Far Eastern Filial Branch, USSR Academy of Sciences (1932-1939)
Long since the Far East of Russia evoked a lively interest among the Russian people. The Commodore Vitus Bering - an envoy of Peter the Great, Stephan Krasheninnikov - the outstanding researcher, Ivan Kruzenshtern - navigator, Fyodor Litke - President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ferdinand Vrangel - admiral, Emil Lents - great physicist, and Fyodor Przhevalsky - were pioneers who have opened this amazing territory to the educated world, gathered a lot of information and collections about the rich plant and animal kingdom, mineral wealth and the people living there. However, investigations were conducted by accident in the East borderland of Russia and by single scientists.
In 1885, Vladimir L. Komarov whose name is closely connected with science of the Far East started his research in Primorye. He has written many volumes devoted to flora of Manchzhuria, Kamchatka, and Primorye as well as the key book to identify plants. In 1916 he established the Yuzhno-Ussuriisk Branch of Russian Geographical Society in Primorye. It is quite natural that this period of study of the Far East is called "Komarovsky".
The Great October Socialist Revolution substantially changed the attitude to science and offered ample scope for investigations never conducted before. The Academy of Sciences organized the first expeditions to the East of Russia.
In 1923, the State University was opened in Vladivostok. In 1925, on behalf of the Far Eastern Revolutionary Committee (Dalrevkom) professor K. M. Deryugin, the famous Russian biologist set up the Pacific Research Station that was subsequently renamed as Pacific Research Institute of Fishery and Oceanography.
The Pacific Committee of the USSR Academy of Sciences headed by academician V. L. Komarov was organized in 1926. This Committee was able to coordinate the planned expeditionary study of the Far East. However, inexhaustible nature resources of Primorsky Krai were left uninvolved in production. In order to investigate and make them useful for people it was necessary to unite the isolated scientific groups and subgroups, and to transform learning into practical science.
The academician A. E. Fersman wrote, "We cannot place studies of big problems and separate regions apart, and in the way of book learning. We should resolutely give our research closer tie with nature, with the production in the interests of which, the work is being performed, and with the tenor and needs of local economy. "
In 1926, an enthusiast and patriot of the krai, V. L. Komarov, visited the city of Vladivostok on his way to Japan. He surveyed the research works carried out and got an idea of creating an Academic Scientific Center on the Pacific Ocean coasts.
On May 6, 1931, the Chairman of the Dalkraiipolkom, A. N. Asatkin sent an application to the secretary of the USSR Academy, Academician V. P. Volgin, to establish the Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences in the Far East.
On May 13, 1931, the proposal of the regional authorities to establish such a Branch was considered by the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1932 after some spadework the Far Eastern Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences was opened in the Far East.
On February 28, 1932, the academician Vladimir L. Komarov was appointed by general meeting of the USSR Academy of Sciences as the president of the Far Eastern Branch. He considered that major tasks of the Branch were determined by the necessity to unite into a single integrated plan the isolated efforts of separate research institutes working independently; to pose concrete problems and be responsible for their solution thus allowing to scientifically substantiate all the practical work for organization of industry and agriculture based on the local raw material; to carry out the work related to detection and inventory of Primorye natural resources and promote the involvement of small ethnic groups in industrial, public and social life of the USSR.
In early 1939, the Far Eastern Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences was a complicated scientific and research system consisting of the Institute of Chemistry and Geological Institute, sectors of soil-botany and zoology, laboratories of freshwater and marine hydrobiology, Mountain-Taiga and Teleseismical stations, Suputinsky and Kedrovaya Pad Preserves, the library and Publishing House.
Scientists of the Filial Branch carried out studies of the most interesting problems. The efforts of geologists resulted in discovery of the tin and lead deposits which later became the basis for development of large-scale ore mining industry in our country. Biologists and chemists solved successfully problems of the agricultural industry. Extensive investigations of Primorye flora and fauna were accomplished at the Mountain-Taiga Station and preserves of V. L. Komarov and Kedrovaya Pad. Honey, medicinal and fodder plants were studied in the Far East. That time is characterized by formation of the science schools in the field of geology, biology, chemistry, etc. Young talented scientists, such as N. S. Kabanov, N. P. Kolesnikov, A. U. Kurentsov, G. P. Volarovich, A. P. Saverkin, V. M. Savich, and A. N. Krishtofovich, started their investigatins whivh were highly recognized in the future.
On the eve and during the first years of WWII, there was a break in activities of the Far Eastern Branch caused by pre-war situation and then by difficult war conditions.
Enormous collections and scientific equipment were brought to the center of Russia; many scientific workers went to the front. Studies were conducted only at the Mountain-Taiga Station. Special attention was paid to the works that promoted an increase in output of agricultural products and raw materials.
Theoretical studies were postponed because their results couldn't be used immediately in national economy.
A very important contribution to investigations of that time was made by N. I. Zhilyakov, director of the Mountain -Taiga Station, and also by T. P. Samoylov, the follower of V. L. Komarov.
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