This Date's Issues: 4353
Johnson's Russia List
8 June 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Interfax: STATE DUMA APPROVES FLAT INCOME TAX OF 13%.
2. Interfax: RUSSIAN UPPER HOUSE AMENDS BILLS ON REFORMING ITSELF.
3. ANSA (Italy): Russian Experts Warn of Tension With NATO Over
4. Edward Lozansky: Sergei Rogov to speak in Congress.
5. Moscow Times: Andrei Zolotov Jr., Jewish Leaders Plagued by Kremlin
6. PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: RUSSIA AND THE UNITED STATES.
(With Stephen Cambone, John Pike, Michael McFaul, and Edward Lozansky)
7. Nezavisimaya Gazeta - Nauka: Yelena Mirskaya, RUSSIAN SCIENCE
IN THE MIRROR OF SOCIOLOGY. Empirical Studies of 1994-1999.]
STATE DUMA APPROVES FLAT INCOME TAX OF 13%
MOSCOW. June 7 (Interfax) - The Russian State Duma has approved the
flat 13% income tax rate proposed by the Cabinet.
Lawmakers suggested different variants of the tax during the second
reading of the income tax chapter of Part 2 of the Russian Tax Code.
Duma Deputy Speaker Georgy Boos of the Fatherland-All Russia faction
suggested a progressive-regressive scale with a 12% rate for yearly
income less than 300,000 rubles, a 20% rate for yearly income of
300,000-600,000 rubles and a 15% rate for annual income greater than
Chairman of the Duma Budget Committee Alexander Zhukov suggested a
two-level income tax scale with a 12% rate for annual income less than
120,000 rubles and a 20% rate for a larger yearly income.
Some deputies advised leaving the rate as it is.
All the suggestions were turned down and the government's variant
Debates on the income tax chapter are continuing at the State Duma.
The Cabinet submitted tax proposals, including the 13% income tax
rate, to the parliament in late May. The Cabinet believes people with a
large income do not pay the income tax because of the high rates. It has
also been suggested not to tax the minimum income of 300 rubles.
A three-level income tax scale is in effect in 2000 in place of the
five-level scale of 1999. The maximum income tax rate is 30%. A tax of
12% is collected from an annual income of up to 50,000 rubles, a 20% tax
is collected from an income of 50,000-150,000 and a 30% tax is collected
from income exceeding 150,000 rubles.
RUSSIAN UPPER HOUSE AMENDS BILLS ON REFORMING ITSELF
MOSCOW. June 7 (Interfax) - The Russian Federation Council passed
amendments to bills aimed at reforming it on Wednesday.
Under the agreements, each region will send two representatives to
the council, one appointed by the governor and the other elected by the
regional legislature. The term of each Federation Council member will
end with that of the body he represents.
The status of the Federation Council member will be defined by
federal legislation to be worked out by the president and the State Duma
The law on the formation of a new council will take effect on
February 1, 2001 and the formation will be brought to completion no
later than two months after that. The new Federation Council will meet
for its first session on April 10, 2001. The head of state will open the
The Federation Council also wants regional governors to retain
parliamentary immunity after they cease to be members of the upper
Russian Experts Warn of Tension With NATO Over Baltic
(ANSA) -- Rome, June 5 -- Russian President
Vladimir Putin sees a greater emerging threat from chemical and
biological weapons using various delivery systems rather than nuclear
arms, the director of a leading Moscow think-tank said here today.
The seminar on Russian strategic issues organised this afternoon by
Limes, a geo-political strategy magazine, was also warned that Putin
would act more firmly if Nato tries to expand further into the Baltic.
"Rather than just blathering on as Boris Yeltsin did, Putin would be
able to find adequate responses in prevention and reprisal," said
Vladimir Rybakenkov, a Russian diplomat.
Experts at the seminar pointed out that Nato's role in the Baltic has
been a continual source of tension with Russia, not least because of the
naval base at Kaliningrad.
The director of Moscow's Centre for Political Studies Vladimir Orlov
told the seminar that Putin believes the main threat comes from terrorist
groups, but also 'proliferator states' such as Iran and North Korea.
The threat concerns Russia much more than the United States, Orlov
added, saying that Russia offers a "window of vulnerability" to chemical
or biological attack.
Orlov said Russia could decide to make "joint efforts" with the US on
the problem, even if they have yet to reach an agreement on it.
He also repeated that one solution could be Putin's proposal for a
local and limited anti-missile system to take care of delivery systems
that could include missiles.
"But the ABM treaty must be maintained without any change," Orlov
quoted Putin as believing.
