Ovchinnikov, Yury Anatolyevich

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(b. Moscow, U.S.S.R., 2 August 1934; d. Moscow, 17 February 1988)

bioorganic chemistry, physic-ochemical biology.

Ovchinnikov is associated with an important period in the history of advancement of physicochemical biology in the Soviet Union. A talented disciple of the outstanding representatives of the classical school of bioorganic chemists and biochemists, he carved out a brilliant career as an academic scientist. His success largely depended on his ability to formulate problems and to organize well-coordinated and integrated large research teams. His personal qualities as a researcher and his talent as a science administrator allowed him to implement major research projects based on original approaches and to obtain pioneering results both in the field of the classical studies of protein and nucleic acids structure and in the new areas of physicochemical biology, genetic engineering, and other biotechnologies.

In contrast to many academic scientists tending to avoid political activities, Ovchinnikov joined the Communist Party in 1962 when he was only beginning his scientific career, which facilitated his future promotions. At the age of thirty-six he became a director of a major research institute and a full member of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences, later to become the chair of the academy’s section that consolidated all chemical engineering and biological institutions under the Academy of Sciences. This opened up enormous possibilities for him to set up new research centers, conduct large-scale research, and establish important international contacts, and allowed him to influence formation of scientific policy concerning a wide scope of issues and to implement his own research plans. In spite of the fact that in the Cold War the policies of the U.S.S.R. government to which Ovchinnikov was quite close were strongly criticized by the West, being a member of Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation (the R. F. parliament) and sitting on numerous advisory boards and committees, he became an authority in the international scientific community as evidenced by his longstanding membership in international scientific organizations, editorial boards of international scientific journals, academies, and European universities, as well as by the comments of prominent scientists who had met with him personally.

Biography and Career . Yury Ovchinnikov’s father, Anatoly Ivanovich, who was one of the prominent design engineers working in the aircraft industry in 1937, was subjected to Stalin’s repressions and died in 1946. His wife, with three children, were deported to Siberia where they spent the difficult war (1941–1945) and postwar years. Having graduated from the secondary school in Krasnoyarsk with a gold medal (1952), Yury gained entrance to the Chemical Faculty of Moscow State University. He majored in the study of organic syntheses and proved to be a bright student. Being a gregarious person, he joined the students’ theater as an actor and even received an invitation to become a professional actor which he, however, declined and continued his studies as a postgraduate student under the guidance of Yury A. Arbouzov.

In the course of postgraduate studies (1957–1959) Ovchinnikov became acquainted with Mikhail M. Shemyakin, who at that time was a corresponding member of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences and director of research program dedicated to chemical synthesis of antibiotics. These were times of rapid advancement of antibiotic chemistry. Scientists focused not only on the studies of natural antibiotics but also on the possibilities for obtaining their synthetic analogs. As part of this program, young Ovchinnikov performed the synthesis of several model compounds and, as part of the development of the complete synthesis scheme, elucidated their transformations. Working side by side with such accomplished professionals as Arbouzov, Shemyakin, and Mikhail Kolosov helped Ovchinnikov in his scientific career.

After finishing his postgraduate studies in 1960, he joined the Institute of Natural Compounds Chemistry (INCCh) newly established by Shemyakin under the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences (after 1965, the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, or IBCh). Having defended his thesis in 1961, he received an invitation to study the chemistry of depsipeptides—atypical peptides containing, besides amino acids, hydroxy acid residues and possessing antibiotic activity. This study marked the beginning of working his way into “Big Science.” Mikhail Shemyakin noticed Yury standing out among other young researchers with his efficiency, orderliness, and tenacity. He realized that Ovchinnikov had all the makings of a leader and soon made him deputy director in 1963. In 1964, Ovchinnikov went to Zürich for training under Vladimir Prelog (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Switzerland). During the period from 1964 till 1970, Ovchinnikov together with his coworkers performed the synthesis of a number of natural depsipeptides and their analogs. In 1966, he defended his postdoctoral thesis. In contrast to the doctoral thesis (which in the U.S.S.R. was called the kandidat dissertation), under the procedure established in the state system for training scientific researchers, this work did not require participation of a more senior scientific advisor and was supposed to demonstrate the excellent professional skills of the scientist.

