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#26 - JRL 2007-Special Edition - JRL Home
Scientist: Russian Official Secrets Law Needs Changing

MOSCOW. Sept 22 (Interfax) - The secretary of Russia's Public Chamber on Saturday insisted on changing the Russian law on official secrets, arguing that, on the one hand, it provided poor protection for classified information and, on the other, innocent people were ending up in jail.

"Our law on state secrets is in a very unsatisfactory state: we provide poor protection for real state secrets but at the same time we have scientists who are in jail. I am convinced that it is wrong that some of them should be in jail, though they are there on absolutely legal grounds," Academician Yevgeny Velikhov, a prominent scientist, told a Public Chamber meeting.

He also argued that this law was a brake on scientific progress.

"We should bring this issue before the new government and the presidential Council for Science and Technology. The Public Chamber should also do some serious work on this law," he said.

"Within the next 10 years, the number of scientific research projects will grow by a factor of between 20 and 30, and about 50% of them will be carried out in the United States," Velikhov said.

"Discoveries resulting from fundamental research will not be kept secret from other countries except those that are directly related to defense. It is countries that can build a system of use of fundamental discoveries that will be the winners," he said.

"If a country has no fundamental research, everything else will be third-rate. Russia is the only developed country to have no plan of fundamental research," Velikhov said.