Biotechnological revolution in medicine as a new challenge for society: the experience of its perception in the USA and Russia

Mikhel D.V., Reznik O.N


The article examines the phenomenon of the biotechnological revolution in medicine, which began in the United States in the last quarter of the 20th century and later came to Russia. It is shown that the history of this revolution is the history of fundamental scientific discoveries in the field of biology and the process of creating the biotechnology industry and biocapitalism. The creators of the new biomedical knowledge – Francis Collins and his colleagues – were filled with religious enthusiasm, but the rest of the American public was soberer about the discoveries and technologies associated with their names. The U.S. debate on the social and ethical implications of the biotechnological revolution revealed a diversity of positions, but they were all united by healthy alarmism. The arrival of the biotech revolution in Russia coincided with the socio-economic crisis of the early 1990 s, and the government was still weak and unable to regulate the market for biomedical services. Biomedical practices that fit the American Protestant and liberal traditions rather than the traditions of Russian culture became widespread on this market. The reaction of Russian society in the post-crisis period to the arrival of the new biomedicine was varied. Representatives of academic circles have adopted a predominantly moderateliberal position, emphasizing the ethically ambiguous nature of certain biomedical technologies. In contrast, representatives of the Orthodox community have openly declared the moral unacceptability of technologies that infringe on human dignity and human life itself, emphasizing the importance of those focused on solving real health problems. It is concluded that the negative reaction of conservative groups in Russian society to the biotechnological revolution was primarily a reaction to biocapitalism.


biotechnological revolution in medicine; biomedicine; biocapitalism; USA; Russia; religion; Protestantism; orthodoxy.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2022.01.02

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