Concept

Oleg Gazenko

Summary
Oleg Georgievich Gazenko (Олег Георгиевич Газенко; 12 December 1918 – 17 November 2007) was a Russian scientist, general officer in the Soviet Air Force and the former director of the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow. One of the leading scientists behind the Soviet animals in space programmes, he selected and trained Laika, the dog who flew on the Sputnik 2 mission. Gazenko was born on December 12, 1918 in the village of Mykolaivka, Stavropol Territory to George and Larissa Gazenko, née Nikitin. In 1941, Gazenko graduated from the Military Department of the 2nd Moscow Medical Institute as a medic 3rd rank (captain in the medical service). He and his whole class were immediately sent to the front. During the war, he served as the chief of an army hospital, 197th Battalion airfield services of the 15th Air Army in the West, South-Western, Bryansk, Baltic and Belorussian fronts, receiving several decorations for his service. In 1946-1947, Gazenko received special training at the Military Medical Academy (Leningrad) in the department of physiology in the laboratory of Aviation Medicine, where, under the direct supervision of renowned physiologists – Academician Colonel-General Leon Orbeli and Professor Major General M. P. Brestkin – studied the problem and the state of high-altitude physiology of higher nervous activity in hypoxic conditions. During this time he married Olga Alexeevna Tolmachevskaya. Together they had two children – a son, Alexei, and daughter, Larissa. In 1947, Gazenko was appointed to the Institute of Aviation Medicine of the Ministry of Defence. He was involved in studies of pilots in unfavourable climates—beyond the Arctic Circle and in deserts. Between 1948-1950 as the head of a medical research team, Gazenko took part in high-latitude Arctic air force tests "North Pole-2", "North Pole-3" and "North Pole-4". During this time he repeatedly worked on stations situated on drifting ice, as well as on the islands and the coast of the Arctic Ocean.
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