Moscow Society of Naturalists MOIP

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Moscow Society of Naturalists (MOIP)


the oldest Russian society promoting the development of Soviet natural science and the study of nature and of natural resources. It was founded in 1805 at Moscow University. The society equipped expeditions, subsidized individual research in various parts of the country as distant as Kamchatka, and discussed scientific papers. Collections gathered by participants in expeditions helped in the establishment of zoological, geological, and other natural-science museums at Moscow University. The society played an important role in the development of many schools and trends of scientific thought in Russia, particularly by its advocation and affirmation of evolutionary theory. The basis of the group’s work was the free discussion of problems of contemporary natural science.

After the October Revolution of 1917, the Moscow Society of Naturalists, following progressive traditions, broadened the scope of its activities. Its major body is the delegates’ conference, which is convened once every three years. Between conferences, leadership is exercised by the council of the society, which elects the delegates, and its presidium. In 1974 the society had more than 2, 200 members. It has branches in a number of cities in the USSR, including Tomsk, Sverdlovsk, Riazan’, Ivanova, and Stavropol’. By 1974 the society had 21 sections, three subsections, one intersection seminar, and two commissions. Seventeen of these are devoted to various branches of biology; eight deal with geology and geography. There are also sections of physics, natural history, and conservation.

Beginning in 1806 the society issued Zapiski (Notes), which included scholarly and scientific works by the society’s members; the publication was later renamed Memuary (Memoirs). The Biulleten’ Moskovskogo obshchestva ispytateleiprirody (Bulletin of the Moscow Society of Naturalists) has appeared since 1829. K. F. Rul’e was instrumental in publishing the popular science journal Vestnik estestvennykh nauk (Journal of the Natural Sciences), which was issued from 1854 to 1860. Between 1890 and 1918 the society published Materialy k poznaniiu fauny i flory i geologicheskogo stroeniia Rossiiskoi imperii (Materials Toward an Understanding of the Fauna, Flora, and Geological Structure of the Russian Empire). It has published Materialy k poznaniiu fauny i flory SSSR (Materials Toward an Understanding of the Fauna and Flora of the USSR) since 1940 and Materialy k poznaniiu geologicheskogo stroeniia SSSR (Materials Toward an Understanding of the Geological Structure of the USSR) since 1941.

The Moscow Society of Naturalists has also issued a number of monographs and many popular publications, including Sredi prirody (In Nature; 1948–52). The society compiled an index of its publications (Index, parts 1–4, 1882–1957). It has published Trudy MOIP since 1951. The society has one of the best scientific libraries in the country (more than 400, 000 holdings).

The presidents of the Moscow Society of Naturalists have been F. A. Bredikhin (1886–90), F. A. Sludskii (1890–97), N. A. Umov (1897–1915), M. A. Menzbir (1915–35), N. D. Zelinskii (1935–53), V. N. Sukachev (1955–67), and A. L. Ianshin (since 1967).


Varsanof’eva, V. A. Moskovskoe obshchestvo ispytatelei prirody i ego znachenie v razvitii otechestvennoi naukL Moscow, 1955.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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