Victor S. Kulebakin

Victor S. Kulebakin


Sunday, October 18, 1891

Passed away: 

Wednesday, February 11, 1970

Victor Kulebakin, in full Victor Sergeevich Kulebakin, the founder of the Institute of Automation and Remote Control, the USSR Academy of Sciences, and its first Director, was born in 1891 in Moscow in a family of teachers. He received his secondary education at a commercial school, graduating with a gold medal in 1909. Then, Kulebakin entered Moscow Higher Technical School (MHTS; nowadays, Bauman Moscow Technical University). There, he met Karl A. Krug, who became his teacher and colleague for many years. After graduation (1914), Kulebakin was left at MHTS to teach and conduct research. But soon World War I began. He was drafted and received a pilot’s license from the Gatchina pilot school. Kulebakin was among the first military pilots of Russia and participated in World War I.

In the army, by the invitation of N.E. Zhukovsky, Kulebakin started teaching theoretical courses in aviation.

In 1918, he returned to MHTS. Along with his teaching activities, Kulebakin solved many practically significant engineering problems during those years. He participated in equipping the Moscow coal basin with electrical facilities (1918—1921), carried out several important tasks for the GOELRO plan, and mastered the production of electrical equipment for aircraft.

In 1921, the State Experimental Electrotechnical Institute was established, known as All-Union Electrotechnical Institute (VEI) since 1929. Kulebakin was appointed its Deputy Director.

In 1921, Kulebakin was elected Professor at MHTS. After the separation of Power Engineering Institute from MHTS, he moved there and organized the Department and Laboratory of Electrical Apparatus Engineering.

Kulebakin influenced the formation and development of Zhukovsky Air Force Academy (presently, Zhukovsky—Gagarin Military Air Academy). He organized a chair and a department as well as developed a large scientific school there. His further activities were closely connected with the Academy.

In 1939, Academician Kulebakin founded the Institute of Automation and Remote Control (IARC), the USSR Academy of Sciences (nowadays, Trapeznikov Institute of Control Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences), and became its first Director.

The first years of Institute’s formation were very hard. At that time, there were few experts in automatic control. To train such staff, Kulebakin invited Academician Nikolai N. Luzin, a prominent Soviet mathematician. In 1940, the famous discussion began on the compensation conditions proposed by Georgy V. Shchipanov. As a result, an article was published in Bolshevik with the direct accusation of IARC in pseudoscientific activities.

Kulebakin courageously defended further research on Shchipanov’s compensation conditions.

Despite all accusations, in 1940, the Institute organized the 1st All-Union Meeting on Control Theory. The event played a key role in developing control theory and systems in the USSR.

At the very beginning of the Great Patriotic War, Kulebakin was appointed Head of the joint works of the USSR Academy of Sciences and Zhukovsky Air Force Academy to provide scientific and technical assistance to the front and industry. In addition, he became a member of the Commission on the mobilization of Ural’s resources. 

Kulebakin was evacuated to Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) with Zhukovsky Air Force Academy. His work at IARC was interrupted.

Kulebakin’s dedicated efforts during the War and organizational talents contributed much to developing the domestic aviation industry and training military staff for aviation.

In 1944, Kulebakin returned to IARC. Until 1962, he headed one laboratory of the Institute.

Kulebakin is justifiably called “the father of aviation electric engineering.” Together with his students from Zhukovsky Air Force Academy, he summarized many years of research and experimental studies in aircraft electrical equipment in a four-volume monograph. This series is unique even in world literature.

Kulebakin’s first publications on the theory of automatic control and regulation appeared in the 1930s—1940s. He proposed the theory of vibration regulators for electric machines and introduced a simple integral criterion for the performance of control processes, including a method to calculate it. For the first time, he formulated and solved the problem of choosing the controller’s gains under given roots of the characteristic equation.

Kulebakin’s research played an outstanding role in invariance theory and the theory of combined control systems. He was the first to prove that absolute invariance conditions (Shchipanov’s compensation conditions) can be implemented in bridge circuits. He proposed the K (D)-image of a given function and developed the corresponding theory; introduced the concepts of selective invariance and poly-invariance.