In 1967, Ovchinnikov was appointed head of the Laboratory of Peptide Chemistry at the IBCh and in 1968, supported by Shemyakin, who chaired the respective branch of the academy, he was elected a corresponding member of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences. Due to Yury Ovchinnikov’s unflagging energy as well as his administrative abilities and position, the Laboratory of Peptide Chemistry soon became a major research center consolidating the best specialists in the field of peptide chemistry and protein structure and function. The results obtained during this period were presented in a comprehensive report to the plenary session of twenty-third International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Congress, which was the first IUPAC Congress to be conducted in the U.S.S.R. (Riga, 1970).

On the last day of the congress, its president and IBCh director Mikhail Shemyakin died suddenly. By the resolution of presidium of the academy, Yury Ovchinnikov was appointed director of the institute, and in 1970, he was elected a full member of the academy. His administrative career received a new impetus: In 1970 and 1971, he was chief academic secretary for the presidium of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences; from 1973 to 1978, he chaired the Section of Chemical Engineering Sciences and was a member of the presidium of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences, and in 1974, he became vice president of the Academy of Sciences.

The U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences was traditionally regarded by the government as a think tank of Soviet science that defined the strategy for the development of science across the Soviet Union. Academician Ovchinnikov, besides being an important member of the academy administration, was also a high-ranking member of the Communist Party, having been a delegate to the three so-called epochal congresses of the Communist Party (CPSU) in 1976, 1981, and 1986. From 1976 to 1980, he served as a member of the CPSU Central Inspection Commission; from 1980 to 1988, he was an alternate member of the CPSU Central Committee.

These circumstances allowed him to act as a mediator between the scientific community and the government, creating necessary conditions for the realization of the high potential of the Russian scientists and helping Soviet biological sciences out of stagnation. Because of the then-current practices of long-term and rigid planning of scientific research activities and the lack of alternative sources of funding other than state financing, the organizers of the new research programs were forced to apply directly to the U.S.S.R. authorities with any proposals in order to change the established system of priorities.

Discoveries made within the new disciplines such as physicochemical-molecular biology, which led to an understanding of molecular mechanisms of key processes at the cellular level, offered great potential for applying more scientific discoveries to such vitally important spheres as medicine, agricultural production, and environmental protection. This could be achieved through the technical re-equipment of research institutions and reformation of biological education in the country where science for had many decades suffered under ideological dictates that hindered the development of several scientific disciplines, genetics above all.

Consolidated activities of authoritative members of the scientific community—physicists, chemists, and biologists—resulted in the removal of a ban on studies in the field of classical genetics and the establishment of the new radiobiological research units: the Institute of Radiation and Physicochemical Biology (IRPChB) under the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences and the Department of Radiobiology at the Institute of Atomic Energy under the military department “Minsredmash” (the predecessor of the Ministry of Atomic Power), as well as the Institute of Biophysics (IBPh), Institute of Protein Research (IPR), and Institute of Natural Compounds Chemistry (INCCh, now IBCh). It took years to obtain all the necessary approvals and to coordinate all the actions necessary to implement the decisions passed by presidium of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences in 1957. The IRPChB and the INCCh opened in 1959, while the IBPh and the IPR could finally deploy extensive research work only after the new research center was built in the suburbs of Moscow (Pushchino-Na-Oke, 1966). Early in the 1970s Ovchinnikov established a new department at the IPR to perform research in the field of structural chemistry of peptides.

His laboratory and some others in the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences successfully approached the government for funding, using military interest in developing the means of protection against biological weapons and creating new kinds of weapons. This became a reality thanks to Ovchinnikov’s activities as the vice-president of the Academy and as the indisputable leader of physico-chemical biology in the U.S.S.R at that time. The evaluation of research work conducted at specialized institutions that were inspired by Academician Ovchinnikov and carried out by the Committee of Academic Scientists (a committee of the Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Medical Sciences), revealed the inadequacy of the theoretical and experimental foundations of existing institutions. These findings led the government to promote fundamental disciplines that could provide the foundations for biotechnologies allowing the design of microorganisms and biological materials with predetermined properties intended for a vast scope of practical tasks. Three consecutive governmental decrees in 1974, 1981 and 1985 enabled technical re-equipment of research institutions, creation of the new research and educational centers, and the implementation of major research projects.

Some Russian and Western scientists have come to believe that Ovchinnikov was a leader in the Soviet Union’s biological weapons program, including work banned by the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. But the books and articles charging Ovchinnikov do not include references to written documentation that could definitely prove his involvement.

In spite of always being preoccupied, Yury Ovchinnikov was devoted to his family and paid much attention to his children. He was married twice, having three children (a daughter and two sons) born in the first marriage, with Tatiana Kirenskaya (divorced in 1982), and two daughters from the second marriage, with Tatiana Marchenko. He drew his strength and found comfort in his family both when he was actively working and, especially, during the last two difficult years of his life. He died from an incurable malignant disease at the age of fifty-four.

Organization of International Cooperation . Under the guidance of Yury Ovchinnikov, the IBCh under the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences in the 1970s and 1980s flourished until it became equal to advanced research centers of the West in bioorganic chemistry and several areas of physicochemical biology. In the institute’s activities much attention was given to international cooperation. The development of original approaches to research and the achievement of important results attracted many specialists. Ovchinnikov, who often made trips to Europe and the United States, facilitated participation of large groups of the Soviet scientists in the conferences held in the West, while the institute hosted highly specialized symposia with the participation of foreign colleagues. As an official representative of the U.S.S.R. and the Academy of Sciences, he introduced the practice of regular bipartite meetings between Soviet and foreign (American, German, French, Italian, Swedish) scientists sharing the latest information concerning various issues. Major international conferences were conducted in Moscow by the IBCh. The institute was charged with the organization of the FEBS (Federation of European Biochemical Societies) Conference in 1984.

In the eyes of the international scientific community Ovchinnikov presented a picture of a perfect scientist and a statesman who looked more North American than Soviet: extremely competent, influential, efficient, responsible, nimble, and charming. He was an ardent adherent to concentrating efforts on a limited scope of work that led to tangible results, as well as centralization of scientific research management. His last attempt to consolidate institutions conducting research in the sphere of molecular biology and bioengineering into a large conglomerate managed by a single administrative center (similar to the already existing All-Union Oncological and Cardiological Centers) proved to be unsuccessful. The scientific community, represented by a meeting convened by the vice president of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences, did not support his idea. Knowing Ovchinnikov’s tenacity, it might be safely assumed that only his illness and death that soon followed prevented him from realizing his idea in one form or another.

Ovchinnikov chaired the Federation of European Biochemical Societies, was a member of the Committee on Peptide Chemistry, the international Institute for Energy Resources and Ecology (Sweden), the European Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the American Philosophical Society. For many years Ovchinnikov served as editor in chief and member of the editorial board of a great number of Soviet and international journals. He was elected foreign or honorary member of more than fifteen academies and universities in Europe and South America. He received an impressive numbers of awards and prizes: the Gold Medal of the CIBA Foundation (1979), the Gold Medal “For Services to Science and Mankind,” given by the Academy of Science of Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1974), and three Orders of Lenin (1975, 1981, 1984). He was a hero of Socialist Labor (1981).

Research: Depsipeptides . The problem of developing methods for the synthesis of natural compounds with exotic structure, such as atypical peptides that contain, in addition to D- and L amino acids, hydroxy acid residues, and rings containing a great number of links (macrocycles), was chosen by M. Shemyakin in the early 1960s. Ovchinnikov joined this work, which was modest in the beginning but developed in a very interesting manner. The chemists successfully synthesized the antibiotics enniatins A and B, compounds whose structures had been proposed back in the 1940s. However, the first products of the achieved synthesis were significantly different in their physicochemical properties from the natural substances and particularly devoid of any antibacterial activity. There was no doubt that the methods used for establishing these compounds’ structures were correct and, besides, another cyclic depsipeptide, sporidesmolide I(a neutral fungal metabolite), had been synthesized employing the same technique. The only possible conclusion was that the earlier proposed structure of enniatin A and B was incorrect. In the following, the analysis of physicochemical parameters of several newly synthesized compounds differing in the number of links in the macro-cycle established the correct structures.

Ovchinnikov obtained a whole series of macrocyclic depsipeptides applying a generic method for their synthesis. Their systematic study yielded extensive data concerning the influence on ring formation of the three-dimensional dynamic structure (the so-called conformation) of amino acids and hydroxy acids. Conformational studies, in the 1960s, where an exciting and promising area of chemical research.

