MOSCOW, March 27, /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) on Thursday will gather for a general meeting. The agenda of the one-day forum includes the adoption of a new charter of the academy, as well as the election of its presidium, vice presidents and the chief academic secretary.
RAS President Vladimir Fortov and the academy leadership have repeatedly stressed that it is absolutely necessary to adopt the charter, as it will reflect changes that have occurred in the Russian academic science during the reform over the past year: RAS is being unified with the Russian Academy of Medical Science and with Russian Academy of Agricultural Science. The new charter is to formalise this.
The unification process has already created certain difficulties in the meeting organisation: the number of its participants has increased. As now all members of all the three academies will gather at the Big Hall of the new building of the RAS presidium at 32A, Leninsky Prospekt Street. RAS Vice President Valery Kostyuk said that the list of participants includes 848 academicians and 1090 corresponding members, a total of 1938 people. As some of them said they would not be able to attend the meeting for a valid reason, some 1670 people are expected to be present. However, Kostyuk warned, some of the forum participants will have to sit in a separate wing where the meeting’s broadcast will be organised.
The number of the meeting participants could be higher if the rule according to which not only academicians and corresponding members of the RAS, but also research members - delegates from labour collectives, are admitted to the general RAS meeting. Such an approach has already caused serious objections among researchers, many of which assessed it as undermining democratic principles.
The second radical change of the new charter is caused by the establishment of the Federal Agency for Scientific Organisations (FANO) under the supervision of which all research institutes have been transferred. The draft of the main regulation document spells out the rights and obligations of FANO, as well as the main rules of its interaction with RAS.
In the view of the RAS president, the draft charter “preserves and consolidates all the democratic traditions that have been developed in the academy.” He made this statement in an interview with the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper published on March 19. “First of all, it is the elective principle for the whole vertical - from a junior research associate to the RAS president,” Fortov said. “Second: all issues should be discussed in an open and transparent way, with the involvement of the academy members. Another key aspect - a democratic procedure of the election of leaders: we don’t appoint anybody, nobody works under a bureaucratic order with us. All candidatures are openly discussed and then elected by secret ballot.”
Then the meeting agenda includes the election of the RAS presidium, the vice presidents and chief academic secretary.
According to the federal law “On the Russian Academy of Sciences, Reorganisation of State Academies of Sciences and Amending Separate Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation,” adopted in September 2013, RAS President Vladimir Fortov retains his powers during three years from his election. The Presidents of the Russian Academy of Medical Science and Russian Academy of Agricultural Science, Ivan Dedov and Gennady Romanenko, become the RAS vice presidents without election for a term of three years.
In the evening, a ceremony of handing RAS medals to Russia’s academic figures, including the awarding of the M.V. Lomonosov Gold Medal, will be held at the academy.