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Soviet Dissident Zhores Medvedev Dies, Aged 93

Zhores Medvedev

Prominent Soviet-era dissident Zhores Medvedev has died in London at the age of 93.

Medvedev's death was reported on November 16 by his friend, writer Semyon Reznik.

A renowned biochemist, Medvedev was the most prominent critic of biologist Trofim Lysenko, a favorite of dictator Josef Stalin who rejected genetics and created a pseudoscientific concept dubbed Lysenkoism.

In the early 1950s, Medvedev was fired from his position at the Nikitsky Botantical Garden in Crimea for his criticism of Lysenko. He managed to secure an academic position in Moscow, but was fired again in 1962. He lost all of his remaining Soviet positions in 1969 when his book on Lysenko was published in the United States.

Together with his brother, the prominent historian Roy Medvedev, Zhores began editing a self-published journal called Political Diary that criticized Soviet censorship and restrictions on scientists.

In 1970, he was forcibly committed to a Soviet psychiatric hospital, but he was released after three weeks following intense protests by prominent figures including physicist Andrei Sakharov and writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

In 1973, Zhores Medvedev was allowed to leave the Soviet Union, and he settled in London. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev restored his citizenship in 1990, but Medvedev remained in the United Kingdom.