History of Medicine


An Open Access Journal

A page in the history of Soviet clinical medicine: the establishment of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences and the formalisation of the therapeutic elite (1944–1948)

DOI: 10.17720/2409-5834.v6.3.2019.03c

Vladimir I. Borodulin1,
Sergey P. Glyantsev1,2,
Anna A. Stochik1
1FSSBI “N.A. Semashko National Research Institute of Public Health”
12 Vorontsovo Pole St., building 1, Moscow 105064, Russia
2A.N. Bakulev National Medical Research Center of Cardiovascular Surgery
8 Leninsky Prospekt, Moscow 117931, Russia

The article considers the issues of the formation of the therapeutic elite and its role in the development of the clinic of internal diseases in the USSR. Specific examples show the multifactorial process of elite formation of the congress of Russian Therapists. The article discloses the role of the creation of the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) and the subsequent election of academics as an important factor in the formalisation of the elite. The analysis of numerous archival documents allowed the authors to revise the cliched ideas about the long process of creation of the AMS, the main departments and people involved, and the role of J.V. Stalin in the process. It transpired that the main role in the development and refinement of the project was played by the People’s Commissar of Health care of the USSR, G.A. Miterev, his deputy for science, V.V. Parin, and the responsible employees of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union B.D. Petrov and S.V. Suvorov, with the active participation of Chairman of the Academic Medical Council of the People’s Commissariat for Health of the USSR N.N. Burdenko and Head of the Main Military Sanitary Administration of the Red Army E.I. Smirnov. The process of appointing academics turned out to be drawn-out, riddled with conflict and “infighting” of interests. The academic fate of the therapist V.F. Zelenin can be a good example – he was included in the list of candidates, excluded from it, and eventually appointed Academic Secretary of the clinical medicine department. The final list of appointed academics was approved in November 1944 – not by Stalin (as it is usually assumed), but by deputy chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars V.M. Molotov. The article shows that the final selection of the therapeutic elite after the first elections at the Academy of Medical Sciences was finally determined at the 13th All-Union Congress of Therapists (1947) – the first congress after the Great Patriotic War.

Keywords: clinic of internal diseases, USSR Academy of Medical Sciences, congresses of therapists, therapeutic elite, M.P. Konchalovsky, G.F. Lang, N.D. Strazhesko


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