Pavlov and science under the Soviet government
Six months before his death Pavlov said at a dinner for representatives of social, cultural, professional and labour organizations in his birthplace Ryazan on 21 August 1935:
- "I should like to say that representatives of science were feted formerly, too, but those celebrations were in a narrow circle of people of the same kind, so to speak - men of science. That which I see now, in no way resembles those celebrations. In our country the whole population honours science. I saw that this morning in the meeting at the railway station, on the collective farm, and on my way here. I would not be mistaken, I think, in saying that this is to the credit of the government at the helm of my country.
"Formerly science was divorced from life and alienated from the people, but now I see it is otherwise - I see that the whole nation respects and appreciates science. I raise my glass and drink to the only government in the world which could bring this about, which values science so highly and supports it so fervently - to the government of my country."
At the 15th International Physiological Congress, held in Leningrad during the same year, he said:
- "How exceptionally favourable is the position of science in my fatherland! I want to give only one example to illustrate the relations which arose in our country between the government and science. We, the leaders of scientific institutions, are really alarmed and uneasy over the question whether or not we are in a position to justify all those means which the government places at our disposal. As you know, I am an experimenter from head to foot.
"My whole life has consisted of experiments.
"Our government is also an experimenter, only on an incomparably higher plane. I passionately desire to live in order to see the victorious completion of this historical social experiment."
Pavlov, I. P. (1941) Lectures on Conditioned Reflexes, volume two; Conditioned Reflexes and Psychiatry translated and edited by W. H. Gantt. Lawrence &Wishart, London