Oleg Scrotsky

Y. B. Karasik,
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.
e-mail:karasik@sympatico.ca

I met Oleg at AzOIIT in 1973. He was tall, pale, skinny but broad-shouldered, slouching, with long straight blond hairs. He seemingly neither worked nor studied anywhere (except AzOIIT) and was supported by his widowed mother, with whom he lived.

Oleg adored Altshuller and ... listening to "Radio Liberty", "Free Europe" and "Deutsche Welle" (for which he had plenty of time). Eventually the latter run into a conflict with the former.

Initially Altshuller tolerated Scrotsky retelling him the broadcasts, especially the broadcasts of the readings of "GULAG Archipelago" by Solzhenitsyn after his expulsion from the Soviet Union. But as the readings progressed Altshuller started making ironic remarks: "Solzhenitsyn is looking for culprits", etc. Scrotsky, conversely, was coming under Solzhenitsyn's influence more and more.

When Solzhenitsyn appealed to stop collaborating with the Soviet authorities, Oleg came to Alsthuller and requested him to stop seeking support for TRIZ from various ministries, societies, Komsomol, etc. To this Altshuller replied that the appeal to not collaborate with the Soviet authorities is not feasible. "To really not collaborate one has to stop riding the Soviet buses, stop shopping in the Soviet stores, stop going to the Soviet Movie theaters, etc. because it is not known who more collaborates and supports the Soviet authority, he who rides the Soviet buses, shops in the Soviet stores, goes to the Soviet theaters, etc. or he who seeks support for TRIZ, "- Altshuller explained.

But Scrotsky did not heed him. When I jokingly called Oleg "the conscience of the group" he during one of the heated debates with Altshuller told him that some people view him as "the conscience of the group". To this Altshuller ironically replied: "Oleg, until somebody unwitty called you the conscience of the group, you were it. But after that you ceased to be." When I came to Altshuller he asked me if he was I who called Scrotsky the conscience of the group. I confessed and was reprimanded by Altshuller.

In 1975 (?) Altshuller once again decided to appeal to the Soviet authorities about TRIZ matters. He prepared a letter to the "Pravda" newspaper and requested all of us (the members of OLMI) to sign it. We all did, except Scrotsky. He refused to sign and was expelled by Altshuller from his apartment.

"I broke with Oleg", - Altshuller said. On my question why, he answered: "Everybody rises out of the trench and goes on the attack. And only one man does not rise and does not go. How to afterward relate to this coward ?"

But Oleg was not a coward. When Altshuller in 1974 run into a conflict with bureaucrats in Moscow and was invited for a talk to the local branch of the Inventors Society, he called on Oleg to accompany him. "If I come alone they can father something on me,"- he explained, "but if I come with somebody else they will be afraid of doing so." Oleg agreed and went on this mission.

Oleg was deeply saddened by his break up with Altshuller. Soon he went on a visit to his relatives in Volgograd (?) and drowned there in the Volga while walking with his daughter in the wading waters. The rumor had it that he walked into the underwater pit, panicked because did not know how to swim, and drowned.

"Here is the guy who I thought would outlive all of us," - Altshuller reacted to the news of Scrotsky's death with a sorrow. Apparently he was not as good at predicting the future of people as at predicting the future of technical systems.

Oleg did not contribute much to TRIZ per se. But he regularly attended the meetings of OLMI and actively participated in the discussions. He also participated in preparation of some teaching materials, e.g. on the Smart Little People method, etc.