I.Ye. Ovsinskyi ‘New System of Agriculture’: Public Perception (end of 19th – early 20th century)
The main stages of public discussion and promotion of the ideas of Ivan Yevhenovych Ovsinskyi, which allow uncovering the way of (non) perception of scientific ideas among the sectoral scientific community of the Russian Empire at the end of the 19th – early 20th century are studied in the paper.
It is found out that having close contacts with Polish patriotic circles, I.Ye. Ovsinskyi was persecuted by the tsarist authorities, and that influenced the perception of his scientific ideas. It is shown that for the first time the scientist presented the main provisions of his concept ‘New System of Agriculture’ at the regional congresses of agrarians and at the 10th congress of Russian naturalists and physicians, which took place in Kyiv at the end of the 19th century. However, the status of ‘politically unreliable person’, the lack of close ties in the domestic scientific agrarian community did not allow the innovator to get adequate support. It is proved that authoritative Polish scientists Yu. Okhorovych (Julian Ochorowicz), H. Kotlubai (Henryk Kotłubaj) influenced the final version of the concept of I.Ye. Ovsinskyi, which was designed as a monograph of the same title, and helped to organize its high-profile promotion.
The active discussion of ‘Ovsinskyi System’ in the Polish press, the publication of the book (1899), and the interest of scientific authorities prompted experts from other parts of the Russian Empire to study the concept in more detail. It is noted that the ‘New System of Agriculture’ aroused interest among the progressive agrarians of the time (over 70 publications during 1899-1912). The mechanism of public opinion on innovative ideas formation can be analyzed on the example of the most famous domestic public sectoral associations (Kyiv and Poltava Agrarian Societies) activity. It is proved that the policy of the leadership of those organizations regarding I.Ye. Ovsinskyi was politically dependent and did not contribute to a proper scientific discussion of his ideas. It is found out that such a situation influenced the organizing and conducting of the experiments to test the ideas of the innovator. Imperfect methodology during the experiments led to incorrect conclusions, which became the basis for discrediting of the ‘New System of Agriculture’ suggested by I.Ye. Ovsinskyi.
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