a Russian cryonicist shares his experiences

From: john grigg (starman125@hotmail.com)
Date: Wed Apr 19 2000 - 01:21:53 MDT

This is a repost from Cryonet that tells the experiences of a Russian
cryonicist, Mikhail Soloviev, who is trying to get things started over there
and create a positive stir in the mass media. He has had some real
successes along with serious frustration. I think this is a fascinating
story that is well worth reading.


John Grigg

Message #13566Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2000 11:16:15 +0400
From: Mikhail Soloviev <MSoloviev@mail.ru>
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 useless.

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 ironic.

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

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

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

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).
Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:35 MDT