Nikolay Pirogov


Nikolay Pirogov : biography

25 November 1810 – 5 December 1881

He last appeared in public on 24 May 1881, and died later that year in the village of Vishnya (now Vinnytsia, Ukraine). His body is preserved using embalming techniques he himself developed, and rests in a church in Vinnitsa, Ukraine. Compared to the corpse of Lenin, which undergoes thorough maintenance in a special underground clinic twice a week, the body of Pirogov rests untouched and unchanging: it is said that only dust has to be brushed off of it. It resides at room temperature in a glass-lid coffin (while Lenin’s body is preserved at a constant low temperature).


Nikolay Pirogov was from 1847 corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and received in 1844, 1851 and 1860 the Demidov Prize by the academy. He was appointed honourary citizen of Moscow in 1881. The Pirogov Society was founded four years after his death, which aims for better medical training and treatment in Russia.

The Pirogov Museum is located in his birth town at his former estate and clinic. Near this 1947 building is a mausoleum which is used as a family chapel and in which his embalmed body is visible in public. The large Pirogov Hospital is located in Sofia, Bulgaria and the 2506 Pirogov asteroid, discovered in August 1976 by Russian astronomer Nikolai Chernykh, was named in honour of him. The medical universities Russian National Research Medical University and Odessa State Medical University were formerly named after him, until the Russian Revolution. Stamps with his portrait were published in the Soviet Union in 1949 and his 150th anniversary in 1960. The highest humanitarian prize in the Soviet Union was the Pirogov Gold Medal.

Apart from his developed foot amputation techniques, several anatomical structures were named after him, such as the Pirogoff angle; the Pirogoff aponeurosis, a structure from fascia and the aponeurosis of the biceps; the Pirogoff triangle, a triangular area located between the mylohyoid muscle, the intermediate tendon of the musculus digastricus and the hypoglossal nerve.