KrioRus

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KrioRus
Native name
КриоРус
Limited liability partnership[1]
Industry Cryonics
Cryopreservation
Founded 2005 (2005)
(12 years ago) [2]
Founder Danila Medvedev
Valerya Pride (ru)[3][note 1]
Headquarters Samarkand Blvd. (ru), bld. 11[1][5], Moscow, Russian Federation
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Products Cryopreservation of Humans and Pets
Cryopreservation of DNA
Revenue 8,000,000 (2013)[3]
Members 11
Website www.kriorus.ru/en

KrioRus (Russian: КриоРус) — the first Russian cryonics company, founded in 2005 as a project by a non-governmental organization Russian Transhumanist Movement. KrioRus is the only cryonics company in Europe, that possesses its own cryostorage[note 2]. The company stores bodies (or brains) of its cryopatients — dead people and animals, in liquid nitrogen, in the hope that someday it will be possible to revive them by means of the emerging technologies of the future[note 3]. The company offers a service of freezing either the entire patient's body, or just their head. KrioRus cooperates with other cryonics companies of the world, and facilitates placement of patients' bodies in similar storage facilities, situated outside Russia[note 3].

Legally, the company has the status of a scientific research organization, engaged in a non-mainstream activity, and its services are not subject to certification. One of the problems with KrioRus activity is considered to be the lack of cryonics-related legislation. The company does not guarantee the revivification of its cryopatient[note 4].

Criticism of company's activity consists of the criticism of cryonics per se: yet there is little scientific proof that supports the theory of reanimation and most mainstream scientists and doctors express great scepticism about the field. In comparison with foreign cryonics companies, and of the fact that KrioRus, as indeed the other cryonics companies, is not always capable of fulfilling contractual obligations[note 4][note 3][note 5].

History[edit]

First attempts at creating a Russian cryocompany were undertaken in the 1990s by physicist Mikhail Solovyev.[4]

Initial motivation of the founding was the desire of its nine founding members to freeze their own bodies as well as the bodies of their loved ones in order to be "resurrected" in future by means of some future medical technologies.[4][6] Prior to the companys' founding, its prospective staff members have already had some experience in cryopreservation, when in 2003, Igor Artyukhov acted as the chief advisor to a project of preservation of the brain of one deceased biotech scientist.[3][7]

The company has been eventually established in 2005 as a project of an NGO, called Russian Transhumanist Movement. Lydia Fedorenko became the first patient of the company in 2005. However, at that time KrioRus did not yet possess a dedicated cryostorage, and prior to being preserved by the company, her family had for several months kept her brain on dry ice. During the existence of KrioRus, citizens from nine countries have become its patients, including citizens of the United States, Netherlands, Japan, Israel, Italy, Switzerland and Australia. By the same token, cryopreserved relatives of company employees are being kept in cryostorage.[2][4][8][9][10][11][12]

On 3 May 2006 the company was formally added to the legal entities register, as required by Russian law.[13]

Initially, cryostorage facility was opened in year 2006, in the village of Alabushevo (ru) in Solnechnogorskiy district of the Moscow region, which was followed by the opening of the facility in Sergiev-Posad district of the Moscow region in 2012.[7][9][14][15] In 2016 another move is planned, and is being prepared, to yet another place (near Tver[16]), where the location shall be more conducive to the research activities of the company.[6]

According to KrioRus as well as according to the press reports, at the beginning of November 2016 the company has frozen 51 people (26 bodies and 25 patients' heads),[8][16][17] 7 dogs, 8 cats, both male and female, as well as 3 birds and a chinchilla.[6][18] In addition, there are human and animal DNA samples in storage.[19] Almost as many as 200 Russian citizens have entered into cryopreservation agreements with the company.[20]

It is thought that KrioRus has become, during the 2010-s, the third largest cryonics company in the world and now provides competition to companies such as Alcor (which has about 140 people in cryostorage). In addition, KrioRus is the first cryocompany in Europe, that possesses its own cryostorage facility.[2][6][9][19][21]

The company has taken part in a number of Russian and international exhibitions, both dedicated to medicine as well as to the funeral homes business:

  • Health Industry-2012 (Russian: Индустрия здравоохранения-2012).[22][23]
  • The exhibition Necropolis (Russian: Некрополь) — annual, during 2013–2016. At the Necropolis-2013 expo, KrioRus has, for the first time, demonstrated the possibilities of cryonics and cryopreservation for the benefit of the funeral industry workers'[24][25][26][27][28][29] and won the gold medal in the Innovations category.[16]
  • Regional industrial exhibition Necropolis-Siberia (Russian: Некрополь-Сибирь) in 2016.[30][31][32]
  • «TanExpo» — April 2016 (Italy, Bologna).[33][34]

Top management and staff[edit]

