Russian Physicians in an Era of Reform and Revolution, 1856-1905

Russian Physicians in an Era of Reform and Revolution, 1856-1905

Nancy Mandelker Frieden
Copyright Date: 1981
Pages: 398
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  • Book Info
    Russian Physicians in an Era of Reform and Revolution, 1856-1905
    Book Description:

    This history of the medical profession in pre-Revolutionary Russia examines an influential segment of the educated elite. The author shows how Russian physicians differed in social origin, careers, and professionalization from their counterparts in other lands.

    Originally published in 1982.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5510-0
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-ix)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. x-xi)
  4. Tables
    (pp. xii-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-2)
  7. Chapter 1 Russian Physicians and the State
    (pp. 3-18)

    It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree of change in Russia after 1856. Defeat in the Crimean War (1853–1856) had served as a judgment on the stagnant and repressive policies of the reign of Nicholas I (1825–1855), a warning that the land of the tsars must adjust to the modern world. The government of the ʺTsar-Liberatorʺ Alexander II (1855–1881) thoroughly reordered the nationʹs social and political life by mandating the Great Reforms: the emancipation of the serfs; the expansion and liberalization of education; and the introduction of a new judicial system, institutions of local self-government (zemstvos),...

  8. Part One The Emergence of the Russian Medical Profession
    • Chapter 2 From Medical Servitor to Physician
      (pp. 21-52)

      Two distinct influences shaped the Russian medical profession: the activist state and Western medical science. The state recruited, educated, licensed, and employed most medical personnel; it imposed heavy obligations on practitioners and inculcated a strong service orientation. While the state determined the professionʹs social composition and occupational role, medical science provided its intellectual foundations and became a countervailing force.

      During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, doctors invited from abroad served the tsarist family, officialdom, and the high nobility. This expedient could not meet the needs of the court and the armed forces, and at the end of the seventeenth century...

    • Chapter 3 The Great Reforms and New Roles for Physicians
      (pp. 53-76)

      The dynamic changes of the Reform Era altered conditions of medical work and shaped the perceptions and objectives of Russian physicians. ʺIt was a remarkable time, full of the most luminous hopes,ʺ a physician later wrote,· ʺthe Crimean War had exposed all the evils of our social structure and a new spirit breathed in Russia.ʺ¹ The government of Alexander II promised extensive reforms, creating an atmosphere of rising expectations; and a current belief in the potentially unlimited powers of science compounded the optimism. Ilʹia Mechnikov (1845–1916), a pioneer in comparative embryology and a student then, recalled the 1860s as...

    • Chapter 4 Zemstvo Medicine: The Formative Years
      (pp. 77-104)

      Zemstvo medicine, a pioneering free rural health program, emerged in Russia in the 1870s and 1880s. Historians of public health recognize the program as a major innovation, and in the Soviet Union it is acknowledged as the precursor of post-Revolutionary health care. In the scheme of Russian history zemstvo medicine is an anomaly, for it grew apace at a time when the central government had shifted to a policy that curtailed many activities of the newly formed institutions of local self-government. How can we account for this unusual development? And what impact did it have on the medical profession?


    • Chapter 5 Medical Professionalization in Russia
      (pp. 105-132)

      Physicians whose careers began in the Reform Era witnessed a major social transformation and were themselves transformed. An anonymous writer inThe Contemporaryin 1861 described a typical Russian physician. ʺThe difficult five-year medical course finished, the young physician with a diploma in one hand and a black bag in the other enters … the army or civilian bureaucracy, where he is gnawed by poverty…. Old before his time, he becomes painfully dry, distrustful, negative, stern with himself and others.ʺ¹ In the following decades, physicians discarded the unflattering image of the isolated medicalchinovnikand restructured their social and professional...

  9. Part Two Physicians as Professionals and Reformers, 1892–1902
    • Chapter 6 The Cholera Epidemic of 1892–1893
      (pp. 135-160)

      In the last decade of the nineteenth century, the Russian medical profession shifted from a steady and relatively uneventful process of corporate growth to a period of rapid professionalization. The contrast between the Pirogov Congresses of 1891 and 1893 indicates the sudden change. When the Fourth Congress met in 1891, Manassein saluted it inThe Physician, wishing its members ʺgreat success … greater unity and a spirit of true comradeshipʺ; and indeed that congress did increase corporate bonds by voting for a new charter and enlarging its ties with zemstvo medicine. Manassein also charged the congress to display ʺless bureaucratism...

    • Chapter 7 An Uneasy Alliance: The Medical Profession and the Zemstvo Opposition
      (pp. 161-178)

      An era of rising political consciousness and social activism followed the famine and cholera years. Many of the volunteers recorded their stunned reactions to the deplorable conditions of the peasantry and industrial work force, the gravity of the nationʹs backwardness, and the traumas caused by rapid industrialization. A wave of agrarian, industrial, and student unrest encouraged the radical intelligentsia to step up their agitational activities, and the government responded with predictable repression.¹ At the same time, the liberal opposition movement began to coalesce, attracting zemstvo activists, the liberal press, the professions, and the ʺthird elementʺ (zemstvo employees). Physicians followed several...

