Akademgorodok: Background information when reading Red Plenty

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Red Plenty

by Francis Spufford

Red Plenty
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  • Paperback:
    Feb 2012, 448 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Akademgorodok

One of the most fascinating byproducts of the Russian planned economy is the academic town of Akademgorodok (Ah-kah-DYEM-gor-oh-dok) in Siberia. It is approximately 30 kilometers south of the larger Siberian city of Novosibirsk (No-VO-see-beersk), and is the setting for some of Red Plenty's most riviting stories, featuring a genetics and cytology researcher named Zoya Veynshteyn.

Aerophoto of Akademgorodok Looking to populate Siberia and avoid the bureaucratic interference of Moscow, while creating a haven for the sciences at the same time, Russian premier Nikita Kruschev supported the creation of Akademgorodok (aka Academy Town) in 1958 as a part of the network of research centers known as the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Hydrodynamicist Mikhail Alexeyevich Lavrentyev, the first Chairman of the Siberian Division of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, had a strong hand in creating and shaping the educational town.

It was around this time that traditional universities in the USSR were being replaced ...

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