French science through the eyes of Soviet scientists: the experience of business trips abroad in the 1920–1930s

Груздинская В.С.


The article examines the image of the «scientific» France formed by Soviet scientists during their business trips abroad in the 1920–1930s. The focus was on the trips of several representatives of pre-revolutionary science who remained in Soviet Russia and were forced to adapt to new conditions. The emphasis is on such questions: how did the representatives of the «old» school perceive French science? How (and whether) did these ideas change under the influence of the «external» frame? What methods of building, maintaining or, on the contrary, alienating ties with French colleagues were used? The article deals with the perception of the scientific life of France by the agrochemist D.N. Pryanishnikov, microbiologist L.A. Tarasevich and historian E.V. Tarle. The image of the «scientific » France is contradictory, multidimensional, and complex. Its formation was also influenced by the personal experience of the scientists, the degree of their closeness with their French colleagues, integration into the scientific environment or, conversely, isolation from it. However, despite these factors, Soviet researchers noted common features. The main one is the serious financial difficulties experienced by the French colleagues. The authors of the travel notes mention the shortcomings in equipping laboratories and institutes with modern equipment and the necessary materials for research, new literature, including foreign literature, a catastrophic lack of funds for expeditions and business trips. Another common feature is the sensitivity of scientific and personal ties with French colleagues to external political factors. A common marker of official reports, public reports, and published travel notes is the absence of mention of Russian emigrants, who, as is known, were numerous in France.


scientific contacts; business trips abroad; Russia; France; E.V. Tarle; D.N. Pryanishnikov; L.A. Tarasevich.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2023.03.10

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