Kulebakin first proposed that a controlled plant should be constructed considering the requirements imposed by the control system. In this case, the controller can be simpler and more reliable.

In 1933, Kulebakin was elected Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences; in 1939, Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

In 1942, Kulebakin received the military rank of Major-General of Aviation Engineering Service. He was awarded the Order of Lenin, three Orders of the Red Star, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, two Orders of the Badge of Honor, and many medals. In 1950, he received the USSR State Prize.

Kulebakin’s main books are as follows:

  1. Poluprovodniki v avtomatike (Semiconductors in Automation), Moscow: the USSR Academy of Sciences, 1963. — 149 p. (coauthors V.D. Nagorskii and Yu.E. Voskresenskii);
  2. Elektricheskie sistemy zazhiganiya obogreva i osveshcheniya samoletov (Electrical Ignition Systems for Aircraft Heating and Lighting), Moscow: Oborongiz, 1960. — 372 p. (coauthors I.M. Sindeev, P.D. Davidov, and B.F. Fedorov);
  3. Elektrifikatsiya samoletov. Elektricheskoe zazhiganie v aviadvigatelyakh (Electrification of Aircraft. Electrical Ignition in Aircraft Engines), Moscow: Zhukovsky Military Air Academy, 1953. — 280 p.;
  4. Elektrifikatsiya samoletov (Electrification of Aircraft), Moscow: Zhukovsky Military Air Academy, 1953. — 433 p. (coauthor V.T. Morozovskii);
  5. Elektrifikatsiya samoletov. Elektroprivod samoletnykh agregatov i mekhanizmov (Electrification of Aircraft. Electric Drive of Aircraft Aggregates and Mechanisms), Moscow: Zhukovsky Military Air Academy, 1952. — 807 p. (coauthor V.D. Nagorskii);
  6. Elektrifikatsiya samoletov. Sistemy elektrosnabzheniya (Electrification of Aircraft. Power Supply Systems), Moscow: Zhukovsky Military Air Academy, 1952. — 683 p. (coauthor I.M. Sindeev);
  7. Ispytanie elektricheskikh mashin i transformatorov (Testing of Electrical Machines and Transformers), Moscow: ONTI, 1928. — 1030 p.

They are presented in the Institute’s database:Кулебакин

One journal paper by Kulebakin is available at Math-Net.Ru:

1. V. S. Kulebakin, Zh. B. Linkovskii, Optimal Linearization of a Nonlinear Control Object with Unknown Parameters by Means of a Linear System with Constant Parameters in the Absence of Noise, Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR159:3 (1964),  525—527.  

The list of his papers in Avtomatika i Telemekhanika can be found at:

For their English versions, see the microfilm collection of Automation and Remote Control (1956—1994):

Kulebakin’s inventions are available at:

Publications about V.S. Kulebakin

1. A. P. Kurdyukov, V. Yu. Rutkovskii, In Memory of V. S. KulebakinAvtomat. i Telemekh., 2012, no. 7, 154—158.
2. V. S. KulebakinAvtomat. i Telemekh., 1992, no. 5, 184—189.
3. V.S. Frolov. Victor Sergeevich Kulebakin (1891—1970), Moscow: Nauka, 1980. — 207 p.
4. Victor Sergeyevitch KulebakinAvtomat. i Telemekh., 1970, no. 6, 183—184.
5. Victor Sergeevich Kulebakin (To the 70th Birthday)Avtomat. i Telemekh.22:10 (1961), 1269—1272.
6. Victor Sergeevich Kulebakin, 2nd ed., Moscow: the USSR Academy of Sciences, 1961. — 59 p.
7. G. M. Krzyzanowsky, Victor Sergeevich Kulebakin (To the 70th Birthday)Avtomat. i Telemekh.12:5 (1951), 347—351.

In addition, see the Wikipedia page devoted to Kulebakin:Кулебакин,_Виктор_Сергеевич