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Politics Science

Russian Government Takes Over Country's 289-year Old Scientific Academy 192

ananyo writes "Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, approved controversial reforms to the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) on 18 September. More than 330 members of the Duma voted in favor of the law, with only 107 against, in a move critics say will deprive the 289-year-old body of its independence and halt attempts to revitalize Russia's struggling science system. If, as is widely expected, the parliament's upper house and Russian President Vladimir Putin approve the law, the 436 institutes and 45,000 research staff of Russia's primary basic-research organization will be managed by a newly established federal agency that reports directly to Putin. The agency will manage the academy's 60-billion-rouble (US$1.9-billion) budget and extensive property portfolio, which includes lucrative sites in Moscow and St Petersburg, and will also have a say in the appointment of institute directors. 'This is not a reform — this is a liquidation of science in Russia,' says Alexander Kuleshov, director of the academy's Institute for Information Transmission Problems in Moscow."
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Russian Government Takes Over Country's 289-year Old Scientific Academy

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  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Thursday September 19, 2013 @06:08PM (#44897569) Homepage Journal

    Harper has been muzzling Canadian scientists for a long time, cutting their budgets, axing research, and so on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 19, 2013 @06:35PM (#44897743)

    Since he was only granted temporary asylum, and is currently awaiting decisions on permanent asylum in 19 other countries. it is not clear how you get "his newly adopted homeland."

  • by Jade_Wayfarer ( 1741180 ) on Thursday September 19, 2013 @06:49PM (#44897833)
    Really biased summary and somewhat biased article. RAS is simply afraid of losing their luxurous "recreational complexes" - private villas of said academicians and "research institutes", which are mostly just "cheap offices for rent" right now. Our science is going down the drain for the last... 30-40 years, or even more, and all these old soviet-era "academicians" are much more old-school bureaucrats than scientists. Truly clever and talented people all left Russia in 90-s, leaving mostly conservative old-timers and not-so-bright yesterday students. One of the vice-presidents of RAS is known to support some absolutely fraudulent projects, like "Petrik's water filters" - and these people are saying something about liquidation of science?

    I am not a supporter of Putin and his little auto-/pluto-cratic system of government, but this reform is something long-needed, almost essential for our science. With the 40-50 years old mindset you cannot innovate, you cannot truly create something new, perform some cutting-edge experiments and achieve true breakthroughs. Only with adaptation of new policies, with adequate pay and real prospects of work for the young scientists we can hope to see our science pull itself out of its current horrible state. And this time, as preposterous as it sounds, Putin is on the side of progress. Of course there is no clearly defined "good guy" in this whole situation, but RAS in its modern form is much worse than almost anything that can replace it.
  • Re:Rouble? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Thursday September 19, 2013 @07:20PM (#44898003)

    Not just English. It was common in Europe to have multiple names for various cities and regions, because they'd change ownership often, or the language would change locally but foreigners would keep the old names, etc. Ie, Frankreich, Allemagne.

    (oblig pirate: Arrr!)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 20, 2013 @12:55AM (#44899563)

    Is this whole damn planet just gonna get stupid now? This is not at all what they showed us in Star Trek. Damn, 40 years ago we are putting people on the moon, now it's just global navel gazing from here on out. Yeee haaawww.

    Fuck, we are screwed.

    Australia's new Prime Minister just abolished the cabinet position for Science Minister. First time since the 1930s we've not had a member of parliament charged witha science portfolio. The world has gone insane.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 20, 2013 @08:58AM (#44901743)

    Erich Fellgiebel was in his 50s when he ran the German government's R&D programs as General der Nachrichtentruppe (Signal Corps/Military Intelligence). Under his watch they developed the A4 missile (which is the basis of all liquid-fueled spaceflight to the present day), the jet engine, TV-guided smartbombs and quite a few more things. Allegedly they also invented the semiconductor diode.

    So maybe you general statement of "people in the 40s to 50s don't innovate" is not true in its totality.

Loose bits sink chips.