L. G. Ramensky: ukrainian disciples and colleagues

V. B. Golub

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31111/vegrus/2019.35.111


The present paper that follows the series of publications in «Vegetation of Russia» devoted to L. G. Ramensky (Golub, 2013, 2014, 2017 a, b, 2018), deals with the short period of his work at the Ukrainian Institute of Applied Botany (1928–1930) and his role in the training of scientific personnel for the Ukraine. The funds of the Central State Archives of the Higher Authorities and Administration of the Ukraine, the Russian State Archives of Economics, the St. Petersburg branch of the Archives of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the archives of the Federal Scientific Center for Feed Production and Agroecology named after V. R. Williams served as the major data for this paper.

The Ukrainian Institute of Applied Botany (UIAB) was organized on the basis of the Department of Applied Botany of the Kharkov Agricultural Institute. L. G. Ramensky began to cooperate with this department even before its official transformation into the institute. The head of the Department of Applied Botany A. A. Yanata was the main initiator of the organization of the UIAB. He was a reputable scientist who worked in the field of nature conservation in the 1920s and early 1930s. A. A. Yanata was unreasonably repressed in 1933 and died in a concentration camp near Magadan in 1938.

Kharkov in 1919–1934 was the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. It was not only administrative, but also one of the main scientific centers of the Ukraine. The city is located near Voronezh where L. G. Ramensky lived and worked until

He held the post of the head of the Department of Applied Gebotany and the Branch of Fodder Lands in the UIAB. E. M. Lavrenko was his deputy. Geobotanist and florist-systematic N. A. Desyatova-Shosenko (1889–1968) also worked in this department. During the World War II, she immigrated to France where she collaborated with J. Braun-Blanquet publishing ­under the surname Roussine. There were departments of land reclamation (head — D. G. Vilensky), forestry (head — G. N. Vysotsky) and physiology (head — V. N. Lyubimenko) in UIAB. After the Kharkov botanical garden was transferred to UIAB, his director L. A. Shkorbatov became the head of the Department of cryptogam plants.

As can be seen fr om the names listed above, outstanding specialists in the field of botany and, in particular, geobotanists worked in the late 1920s in Kharkov. L. G. Ramensky met them being in the capital of the Ukraine. He highly appreciated G.N. Vysotsky as a scientist (and this was mutual) and considered him his teacher. Despite the fact that he argued in his papers with G. N. Vysotsky, their views on many issues of landscape science and phytocenology were close. Both of them can be attributed to the founders of a new direction in landscape science, namely, ecotopology.

In order to organize the study of natural forage lands in the Ukraine L. G. Ramensky focused his efforts on the training of scientific staff for the republic through graduate school. Ukrainians N. V. Kuksin, Z. T. Izvekova, N. D. Ryzhutin, P. S. Davydich, S. D. Rubashevskaya, and O. Svistunova studied in graduate school under his leadership in the UIAB. In 1928 he taught his graduate students during field studies in Russia.

In 1929 he got specific assignments fr om the UIAB for the study of floodplain meadows in the Ukraine. This allowed him to execute geobotanical research on small rivers and small ravines within the Dnepropetrovsk and Krivoy Rog districts. S. D. Rubashevskaya and A. A. Tregubenko (Yunatov) took part in his Ukrainian expedition in 1929.

A. A. Yunatov was at that time 18 years old. It is obvious that this young man was pleasant to L. G. Ramensky as next year he took him for full-time employment at the All-Union Institute of Feed in his department wh ere he worked as the laboratory assistant and the junior researcher until admission to the Leningrad University in 1935. Subsequently he became a well-known botanical geographer, the researcher of vegetation in Central Asia and the organizer of science. He always remembered L. G. Ramensky as the teacher.

L. G. Ramensky very effectively used the time of his stay in the Ukraine. Memories have been preserved how after a meetings in Kharkov, he conducted practical exercises for graduate students of the UIAB in the floodplain of the Seversky Donets River near the town of Zmiev. The excursionists were not only graduate students, but also other participants in the meeting. He taught them his methods of work and devoted several lessons to the definition of plants in a non-flowering state. In conclusion, he read a brilliant lecture in which listeners were amazed by the width and versatility of his knowledge (Perlin, Sobolev, 2018).

L. G. Ramensky and E. M. Lavrenko approached each other in UIAB. However, their scientific life developed quite differently. E. M. Lavrenko, who was 16 years younger than his colleague, quickly overtook him in his career. His achievements were highly appreciated by scientific community, while L. G. Ramensky did not receive such recognition during his lifetime. According to T. Kuhn (1962), this phenomenon can be explained by the fact that E. M. Lavrenko’s activity took place in line with the «normal science», and L. G. Ramensky’s one, mostly, outside of it.

Two of the Ukrainian postgraduate students by Ramensky, namely N. D. Ryzhutin and N. V. Kuksin, became the well-known scientists in the field of typology of natural forage lands of the Ukraine. L. G. Ramensky planned to move from its typology of natural forage lands to a typology of agricultural lands in the whole USSR. Specialists trained by them could play an important role in this matter. However, the development of a common land typology was not carried out during the Soviet period.

Key words: L. G. Ramensky, A. A. Yanata, E. M. Lavrenko, N. V. Kuksin, N. D. Ryzhutin, biography, science history

Section: History of science

How to cite

Golub V. B. 2019. L. G. Ramensky: ukrainian disciples and colleagues // Vegetation of Russia. N 35. P. 111–118. https://doi.org/10.31111/vegrus/2019.35.111

Received April 5 2019


Golub V. B2013. Some details of the L. G. Ramensky biography (additions and comments to the letter by V. P. Savich to T. A. Rabotnov) // Vegetation of Russia. N 23. P. 122–132. (In Russian). https://doi.org/10.31111/vegrus/2013.23.122

Golub V. B2014. Some facts of the L. G. Ramensky biography (the 30thyears of the XX century) // Vegetation of Russia. N 25. P. 131–141. (In Russian). https://doi.org/10.31111/vegrus/2014.25.131

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Golub V. B2017 b. L. G. Ramensky is the faculty member at the Voronezh university and his students // Vegetation of Russia. N 31. P. 139–148. (In Russian). https://doi.org/10.31111/vegrus/2017.31.139

Golub V. B2018.First expedition by L. G. Ramensky and its importance in his creative biography // Vegetation of Russia. N 32. P. 129–136. (In Russian). https://doi.org/10.31111/vegrus/2018.32.129

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