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In the repressive scientific and cultural atmosphere of the Soviet Union, the Communist Party frequently questioned innovations as to their ideological expediency. Scientists repeatedly had to develop innovations in isolation from the global context, facing opposition from the hostile political apparatus.
After the Second World War, the US showed interest in the development of computer technology. The Soviet Department of Agitation and Propaganda encouraged journalists to ridicule the "sweat dream" of "thinking machines" in their publications. They dismissed Western researchers as "charlatans and obscurantists and denounced cybernetics as a "bourgeois pseudoscience."
As with many other things, with the death of Stalin, computer science was allowed to tear down its previous ideological criticisms and redeem itself in the public view. Now, cybernetics allowed Soviet scientists to escape Stalinism's ideological traps, replacing them with computational objectivity.
Despite severe government-imposed restrictions, a few remarkably passionate scientists kept continued work on cybernetics. Some hold a prominent place in the history of computer science to this day. Amongst them was Sergey Lebedev.
Sergey Lebedev

Sergey Lebedev was an extroverted, sharp-witted, friendly, yet ambitious man who did not match the stereotype of an eccentric scientist. Despite his birth and education in Russia, Lebedev made an unconventional strategic decision. He turned down a promising offer in Moscow and relocated to Ukraine to lead the prominent Kyiv Electrotechnical Institute (KEI) of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (1946-1951).

Kyiv was an influential scientific center at that time. Located farther from the stale bureaucracy of Moscow, it was a more liberal and open-minded city, which attracted scientists with more flexibility to experiment. The KEI's qualified personnel significantly contributed to implementing novel cybernetics ideas.

In 1948 Lebedev discovered from foreign magazines that Western researchers were working on an electronic computer design, albeit the details were secret. But that was enough. Same autumn, he established KEIs' Lab #1 in the suburbs of Kyiv. The sole focus of dozens of its lab workers was on designing a computer.

Khreshchatyk Street
Khreshchatyk Street, Kyiv's main
boulevard,  in the early 1950s.
Kyiv Polytechnic Institute

Laboratory #1
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