The Medical Intelligentsia: Life in Post-Revolutionary Russia (Doctors Letters Material to N.A.Semashko)


In the State Archive of the Russian Federation there are many documents, containing doctors’ letters arrested by Cheka in 1919-1922 .The letters were addressed to N.A. Semashko, the People's Commissar of Health Care of the Soviet Russia. It is more than 200 stories of the doctors and medical workers life during the Civil War and War Communism. In the stories of the events that preceded the arrest, the people, consciously or unconsciously, bring a lot of facts, indicating their life, the relationship with colleagues and with the local authorities. On the basis of this evidence, the professional relationship are analyzed, the response characteristics of ordinary physicians on the current events are given. The aim of this study is to reconstruct a picture of the ordinary doctor world of this time period. Practitioners have been very busy at work and, as a rule, are not interested in politics. Belonging to the doctor's estate was characterized by professionalism and high level of culture. This is often prevented from finding a common language with the new government. After all, they were the workers and peasants by origin and they saw in a doctor not sympathetic or neutral-minded intellectual, but rather a representative of the bourgeoisie. The professional and cultural differences were the reason of mistrustful attitude to physicians from the authorities and, at the same time, became a support, which helped to deal with disadvantaged circumstances.

Author Information
Kira Bogatyreva, I. M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (Moscow), Russia

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2017
Stream: Humanities - History, Historiography

This paper is part of the ECAH2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon