Nationalist Conflict in the Medical Corporation of Yekaterinburg: A Case Study in the Early Twentieth-Century Crisis
Keywords:Ural Medical Society, Yekaterinburg, corporate environment, political disagreements, interpersonal disagreements
The two-year confrontation in the Ural Medical Society (hereinafter – UMS) in Yekaterinburg in 1905–1907 has not been an object of scholarly analysis previously. This is largely due to the religious aspect, i. e. the withdrawal of all Jewish doctors from the organization. The reconstruction of contradictions in the corporate medical environment of Yekaterinburg relied on the historical-genetic method within the framework of anthropologically oriented history. For information about the participants in the conflict, the author refers to a consolidated database created by him on doctors who served in Perm province. New documents from periodical press and archival funds play an essential role in understanding certain aspects of the confrontation. The article restores a complex of interconnected objective and subjective contradictions in the medical corporation of Yekaterinburg in the early twentieth century, which was aggravated during the revolutionary upheavals of 1905–1907. The determining factor for the beginning of the confrontation in the spring of 1905 was the actual erosion of the basic principle behind the UMS, which was its being apolitical. It was consistently observed starting with the establishment of the organization, which led to a deterioration in relations between its long-standing members. At the heart of acute political and interpersonal disagreements were different ideas of UMS members on national healthcare. They naturally aggravated during revolutionary upheavals and an oversaturation of the doctor “market” in Yekaterinburg. The peak of the growing confrontation was an unexpected scandal for the participants in the spring of 1906. It unfolded because of the intolerant wording in a letter asking for help with finding a qualified ophthalmologist for the eye clinic created in Yekaterinburg. Some of the members of the UMS extremely painfully perceived the harsh assessments of the ambiguous act of A. A. Mislavsky, the oldest honorary doctor of Yekaterinburg. As a result, the anti-Semitic component became not an “unfortunate misunderstanding” but a large-scale exacerbation in the long-term confrontation. In addition, the search for reasonable compromises that had begun was interrupted by external interference, which led to a new round of conflict. As a result, a large-scale confrontation in the UMS, during which its leadership changed three times, ended in considerable losses in 1907. A logical consequence was the return to apoliticism as the basic principle of UMS’s activity.
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