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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2019 year, number 1

ORGANIZATION AND ACTIVITIES OF THE NATURAL HISTORY DEPARTMENT OF THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF SIBERIA (1919-1920)

V.V. Raskolets
National Research Tomsk State University, 36, Lenin Ave., Tomsk, 634050, Russian Federation
Keywords: Институт исследования Сибири, Томск, Байкал, Северный морской путь, П.Н. Крылов, В.В. Сапожников, Русское ботаническое общество, ихтиофауна, Institute for Siberian Study, Northern Sea Route, Baikal, P. N. Krylov, V. V. Sapozhnikov, Russian Botanical Society, ichthyofauna

Abstract

This article explores the establishment and activity of the Natural History Department of the Institute for Siberian Studies (ISS) based on a wide range of sources and scientific literature. The study is of high relevance due to the need to analyze a new model of scientific structure established by the Siberian scientists during the crisis period of Russian history. The study objective is to reconstruct and interpret the history of creation and work of the Natural History Department of ISS. The natural history studies initially were supposed to be conducted in four separate departments: botany, zoology, agriculture, and forest science. However, during the approval of ISS Regulations by A.V. Kolchak’s Russian government these departments were reorganized into sub-branches of the Natural History Department. It is worth noting that some distinguished scientists from Siberia, European Russia and foreign countries worked at the department, such as P. N. Krylov, V. V. Sapozhnikov, M. D. Ruzsky, G. E. Ioganzen, A. G. Gennkel, I. I. Podpera, S. A. Teploukhov, et al. The research has revealed the multidimensional activity of the Natural History Department. It arranged expeditions to study the Ob and Taz Bays’ tundra terrain, investigate ichthyofauna of West Siberian rivers (Ob, Tom, Tobol, Polui, etc.), phytoplankton of Lake Baikal and others. According to the expeditionary results, the members of the Department published a number of scientific works in “Izvestiya IIS”. The Department put forward the idea of organizing courses to train researchers of Siberian wild life, as well as the sub-department of physical geography; supported the Baikal Hydrobiological Station activity; sponsored the activities of the South Usuriisk Branch of the Russian Geographical Society, etc. The author concludes that the difficult political, social and economic conditions adversely affected the Department’s activity, not allowing its members to realize many ideas. However, if ISS were not closed by the Soviet authorities, its work would have developed on an even larger scale.