In 1964, Ovchinnikov (together with H. Gerlach and V. Prelog) realized that the relationship between structure and biological function could not be established without profound conformational studies. In 1967, Ovchinnikov’s laboratory began systematic investigations of the conformational states of peptides, using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR, Vladimir Bystrov). A number of new regularities were established including the interchangeability of the ester and amide bonds in many natural peptides with their biological activity retained.

The topochemical principle of transformation of biologically active peptides was established, according to which the creation of new bioactive molecules could be achieved through profound modifications of the molecules provided that the spatial locations of specific groups, defining their biological activity, were retained. The ideas first proposed in this pioneering work were further developed both in the U.S.S.R. and abroad, setting the foundations for creating new biologically active peptides—hormones, antibiotics, neuropeptides, enzyme substrates, and inhibitors. In the course of these studies it was demonstrated that not only x-ray structural analysis could be used in structural studies of large molecules, but also NMR, and other spectroscopic techniques x-ray analysis required the compound under analysis to be in a crystalline state. Other spectroscopic methods, in contrast, provided information

on the structures of compounds in solution and thus allowed one to follow their dynamics, for instance the formation of depsipeptide complexes with metal ions.

By that time reports had already appeared in the literature concerning the ability of valinomycin and the enniatins to increase the permeability of lipid membranes (such as the cell membrane) to alkaline metal ions. It was believed that their antibacterial properties depended on this effect. Valinomycin selectively binds potassium (K+) ions in solution, forming stable complexes (with a macro-cycle-to-cation ration of 1:1), and demonstrates unique, unsurpassable Na+, K+-selectivity in complex formation. The enniatins bind practically every alkaline and alkaline-earth cation with considerably less selectivity, with 1, 2 or even 3 cations per macrocycle in the complex. Such complexes are responsible for ion transport, and selectivity of transmembrane transport depends on selectivity of complexation. The bound ion is always positioned in the center of the cavity of the depsipeptide molecule. The size of the valinomycin cavity is rigidly limited by the bracelet-like system of six intramolecular bonds, which explains valinomycin’s inability to bind sodium (Na+) ions. Enniatin molecules are more labile, which allows them to adjust the size of the cavity to the size of the bound ion. Peripheral parts of both valinomycin and enniatin complexes are hydrophobic, which allows them to freely migrate across the lipid zones of the membranes (see Figure 1). Thus this work resulted in the identification of the molecular origin of such fundamental biological phenomena as selective transport of metal ions across membranes(presentation at the IUPAC Congress in Riga, 1970).

Research: Primary Structure of Soluble Proteins . Having become the head of the first major laboratory in the U.S.S.R. engaged in studies of protein structure, Ovchinnikov directed his researchers towards the investigation of the primary structure (amino acid sequence) of proteins and peptides whose functions had been already established. The determination of the amino acid sequence of aspartate aminotransferase (a key enzyme of nitrogen metabolism) from the heart muscle of pigs was the first major success of Ovchinnikov’s laboratory. He and his coworkers became the partners of the team of biochemists led by Alexander E. Braunstein (Institute of Molecular Biology in the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences), the author of the fundamental discovery of enzymatic transamination.

Knowledge of the primary structure of an enzyme was necessary for elucidation of its reaction mechanism. The joint work took several years to complete and resulted in the determination of the complete amino acid sequence of a protein consisting of 412 amino acid residues. In addition to the laboratory at the IBCh, Ovchinnikov was department head at the IPR (Pushchino), where the primary structures of several physiologically important proteins (cobra, bee and scorpion venom toxins and plant protein leghaemoglobin), several bacterial proteins (proteins from ribosomal subparticles, elongation factor G from Escherichia coli, etc.) were established (1971–1979).

These studies proved to be extremely efficient due to the excellent organization of work based on the combination of classical approaches (enzymatic and chemical methods of sequencing) with an original mass-spectro-metric technique for the determination of amino acid sequence that Boris Rozynov, Anatoly Kiryushkin, and Yury Ovchinnikov developed in the Moscow laboratory for the analysis of short peptide sequences.

