Academicians fear reform may kill ‘oasis of freedom and democracy’

Adaptions of Image from of Element 118 Atoms

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 9, 2013) Academicians may draft their own amendments to the bill reforming the Russian Academy of Sciences, Academy corresponding member and Economics Institute Director Ruslan Grinberg said.

“This reform is a sore subject; we may draft our own amendments….The main attack is being made on the Academy’s self-government. Even assets do not matter. Sure, these are expensive assets and we do not quite understand why some other people can manage them better than us,” Grinberg told a press conference at the Interfax central office on Tuesday.

In his words, the Academy is letting go of some of its redundant premises.

“We are letting redundant space go – this is 5% or 6% of our means but we have to pay for electricity, heating and the like,” he said.

“The entire civilized world understands that only the scientific community is entitled to evaluate results of research,” Grinberg said.

“And here this is being done under the pretext that public servants will manage money. Whole volumes of reports are submitted to them but they do not read the reports and this is only right because they will never understand what it written there,” Grinberg said.

Evaluation of Academy works by public servants “would be absurd”, he said.

In the opinion of Grinberg, the Academy reform may also harm the freedom of thought.

“The Academy has always been an oasis of free thinking and democracy in this country, and it will be very sad if this oasis is gone; this will be sad for all. The political aspect is also important: after all, we are building civil society and we have a big deficit of democracy, which should not be increased even more,” he emphasized.