Thursday, January 18, 2018

Leningrad Blockade Veterans and Their Children have ‘Special Genes’ Russia Needs, New Film Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 18 – Seventy-five years ago today, Soviet forces broke the German blockade around Leningrad. In commemoration of that event, a new film, “Blockade Blood. Genetics” has been shown to selected audiences that makes a truly amazing and disturbing argument.

            As Yuliya Reprintseva of Novaya Gazeta reports, the film says “people who survived the Leiningrad blockade handed down an inheritance of special genes … to their children, among whom the film mentions Vladimir Putin … These genes,” the film adds, “have had a significance influence” on Russia (

            In the course of its 36 minute running time, the film declares that “those who survived the blockade like Daniil Granin, Valentina Maksimova, Artur Chilingarov, alias Freydlikh, Boris Strugatsky, Vikto Konetsky, Ilya Glazynov, Aleksandr Gorodetsky or the children of the victors as well as representatives of the first post-war generation born there – Vladimir Putin, Patriarch Kirill, Sergey Ivanov, Sergey Narushkin, and many others … are all connected by a single manner of behavior, high responsibility for what occurs in the country and the city.”

            “Why,” the film asks, “is such a large segment of the city’s people united in a single psychological-behavioral group?” and suggests that the answer is to be found in their common “roots” connected with the physical and moral tests of their ancestors.”

            Appearing in the film is Oleg Glotov, a biologist at St. Petersburg University.  He says that he and his colleagues have come to the conclusion that “the study of the residents of blockade Leningrad … can help reveal certain mechanisms and answer questions that allowed us to survey and what these mechanisms are” – including genetic ones.

            Glotov has been pushing this genetic approach, one that resembles the notorious Soviet-era pseudo-scholar Trofim Lysenko’s ideas about the heritability of acquired characteristics, something that Soviet ideology welcomed as confirming its own notions but that has been rejected in almost all cases by scholars without an ideological agenda.

            That it is now at the center of a film supported by the Just Russia Party and that it is being used to promote the notion that Vladimir Putin is somehow genetically superior because of the experience of his parents during the blockade is truly disturbing, another unfortunate example of the triumph of ideological requirements over genuine science in Russia today. 

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