CEO of the company is Valeria Udalova (ru), who has held this position since June 2009.[5] Since the day of the founding and until June 2009, position of CEO has been occupied by Danila Medvedev, who currently serves as the Chairman of the board of directors as well as the deputy to CEO for strategic development.[9][35] Director for Science is the biophysicist, Igor Artyukhov.[2][3][14][36] Valeria Udalova, Danila Medvedev and Igor Artyukhov are among the nine founders of the company listed at its inception. In 2010, the number of KrioRus founders' has increased to 10, and in 2016 it is at 11.[13][37]

The KrioRus research team is headed by cryobiologist[38] Yuri Pichugin, PhD, who has spent time from 2001 to 2007 working in Cryonics Institute (USA, Detroit).[39] One notable staff member is a former president of Alcor, Mike Darwin.[3]

Activities[edit]

CEO of the company Valeria Udalova signs a cooperation agreement with the biggest Chinese Cryobank.

In accordance with the state statistical rubricator, the company is engaged in research and development, insurance as well as provision of "other kinds of services".[5] However, the company is presenting its activities as the provision of services, facilitating preservation of the bodies of their "cryopatients" in liquid nitrogen — of dead people and animals (or their respective brains) — in the hope that someday they it would become possible to revive them through the means of some highly advanced future technologies.[7][14][19][40][note 6] Generally the bulk of company's clients are educated people of moderate means, both men and women in equal proportions.[42][43]

Company representatives attitude to the possibility of "resurrection" is described by them as follows (in reply to the question: "Doesn't cryonics give false hope?"): "There is no concrete evidence as to whether the development of cryonics would end in is success or will it fail. But the fact that the concept of cryonics is currently dependent upon a yet unknown science of the future, and that its success cannot be guaranteed, it is not the same as its guaranteed failure ".[44]

One of the key advantages KrioRus possesses is the cost of its services,[21] primarily for Russian and non-US citizens. Unlike American companies, KrioRus was founded in such a way, that it is not subject to the rules governing medical and funeral activities. As a result, the company does not face regulatory challenges in such fields of activity as acquisition of bodies from hospitals and morgues.[45] Furthermore, it matters that KrioRus has a cleaner reputation than Alcor, which has suffered a few scandals. Danila Medvedev describes this situation as follows: "We didn’t have the crisis that they had in the 1970s. People in Russia have no negative impression of cryonics".[note 7] Despite skepticism of its US competitors, KrioRus plans to implement the world's first center, where patients would die and be frozen, all in the same building.[2] Company's cryostorage facility is designed to be able to relocate quickly in case of war, natural disasters etc., in which case it can be moved in the space of a few days, while its storage tanks are capable to work autonomously and to sustain necessary temperature for two days.[7]

In the United States, as in Russia, cryonics companies employ largely the same cryopreservation procedures — after biological and legal death of the patient has been established, blood is evacuated from the body (and is replaced with a special solution, so prepared that its crystallization during the freezing process would not destroy the cells), the body is cooled down to the temperature of dry ice (-79 °C), transported and then cooled down to ultra low temperature (-196 °C) and placed in a long-term storage tank. Choices to preserve only the head occur not only due to financial considerations, but also because of the belief that in the future, technology would allow to restore the lost body, and the identity will be safeguarded in the brain.[2][9][10][19] One of the problems of cryonics is to provide for a quick patient admission, since the quicker this occurs, the better it is possible to preserve the body. To address this problem, the company has several mobile teams of specialists across the country, who can quickly go and provide patients with necessary primary procedures on the spot. Similarly, KrioRus is cooperating with regional doctors, and provides them with lessons in primary preparative procedures for cryopreservation.[43] As an additional service to complement its chief one, KrioRus offers help in safekeeping the lives' archives of their clients (blogs, video recordings), that should help to restore the identity of the person in the future.[44]

18 January 1912. The last photo of Robert Scott's group.

One of the directions of company's development is the creation of cryostorage facilities in a neutral country such as Switzerland. This country is one of the primary target countries because it has allowed euthanasia, with the help of which one can create better conditions for cryopreservation.[16] Also, representatives of the company named one of the objectives the improvement of the cryopatient preparation and transportation procedures, which will enable the provision of cryonics services to customers from all over the world, including such countries as Ecuador and China.[2][9] Among other potential business activities of the company, was mentioned sperm freezing, as were freezing of embryos and organs, Cryobank creation, tours of cryostorage facilities, visiting relatives provided patients are stored in transparent sarcophagi, introduction of cryonics to the voluntary health insurance, etc.[7] Danila Medvedev calls it the Company's Dream — the opportunity to bring members of Robert Scott's doomed expedition, who froze to death in the Antarctic in 1912, to the KrioRus lab. According to Danila Medvedev, the temperature on that continent is low enough, and little enough time has passed since then, in order for it to be possible to safeguard the explorers and bring them back to life.[21]

