Russian Science in Dire Straits

MOSCOW, December 7 (RIA Novosti) – Russian science is in crisis, mainly due to underfunding and the lack of a coherent national development strategy, according to a report from the Russian Science Promotion Association (RSPA), a non-governmental organization that advocates on behalf of science.

The report, prepared under the supervision of Yevgeny Velikhov, RSPA head and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, says Russian science continues to significantly lag behind international research standards, is experiencing an acute personnel shortage, is affected by bad organization and bureaucracy, and has serious problems in following through on innovation.

“Overall, the current state of Russian science can be described as catastrophic,” the report said.

Science has been crippled by pervasive commercialization and the growing divide between a manager’s personal success and national interests.

Television only contributes to the problem, the report continued.

“Numerous programs broadcast on federal channels on subjects requiring professional expertise that are conducted by unprofessional hosts with unprofessional participants undermine the authority of professional knowledge,” it said.

These programs create the illusion that anyone can solve serious problems, “regardless of education and practical experience,” it says, adding that one devastating result is the elimination of the “cult of knowledge” in mass consciousness.

There is a pressing need to develop a coherent scientific-technical policy based on long-term strategic development priorities, the report concludes.


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