Rybakenkov made the same point, telling the seminar that the treaty
has to be maintained because deployment of anti- missile interceptors
throughout the US could "destabilise" the Russian nuclear dissuasion.
"We don't want a cure that is worse than the disease," he said,
quoting Putin, also pointing that, unlike the US, Russia has no black
list of 'rogue states'.
He also said that, unlike Yeltsin, Putin is in full control of
Russian foreign policy, which will be "less ambiguous, more predictable,
more comprehensible and more realistic."
From: Lozansky@aol.com (Edward Lozansky)
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2000
Subject: Sergei Rogov to speak in Congress
David, Sergei Rogov, Congressmam Curt Weldon and a group of Russian Generals
will speak on BMD and other important issues on Friday, June 9 at the Rayburn
HOB from 9 to 10.30 am. May I ask you to post the text below on your list.
AMERICAM UNIVERSITY IN MOSCOW & FREE CONGRESS FOUNDATION
Invite you to join in the discussion
"New Stages in US - Russian Relations:
Challenges and Possibilities"
Friday, June 9, 2000 Rayburn House Office Building Room 2456, 9.00 - 10.30
Sergei Rogov - Director of USA-Canada Institute of the Russian Academy of
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA)
Gen. Victor Yesin - Head of the Military Department of the National Security
Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin - Head of the Strategic Missile Defense Institute
Adm. Nikolai Konarev, Russian Navy Staff
Failure of Clinton - Putin summit to achieve any tangible results on BMD and
Putin's proposal for a joint US - Russian and/or NATO - Russian missile
defense dominated the last week's news. This distinguished panel will discuss
the new ideas and proposals which may lead to possible breakthroughs for this
and other important issues in US - Russian relations.
For additional information and registration please send e-mail to:
Lozansky@aol.com (Dr. Edward Lozansky), Tel. 202-986-6010 or to:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert McFarland), Tel. 202-546-3000
June 8, 2000
Jewish Leaders Plagued by Kremlin Politics
By Andrei Zolotov Jr.
The Kremlin's attack on media magnate Vladimir Gusinsky, who is the president
of the Russian Jewish Congress, has had a peculiar side effect: It has
highlighted divisions and fights for influence within the Jewish community,
which some Jewish leaders say are being exploited by the Kremlin for its own
The turmoil erupted last week when Jewish leaders associated with Gusinsky
complained that an unidentified Kremlin official had urged Chief Rabbi of
Russia Adolph Shayevich to step down in favor of Rabbi Berl Lazar, a 36-year
old Italian-born U.S. citizen.
Lazar leads the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, or FEOR, an
organization created in November with the Kremlin's blessings. It was seen as
an alternative to Gusinsky's Congress and appeared to have the support of
Boris Berezovsky, a Kremlin insider and Gusinsky's rival in the media
The Jewish leaders' allegations provoked protests from Jewish leaders here
and abroad against government interference in religious affairs.
Although only a small minority of Russia's Jews are religious and the title
of chief rabbi is largely symbolic, it is nonetheless important to Jews. At
the core of the conflict is a competition among several Jewish umbrella
organizations claiming to represent Russian Jewry before the government and
before Western Jewish organizations, who donate millions of dollars for
Jewish charity, reconstruction of synagogues, the building of Jewish schools
and other aspects of Jewish life.
Mikhail Chlenov, an academic and veteran Jewish leader, said Wednesday he
sees the clash as a spillover of the conflict between the Kremlin and
The attack on Gusinsky's Media-MOST - government-controlled companies calling
in Media-MOST's debts and federal agents raiding its offices - and the
attempt to replace Shayevich are "undoubtedly, links of the same chain," said
Chlenov, who chairs VAAD, the oldest Jewish umbrella organization in the
former Soviet Union.
Shayevich denied he had been pressured by the Kremlin. "This is a
misunderstanding," Shayevich was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying Tuesday at a
news conference in New York. "Even in Soviet times it never happened that
someone called and said you should step down." He confirmed that he had
written a letter to Putin asking for a meeting of Jewish leaders.
Alexander Osovtsov, executive secretary of the Russian Jewish Congress, and
Reform Rabbi Zinovy Kogan both said in interviews that Shayevich had told
them about a visit from a FEOR representative followed by a telephone call
from the Kremlin asking him to step down in favor of Lazar.
According to a copy of Shayevich's letter to Putin dated May 31, obtained by
The Moscow Times, the chief rabbi was left off the invitation list to Putin's
inauguration on May 7 and representatives of the Habad Lubavitch movement
were invited instead. Shayevich received an invitation only after the
"interference of various influential people."
