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Institute of Plant Industry

Coordinates: 59°55′55″N 30°18′31″E / 59.9319°N 30.3086°E / 59.9319; 30.3086
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Behind the equestrian statue of Nikolai I near St Isaac's Cathedral is No. 4 Building of the Institute of Plant Industry

The Institute of Plant Industry, Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry or All-Russian Research Institute of Plant Industry (in Russian: Всероссийский институт растениеводства им. Н. И. Вавилова), as it is officially called, is a research institute of plant genetics, located in Saint Petersburg, Russia.


The Institute of Plant Industry was established in 1921. Nikolai Vavilov was the head of this institute from 1924 to 1936 which had, and still has, the world's largest collection of plant seeds. During the early 1930s, he became the target of the Lysenkoist debate and was exiled. The institute's seedbank survived the 28-month siege of Leningrad in World War II, where several botanists starved to death rather than eat the collected seeds.[1] In 2010 the plant collection at the Pavlovsk Experimental Station was to be destroyed to make way for luxury housing.[2] This was averted by order of President Dmitri Medvedev.[3]

The story of the institute during the siege of Leningrad was dramatized in Jessica Oreck's 2019 feature film One Man Dies a Million Times.[4]

Siege of Leningrad[edit]

The institute's extensive seed collection was an important target during the siege of Leningrad, Soviet officials took the time to evacuate the art from the city but neglected, or forgot to remove the world's largest seed collection.[5] The scientists of the institute protected the seeds from the threats of the cold, the hungry residents of the besieged city, rats, and their own hunger. Twenty-eight of the botanists died during the siege, protecting their collection.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rensberger, Boyce (May 13, 1992). "Soviet Botanists starved, saving Seeds for Future". Washington Post. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  2. ^ Rosenthal, Elisabeth (September 10, 2010). "Russia Defers Razing of Seed Repository". New York Times. Retrieved December 3, 2014. A quick update on the battle to save a Russian seed bank, the Pavlovsk Research Station outside St. Petersburg: Scientists from across the globe have been appealing to President Dmitri Medvedev to rethink a government decision to allow the seed bank, home to the largest collection of European fruits and berries in the world, to be plowed away to make way for luxury homes.
  3. ^ "Report Issued By The "First Channel" Regarding The Pavlovsk Experiment Station Of VIR - N.I.Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry". vir.nw.ru.
  4. ^ David Ehrlich (July 27, 2022). "'One Man Dies a Million Times' Review: A Haunting Portrait of Preservation at the End of the World". Indiewire. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  5. ^ "Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry". Atlas Obscura.
  6. ^ Post, BOYCE RENSBERGER, The Washington. "SCIENTISTS DIED GUARDING SEEDS DURING WWII". Sun-Sentinel.com.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

External links[edit]

59°55′55″N 30°18′31″E / 59.9319°N 30.3086°E / 59.9319; 30.3086