X-Message-Number: 13566
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2000 11:16:15 +0400
From: Mikhail Soloviev <>
Subject: Cryonics in the Russian mass-media

[This message is a version (slightly edited) of the article 
published in The Immortalist, Jan.-Feb. 2000.] 

Cryonics in the Russian mass-media 

by Mikhail Soloviev 

For some years my attempts to attract attention of the Russian 
mass-media to cryonics had moderate success. In 1997 my 
article "Nanotechnology -- a key for immortality and freedom" 
was published in a popular computer weekly "Computerra". The 
article was followed by a discussion about the use of 
immortality -- of course, the dominant opinion was: it is 

In 1998 cryonics was featured in my article "Technocrats' 
Hopes" published in a national weekly "Common Newspaper". On 
the same page academician (geneticist) Yuri Altukhov argued 
that immortality is impossible. It is worth mention, however, 
that in a recent article published in a very popular national 
daily newspaper "News" ("Izvestia") another academician 
(biochemist) Vladimir Skulachev (both these academicians are 
among the most known and influential scientists in Russia) 
said that immortality is possible, desirable, and inevitable 
(he meant anti-aging gene engineering, not cryonics). 

In the end of 1998 I resumed my attempts to convince a known 
St. Petersburg journalist Arkady Sosnov (whom I knew since 
1996) to write an article on the subject. He needed several 
months to produce it, but its publication in the main 
academician weekly "Search" (April 1999) had a real effect -- 
the Russian journalists noticed the existence of cryonics. 

Soon I was contacted by the editor of the scientific 
department of the top national newspaper for businessmen 
"Commersant" and asked to write an article on cryonics. It was 
published in July in the form of an interview with me 
(illustrated by 2 photos from Alcor's web site). Almost all 
aspects of cryonics were mentioned there: the nature of 
freezing damage, the need for nanotechnology to repair the 
damaged cells, who and why of wanting to be immortal, how to 
get your money back after reanimation, current research on 
vitrification, etc. Later this big and detailed article was 
reprinted in some regional newspapers. In October other very 
popular national newspaper "The Komsomol Truth" ("Komsomol" is 
translated as "Young Communists' League" -- this newspaper 
kept its name from Soviet times, but now it has no connections 
with the Soviet type of communism) produced its own article on 
cryonics based on my publication in "Commersant" and other 
materials from my web site "Immortality through freezing -- 
Cryonics in Russia" (http://cryonics.euro.ru). In this year 
two interviews with me ("The Freezers" and "Our Children will 
be Immortal") appeared in January in a national trade-union 
newspaper "Labor" (this and most other Russian nation-wide 
newspapers have circulation between 1 and 2 million). All 
these articles were not accompanied by anti-cryonics comments, 
the style of comments was rather neutral, or a little bit 

The latest publication were in English -- it was written by a 
journalist from "The Moscow Times" (English-language 
newspaper) and printed in "Business Review" (a kind of monthly 
application to "The Moscow Times" for foreign businessmen 
working in Russia). I got the permission to reprint it in The 
Immortalist and post it to the Cryonet (I'll do it later). 

Before the publication in "Commersant" only our local St. 
Petersburg TV channels featured cryonics (3 of them showed 
interviews with me). But in September the leading Russian TV 
channel ORT ("The 1st Channel" or "Public Russian Television") 
invited some Russian cryonicists to participate in the daily 
noon 40-minutes show "Good Day", where we (medical computer 
scientists Igor Artyuhov, rock-musician and writer Vladimir 
Rekshan, businessman Dmitry Sannikov, and me) argued that 
cryonics is a real option. 

The fragments from Discovery Channel's documentary 
"Immortality on Ice" was shown to demonstrate the cryonics 
practice and feasibility of nanotechnological repair of 
damaged cells (these fragments were selected and translated by 
me). There were 2 other participants in this show -- 
physicians who never heard of cryonics before and they mainly 
spoke about their own problems (they work in the reanimation-
related fields of medicine). One of the spectators, who called 
to the studio during this broadcast, offered to use her body 
for freezing experiments. We also answered many other 
questions, though many of them were rather stupid. 

In November I was contacted by a very popular reporter from 
other national TV channel (NTV) Elena Masyuk (once she and her 
team were captured by the Chechen terrorists and were freed 
for several millions dollars). She was influenced by the 
article in "The Komsomol Truth" and decided to make a 
documentary on cryonics. Her team visited Robert Ettinger, the 
Cryonics Institute, and Trans Time. In January they 
interviewed me and Yuri Pichugin. I explained my project 
"Cryofarm" and some scenarios for nanotechnological repair, my 
wife had a long and expressive speech in support of cryonics, 
our daughter (11 years old) took the position of social 
Darwinism (surprisingly to me) and reasoned about the possible 
bad sides of the future. Unfortunately only few my words were 
included in the final broadcast (40 minutes, shown on a Friday 
evening), the speeches of my wife and daughter were excluded, 
and besides me only our cat was shown as a prospective 
cryonics patient. Yuri was also shown very shortly. Instead 
much time was devoted to an old (of the 60s) Soviet film "The 
Escape of Mr. McKinly", where the idea of immortality (through 
the conservation in colloid gas) was interpreted as an 
extremely stupid thing. The only good feature of this 
broadcast was the interview with Robert Ettinger, who 
explained simple, but still very actual things (as they are 
poorly understood by many people) -- that life is good, and 
death is bad. Of course, many interesting technical details of 
cryonics procedure were demonstrated, but because of the lack 
of scientific background the cryonicists looked like naive 
believers. I think such accent of the broadcast could be 
explained by the personal attitude of Elena, who told me she 
didn't like the idea of cryonics and was very surprised by my 
love to all people. 

I don't wait an immediate response to be resulted from this 
interest of mass-media and clearly understand that the 
possible effect is rather cumulative. Anyway I think that the 
Russian immortalists could have a chance for immortality even 
at our present resources -- we could start by organizing a 
kind of social network to provide the brain embalming after 
deanimation. Later, if our resources grow, such social network 
evolves into a "full-blooded" cryonics organization (this idea 
is described in my project "Latmos", which I'll post later).

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