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V.A. Belilovsky: Biography of a Physician in the Context of the Epoch

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Abstract. Using published and archival sources the given article makes an attempt to reconstruct the biography of Veniamin Aleksandrovich Belilovsky, Russian doctor of medicine. He turned out to be forgotten in the history of Russian medicine. Belilovsky, who was initially focusing on ophthalmology, soon became an epidemiologist and fought plague in Odessa and in Central Asia as well as cholera in the Caspian provinces. During the First World War, Belilovsky was working in the Caucasus, until he moved to Arkhangelsk in 1916. After the outbreak of the Civil War, he became the chief for epidemic control, and then also the evacuation chief in the anti-Bolshevik Northern Region. After the collapse of the White army in the Russian North in 1920, Belilovsky went to Norway. Although V.A. Belilovsky stands out among many Russian doctors, his biography may serve as an illustration to many aspects of being a doctor in the late XIX–early XX centuries Russia. It may shed light on the following range of problems: doctors’ movability in the space of the empire, their mobility’s dependence on physicians themselves, politicians and circumstances; involvement of doctors’ in various forms in anthropological and ethnographic discourses; possibilities for combination and occasional application of several medical specializations.

Keywords: history of medicine, V.A. Belilovsky, epidemiology, ophthalmology, zemstvo medicine.

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