Russian cosmism

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Russian cosmism is a philosophical and cultural movement that emerged in Russia at the turn of the 19th century, and again, at the beginning of the 20th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a burst of scientific investigation into interplanetary travel, largely driven by fiction writers such as Jules Verne and Herbert Wells as well as philosophical movements like the Russian cosmism.


A view of the Milky Way

Cosmism entailed a broad theory of natural philosophy, combining elements of religion and ethics with a history and philosophy of the origin, evolution, and future existence of the cosmos and humankind. It combined elements from both Eastern and Western philosophic traditions as well as from the Russian Orthodox Church.[1]

Cosmism was one of the influences on Proletkult, and after the October Revolution, the term came to be applied to "...the poetry of such writers as Mikhail Gerasimov and Vladimir Kirillov...: emotional paeans to physical labor, machines, and the collective of industrial workers ... organized around the image of the universal 'Proletarian', who strides forth from the earth to conquer planets and stars."[2] This form of cosmism, along with the writings of Nikolai Fyodorov, was a strong influence on Andrei Platonov.[3]

Many ideas of the Russian cosmists were later developed by those in the transhumanist movement.[3] Victor Skumin argues that the Culture of Health will play an important role in the creation of a human spiritual society into the Solar System.[4][5][6]

The Culture of Health is the basic science about Spiritual Humanity. It studies the perspectives of harmonious development of "Spiritual man" and "Spiritual ethnos" as a conscious creator of the State of Light into the territory of the Solar System" (by Skumin).

An illustration to Tsiolkovsky's educational science fiction story On the Moon (1893)


Among the major representatives of Russian cosmism was Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov (1828–1903), an advocate of radical life extension by means of scientific methods, human immortality, and resurrection of dead people.[7]

In 1881, Russian revolutionary and rocket pioneer Nikolai Kibalchich proposed an idea of pulsed rocket propulsion by combustion of explosives, which was an early precursor for Project Orion.[citation needed]

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857–1935) was among the pioneers of theoretical space exploration and cosmonautics. In 1903, Tsiolkovsky published the first serious scientific work on space travel. His work was essentially unknown outside the Russian Empire, but inside the country it inspired further research, experimentation and the formation of the Society for Studies of Interplanetary Spaceflight.[8] Tsiolkovsky wrote a book called "The Will of the Universe; Unknown Intelligent Forces" in which he propounded a philosophy of panpsychism. He believed humans would eventually colonize the Milky Way. His thought preceded the Space Age by several decades, and some of what he foresaw in his imagination has come into being since his death. Tsiolkovsky did not believe in traditional religious cosmology, but instead he believed in a cosmic being that governed humans.[9]

Alexander Bogdanov (1873-1928) was a Russian and later Soviet physician, philosopher, science fiction writer, and Bolshevik revolutionary. His wide scientific and medical interests ranged from the universal systems theory to the possibility of human rejuvenation through blood transfusion. He saw heterochronic blood transfusions as a alliance of solidarity between the generations, where the old benefited from the rejuvenating effects of the young blood, while the young received immunities from the elders blood. Ironically, he died as a result of a hemolytic transfusion reaction. His successors put Russia in the forefront of the development of centralized national blood transfusion services. [10]

Other cosmists included Vladimir Vernadsky (1863–1945), who developed the notion of noosphere, and Alexander Chizhevsky (1897–1964), pioneer of "heliobiology" (study of the sun's effect on biology).[11][12][13] A minor planet, 3113 Chizhevskij, discovered by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh in 1978, is named after him.[14] The outstanding Russian palaeontologist and sci-fi writer Ivan Yefremov also was a cosmist.

Gallery of Russian Cosmists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Berdyaev, Nikolai. "The religion of resuscitative resurrection The "Philosophy of the Common Task" of N. F. Fedorov". Archived from the original on 14 October 2018.
  2. ^ Thomas Seifrid, A Companion To Andrei Platonov's The Foundation Pit (Academic Studies Press, 2009: ISBN 1-934843-57-1), pp. 69-70.
  3. ^ a b Art works by Russian cosmism painter XX – XXI ct. Catalogue of exhibition 2013. Roerich museum. 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  4. ^ Skumin, V. A. (1995). Культура здоровья — фундаментальная наука о человеке. [A Culture of Health as a fundamental human science.] (in Russian). ISBN 5-88167-003-5. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  5. ^ Kovaleva E. A. (2009). "Педагогический совет. Культура здоровья учащихся как фактор здоровьесберегающей среды школы. Слайд 7" [Pedagogical Council. Slide 7 of the presentation "culture of health" to the lessons of physical education on the theme the "Health"]. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Концепция Учения" [The Concept Of Doctrine]. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  7. ^ Young, George M. (2012). The Russian Cosmists: The Esoteric Futurism of Nikolai Fedorov and His Followers. Oxford University Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-19-989294-5.
  8. ^ Van Riper, A. Bowdoin (29 October 2007). Rockets and Missiles: The Life Story of a Technology. JHU Press. pp. 26–28. ISBN 978-0-8018-8792-5. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  9. ^ Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin Eduardovich (1928). The Will of the Universe; Unknown Intelligent Forces (in Russian). Kaluga. p. 23. Archived from the original on 19 October 2018.
  10. ^ Huestis, Douglas. (2007). Alexander Bogdanov: The Forgotten Pioneer of Blood Transfusion. Transfusion medicine reviews. 21. 337-40. 10.1016/j.tmrv.2007.05.008.
  11. ^ L. V. Golovanov, Alexander Chizhevsky entry in the Great Russian Encyclopedia, Moscow, 2001 edition. See Google.Translate version of the article from the Russian version of the Encyclopedia.
  12. ^ Soiuz Pisatelei, Soviet literature, Issues 1-6, p 188, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1982.
  13. ^ James T. Andrews, “Red cosmos: K.E. Tsiolkovskii, grandfather of Soviet rocketry”, Issue 18 Centennial of Flight Series, p 114, Texas A&M University Press, 2009, ISBN 1-60344-168-9, ISBN 978-1-60344-168-1
  14. ^ "3111 Misuzu 1977 - Google Search".

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]