Stalin’s ape-man Superwarriors
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin wanted to rebuild the Red Army, in the mid-1920s, with Planet-of-the-Apes-style troops by crossing humans with apes. This was according to a report in The Scotsman newspaper on 20 December 2005.1
The report claimed that Stalin ordered Russia’s top animal-breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, to use his skills to produce a super warrior. Stalin is said to have told Ivanov, ‘I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat.’2 In 1926, the Politburo in Moscow passed this request to build a ‘living war machine’ on to the Academy of Sciences, who engaged Ivanov and sent him to West Africa with many thousands of dollars to conduct experiments in impregnating chimpanzees by artificial insemination. In the USSR, a centre was set up in Georgia, Stalin’s birthplace, for the ‘apes’ to be raised.
Ivanov’s experiments in Africa were a total failure. Further experiments in Georgia to use monkey sperm in human volunteers also failed. Ivanov was now in disgrace. For his expensive failure, he was sentenced to five years’ jail, commuted to five years’ exile in Kazakhstan, where he died in 1932, aged 61.1
The authors of the above report do not give any references other than unspecified ‘recently uncovered secret documents’, ‘Moscow archives’ and ‘Moscow newspapers’.1 So how much truth is there in it?
Some known facts
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica3 and Wikipedia,4 Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov was born in Russia in 1870. He graduated from the Kharkov University in 1896 and became a full professor in 1907. A veterinary researcher, he perfected artificial insemination and its first use for horse breeding. This process allowed one stallion to fertilize up to 500 mares, far more than the 20–30 by natural means. These results were sensational for their time (c. 1901). He also pioneered the experimental use of artificial insemination to produce hybrids of domestic animals and their wild varieties.5 He was one of the first scientists to obtain a zorse6 by crossbreeding a zebra with a Przewalski’s horse.7
In 1910, he gave a presentation at the World Congress of Zoologists in Graz, Austria, on the possibility of creating a human-ape hybrid.8 In 1924, he obtained permission from the Pasteur Institute in Paris to use its experimental primate station in Kindia, French Guinea, for such an experiment. He sought backing for this from the Soviet Government. Finally in 1925 he obtained US$10,000 from the Academy of Sciences for his experiments in Africa.
It turned out that there were no sexually mature chimpanzees in Kindia, and so, in 1926, he obtained permission from French Guinea’s colonial governor to work at the botanical gardens in Conakry. Here Ivanov artificially inseminated three chimpanzees. All three failed to become pregnant. He returned to the Soviet Union, where further planned experiments also failed.
In 1930, Ivanov came under ‘political criticism’ during the ‘Great Purge’ and was arrested. He was sentenced to five years’ exile in Alma Ata, Kazakh S.S.R. (now Almaty, Kazakhstan), where he worked for the Kazakh Veterinary-Zoology Institute until his death from a stroke on March 20, 1932. The famous psychologist and dog researcher, Ivan Pavlov, wrote an obituary about him.
Stalin undoubtedly knew of his world-famous compatriot’s project. US$10,000 would have been an enormous sum in those days, and it would have been hugely prudent for anyone to have obtained ‘approval from the top’ before allocating so much on such a bizarre experiment. Dictator Stalin, a passionate atheist, based upon his belief in evolution,9 was quite capable of envisaging the use of the technology, should it prove successful, to produce slave hybrid warriors. And, because of his evolutionary materialism, he would have had no moral compunctions.10
Ivanov shared his master’s belief in evolution. If evolution were true, humans and apes would be closely related. So the idea that they could interbreed would not have seemed outlandish.11 In Africa, Ivanov did not use his own sperm (or that of his son, who was with him),4 but that of local natives.12 No doubt he believed the widely held Darwinian racist view that Africans were closer to apes in their ancestry than he, a Caucasian, was. But was he also ashamed to think that any hybrid creature produced with his own sperm would be his ‘child’?
From a biblical viewpoint, no such natural human-ape hybrid is possible. God made man in the image of God, not in the image of an ape. People have a spiritual dimension, involving our ability to worship God. God does not, and will not, share His likeness with an ape. Unlike our suggestion concerning Ivanov, God is not ashamed, but pleased, to be our Father and to call us His ‘children’13—when we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour from sin.
