In the Soviet Union under Stalin, not even the hard sciences were safe from ideological controversy. As Leszek Kolakowski notes in his magisterial survey Main Currents of Marxism, quantum theory and relativity both threatened the “epistemological assumptions” of orthodox Marxist determinism:

“So-called discussions of the Stalin period on the philosophical aspects of physics and other sciences were destructive and anti-science … because in the confrontation – as was usually the case – of scholars on the one hand and party ideologists on the other, the latter were assured of victory by the support of the state and its police apparatus.”

This process, in which “pressure was almost zero in mathematics, fairly strong in cosmology and physics, stronger still in the biological sciences, and all-powerful in the social and human sciences”, did not help science or culture develop in the USSR. Instead, it led to “the isolation of the Soviet Union from world culture”.