The best-known work of Ovchinnikov’s team was the determination of the primary structure of the most important enzyme in the transcription process, DNA-dependent RNA polymerase. This was a protein comprising several subunits, two of which were formed by a giant polypeptide chain consisting of 1,300 amino acid residues. In this work chemical methods and the genetic engineering approach were combined. Genes of the large subunits of RNA polymerase were isolated, inserted into plasmids, and sequenced. At the same time determination of the structure of peptides from the same subunits proceeded in parallel with and independently from gene sequencing, which ensured correctness of the results. It was particularly important because the structures already published by other laboratories were found to contain mistakes. Determination of the structure of RNA polymerase set the foundation for extensive studies on the mechanism of action of this enzyme as well as genetic and biochemical studies. This work was awarded the 1984 U.S.S.R. State Prize.

Research: Membrane Proteins . Studies of ion-transporting protein systems present in biological membranes continued Ovchinnikov’s earlier works on depsipeptide ion carriers, becoming the next step in the investigation of the mechanism of ion transport across membranes, on the one hand, and a move to a higher level of the studies of protein structure and functions, on the other.

It is well known that the function of transporting ions and molecules across the membranes that separate the cells and the organelles is performed by specialized membrane complexes in a strictly controlled manner. The systems of active transport of ions across the membranes (i.e., energy-dependent transport against a concentration gradient), the so-called ion pumps, play the key role in the processes of ion transport. The function of Na+, K+ adenosine triphosphatase (Na+, K+-ATPase), the most common transport enzyme in the animal world, is to maintain a nonequilibrium distribution of cations between the cell and its environment (inside the cell, the concentration of K+ is thirty times higher and the concentration of Na+ is ten times lower than in the intercellular space). The gradient of ion concentration created by Na+, K+-ATPase acts as a driving force for the active transport of other substances (sugars, amino acids) into the cell.

Research on membrane proteins required the development of high-technology physical methods for their isolation and analysis. These were fundamentally different from those used for globular soluble proteins. This work laid the grounds for further molecular and genetic studies of the systems for active transport of ions in human cells, important for revealing the causes of some pathological conditions. Thus, in the course of studies, members of Ovchinnikov’s laboratory and Eugene Sverdlov and his coauthors (in Edward Budovsky’s laboratory at the INCCh, later in Sverdlov’s laboratory in IBCh) for the first time established the existence in the human genome of a family of five genes differing in nucleotide sequences specific for the different tissues (kidney, brain, thyroid, and liver cells). Their expression in all cases results in the synthesis of catalytically active protein Na+, K+-ATPase differing in nucleotide sequences specific for the different tissues. The tissue-specific expression of genes was shown to be subjected to a tissue-specific control and also depended on the developmental stage. This finding perhaps may be attributed to various functions of proteins belonging to this family.

Chronologically, Na+, K+-ATPase structure was established after the determination of amino acid sequence of bacteriorhodopsin (1978). The investigation of the molecular mechanisms of photoreception was not only the first success of Ovchinnikov’s laboratory in the field of membrane proteins but also pioneering work, because the IBC staff pushed by their director won the competition with Har Gobind Khorana’s laboratory (USA), thus becoming the authors of the primary structure of the first integral membrane protein to be sequenced by chemical, enzymic and physical methods. Visual processes in animals depend on 11-cis retinal, a light-sensitive component of rhodopsin. Because the numerous attempts of biochemists to isolate pure and biologically active rhodopsin from animal sources had failed, an easier object was chosen as a model—bacteriorhodopsin, which contained a stereoisomer of retinal. In 1981, the same authors in Ovchinnikov’s laboratory managed to master the difficulties and determined the structure of rhodopsin from the bovine retina.

Research: Genetic Engineering and Microbial Synthesis . In the late 1970s, Ovchinnikov directed the work at the IBCh and its affiliates toward the improvement of chemical synthesis methods, the directed mutagenesis of DNA, and the creation of microorganisms producing peptides and proteins that were alien to them. Leuenkephalin (opioid neuropeptide, 1979), human interferon α2 (antiviral and antitumor protein, 1981), and proinsulin (human insulin precursor).

To implement plans for production of compounds to be used in medicine and agriculture based on the above mentioned and similar biotechnologies, in 1985 he succeeded in obtaining approval for the organization of the research and engineering complex “biogen,” which consolidated twenty-six research, engineering, and producing organizations. Two products, interferon and proinsulin, were brought to actual production and introduced into medical practice. Development of the new technologies boosted by Ovchinnikov undoubtedly led to better quality of research in the fields of molecular and cellular biology in the U.S.S.R.