KrioRus conducts its research in two laboratories — in Moscow and in Voronezh. This work is focused on improving the process of cryopreservation itself, e.g., to improve vitrification technology, or to develop an apparatus, permitting storage in a gaseous environment with the controlled supply of liquid nitrogen.[3][9][33] A separate scientific field of study is the reversible defrosting of organs. Currently, organ storage timeframe for transplantation is just a few hours, while this technology has the potential to allow to store such organs indefinitely.[43]

The company collaborates with the Foundation for Advanced Studies (ru) in the field of reversible organ deep-freeze technologies.[3] In addition, KrioRus cooperates with other cryonics companies of the world, facilitates exchanges of valuable experience and assists individuals, wishing to put their bodies in a similar storage facility, located outside of Russia.[15][46][47]

Legal aspects[edit]

When clients deal with KrioRus, they sign a contract to carry out scientific experiment on the preservation and revitalization of a human, and at the same time KrioRus demands that the customer acknowledges the fact that the contractor does not provide guarantees to revive the cryopatient.[3][41] The agreement covers safekeeping of the bodies for up to 100 years, with the possibility of extension.[42]

Maria Bast, chairman of the Russian Lawyers Association for Human Rights, have said that the status of KrioRus as a scientific organisation is justified, and the problem stems from the lack of legislation in the field of cryonics.[3] However, there is a precedent, when in 2005 in Novosibirsk, the relatives of the deceased were keeping his body in a deep freeze and the state prosecutor did not find that it constituted a crime.[10]

According to the lawyer Svetlana Yudina, judging from a legal point of view, the company is involved in non-standard activities, but that does not necessarily mean that its employees are crooks. This is being justified as follows: "Activities, directed towards cryopreservation of people can be considered fraud if an employee makes assurances or promises that the frozen corpse would inevitably come to life under any circumstances, and even specifies the date or the period when such a miracle is to be expected. Similarly, it can be considered fraud if an employee is presenting falsified evidence of successful experiments, photos, videos of re-animated people, and so on. However if the workers simply argue that a revival is possible, but by means of methods that have not yet been invented, no deception is to be found there".[3]

According to the Health Ministry press service, cryonics companies' services are not subject to certification, since research is their chief activity.[3]

In order for a person's body to be transferred postmortem to KrioRus, it is required that the individual in question would have stated in their will that their body should be handed over to the cryonics company, and in such a case, these works can not be prohibited by law. Otherwise, from a legal point of view one, is required to settle the problem with the client's next of kin.[3] However, even with contract and with the will both being available one could run into problems (e.g., due to the "hostile wife" phenomenon[note 8]).[19][49]

Criticism[edit]

The company's activity is seen in the context of criticism of cryonics as such. At present, the question of the possibility of "resurrection" of cryopatient is an open one in scientific community. On one hand, there are no known cases of "resurrection" of cryopatients, and cryonics companies (KrioRus included[3]) do not guarantee such an outcome. On the other hand, there are experimental arguments in favour of the hypothesis of a successful "resurrection". From theoretical and research perspectives there is a number of arguments both in favour of cryonics supporters and in favour of its opponents.

When comparing KrioRus and Alcor, journalists call the first company Lada of the world of cryonics, and the second one — Mercedes-Benz. Alcor cryonics is the largest cryonics company in the world, twice a week it conducts tours of its premises, demonstrating the operating room (where vitrification and freezing are conducted), as well as long-term cryopatients' storage facilities, where they could just be seen through bulletproof glass. On the other side, KrioRus does not offer any such services.[2][21]

There is a known case of the "hostile wife" phenomenon in the practice of the company. In 2012, cancer patient, engineer Mikhail Voronin has signed a contract with the company KrioRus on neuropreservation and paid 300 thousand rubles. However, after the death, engineer's body complete with the brain has been cremated, by the widow, who "stole" Mikhails' body from the hospital and did not allow it to come into possession of the company. Thus, the employees' KrioRus were not able to cryopreserve patient, despite the fact that he has stated his will in writing and even recorded a video missive. Later, the court rejected the company's plea.[19][49]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nine people.[2][3][4]
  2. ^ (See § History, below.)
  3. ^ a b c (See § Activities, below.)
  4. ^ (See § Criticism, below.)
  5. ^ Service, that is provided by KrioRus is called "deep freezing of human and animal bodies".[41]
  6. ^ In the early 1980s, in California a cryocompany was lacking funds, necessary for the upkeep of cryopatients' bodies. There has been initiated a procedure, that involved transfer of patients' bodies from individual storage containers to group ones, a procedure during which two cryocontainers were damaged, and that led to nine bodies succumbing to decay.[2][21]
  7. ^ The "marital animosity" or "hostile wife" phenomenon is a situation where hostile-minded spouses or girlfriends limit or end their partners' involvement in cyonics-related activities.[48]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]