Tunguska Event 1908: the Soviet Scientific Response

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Soviet Scientific & WWII Hero: Leonid Alekseyevich Kulik (1883-1942

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In 1917, the Russian people rose-up against their oppressive feudal system, and led by VI Lenin, initiated a Communist Revolution.  Even before the end of WWI, the military forces (including Britain and Germany), invaded Revolutionary Russia in an attempt to end the working class taking power.  Despite a ruthless interventionist war leading to the death of millions of resisting Russians, the capitalist West and her allies, were eventually defeated by the fledgling Red Army in 1921 (with the Soviet Union being formerly founded at the end of 1922).  However, between 1927 – 1930, the Soviet Authorities authorised a number of (Socialist) ‘scientific’ expeditions to the Tunguska area of Siberia.  This was in response to an event that occurred on the 30th of June, 1908, that wiped-out an area the size of Greater London (or half the size of Rhode Island), which was destroyed by what appeared to be a giant airborne explosion.  For miles around, the trees were flattened in the same direction, and all life was destroyed (including humans).  It is unknown how many of the local indigenous Evenki people died in the estimated 50 megaton explosion (which was heard a thousand miles away, and recorded around the world), but those that survived later spoke of a blinding flash and then a huge explosion, followed by waves of intense heat that burned objects many miles from the epicentre.  It was reported that for many weeks following this explosion, skies over Europe remained eerily ‘bright’ during the middle of the night. The Soviet expeditions sought to bring a correct scientific analysis to the situation as it appeared (without projecting a sense of unfounded mystery or religious beliefs onto the material facts), and in so doing, logically recreate the events, and provide a rational explanation using the laws of physics.  These series of expeditions were led by Soviet Scientist Leonid Alekseyevich Kulik, who took early mobile film cameras with him to record what he found.  Prior to the Communist Revolution in Russia, science in the world had remained in the hands of the bourgeoisie, that excluded the working class from participating in its development or understanding.  This meant that science was used in the capitalist world to support and re-enforce the oppressive class system, and keep the working class firmly in its subordinate place.  Although today, the bourgeois world has all kinds of problems with various types of pseudo-sciences masquerading as legitimate ‘science’, the Kulik footage of the Soviet Tunguska expeditions demonstrates an entirely ‘new’ proletariat approach to science that was justified on the premise of evolving humanity as a whole, and not just one privileged factor of it:

These expeditions were obviously part of a broad expansion of education throughout Russia by the Soviet Authorities (led by Joseph Stalin), and represented the idea that the intelligence of humanity had the power to solve any problem it encountered, through the logical analysis of material cause and effect.  The ‘effects’ of Tunguska were plain to see, but the scientific question was what ’causes’ had led to this devastation?  This was and remains an important question for humanity, as next time such a devastating event might happen over a crowded city and possess the potential to kill millions. The following modern documentary explores the very good research of Kulik (explaining how he volunteered for the Soviet Red Army in 1941 to fight the invading forces of Nazi Germany, and died a year later).  This documentary also covers the subsequent decades after Kulik’s excellent foundational research, and charts the development of the Tunguska Event in the mind of Russians (as both science, culture and fiction), and those all over the world that have taken an interest.

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