Dmitrii Anuchin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Anuchin, Dmitrii Nikolaevich


Born Aug. 27 (Sept. 8), 1843, in St. Petersburg; died June 4, 1923, in Moscow. Soviet anthropologist, geographer, ethnologist, and archaeologist. Professor at Moscow University (1884). Academician of the Academy of Sciences (1896), honorary member (1898).

Anuchin graduated from Moscow University in 1867 and from 1890 gave a course in anthropology there. From 1885 to the end of his life, he directed the subdepartment of geography—the first to be created—at Moscow University. In 1890 he became president of the Society of Friends of the Natural Sciences, Anthropology, and Ethnology. In 1879, on his initiative, the Museum of Anthropology of Moscow University was established. (In 1919 the subdepartment of anthropology was established, and in 1922 the scientific research institute of anthropology.) Anuchin’s main specialty was anthropology, and he was one of the founders of this science in Russia. A confirmed Darwinist, he took a broad view of anthropology as including the totality of natural historical information about man: his evolution, comparative anatomy, biology, and the study of race. Anuchin was an opponent of racism. The basic orientation of his research was ethnic anthropology and anthropogenesis. Many of his works were devoted to ethnology and primitive archaeology. He did important work on the Ainus (1876), anomalies of the human skull (1880), the geographical distribution of height of the male population of Russia (1889), the history of the art and religion of the Ural region Chud’ (1899), the ancient bow and arrow (1887), and much more. His scientific methodology was marked by strict historicism and the combination of data from anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, geography, and other sciences. Anuchin led geographical research expeditions in 1890,1894, and 1895 in the Valdai Hills, studying the sources of the Volga, Western Dvina, and Dnieper. In 1891 in the Caucasus (Kazbek region) he studied glaciation as a whole and the largest individual glaciers. He was the author of university geography courses (History of Geography, General Geography, Geography of Russia, and others). He carried out studies of the Upper Volga lakes and generalized the results of the research (1894–95) in the work The Upper Volga Lakes and the Upper Reaches of the Western Dvina and in smaller works, which initiated the study of Russia’s lakes. He founded a school of geographical researchers and teachers. He was the author of major works on geomorphology, hydrology, and regional study. He devoted much attention to research on natural conditions and resources and also on the changes and transformations which man’s activity has produced in the geographical environment. He wrote many works on Russian scientists, including a monograph on N. N. Miklukho-Maklai. After the October Revolution, Anuchin participated in the work of the Gosplan (State Planning Commission).

Anuchin edited the journals Etnograficheskoe obozrenie (from 1889); Zemlevedenie (Geography), which was founded by him in 1894; and Russkii antropologicheskii zhurnal (from 1900). A glacier on the northern island of Novaia Zem-lia, a mountain in the northern Urals, and an island and a strait in the Malaia Kuril chain were named in his honor.


Rel’ efpoverkhnosti Evropeiskoi Rossii v posledovatel’nom razvitii o nem predstavlenii. Moscow, 1895. “Verkhnevolzhskie ozera i verkhov’ia Zapadnoi Dviny: Rekognos-tsirovki i issledovaniia 1894–1895 gg.” In Trudy ekspeditsii dliaissledovaniia istochnikov glavneishikh rek Evropeiskoi Rossii, issue 61. Moscow, 1897.
Iaponiia i iapontsy: Geograficheskii, antropologicheskii i etnograficheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1907.
Geograficheskie raboty. Moscow, 1954. (With a bibliography of works.)
O liudiakh russkoi nauki i kul’tury, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1952.


Karpov, G. V. Put’ uchenogo. Moscow, 1958.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(26) Suggestions by Dmitrii Anuchin to leave ethnography as a separate field within the historical-philological faculty and by Eduard Petri to merge ethnography with anthropology (the study of mankind on the basis of physical features) were never acted upon.
Aleksei Kharuzin had chosen to study anthropology at Moscow University under Dmitrii Anuchin; and his scholarly work, which he continued to pursue while building a distinguished career within the imperial bureaucracy, combined ethnographic observations with large doses of anthropometrics and craniology.
Bogdanov also trained some of the most prolific anthropologists, such as Dmitrii Anuchin, who later helped found the Moscow school of physical anthropology.