The tale of Stalin’s humanzee


In 2005 one of Russia’s darkest secrets was brought to light in The Scotsman newspaper. The story revealed that during his tyrannical reign, Joseph Stalin, dictator of the Soviet Union, ordered the creation of a human-ape hybrid. He reportedly commissioned Doctor Ilya Ivanovich Ivanoff to create this new species so he could build his own army of super-soldiers who were “insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat.”

But even for Stalin, known for his outrageous tendencies, this seems a step too far. The story is half-true, though. Stalin did commission a doctor to find a way to create a human-ape hybrid, but it wasn’t to create an army, rather, to disprove religion by proving that evolution was correct. Doctor Ivanoff attempted to impregnate three chimpanzees with human sperm, but the experiment was a failure. A second experiment attempted to impregnate women with ape sperm, but when the donor ape died, the experiment was cancelled and Ivanoff was removed from his post.

Want to find out more about Stalin’s tyrannical reign? Pick up issue 16 of All About History.