central Committee coming just short of denouncing Vavilov and implying sabotage. Also, Shlykov writes another secret letter utterly denouncing Vavilov, accusing him of outright sabotage, and sends this to Malinin of the NKVD - and in the text of this secret letter, it is evident that Shlykov had been sending Malinin copies of other letters as well, all the while. -Shundenko is then pushed through to get a degree, it is obvious to everyone the man's not a scientist and is utterly not qualified but Lysenko hires him to work under Vavilov. Now, it is learned that Shundenko was all the while in the NKVD and he was assigned to the "Vavilov Case!" The whole while he was "working under" Vavilov, he was really investigating him! -Shlykov and Shundenko were seen to be pals, they hit it off as friends right away, everyone knows this. They were seen running to Lysenko to tell him things. -Lysenko went to a meeting in the Kremlin along with others; Polit Bureau and Council of People's Commissars were there discussing pseudo-science which is seen to have led to: -Boris A. Keller assigned to investigate the goings on at Vavilov's Genetics Institute. Keller is seen talking to Lysenko a lot. -Beria writes to Molotov asking that Vavilov be investigated further for trying to defame Lysenko ever since Lysenko got promoted to head of the Lenin All-Union Academy. A new file in the already thick file on Vavilov is created. -After Vavilov is arrested a commission is formed to head Vavilov's trial. The members of the commission are people who either hated Vavilov or were against his ideas. They were approved by Lysenko and worked under NKVD Major Shundenko. ----- Now, that's some incriminating circumstantial evidence! Did Shlykov know that his friend, Shundenko, was in the NKVD? Did Lysenko know this when he hired Shundenko to be Vavilov's Deputy at the lab? It is the two of them, Shlykov and Shundenko, that kept running to Lysenko and reporting to him. Shlykov and Lysenko both surely knew that Shundenko was a Major in the NKVD: after they saw him in his uniform. But did they know this before? If Lysenko did know, was he working for the NKVD in hiring Shundenko to "work under" Vavilov - or - was NKVD Major Shundenko told to report to Lysenko?! Shundenko and Shlykov went to Lysenko to report things, or at least talk to him, as Medvedev points out, everyone saw it, in other words, they didn't try to hide it! Were they reporting things or just chatting? What did Keller chat with Lysenko about? Did Lysenko know exactly what the scientists he approved of were going to be asked to do? Or that Shundenko was head of an investigation? (See end of this portion for what I'd have done in such an investigation, keeping in mind what Beria said about defaming Lysenko.) Soyfer admits, while presenting all this and entire copies of the letters and speeches, that there is no direct link with Lysenko. Yes, but anyone can see it is very circumstantial and if you combine the very circumstantial with the "this fellow is my best friend" that was also well-known to all, well.... ..... No one compiling this, with details of dates and specific institutes galore, ever thinks to posit one question: was Vavilov guilty of doing things that were sabotage or as good as sabotage or things that were literally perceived as sabotage or severe obstruction even if innocently done? The critics have NO trouble forming such detective-like conclusions when dealing the blow to Lysenko as they include disparagements of his scientific achievements far out of hand with reality. I'd say that the NKVD had the same types of "evidence" to lead to their conclusions, and probably more that no one is aware of, and that the NKVD based their ideas of Vavilov on conclusions they made even before 1931 when they started a file on him: and they were trained to be investigators, the best ever according to our own head of CIA, Allen Dulles! This can not be looked at objectively by people who are not detectives, by people who know nothing of where Vavilov went overseas, by people who don't have spies looking out for suspicious activity, by people who have no idea who Vavilov knew overseas! We think Vavilov was suspicious, even if you don't consider his foreign contacts and his friendliness to Soviet defectors and White Emigres (pro Czarist Russians) during those dangerous days, and can prove it on hindsight by what is known now to be right versus what Vavilov and the anti-Lysenkoites were saying as regards agricultural planting and botany. Marsh covers this. But even if this all happened in a clothing factory: Vavilov had overseas contacts, he embraced and associated with outright enemies of the USSR. This alone would have been enough to ruin him and cause a great deal of suspicion. Vavilov's visiting these anti-Soviets was not done in a vacuum. These anti-Soviets also knew people in the countries they lived, countries often hostile to the USSR especially in the 1930's. Also, what have we not been told regarding Vavilov and/or Lysenko? Just based on the statistics Richard Lewontin, an American scientist, presented, we have not been told a lot, including a lot of the truth: Lysenko fed the people, he did practical work that was excellent and again, FED THE PEOPLE. One does not have to blow up a machine factory or derail a train or destroy a mine to sabotage socialist building of society, though this would be small sabotage. If you fail to feed the people, all of the rest of the society will feel the brunt of this as work performance fails, as people get sick, as people get fed up and strike. If you could stop Lysenko from feeding the people, you could stop factory workers from building the industrial society Stalin needed to build a socialist country, in fact, you could stop the USSR from becoming a world power. So then, we KNOW that the Western powers would have LOVED to sabotage this, especially Churchill whose own genocidal statements damn him. I note how the experts FAIL to figure this into their half-baked equations. To imagine that the West "merely wanted to help" the USSR increase food production is to lack sanity! Like, duh: was there reason to suspect sabotage? Oh, HELL YES! Was Stalin like a dictator when it came to feeding the people (agriculture)? Well, if he wasn't, he SHOULD HAVE BEEN! Hitler was not an auto mechanic or car salesman. He took it upon himself to DEMAND