The transfer of Western medicine to Russia increased significantly in the Eighteenth century. Foreign doctors were employed, their writings translated, their education standards copied. But who regarded that knowledge as superior and why? Taking the Moscow Plague of 1771 as a case study, this article examines the crucial role foreign and Russian medical practitioners played during the epidemic. It argues that especially those ideas and practices that were useful for social control filtered into politics and public discourse, but failed to convince the majority of the population.