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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The article is devoted to a subject that has been little studied in Russian social science: the diaries of the great Russian scientist V.I. Vernadsky, which he kept for almost forty years and which contain unique historical and cultural material for studying the history of Russia and the USSR. The diaries are also rare document of a human being as to the variety and richness of facts, thoughts and assessments. On the example of the Vernadsky’s diaries, the scientific and social significance of the work, conducted by their publisher and commentator V.P. Volkov, is analyzed. The author comes to the conclusion that after writing out and commenting on the diaries of this great scientist for the period of 1926–44, Volkov accomplished a scientific feat, giving a social and psychological portrait of the great Russian scientist and public politician against the backdrop of the turning-point epoch. The work of the publisher is a hard, long, exhausting work, far from being only research, but primarily technical, organizational and bureaucratic. As a result of the tremendously time-consuming 20-year continuous work, a whole “archipelago” of knowledge and human connections opened up before V.P. Volkov, which nourished the thought of the great scientist and on which he relied. Comments on Vernadsky’s diaries represent, in the aggregate, a fundamental, thoroughly documented work on the history of Russian and Soviet science. Volkov, like Vernadsky, with his comments and historical research, made an invaluable contribution to the “universal history of science”. Volkov’s work is of direct value to us sociologists, because it revealed the entire multilayered and multilevel communication system of V.I. Vernadsky, a scientist, public figure and publicist which was the “information frame” of his everyday work. Volkov fulfilled his personal civic duty before Russian and world science, because without his comments on Vernadsky’s diaries and chronicles, this cultural stratum, these interpersonal connections of the Russian scientists and public figures, probably would have never been revealed at all.
Vernadsky, science, scientific and social milieu, ethos of Vernadskyi and publisher