On May 31, the letter said, Shayevich "learned from official sources" that
FEOR, whose religious leaders are Habad, intends to organize its own
congress, with the blessing of the presidential administration, and elect its
own chief rabbi of Russia. "Of course, I have no intention of doing it
[stepping down]," Shayevich wrote.
Osovtsov said Tuesday in a telephone interview from Israel that Lazar is not
qualified to be the chief rabbi. "The chief rabbi of Russia has to be an
adult and has to speak Russian well. He also should represent mainstream
Judaism and not one of the movements," he said.
The conflict underscores the denominational division within religious Jews.
On the one hand, there is Kogan's Congress of Jewish Religious Communities
and Organizations, or KEOOR, which has under its auspices about 100 groups
belonging to moderate orthodox Judaism, mitnaggedim, and the Reform movement.
Chlenov's VAAD unites about 200 religious and secular Jewish groups.
Shayevich - a 62-year-old Russian-born rabbi who has led the Moscow Choral
Synagogue since the early 1980s, was appointed by the Soviet-era Council for
Religious Affairs and appeared never to irritate the government - is
recognized by both as the chief rabbi.
Gusinsky's Russian Jewish Congress, formed in 1995, bills itself as a
nondenominational organization set up to fund allbranches of Jewish
activities in Russia. It also recognizes Shayevich as chief rabbi. There is
one more umbrella organization - Jewish National Cultural Autonomy, which is
co-chaired by Shayevich, Chlenov and Osovtsov.
On the other hand, there is the ultra-orthodox, energetic and well-funded
Habad - a Hasidic group that traces its roots to 18th century Russia but has
its modern center in Brooklyn, New York. Its veneration of its late leader as
a messiah is not accepted by other Jews, whose doctrine was formulated in
opposition to Hasidism. But Habad leaders in Russia, who have been among the
most active Jewish missionaries in post-Soviet Russia, cannot accept the
presence of Reform Jews. Lazar, rabbi of the Lubavitcher synagogue in Maryina
Roshcha, has built a remarkable Jewish community center and spread his
activity throughout the country. He led a group called Council of Rabbis of
the CIS and founded FEOR. FEOR was set up to register Habad communities under
the 1997 religion law, but its widely reported founding congress in November
was seen as the Kremlin's and Berezovsky's attempt to steal the show from
"I don't know what Berezovsky's role in it really was, but objectively they
[FEOR] found themselves on Berezovsky's side," said Leonid Lvov, a Jewish
human rights activist from St. Petersburg.
In an interview Wednesday, Lazar denied any connection with Berezovsky, who
he said "did not give us a penny." Lazar said he would cooperate with
Gusinsky's position as a Jewish leader has helped his business contacts.
"Gusinsky was the first to understand that the doors of influential bankers
and businessmen in the West would open in front of him more often if he
controls the activities of Jewish organizations in Russia,"
Berezovsky-controlled Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote earlier this year.
At a news conference Wednesday held at the government-owned RIA Novosti news
agency and reported in detail by pro-Kremlin television news, FEOR leaders
portrayed themselves as a national, nondenominational Jewish organization.
They said about 80 communities belong to their organization and downplayed
contradictions between the umbrella organizations.
"In a huge country like Russia, there can be as many Jewish organizations as
possible," said Mikhail Gluz, president of FEOR.
Lazar recalled a meeting with Putin in which the president told him about his
Jewish neighbors in a communal apartment and summarized that he was
well-disposed toward Jews. St. Petersburg religious Jewish community leader
Mark Grubarg stressed that the city never interfered in the life of the
Jewish community when Putin was deputy mayor.
All Jewish leaders and activists interviewed appeared to be saddened by the
scandal around Shayevich.
"All this has nothing to do with the life of the Jewish community of Russia,"
Lvov said. "It has to do with political games, in which both sides happened
to be involved."
Gluz said FEOR wants to hold a congress, but not to elect a chief rabbi. A
more important goal, he said, is to ease tension within the Jewish community.
PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
RUSSIA AND THE UNITED STATES
June 5, 2000
After a background report, Ray Suarez leads a discussion analyzing the
first-ever summit between President Clinton and Russian President Vladimir
RAY SUAREZ: And for more get four views. Stephen Cambone is director of
research at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at National Defense
University, though his views he expresses are his own, he is staff director
of the commission to assess the ballistic missile threat. John Pike is an
analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, a Washington think tank.
