Society of Russian Physicians

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Society of Russian Physicians


(full name, N. I. Pirogov Memorial Society of Russian Physicians; also, Pirogov Society). Founded in 1883 as the Moscow-St. Petersburg Medical Society, the society changed its name to the N. I. Pirogov Memorial Society of Russian Physicians in 1886. By the end of the 19th century it had become the ideological, organizational, and methodological center for community medical organizations and especially for zemstvo medicine. From 1895 to 1908 it issued Zhurnal obshchestvo russkikh vrachei v pamiat’ N. I. Pirogova (Journal of the N. I. Pirogov Memorial Society of Russian Physicians), which in 1909 began to appear under the title Obsh-chestvennyi vrach (Community Physician). The society’s other publications included transactions of the Pirogov congresses and minutes and resolutions of the congresses’ commissions and board of directors. Among the well-known physicians active in the society were N. V. Sklifosovskii, S. S. Korsakov, G. N. Ga-brichevskii, L. A. Tarasevich, D. K. Zabolotnyi, A. V. Mol’kov, and P. F. Kudriavtsev. Of great importance to the growth of Russian medicine were the society’s all-Russian congresses, conferences on special medical problems, and numerous permanent committees on, for example, health statistics, health education, control of infant mortality, and the study of tuberculosis, malaria, and trachoma.

With the rise of the revolutionary movement, especially during the Revolution of 1905–07, the society strongly opposed tsarism under the influence of its left wing, whose leadership included the Bolshevik physician S. I. Mitskevich. The influence of the “moderates,” or “culturists,” prevailed within the leadership as reaction set in after the defeat of the revolution. At the extraordinary congress of April 1917, the left wing succeeded in installing the Bolshevik physicians Z. P. Solov’ev and I. V. Rusakov on the staff of the society’s board of directors.

After the victory of the October Revolution of 1917, the reactionary sector of the leadership of the Pirogov Society openly rejected collaboration with the Soviet regime. Solov’ev, Rusakov, and A. N. Sysin, sharply rebuffing the majority of the board of directors for its anti-Soviet position, resigned from the staff and from all organs of the society. Publication of Obshchestven-nyi vrach ceased in 1922, and in 1925 the society for all practical purposes dissolved itself.


N. I. Pirogov i ego nasledie: Pirogovskie s”ezdy. St. Petersburg, 1911.
Strashun, I. D. Russkaia obshchestvennaia meditsina v period mezhdu dvumia revoliutsiiami. Moscow, 1964.
Mitskevich, S. I Zapiski vracha-obshchestvennika. Moscow, 1969.


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