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Russian Academy of Sciences seeking ways to counter reform offered by government

August 30, 2013, 11:18 UTC+3

"Annihilation of sciences is the country’s suicide," widow of a well-known writer, Natalya Solzhenitsyna told

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A two-day emergency Conference of Scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) is finishing its work on Friday. The Academy’s history has not seen an event of the kind. The conference’s major objective is to fight the governmental bill on reforming the Academy and to offer an alternative program, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. The first day of the conference featured the academic heavyweights - President Vladimir Fortov and Academician and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics Zhores Alferov.

The Academy’s President Vladimir Fortov said “the norm, where RAS is liquidated to be turned into a public-state organization, is deleted from the bill, and RAS becomes a federal budget organization.” He said the merger of the three academies - RAS, Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences - would last for three years.

Academician Alferov reiterated his idea, which he voiced while running for the Academy’s presidency: “The basic problem of keeping RAS is lack of demand from the economy and society for scientific results.”

The conference focused on the issue - how to minimize affects from the government’s bill, and the maximum issue is how to have the State Duma revoke the bill.

The conference participants (over two thousand scientists from across Russia) say they would vote against the governmental bill on the reform of RAS, the newspaper reports.

The radical moods’ demonstration was not long to wait. The conference participants with an absolute majority of the vote accepted the following item of the resolution: “We qualify the actions of all officials, who are responsible for the bill, as destructive, incompetent and criminally irresponsible. We express no-confidence to Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets and to Minister of Education and Science Dmitry Livanov and demand their dismissal.”

The widow of a well-known writer Natalya Solzhenitsyna told the conference: “Annihilation of sciences is the country’s suicide.”

Professor Leonid Roshal expressed the view that authors of the governmental bill on reform of RAS had “fooled Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.”

The Nezavisimaya Gazeta’s well-informed source at RAS’s presidium said: “There are signs President Vladimir Putin has yielded to us.”

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