    • Chapter 8 From Social Reform to Political Activism: The Pirogov Society, 1894–1902
      (pp. 179-200)

      The unusual victory over the projected Hospital Statute encouraged optimism among social reformers. Physicians and zemstvo partisans did not realize that it would be remembered as a unique incident, the result of the initial faltering of a new reign, and that they would soon experience a series of defeats. The regime regained its characteristic firmness, but its subsequent victories were hollow ones. Increasingly rigid restrictions convinced many liberals that they must more actively defend the local institutions, and a number of confrontations with the central government strengthened the emerging zemstvo opposition movement.¹

      Physicians in the Pirogov Society, in zemstvo medicine,...

    • Chapter 9 Social Characteristics and Self-perceptions of Russian Physicians, 1889–1904
      (pp. 201-228)

      How did the many changes triggered by the Great Reforms affect the status and self-image of physicians? In the ranked and estate-bound society of pre-Reform Russia, few physicians enjoyed the prestige of most other members of the educated elite. The average physician worked as a bureaucrat in a middling position, received a modest income, and sometimes earned the title of personal, but not hereditary noble. By the end of the nineteenth century, physicians in Russia had higher expectations, produced in part by changes at home, but also by international developments. For in most Western European nations, progress in medical science...

  10. Part Three On the Eve of the 1905 Revolution
    • Chapter 10 The Pirogov Society and the Liberation Movement, 1902–1904
      (pp. 231-262)

      The Ninth Pirogov Congress of 4-11 January 1904 erupted with one of the first public denunciations of the Russian autocracy on the eve of the 1905 Revolution. In many of its one hundred resolutions the congress assailed current policies on public health, self-government, social welfare, and education, and proposed a vast array of political and social reforms. What manner of medical meeting was this? A forum for political agitators who took advantage of the relative freedom accorded scientific meetings? Were the police correct in reporting that zemstvo physicians and Jews — ʺa larger group of Jews than had ever before...

    • Chapter 11 The Russian Dreyfus Affair: Dr. Zabusov versus General Kovalev
      (pp. 263-282)

      After the congresses in St. Petersburg in January 1904 the opposition forces intensified their efforts. Emulating constitutional groups in France in 1848, zemstvo activists and the Union of Liberation planned a ʺbanquet campaignʺ to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Great Reforms. Professional associations engaged in similar activities. ʺThetiers état,ʺ an emigré newspaper remarked in its report on the Ninth Pirogov Congress, ʺhas sprouted wings and soon will begin to fly.ʺ¹ And indeed, by the end of 1904 members of the Pirogov Society and local medical groups had participated in numerous banquets and reorganized routine meetings for political purposes....

    • Chapter 12 From Bloody Sunday to Balashov: Cholera, Public Health, and Radical Politics
      (pp. 283-312)

      On saturday night, 8 January 1905, the St. Petersburg Medical Society for Mutual Aid passed its resolution demanding justice for Zabusov and greater freedom for all citizens. Within twenty-four hours many of the participants would be in emergency first aid stations and hospitals, treating the wounded of ʺBloody Sunday.ʺ The workers of St. Petersburg had marched peaceably with icons and a petition to the tsar to request more respectful treatment, better working conditions, and civil rights. Their answer was a barrage of fire and the fury of the Cossack whip. Many a peasant and worker suddenly lost faith in the...

  11. Epilogue
    (pp. 313-322)

    After the Crimean War the Russian physician gradually discarded the image of the state servitor who ʺstood in the doorway not daring to sit down … his work, advice, and time judged lightly and as nonessential.ʺ Dr. Astrov tells Uncle Vanya, in Chekhovʹs play of 1896, ʺYou and I are the only two respectable, intelligent people in the district,ʺ presuming a degree of social equality that Chekhov did not concede in earlier works.¹ The Russia of rank, noble heritage, and caste privilege had given way to a society with more modern values, where the physician could gain respect as a...

  12. Appendix I Physicians in the Russian Empire, 1870–1910
    (pp. 323-324)
  13. Appendix II Cholera in Russia, 1823–1911
    (pp. 325-325)
  14. Appendix III Curriculum of the Medical-Surgical Academy, 1869–1870, and the Oath of the Graduating Physician
    (pp. 326-327)
  15. Appendix IV Social and Economic Characteristics of Russian Physicians, 1856–1903
    (pp. 328-337)
  16. Appendix V Leaflet No. 13: What is Essential for a Successful Fight Against Infectious Disease
    (pp. 338-346)
  17. Glossary
    (pp. 347-350)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 351-370)
  19. Index
    (pp. 371-378)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 379-379)