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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) - The Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences will convene on July 9 to decide whether to call a general meeting of the Academy members to discuss the organisation’s reform or not.
Gennady Mesyats, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Academy’s Institutes and director of the Lebedev Physical Institute, made the announcement at a press conference on Thursday, July 4.
The draft law on the reform of the Academy of Sciences is being debated by the State Duma. The second reading is scheduled for Friday, July 5, and the third one for this autumn.
State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said earlier in the day that the Duma might return the draft law for the second reading “if MPs propose substantive amendments”.
The main points of the reform plan that has antagonised the academic community call for combining the Academy of Sciences with the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Agricultural Academy, abolishing the title of correspondent member and promoting all current correspondent members to the rank of academician, as well as transferring control of all research institutions from the Academy to a new federal agency.
The faction of the Communist Party in the Duma has submitted a set of amendments to the draft law that “cardinally change the concept of the draft law in order to preserve the existing system of operation and self-organisation of the Russian Academy of Sciences which has historically developed in Russia.”
On Wednesday, July 3, the Communist faction walked out of the session room in protest against the speedy review of the draft law. The draft law was approved by 234 MPs with the required minimum of 226 votes.
Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said earlier that his faction would boycott the Duma sittings until the end of its current session if the draft law on the Academy of Sciences reform goes in for the second reading on July 5.
President Vladimir Putin has started consultations with leading academicians on the reform of the Academy of Sciences.
He has met with Ivan Dedov, Head of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow State University Rector Viktor Sadovnichy, and Academician Yevgeny Primakov.
“As a follow up to the discussion on the reform of the Academy of Sciences started in the first half of the day with [President of the Academy of Sciences] Vladimir Fortov, the president began a series of consultations with the heads of academies and leading academicians of the Academy of Sciences,” presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.
They discussed “the state of affairs in research organisations and various aspects of the Academy of Sciences reform,” he added.
He said the consultations would continue.