Evgeny Vladimirovich Bek
Biography of Evgeny Vladimirovich Bek
The information below is taken from:
Anna Nikolaevna Zhukova-Bek (1869-1954):
Translated and edited by Anne Dickason Rassweiler.
With a foreword and additional notes by Adele M. Lindemeyr.
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004.
Evgeny Vladimirovich Bek is remembered for his work on a disease widespread in Transbaikal among the inhabitants along the Urov river ad along other tributaries of the Argun river. He set forth the results of his research in the form of a dissertation, published and defended by him in St. Petersburg at the Military Medical Academy. In the Great Soviet Medical Encyclopedia published in 1930, there is an article with the heading "Bek's Disease". Using E. V. Bek's data this article describes the chronic malady that manifests itself in deformities of bones at the joints or limits the mobility of the joints of arms and legs. Often beginning in school age children, this disease gradually reduces the work capacity of the population and in extreme cases leads to complete disability
Bek did more than study the disease and describe it. At the same time he sounded the alarm, suffering from the thought that every year the number of maimed person increases and they are given no help. He sent reports to the provincial and central administration pointing out the need for urgent measures to study the causes of the disease and the appropriate measueres to combat it. But the administration during the tsar's regime was indifferent to the sufferings of the people.
During business trips to Petersburg Bek managed to obtain the delivery of six patients to Petersburg for clinical study at government cost. But such a study could do nothing to explain the causes of the disease, which were rooted in some sort of local conditions. Dr. Bek gave lectures to different scientific organisations – of doctors, geologists, and chemists – showing the patients. This evoked great interest in the disease. After the lectures, resolutions were passed in all the societies: "Organize a spring expedition to the heart of the illness." But there were no funds for it.
Only under Soviet power did the work that Bek started receive broad scope. Large funds were released for the opening of a special scientific research station. Every year they organized expeditions, improved the water supply, and had the sick treated at Yamkun health resort.
In 1901 or early 1902, he married Anna Nikolaevna Zhukova. In 1903 Evgeny Vladimirovich was sent to St, Petersburg to update his surgical skills. That year his wife received the diploma of doctor with distinction. When the Russo-Japanese war started, Bek was mobilised as a surgeon in a division field hospital to work on the front line. His wife served in the Twelfth Mobile Field Hospital not far away. They lived in St. Petersburg during the Russian revolution of 1905.
After the Russo-Japanese war they returned to St. Petersburg. His dissertation on the topic "An Endemic Bone-Joint Disease in Transbaikal" attracted great scientific interest. However, he was soon after appointed district doctor to the Transbaikal Cossack Host in an even more distant and remote region, bordering a sparsely populated part of Mongolia. Evidently his reputation as "politically unreliable" was decisive. Two months before they set out for Aksha, his wife gave birth to a daughter. They lived in Aksha in Transbaikal from 1906 to 1912, then from 1912 in Chita, administrative centre of Chita Oblast which bordered on China and Mongolia.
At the beginning of World War I, Evgeny Vladimirovich Bek was mobilised into the army. The following year he died of typhus contracted while treating Turkish prisoners of war.