Michael McFaul is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace, and assistant professor of political science at Stanford
University. And Edward Lozansky is president of Russia House, a consulting
firm; he was born in the Ukraine, educated in Moscow, and is now a US
RAY SUAREZ: Let's get your views on whether this is a weekend that the
president can look back on and feel satisfied, accomplishment? Stephen
A successful summit?
STEPHEN CAMBONE, National Defense University: I don't think there were any
real accomplishments at this summit with respect to the major issue which was
the ABM Treaty. In fact, in certain respects it was a step backwards. The
President in a statement he made reference to has reaffirmed a cold-war
relationship with the Soviet Union -- now with Russia, that is to say, based
on mutual deterrence, and he has failed to find a formula for moving us ahead
to deploy the type of defenses we are going to need while at the same time
reducing offensive forces.
RAY SUAREZ: Edward Lozansky, do you agree? No accomplishment?
EDWARD LOZANSKY, Consultant: No accomplishment. We hear empty rhetoric about
how America wants Russia to be a democratic and free nation. So far we didn't
see any moves which actually can allow that. Russia indicated several times
that it wants to be a member of NATO. Now President Putin says he wants to
develop a joint missile defense. All those reproaches were rebuffed by NATO
and by President Clinton. So I don't see any accomplishments at all.
RAY SUAREZ: Michael McFaul?
MICHAEL McFAUL, Carnegie Endowment: Well, Ray, I think you have to invite us
back in ten years' time and ask us. I say that because whether this is a
success or not depends in large measure whether Russia does become a
democratic state and a market economy oriented towards Europe. If it does,
then we'll go back and we'll look at Clinton's speech to the Duma and say
this guy was really looking far into the future. He sees that this is a
precondition towards doing these other things. If ten years from now Russia
is a normal democratic state, arms control won't be on the top of the agenda
and we won't call meetings between Russians and Americans summits. We'll call
them working groups much like we do with Great Britain or France. That will
be a true test as to whether this was a success or a failure.
JOHN PIKE, Federation of American Scientists: It was clearly a failure in
terms of the way the Clinton administration has defined its strategy on
dealing with Russia over the last several years. Basically the Clinton
national security team thought this was going to be a replay of the March
1997 Helsinki summit where the Russians had complained about American missile
defense plans, complained about our plans to change the ABM Treaty and then
at the very last minute had gone along with the American proposals. I thought
that... I think they thought they were dealing with the old Russia of Boris
Yeltsin, really didn't understand that they're dealing with a new Russia
that's a lot more assertive than the Russia they were dealing with in the
MICHAEL McFAUL: I disagree. I don't know of anybody in the Clinton
administration who thought they were going to go sign a deal on national
missile defense in this meeting. This is the beginning of a long
conversation, both in this country and with the Russians, about this. I think
it's very good news that they didn't quite frankly because we haven't had a
debate about this here. How can we negotiate something with the Russians? And
with regards to joint programs which, in principle I'm in favor of, but only
if Russia is a friendly nation to the United States. Right now they're
somewhere in-between. You've heard it in the rhetoric. An enemy or an ally,
they're somewhere in-between - it's uncertain - there was real uncertainty in
the way that Clinton talked about Russia's future. Until we know that we
can't sign a deal to do it jointly and until we decide what we want to do
about national missile defense, it's premature to talk with the Russians
RAY SUAREZ: Edward Lozansky, I'm interested in your idea that not much
happened when the president the of Russia seems to have moved from absolutely
no to well maybe we can talk about it when it comes to a missile defense
Russia and the U.S. missile defense system
EDWARD LOZANSKY: Not just talk about it. I can see it - this is more than we
can expect. He offered the United States to have joint missile defense and
this is what we are indicating now for three years and finally president of
Russia accepted and America rebuffed and doesn't even want to mention it.
Senator McCain mentioned yesterday on Meet the Press mentioned that Russians
have nothing to contribute to missile defense; this is not true. Russian
can't contribute money; they don't have money, but they have great brains and
science and with American capital and Russian brains I think this system can
be much better than America on its own.
RAY SUAREZ: But let's go further on missile talks. There seems to be wiggle
room as the Clinton team leaves Moscow, more than there would have been two
or three months ago.
STEPHEN CAMBONE: I don't think so. I think - in fact -- quite the opposite.
