1063-0740/02/2801- $27.00 © 2002
Russian Journal of Marine Biology, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2002, pp. 73–75.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2002 by Biologiya Morya, the Editorial Board.
On August 21, 2001, Oleg Grigor’evich Kusakin
passed away in St.-Petersburg. An Academician, Doc-
tor of Science in Biology, Professor, Head of the Cho-
rology Department at the Institute of Marine Biology,
Honored Scientiﬁc Worker, and one of the leading
marine biologists in Russia. We would like to print all
this list in full capitals. In addition, this ofﬁcial phrase
about such a grievous loss for Russian science has been
immediately understood by all his colleagues as a harsh
and awful truth. We have been orphaned.
Oleg Grigor’evich originated from a small family,
as he usually spoke, from Parvenus. He was born on
July 12, 1930, in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). His
father died when he was eight months old, and mother
passed away during the Second World War. He was
brought up by his relatives, an aunt, and two cousins;
one of the cousins was an accountant and another was
a grade school teacher. They were quite poor and frugal
people. Due to his home education, even after he has
reached the heights of his scientiﬁc carrier, Oleg
Kusakin still remained very modest, economical, and
provident man. He could never spend too much money
on himself. But what he did inherit from his relatives,
was intellectual wealth and the will and ability to earn
an honest livelihood and to be always a self-reliant
In school, Oleg Kusakin was an excellent and very
literate pupil. He was equally interested in biology,
astronomy, literature, philosophy, and history. He cer-
tainly would have become an excellent decoration for
any of these sciences if to chose it as his main occupa-
tion, but he chose the biology.
In 1948, Oleg Grigor’evich entered the Department
of Biology and Soil at the Leningrad State University.
He chose biology to be as far away from political activ-
ities as possible. The period of his university years was
a dark age in Russian science, a time of obscurantism
and politicization of everything (let us remember the
dishonorable session of the Soviet Academy of Agri-
cultural Science in 1948 and the events that followed).
Therefore, instead of the Department of Darwinism,
which was the ﬁrst choice of Oleg Grigor’evich, he
entered less political Department of Marine Hydrobiol-
ogy headed by Prof. E.F. Gur’yanova. He actively
worked in the department starting from the very ﬁrst
year of his university life, preparing important scientiﬁc
reports and processing, under the supervision of recog-
nized scientists, the samples of the mutual Kuril-Sakha-
lin Expedition of Zoological Institute (USSR Academy
of Sciences) and Paciﬁc Institute of Scientiﬁc Fisheries
and Oceanography from 1947 to 1949. After the ﬁrst
year, Prof. Gur’yanova invited the talented student to
participate in an expedition to Shikotan Island (the
South Kuril Islands), where his mentors, in addition to
Prof. Gur’yanova, were the future Academician
B.E. Bykhovsky and Prof. A.A. Strelkov. After his third
year at the university, Oleg Grigor’evich asked for
ﬁnancial support in several departments of the univer-
sity and in summer left for individual travel to the Kuril
Islands. In return for their support, he collected a large
collection of different animals for his sponsors.
In 1954, already a postgraduate at Leningrad Uni-
versity, Oleg Grigor’evich spent a whole year in the
South Kuril Islands monitoring year-round seasonal
changes in the intertidal biota and collecting animals.
He spent the winter like a Robinson, without any mod-
ern conveniences, but successfully sampled compre-
hensive materials there that he later used for his Ph. D.
dissertation and subsequent papers on biocenology. In
1958, Oleg Kusakin successively defended his Ph. D.
dissertation “The Intertidal Zone of the South Kuril
Islands and Its Fauna and Flora.” He had lectures and
practical courses at Leningrad University, but most eve-
nings and most of his spare time were spent in the
neighboring Zoological Institute, where he continued
his studies of intertidal biota and identiﬁed isopod crus-
taceans from the tremendous collections at the institute.
In Memoriam of Oleg Grigor’evich Kusakin