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Monday, August 16th, 2010

The Pavlovsk Experimental Station was started in 1926 by Nikolai Vavilov, as one of the world’s first seedbanks, designed to protect the biodiversity of the world’s many plants and crops. During the Siege of Leningrad in World War II, Russian scientists lost their lives protecting it. They starved to death while surrounded by the bounty of the earth, knowing that the contents were too valuable to eat.

Now, a real estate developer has won a court case which will allow them to take over the land where the center is currently housed. Such a move will destroy this incredible resource, as the delicate nature of the plants means moving them is painstaking and slow, if not impossible.

The linked article, written before the case was decided, describes how the property developers argued that because the station contains a “priceless collection”, no monetary value can be assigned to it and so it is in actuality worthless. Twisted as this is, they further argued that because the collection was never registered, it does not officially exist.

Sorry, future generations. Perhaps you can invent a way to derive sustenance from bitter Kafkaesque humor.


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