Family Roots of my Interest in the Study of Critical Situations and the Volunteer’s Participation in them

Author: Prof. Oleg Yanitsky Of course, it’s the exaggeration in some degree but nevertheless, it’s true. It’s so happened that my child...

Author: Prof. Oleg Yanitsky

Of course, it’s the exaggeration in some degree but nevertheless, it’s true. It’s so happened that my childhood coincided with a long chain of chocking events and radical transformations in Russia. The main was the WWII, and the all-embracing atmosphere around it stimulated my interest to all what was somewhat tied to that tough struggle with the bitterest enemies of my country.

Besides, during the most hard years of that war (1941-43) my mother, the cardiologist had been mobilized to work in military hospital; my sister worked at the same hospital; her husband spent more than four years as a tanker on various battle-fields; my brother and his wife worked on a military factory, etc.In those times I was a child, but very often I used to come to mother’s hospital and spent the evenings among the injured.

But the story of my grandfather and grandmother is of a special interest as well. My grandfather had been an army surgeon on three wars, the Russian-Turkish, the Russian-Japan, and the WWI, and later on he worked as a sanitary inspector. Though, before all that the grandfather and his wife spent two years as the ‘zemskyie doctors’ in a very remote province of the Russian Empire (the Zemstwo means an elective district council in that Russia). My grandmother was one of the first‘women-doctor’ in Russia in the second half of XIX century. It meant that she had been officially allowed to render medical help equally with men.

Returning to Kiev, my grandmother began to practice as a doctor-volunteer rendering help and participating in all kinds of civil enlightenment. In particular, she spent a lot of time as a doctor-consultant in many tuberculous sanatoriums for poor children. She saved many Jewish families during the pogroms initiated and organized by radical nationalistic teams like the ‘Black Hundred.’

The grandmother took part in many other public initiatives. She worked in the Frebel Civil society as a propagator of organizing the kindergartens in Russia at the very beginning of the XX century. She participated with her husband in the work of two civil societies disseminated the ideas of the outstanding Russian surgeon Nikolai Pirogov with whom my grandfather worked as a young assistant at the Russian-Turkish war. She and her friends had been the organizers of mass campaigns aimed at the rendering help to poor people, and so on and so forth.

The grandmother played a role of consolidating and organizing force in her big and very extended family. More than that, she had been so kind and attractive that her former woman patients (even 25 years later!) from the remote province came to her flat in Kiev not only for medical consultations but simply to see the woman who saved her or her relatives life so long ago. In our movable life in which all are in harry it seems absolutely unbelievable.

Her daughter Vera Schmidt follows the ways of her mother. After the Revolution in the 1917, Vera began to work at the children’s house named the ‘International Solidarity’. In parallel she worked in the civil commission struggled against homeless children, the issue that had been the most severe in the 1920s. She was in correspondence with Z. Freud, and being as scientific secretary of the Russian Society of Psycho-analysts, had visited him in the 1928 in the Austria.

It’s interesting that in December of the 1941 when the German army came to Moscow very close and the winter had been extremely severe, the Red Army soldiers fired total so-called black floor of our summer-house in Moscow suburb, but didn’t even touch the wooden trunk with letters of my grandfather and his family. The diaries and scientific notes of Vera Schmidt had been published in three volumes 90 years later.

Finally, the life of Otto Schmidt, the Vera’s husband and my uncle, is a separate story. Schmidt has been an outstanding researcher and organizer, mathematician, geophysics, geographer, etc. In his biography I’d mention the only one episode well-known across the world. He conducted four marine expeditions throughout the North See Root. One of them ended by the catastrophe: ice-cracker ‘Cheljuskin’ sank in the Kara Sea. It was winter of the 1934.

Nevertheless, 102 persons of its command and their families including two small children not only survived in the ice camp during two months, but continued their research work, organized lectures, edited the wall newspaper, etc. To my mind, this case is the best example of a combination of rescue operations made by a chain of shuttle flies fulfilled by very small airplanes and well-organized self-help measures in very uncertain and potentially highly risky situation.My other uncle, specialist in the thermodynamics, Michael Kirpichov, together with my brother Vladimir accustomed me to various technical devices from early childhood. It had been a kind of play but very useful for my future life.

Thus, it’s nothing to surprise that already more than thirty years I used to study a theory and practice of the risks and various critical events. And recently I’m a member of a team making the research project titled‘ Theory and Practice of the Volunteer’s Participation in Mitigation of Critical Situations in Russia.’



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Global Journals | Social Innovations & Stories Blog: Family Roots of my Interest in the Study of Critical Situations and the Volunteer’s Participation in them
Family Roots of my Interest in the Study of Critical Situations and the Volunteer’s Participation in them
Global Journals | Social Innovations & Stories Blog
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