Michurinsk, Russia

Jacobi’s Stay in MichurinskSeptember 5-8, 1932

The city of Kozlov, located around 250 miles (400 kilometers) southeast of Moscow, was renamed Michurinsk in 1932 after the plant geneticist Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin (1855-1935), who lived and worked there. Michurin became a national hero for developing fruit trees capable of withstanding Russia’s harsh climate. Once Stalin’s first Five-Year Plan came into effect in 1928, Russia’s rural farms became collectivized, and in the 1930s, the USSR began renaming towns to evoke in the peasant masses a sense of unifying, national pride. It was this newfound workforce which turned Michurin’s humble nursery into a vast fruit plantation.

Since the early 1930s, the city of Michurinsk has become the largest center for agricultural research and industrial fruit growing in Russia. By the end of the 1930s, the agricultural sector of the Michurinsky district was more productive than that of any other industrial sector in the Tambov region of Russia ("District History"). To this day Michurinsk is a world-renowned region for fruit breeding and agricultural science, and a network of educational and research institutions continue to bear Michurin’s name.

Jacobi's photographs from Michurinsk focus on Ivan Michurin and his research, cotton cultivation, and portraits of people--scientists and workers--whom she encountered.

Michurinsk Photograph Exhibit

Contributor: Tara Landers

Works Cited:

Bursa, G. R. F. “Political Changes of Names of Soviet Towns.” The Slavonic and East European Review, April 1985, Vol. 63, No. 2, pp. 161-193.

“District History.” Michurinsky District. www.michrn.ru/about/history/.