Russian Journal of Genetics, Vol. 40, No. 4, 2004, p. 461. Translated from Genetika, Vol. 40, No. 4, 2004, p. 572. Original Russian Text Copyright © 2004 by Zakharov-Gezekhus. BOOK REVIEWS The genetic community of the Soviet Union in the Forty years after liberation from Stalin’s GULAG, 1960s through 1980s is difﬁcult to imagine without Luchnik was hit by perestroika and glasnost’. Bedrid- Nikolai Viktorovich Luchnik, a participant of many den for six years and able to live only due to the self- conferences, conventions, and symposia, an exteremely sacriﬁcing care of his wife, he still preserved his clear witty and sociable man, an original researcher and a mind and creative spirit. Many of his literary works renown radiobiologist and cytogeneticist. were dictated by him during this period. Luchnik died on August 5, 1993. Luchnik was born on January 3, 1922. He was one of very few (if not the only one) geneticist born in the The reviewed book (N.V. Luchnik, The Second early 1920s: his other contemporaries were either killed Game, Moscow: Sputnik+, 2002) compiled by Nikolai in World War 2 or destroyed by Lysenko. Luchnik’s son, A.N. Luchnik (geneticist by education) The fate of Nikolai Luchnik was tragic. During the includes a biography of Luchnik written by his wife, war he happened to be on the territory occupied by N.A. Poryadkova-Luchnik, overviews of his scientiﬁc Nazi, was captured by Soviet troops, and spent in research by T.V. Kondrashova and N.V. Glotov, a list of GULAG several years. Luchnik was liberated only due his publications, Luchnik’s prosaic and poetic works, to his wit, which was a striking case. Being allegedly his letters from GULAG to his mother (1944–1947), among the creators of the atomic bomb, he managed to and materials showing his as a philatelist. Thus, the persuade the GULAG authorities to transfer him to a book comprehensively covers different stages of Luch- sharashka (a special prison institution leading scientiﬁc nik’s life and shows various facets of his creative per- research) in the Urals, where a team of researchers sonality. headed by Timoffeev-Ressovsky at that time conducted Knowing Nikolai Luchnik since the 1960s, I could radiobiological studies. Although working in his cho- for the ﬁrst time truly appreciate his literary gifts. Some sen specialty, Luchnik was in fact a prisoner working in a secret institution before 1955. He was rehabilitated of the prosaic works included in the book as well as only in 1962. some of the verses are very impressive. The ironic novel The Second Game (giving its name to the book) The 1960s and 1970s were successful, and, one is worthy to be included in the anthology of Russian might say, even happy years in his life (if a creative and Gothic prose. The autobiographic novel From Hell to independent person could be really happy at that time). the Postbox is a striking documentary depicting a He defended a candidate, and then doctoral disserta- young man who managed to get out of GULAG only by tions, moved to the town of Obninsk where headed a powers of his clever mind and imagination. Finally, laboratory and a department, participated in several Anthropodicy is a wise essay on human predestination international scientiﬁc conventions and conferences ruled by almighty God. including the International Genetic Congresses of 1968 and 1973. His life seemed comfortable and settled but The book depicts a stunning picture of an unusual his poems of that time testify to a different frame of and tragic life of a Russian scientist in Soviet time and mind. Here is his small poem written in 1978: shows Luchnik’s bright and original personality to I cannot understand those who did not know him. Why should we poor people Again take part in a meeting of swindlers? –They need a quorum. I. A. Zakharov-Gezekhus 1022-7954/04/4004-0461 © 2004 MAIK ÒNauka / Interperiodica”
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 18, 2004
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