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Zhores Medvedev

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RUSSIAN DISSIDENT WRITER STRIPPED OF SOVIET CITIZENSHIP

Zhores Aleksandrovich Medvedev
born Nov. 14, 1925, Tbilisi, Georgia, U.S.S.R. [now in Georgia]

Soviet biologist who became an important dissident historian in the second half of the 20th century.
For a full exposition of the possibilities of behaviouralist psychiatry as means of social and political control we have to look to the Soviet Union. The biologist Zhores Medvedev, a prominent dissident, was confined to a mental hospital. He was diagnosed as having ‘incipient schizophrenia accompanied by paranoid delusions of reforming society’! In any society which assumes total ideological uniformity to be ideologically different is without question deviant behaviour. Medvedev had influential friends in and out of the Soviet Union and was rapidly released. Many others have not been so lucky.

The forced unanimity of thought is not restricted to democracies. In “The Rise and Fall of T.D. Lysenko”, Russian historian Zhores Medvedev describes the rise to power of an autocratic Soviet pseudoscientist, who over a period of decades corrupted and nearly destroyed Soviet biology and agriculture. Medvedev concludes that “monopoly in science by one or another false doctrine, or even by one scientific trend, is an external symptom of some deep-seated sickness of a society.” The general acceptance of Lysenko’s perverted scientific theories—designed to undermine Western science, primarily Darwinism—was heavily promoted by the government-supported media. “The peculiarities of [the Soviet] press,” Medvedev writes, “made possible popular support for one or another scientific trend selected by the political leadership, and complete suppression of the opposition.”

Zhores Medvedev was detained in a mental hospital, provoking protests at home and abroad until he was freed.

He turned historian and dissident who was stripped of his Soviet citizenship in 1973.

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