Last modified on December 26, 2019, at 22:03

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko (1898 - 1976) was a Soviet scientist, evolutionist and founder of Lysenkoism.

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko

Rise to Power

A man of peasant origins, Lysenko worked as an agronomist in the Soviet Union in the 1920s. Doing this work, he modified the evolution and genetics of Lamarck and Ivan Michurin to develop a system of genetics later known as Lysenkoism.

Due to his unswerving support for the Communist Party, at a time when bourgeois 'experts' were under attack, and the promises he made of improvements to agriculture, Lysenko became a Soviet hero. He soon headed his own scientific journal, laboratories, and gained positions of prominence within the Soviet scientific bureaucracy.

Attack on Biology

Lysenko connected his evolution theory to Marxist–Leninist theory and began attacking all those who disagreed with him, using state institutions against them. With growing support from Stalin (who would come to support Lysenkoism directly), Lysenko had many of his opponents, called Mendelists removed from their jobs, and even imprisoned during Stalin's purges of 1937-8, by connecting them to matters of treason. Lysenko was established as a de facto dictator of Biology in 1948, as the Soviet Union entrenched Lysenkoism as state-sponsored doctrine.

Fall from Power

Lysenko's fortunes waned following Stalin's death in 1953, as Nikita Khrushchev was less willing to provide him with unlimited power. By the 1950s, Lysenkoism was being thoroughly disproven by western genetics (not by Darwinian evolution as its supporters like to claim), throwing his authority into question. He was removed from office and left to conduct small-scale research on a state farm.

See also