With Vadim T. Ivanov, Anatoly A. Kiryushkin, and Mikhail M. Shemyakin. “Synthesis of Cyclic Depsipeptides.” In Peptides: Proceedings of the Fifth European Symposium, September 1962, edited by Geoffrey Tyndale Young. New York: Macmillian and Oxford: Pergamon, 1963.

With Mikhail M. Shemyakin, Anatoly A. Kiryushkin, E. I. Vinogradova, et al. “Mass-Spectrometric Determination of the Amino Acid Sequence in Peptides.” Nature 5047 (1966): 361–366.

With V. K. Antonov, L. D. Bergelson, Vadim T. Ivanov, et al. “Depsipeptides and Peptides as Chemical Tools for Studying Ion Transport through Biological Membranes.” Abstracts of Communications Presented at the Meeting of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies, Madrid, 7-11th April 1969. Madrid, 1969.

With Vadim T. Ivanov, I. A. Line, N. D. Abdullayev, et al. “Physicochemical Basis of Functioning of Biological Membranes: The Conformation of Valinomycin and Its K+- Complex in Solution.” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 34, no. 6 (1969): 803–811.

With Vadim T. Ivanov and Alexander M. Shkrob. Membrane-Active Complexones. B. B. A. Library, vol. 12. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1974.

With Vadim T. Ivanov. “Recent Developments in the Structure-Functional Studies of Peptide Ionophores.” Biochemistry of Membrane Transport, edited by G. Semenza and Ernesto Carafoli. FEBS Symposium, no. 42. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1977.

With V. M. Lipkin, N. N. Modyanov, O. Yu. Chertov, et al. “Primary Structure of α-subunits of DNA-dependent RNApolymerase from Escherichia coli.” FEBS Letters1 (1977): 108–111.

With N. G. Abdulayev, M. Yu. Feigina, and N. A. Lobanov. “The Structural Basis of the Functioning of Bacteriorhodopsin: An Overview.” FEBS Letters 2 (1979): 219–224.

With Yuri B. Alakhov, Yuri P. Bundulis, M. A. Dovgas, et al. “Rhodopsin and Bacteriorhodopsin: Structure-Function Relationships.” FEBS Letters 2 (1982): 179–191.

With E. D. Sverdlov, G. S. Monastirskaya, R. L. Allikmets, et al. “Semeistvo Genov Na+, K+-atfasy cheloveka ne meneye pyati genov i (ili) psevdogenov, gomologichnikh (-subyedinitse” [The Family of Human Na+- K+- ATPase’s Geens]. Doklady of Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. 291, no. 3 (1987): 731–738.


Alibek, Ken, and Stephen Handelman. Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World—Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It. London: Hutchinson, 1999.

Ivanov, Vadim T., ed. Yuri Anatolyevich Ovchinnikov. Zhizn i nauchnaya deyatelnost [Yuri A. Ovchinnikov: Life and Scientific Activity]. Moscow: Nauka, 1991. Collection of articles-memoirs (Vladimir Prelog, Dorothy Crowfoot-Hodgkin, Alexandr A. Bayev, Mikhael A. Ostrovsky, and other Russian and foreign scientists).

Levina, Elena S., and Alexander E. Sedov. “Molecular Biology in the Soviet Russia (An Essay).” Molecular Biology(Moscow) 34, no. 3 (2000): 420–447. Stages of the evolvement and development of the major directions of physicochemical biology in the U.S.S.R. from the 1950s to the 1980s, including a short outlines of the lives and activities of the leading scientists in the context of the history of science and the history of the state.

Shoham, Dany, and Ze’ev Wolfson. “The Russian Biological Weapons Program: Vanished or Disappeared?” Critical Reviews in Microbiology 30 (2004): 241–261.

“Yuri Anatolyevich Ovchinnikov.” In Materialy k biobibliographii uchenikh SSSR. [Yury A. Ovchinnikov. In Materials for a Biobibliography of Scientists of the U.S.S.R., Chemical Sciences Series]. Moscow: Nauka, 1991. Review, main dates of Ovchinnikov’s life and activity (in Russian), the list of publications (500).

Elena S. Levina