ISSN 1022-7954, Russian Journal of Genetics, 2007, Vol. 43, No. 10, pp. 1071–1081. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2007.
Original Russian Text © S.G. Inge-Vechtomov, 2007, published in Genetika, 2007, Vol. 43, No. 10, pp. 1287–1298.
November 11, 2007 is the hundredth anniversary of
Mikhail Eﬁmovich Lobashev, Professor, Doctor of
Biology, Honored Worker of Science of the Russian
Federation, and Head of the Department of Genetics
and Breeding with the Leningrad State University
(1957–1971). His entire life was part and parcel of the
history of our state in all its contradictions and perplex-
ities. He had traveled a long way from a homeless
orphan to a prominent Soviet scientist.
CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH
The childhood and youth of Lobashev are known
from the popular novel “Two Captains” by Kaverin .
Misha Lobashev (the prototype of Sanya Grigoriev)
was born on the Volga River in the village of Bol’shoe
Frolovo, Tetyushi uezd (later, Buinsk raion of the Tatar
Soviet Republic). His father, who came from a peasant
family, worked in an artel of loaders at city wharfs on
the Volga River. His mother raised two children, Misha
and his younger sister Sanya, and was involved in a day
labor. Till the age of seven, Misha remained dumb.
When he was eight, his father died, and his mother went
to work at a sawmill. His mother deceased in 1919, and
the orphaned brother and sister were sent to an orphan-
age in Pokrovsk, Saratov province. Half year later,
Misha ran away from the orphanage to lead a vagrant
life. At that time he was a strong-willed, illiterate teen-
ager, who renounced any authority. He was straying,
From aphorisms by Lobashev .
traveled by foot from Ural’sk to Orenburg, lived in rail-
road stations and markets, and traveled by a variety of
ways, including in the bottom boxes of railroad cars. He
was caught in 1920 and sent to the childrens home no. 6
in Tashkent. It was there when he, at the age of 13, for
the ﬁrst time learned reading and writing. In 1922,
Misha was conveyed to the Karl Liebknecht labor
school–commune. It was the children’s colony orga-
nized according to the principles well known from the
novels and practice of A.S. Makarenko. Misha Loba-
shev remembered with gratitude all his life the six
years that he spent in this school–commune and
regarded it as “the best example of a boarding school,
school–commune that was created during the Soviet
“The socially useful work and political instruction
formed the basis of the upbringing and education in this
school. We had large gardens, vegetable gardens, and
workshops—cardboard, shoemaking, carpenter, and
locksmiths—where we worked under the guidance of
our teachers. We fed ourselves on the money raised by
selling the products grown and goods made”.
were the members of the labor commune? They were
the former homeless children from children homes,
orphaned children of various ethnic groups—Russians,
Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Kyrgyzs, Tartars, Jews, Germans,
and others. I look at the photograph of the colonists and
see myself, a chubby boy in a peaked cap, among my
From unpublished memoirs of Lobashev
The Life in Biology
archived with the Department of Genetics and Breeding of the St.
Petersburg (Leningrad) State University.
“Do Not Lose the Winning Games”
To the 100th Anniversary of M.E. Lobashev
S. G. Inge-Vechtomov
Department of Genetics and Breeding, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, 199034 Russia;
fax: (812)328-15-90; e-mail: email@example.com
Received April 27, 2007
—Mikhail E. Lobashev (1907–1971), Head of the Department of Genetics and Breeding with the Len-
ingrad (now, St. Petersburg) State University from 1957 to 1971, had traveled a long way from a homeless to
an Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation. Lobashev was among the discoverers of chemical mutagenesis
he pioneered in connecting the mutation process and the repair of genetic material and devel-
oped the concept of signal inheritance. Through the entire Great Patriotic War, he served with the ﬁeld forces,
and defended his doctoral dissertation on the physiological hypothesis of mutation process in 1946 on the return
to the University. In 1948, Mikhail Eﬁmovich was discharged from the University, where he was the Dean of
the Biological Faculty, as a Morganist. On his return to the University in 1957, Lobashev devoted all his ener-
gies to the restoration of genetic education in this country, wrote the ﬁrst domestic genetic textbook in the post-
Lysenko period, organized the research at the Department of Genetics and Breeding, and created the scientiﬁc
school, whose representatives are still successfully working in the ﬁeld of genetics.