The Scientific Research Effort of the USSR, 1917–40

  • Robert Lewis
Part of the Studies in Soviet History and Society book series (SSHS)


The majority of scientists while not, perhaps, actively hostile to the new Bolshevik government, undoubtedly distrusted it. The Bolsheviks, for their part, were equally distrustful of the scientists, part of the ‘bourgeois intelligentsia’. They were, on the other hand, enthusiastically committed to the development of science and technology to which they attributed an important role in building the new society. Lenin realised that the scientists and technologists had a vital part to play in the future development of the country; speaking in Moscow in April 1918, he said: ‘we need their [the bourgeois specialists’] knowledge, their skills, their labour’.1 His close interest in science was reflected in his oft-reprinted ‘Outlines for a plan for scientific and technical work’ of the same month.2 The Party Programme approved at the Eighth Party Congress (March 1919), which spoke of striving for the further development of the country’s scientific resources and for the establishment of the most fruitful conditions for scientific work, simultaneously mentioned the need to make the greatest use of the scientific and technical specialists ‘in spite of the fact that they, in the majority of cases, are inevitably impregnated with bourgeois attitudes and habits’.3


National Income Design Organisation High Educational Establishment Total Government Expenditure Projected Expenditure 
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  1. 1.
    V. I. Lenin, Polnoe Sobranie Sochinenii (5th edition) Vol. XXXVI (Moscow, 1963) p. 263.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See, for example, A. V. Kol’tsov, Lenin i Stanovlenie Akademii Nauk Kak Tsentra Sovetskoi Nauki (Leningrad, 1969) pp. 71–7.Google Scholar
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    On 1 January 1918, prices were twenty-one times the 1913 level; on 1 January 1920, 2420 times that level R. W. Davies, The Dëvelopmehtof the Soviet Budgetary System (Cambridge, 1958) p. 31.Google Scholar
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    For the case of aeroplane design see Chapter 9 and A. Sharagin (G. A. Ozerov), Tupolevskaya Sharaga (Frankfurt/M, 1971).Google Scholar

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© Robert Lewis 1979

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