Reader feedback: Stalin’s ape-men experiment had anti-God motives
I appreciated ‘Stalin’s Ape-Man Super Warriors’ because it offered more insight into something I read years ago about the same subject. At the time, I wondered if it was true, and looked for independent confirmation to no avail—until now. What I read years ago was a brief reference to Prof. Ivanov’s African expedition in a book called The Rabbit King of Russia. This book was written by Mr R.G. Urch, correspondent for the London Times for Russia and the Baltic states in the 1920s and 1930s. The book was written around 1940, and has fictional dialogue, but follows the career of a very real man, who was a Soviet bureaucrat travelling about Russia to bring more food to the people through rabbit culture. Many of the book’s incidents are footnoted by contemporary newspaper references. The details of the Ivanov expedition were the same in this book as in your article—taking place in 1925, financed by $10,000 US dollars (I would really like to know who gave them the money), and working through the French research station. Mr Urch also footnoted the episode with two Leningrad newspaper articles dated 27 November and 5 December 1925. Here are some interesting quotes from his book:
‘The whole revolting idea is nothing more nor less than to prove that men and animals are one, that religion is wrong, that there is no God.’
‘(She) had been indignant from the first about the Soviet Government’s efforts to create a race of man-monkey or monkey-man to ‘throw into the face of churchmen’, as the Bolshevist leaders put it.’
‘The task of the Ivanov expedition was simple. It was to go to the Congo and, if possible, induce the French Pasteur station working there under Professor Calmette to assist the Bolshevist scientists to catch a number of female chimpanzee apes. After this, Ivanov and his staff would endeavor to fertilize the apes by artificial methods and bring back the mothers with their little human apes to gladden the hearts of the anti-God Society in Soviet Russia and prove that “There is no God.”’
Mr Urch also says that the following year a circumstantial report was current in Moscow that the steamer bearing Ivanov’s ‘interesting female apes’ had been lost with all hands in the Black Sea. The expedition seems to have been a failure that the Bolsheviks did not wish to acknowledge.
It’s important to realize that this perversely unethical attempt to breed ape-human hybrids has already been tried at least once by the enemies of God, without success. This gives a fitting background to current efforts to make man and ape look genetically similar.
Re-featured on homepage: 4 April 2012
- Stephen C. and Hall, A., Stalin’s half-man, half-ape super warriors, www.news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=2434192005, 2 August 2006. Return to text.
- ‘And there was intense pressure to find a new labour force, particularly one that would not complain, with Russia about to embark on its first Five-Year Plan for fast track industrialisation.’ (Ref. 1.) Return to text.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, 6:441, 1992. Return to text.
- Wikipedia, www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilya_Ivanovich_Ivanov_(biologist), 2 August 2006. Return to text.
- His objective was to develop new breeds more resistant to illness and the harsh Russian winters (ref. 3). Return to text.
- See also Catchpoole, D., Zenkey, zonkey, zebra donkey! Creation 26(3):56, 2004. Return to text.
- See Bell, P., Resurrecting a ‘prehistoric’ horse, Creation 26(2):46–51, 2004. Return to text.
- Answers.com, www.answers.com/topic/ilya-ivanovich-ivanov-biologist, 2 August 2006. Return to text.
- E.g. Hall, R., Darwin’s Impact, Creation 27(2):46–47, 2005. Return to text.
- This follows from evolutionary presuppositions; like grass (our evolutionary cousin), we are supposedly just one more rearrangement of matter. Return to text.
- See also Wieland, C., The strange case of the ‘Humanzee’: the incredible story of Oliver, the alleged ‘ape-human hybrid’, Creation 28(1):42–43, 2005. Return to text.
- Rossiianov, K., Beyond species: Il’ya Ivanov and his experiments on cross-breeding humans with anthropoid apes, Science in Context 15(2):277–316, 2002. Return to text.
- John 1:12; Romans 8:14–17; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1–2, Hebrews 2:11, 11:16. Return to text.