a well-made and cheap car and he became like a dictator about "building a people's car." Well, no one would fault Hitler for doing this since the Volkswagen was the result: an excellent car and cheap enough for everyone to buy. There comes a time when a country's leader BETTER take things under his control and DEMAND things, either do that or allow sabotage! As Lecourt points out (Proletarian Science): Lysenko had practical results in terms of practical work, the geneticists had NOTHING to show except theories about something we can't even eat: fruit flies and flowers. Transplant this to clothing factory scenario: Lysenko had well-made types of clothing for naked people while his enemies were wasting time and money sewing a bunch of frilly doilies or talking about HOW to make frilly doilies! The Theory and/or History of Doilies versus real clothing. But even if the critics recognize and admit that suspicions are right about Vavilov, the big issue still remains that Lysenko (or some of his followers) was in cahoots with the NKVD. Well, so what! Does anyone imagine that buying a Communist newspaper during the time of McCarthy would not get you watched by the FBI or your phone tapped or get you arrested if you sent the Communist organization money to buy something from them? And what if you went overseas to visit the Communists and hugged them and hung out with them? That's what Vavilov did with enemies of the USSR, hugged them, hung out with them! Does anyone imagine that there were not spies on both sides especially when the facts are coming out of the closet these days from the CIA's own mouth? Come on! Some of the most ordinary Americans were not only spies but sometimes "moles," long term Soviet agents living here as ordinary Americans. Does anyone imagine that the CIA and other such earlier organizations did not have a similar set up with spies and moles? Come on! Does anyone American and patriotic go out of their way to trash another American who was a spy for their own FBI or CIA? NO! Consider that! Thank you very much! And in case someone has not caught a clue here: WHO in the USA would call an FBI informant a pig? Uh...well, lots of Communists would! That's the point. Communists were enemies IN THE USA's capitalist society and they openly spoke about violent revolutionary overthrowing of the government. OK? OK! Well? The NKVD was the Soviet version of the FBI. (Technically, the NKGB, later the MGB, became the KGB, often compared to our CIA; the NKVD became the MVD. KGB is State Security. MVD is Internal Security more like our FBI, especially in the early FBI days.) Soviets were expected to be loyal and on guard against suspicious actions and/or to cooperate with their own NKVD, especially during the days of Nazi Fifth Columns and all kinds of spy doings suspected just based on the sheer hostility of the capitalist nations against the USSR. So then, there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to "prove" that Lysenko was in cahoots with the NKVD, or possibly even had a Major in the NKVD reporting directly to him or vice versa because: Shundenko was a Major in the NKVD. Shundenko did report everything to Lysenko or at least they talked a lot with each other. These are two facts. The question remains: did Lysenko know Shundenko was Major in NKVD at that time? Fact is Shlykov was best friends with Shundenko. Fact is Shlykov also reported to Lysenko or talked a lot with him. Fact is Shlykov also wrote to the NKVD many times, was reporting to them too. The question remains here also: did Shlykov know his friend Shundenko was in the NKVD when he hung around with him? No one can answer that. There is no proof. It is easy to befriend an agent or even marry one and be wholly unaware that he or she is an agent. They are secretive people. Shlykov mailed his reports to Malinin of the NKVD, he did not simply hand them to Shundenko. Why not? If you were friends with an FBI agent and you wanted to make sure the Chief of the FBI got a letter you wrote, wouldn't you hand it to your FBI pal for him to hand it in and make sure it got read? Sure you would. On interviewing Khvat, the NKVD interrogator of Vavilov, Khvat admitted that he did not think Vavilov was guilty of espionage as he was accused due to a heap of suspicions, but he still thought that some of Vavilov's ideas and actions were very strange and contrary to pro-Soviet practical methods and practical results - tantamount to sabotage: he believed Vavilov was a wrecker. I have to wonder if the FBI formed the same liberal conclusions about people who were "huggy pals" of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg! Any one of those Soviet emigres that Vavilov was pals with overseas could have been getting information from things Vavilov told them! The point is moot: Lysenko's people produced practical results; Vavilov's people produced theories and mutations of fruitflies. If the deeds that result from Vavilov's glossing over facts, or countering Lysenko when Lysenko is right (which Vavilov admits later and which can be proven now with careful study of the intricacies of botany), or if they don't produce practical results but instead stagnate in a lab filled with theoretical non-doers - then Vavilov is doing the deeds of a saboteur whether he is one or not. Anyone having foreign contacts at that time in history, especially one such as Vavilov known to embrace "White Emigres" who were Czarists and other anti-Soviets, was highly suspected just as a person hanging around with anyone even remotely pro Communist, or "left-wing," as it was called, would have been spied on from then on by McCarthy and J.E. Hoover. The attention Vavilov received from the Western press which also criticized the Soviet system only exacerbated an already very dangerous situation since it seemed as if these Westerners knew what was going on in the USSR! Was Vavilov a completely suicidal moron or was he just flaunting his actions? He was the son of a millionaire and, despite his politics as they are stated by others, such people tend to think they can just do what the hell they want as if they are immune to the restrictions that bind everyone else in the society they live in. They flaunt the law. Simple as that. No excuses! In the USA, "ignorance of the law" is NO EXCUSE! So?Scroll ahead to next segment.
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