Einstein’s Cult of Personality in the Soviet Union

It is not good to be excessively fond of anyone, especially when you deal with such controversial person as a German-Swiss-American celebrity Albert Einstein. The relativity theory, which he reportedly discovered, perhaps, has another authors in reality. Some researchers claim that outstanding scientists – Henri Poincaré and Hendrik Lorentz – are true creators of this theory. Others argue that Einstein’s wife Mileva Marić – a gifted physicist herself – laid the foundations of the relativity principles. Let alone those, who deny the truth of the theory itself. Anyway, the German-Swiss-American celebrity has been worshipped too much, almost as a demigod, by mass culture. Truly great scientists, like a Central Asian polymath Al-Biruni or a founding father of quantum mechanics Max Planck, haven’t had even a fraction of the publicity, received by the overestimated Albert. Oddly enough, one of the biggest sponsors of this propaganda campaign was the Soviet Union.

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Unreasonable adoration of the alien celebrity in the USSR went beyond the domain of physics. Every pretext was used to glorify him. For example, his portraits were published in the first book of the 6th volume of Universal History of Arts («Всеобщая история искусств», 1965). Surely, Einstein wasn’t as heroic as Charlton Heston, for instance. There is nothing to revel about in his rather pathetic appearance. Also, his portrait was on the front cover of a textbook  Amazing Theory of Music (Георгий Виноградов, Евгения Красовская. «Занимательная теория музыки», 1991). Well, he was an amateur violin player. That’s all. Why they didn’t, for example, put a portrait of a great Kazakh composer Kurmangazy on the front cover? Of course, Soviet movie industry also contributed to the idolatry. In an anti-alcoholic comedy A Drinking Glass for Bravery («Сто грамм для храбрости», 1976), produced by Mosfilm Studios, drunkards from different walks of life are subject to miserable existence. Only, a wise scientist with Einstein’s icon on his desktop remains sober and prosperous.

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