Scientific-technical societies

Scientific-technical societies (науково-технічні товариства; naukovo-tekhnichni tovarystva). Mass organizations for promoting scientific and technological development, improving economic performance, and raising labor productivity. The history of scientific-technical societies in Ukraine is linked closely with the development of such societies in Russia. Branches of the Imperial Russian Technical Society (est 1866) in Saint Petersburg were set up in Ukraine: in Mykolaiv (1869), Kyiv (1870), Odesa (1871), Kharkiv (1879), Volhynia (1897), and Kremenchuk (1900). The Kyiv branch took part in the construction of the city’s water-supply and sewage systems, streetcar network, gas and electric lighting, and river transportation. In 1884 it organized the empire’s only secondary technical school of sugar refining, at the Smila refinery, and in 1897 it began to raise funds for building the Kyiv Polytechnical Institute.

After the Revolution of 1917 the government called for the formation of mass organizations to promote economic development: in 1921 the Council of People's Commissars of the Russian SFSR issued a decree encouraging such organizations. The Ukrainian Scientific and Technical Society was established in Kharkiv in 1927 as an organization of technical-school teachers and engineers. It sponsored lectures and publications, such as Naukovo-tekhnichnyi visnyk, Ukraïns'ki sylikaty, Sil's'ko-hospodars'ka mashyna, Tekhnika masam, and Problemy teplotekhniky. It had branches in Kyiv, Poltava, Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa, and Bakhmut and a membership of over 300. It was headed by Kyrylo Sukhomlyn and was dissolved in the mid-1930s. Its functions were taken over by the Ukrainian branches of all-Union scientific and engineering societies that were set up in the different industries starting in 1932.

After 1954 the activities of scientific-technical societies were directed by the trade unions. The First Ukrainian Republican Conference of Scientific-Technical Societies, held in Kyiv in 1958, represented 150,000 members and elected the Ukrainian Republican Council of Scientific-Technical Societies. By 1984, societies in 24 branches of the economy represented 2,600,000 members in Ukraine. The largest (over 200,000 members) were in agriculture, machine building, and the construction industry. The work of 31,000 primary cells at the local level was co-ordinated by city and oblast councils within each society. The societies held conferences, seminars, courses, exhibitions, and competitions on scientific and economic issues and sponsored local groups and laboratories (860,000 members) devoted to research, information gathering, and economic analysis. The societies published 14 magazines with the help of ministries and departments of industry. The Ukrainian Republican Council of Scientific-Technical Societies was headed by Viktor Trefilov. Many members of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine are active in such societies.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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