Monday, April 3, 2023

Putin’s Russia Now has Its Own Lysenko, Koch Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 1 – Stalinism is returning to Russia in small ways and large. The latest is the rise of someone who is acting much as the notorious pseudo-geneticist Trofim Lysenko did during the Soviet dictator’s rule and offering a theory of genetics just like his predecessor did at odds with all scholarly evidence.

            Lysenko won favor with Stalin because he argued that acquired characteristics could be inherited, something that if true would have made changes in plants and animals possible over a far shorter period than otherwise. The new Lysenko in contrast says the fact that humans now live less long than before the flood is the result of original sin.

            Alfred Koch, a former Russian deputy prime minister and current commentator, says he is in shock that Aleksandr Kudravtsev, the director of the Academy of Sciences Institute of General Genetics, which is named for the scholar who opposed Lysenko, could offer such a theory and do so at a theological conference (

            According to Kudryavtsev, “before the Flood, people lived 900 years, but now much less,” something he said is connected with original sin which in turn led to “the mutation of genes reducing the life expectancy of people.” Moreover, the geneticist said, “children bear responsibility for the sins of their parents to the seventh generation.”

            “I’m really in shock,” Koch continues. “I know there is a war going on, that people are dying, and that there’s no reason to pay attention to such stupidity. But I can’t help myself” because this shows that directors of academic institutes in Russia are now “forced to take part in theological conferences and talk nonsense jus to please all these idiots in cassocks.”

            How could this happen in an institution where there is no precedent even for this? the commentator asks. And he adds: it is no surprise that Russian scholars are fleeing abroad where they can do real science and will be welcomed for doing it. As a result, Russia is losing its brains because “Putin doesn’t need brains since they think.”

            And those who think will soon recognize that Putin “doesn’t need people! Because people all the time want something: to eat, drink, dress and live somewhere. And some of htem even want freedom and respect … Why should he put up with such people?” Koch asks rhetorically.

            Putin’s lack of desire to have people around drives his policies: “No health care – let them die. No education – let them not learn to think. But war is still needed as it will kill may of them. The fewer Russians in Russia, the better: fewer questions, fewer demands and less reason to spend money on them.”

            Moreover, “the dumber they are, the easier it will be to manage them: therefore, no science; only priests. And all around are military men and priests, priests and special service officers. It’s been the same for a long time already.”  And there is more involved as well, Koch says.

            All TV channels are full of clairvoyants, fortune-tellers, and predictors of the future. The possibility that the earth is flat is seriously discussed … Instead of doctors - healers and shamans. Instead of the joy of life - the preaching of quick death in battle: do not be afraid to die, it is not scary to die, sooner or later we will all die, the time has come for you to die ...”

            Such obscurantism and backwardness must be defeated, Koch says, declaring at the end of his essay that Ukraine is the instrument of that hopeful outcome. 

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