The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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Exhibition “Origins of the Big Talent”
176February 19 – April 4, 2014
Local History Museum of Krapivna

Opening of the exhibition is taking place  on February 19 at 15:00

We invite you to visit our exhibition that will tell you about the life and work of the scientist and plant breeder, academician Pyotr Konstantinov, who was a native of Krapivna and worked with Leo Tolstoy when a young man. 


Pyotr Nikoforovich Konstantinov was born on June 23, 1877 into the family of a poor peasant at Pushkarskaya sloboda (settlement), Krapivna District of Tula Province. As a child, he worked as a hired hand in the summers and studied in the winters. In 1890, he finished a four-year village school, and three years later graduated from the Krapivna District School. In 1895, he also finished the vocational school in Odoevo, where he was one of the few highly gifted students receiving a government scholarship, for which he had to serve for three years in the state-owned forests. 

Konstantinov served for three years as an assistant to the forest manager at the Podgorny Forestry, and at the same time was a copyist of Leo Tolstoy’s works and secretary to the writer’s son Leo. It was not only the additional income, but also the opportunity to hear Tolstoy that drew the young forester to Yasnaya Polyana. After three years at the forestry, Konstantinov was educated at the Ufa Geodesic School, and then completed the course at the Moscow Land Surveyors Institute within three years. 

From 1914, Pyotr Konstantinov headed the plant-breeding section of the Krasnokutsk experimental station, and then became its director. From 1929, he worked at the Samara Agricultural Institute as a professor of horticulture, plant-breeding, and genetics. In December of 1934 Konstantinov was awarded a doctoral degree without having defended a dissertation. In 1936, he moved to Moscow to work as the head of the department of genetics, plant-breeding, and seed development of the All-Union Academy of Socialist Agriculture, and in 1938 transferred to the Timiryazev Academy. In 1955 he signed the famous “Letter of the 300” which became the reason for the retirement of Academic Lysenko, a supporter of antiscientific ideas and the initiator of persecution of geneticists.


Academician Konstantinov died on October 30, 1959 and was buried in Moscow at Novodevichy Cemetery. He was the author of more than 150 works on plant-breeding, seed development, horticulture, agrotechnology, and experimentation.  Konstantinov edited 16 books and scientific works. He developed 26 new types of high-yield grains. He was twice awarded the Order of Lenin, three times the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and the medal “For Outstanding Work in the Great Patriotic War.”

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