Yes, it is true that Mr. Putin has talked about a cooperative effort, but all
the signs are that it is for a much less capable system called theater
missile defense, and it is a notion, if I dare say so, that was on the table
in 1992, when the Clinton administration came into office, and so it's
interesting that Michael would say that the Russians are now somewhere
between being partner and an adversary when the administration came to
office, we were well on the path to having them as partners. We leave with
the administration locked into an impossible negotiation with them in
treating them as adversaries. This is an odd turn of events. For the Russians
now they're in a very difficult position. They make an offer like this for
the purposes of constraining what they think we are going to do without, in
fact, any leverage over this process, because they know in the end that both
Vice President Gore and Governor Bush have said that they are going to go
forward with this missile defense system.
RAY SUAREZ: But why is that considered adversarial when every official
pronouncement from American appointees or officeholders is this system isn't
about you, it's about smaller states that may try to -
JOHN PIKE: One thing is that basically the Russians aren't getting any
respect; we're going to them and telling them what is going to happen. We're
basically dictating to them and they don't like that simply as -- an attitude
towards an awful lot of about arms control is negotiating, sort of mutual
respect - that's been absent in the negotiations. The Russians are also
concerned that if we basically immunize ourselves from smaller states like
Iraq or North Korea, that we might be predisposed to embark on military
adventures, and that's going to upset the global balance of power. They're
also concerned that it seems we come back to the table every couple of years
to chip away at the ABM Treaty, and maybe the systems we're talking about
today don't bother them, wouldn't undermine their deterrent but you don't
have to go too far down the road and look 10 or 15 years in the future and
basically see a situation in which we've immunized ourselves from everyone
else's nuclear force, why don't we do it to the Russians as well?
MICHAEL McFAUL: And precisely the 10 to 15 years part of that comment is what
I meant when I said we'll have to wait ten to years to 15 years because in
ten to fifteen years Russia has integrated into the European Union-and let me
note one other thing: Clinton in Germany changed the policy by saying we want
to leave the door open for both NATO and the European Union. That has never
been said before by the American President. If 10 to 15 years down the road
Russia has no intention to get into a nuclear contest with the United States,
then it really won't matter. That, to me, is the key part about Russia's
future and U.S.-Russian relations, not whether we have an agreement today on
national missile defense.
Democracy in Russia
EDWARD LOZANSKY: Well the reason I think Michael is talking about Russia
failed as a democracy, I think to some extent America is at fault. Because in
91-92 Russia was open to America and wanted to be a strategic partner and
America didn't deliver. We didn't back it up with money. All this American
aid is laughable. We spent it later, when we bombed Kosovo. Now we're going
to do missile defense results Russia asking to join. So I think that almost
on every point on Russian democracy, I agree with Michael.
MICHAEL McFAUL: Russian democracy hasn't failed yet. The failure is the
Russians have failed to create democracy in Russia.
EDWARD LOZANSKY: But America was Professor, Russia as student. America was
professor. When the student fails it's also the fault of the professor. I
know this because I teach a course. If my students fail, it's also my fault.
RAY SUAREZ: Wait, I'm interested in this tone of pessimism because here we
had an American president flying to Moscow to meet a popularly elected
47-year-old up through the party ranks to high office guy. A new Russia. Why
are you guys so down on what seems to be a real crystallization?
EDWARD LOZANSKY: We're not down, we're waiting for new people in the White
House because this administration failed. So we're waiting for new people.
That's the great thing about democracy, so you can expect new people.
JOHN PIKE: One thing that has changed in the case of the Russians is that
we're not dealing with the Yeltsin administration, that we're dealing
evidently with a Clinton administration that is bent on restoring some degree
of dignity and respect for Russia. The bottom line is over the last ten
years, the American government, the American political system, has treated
Russia as the sick man of Europe who has fallen and can't get up. It
basically may complain about things but at the end of the day is going to do
exactly what they're told. Now it is not normal for a large, great country to
act that way. I think what we're seeing is the reassertion of Russia as a
normal state that is able to define its interests and act according to those
interests. The Clinton administration, I think, had a strategy that assumed
that at the end of the day the Russians would do what they were told, the way
the Yeltsin administration did on previous ABM arms control negotiations. I
think that we have to deal with the fact that this is a new Russia, a new
leadership and they're starting to act like a normal country that isn't
always going to do what they're told.
Russia's relationship with the next U.S. president
RAY SUAREZ: But isn't it also a country with real deep-seated troubles when
it comes to things like protecting its stock pile, monitoring its weapons,
patrolling its own air space, regulating its economy?
JOHN PIKE: That's why these small agreements are important. Because it's
evidently concerned that we want to keep Russian plutonium in Russia and out
of Iran. I would have been a lot happier if they had implemented this
agreement two years ago when they originally signed it. The thing was
basically put on hold for two years because of kazoo. I would be a lot
happier if it was the 50 tons they agreed to originally rather than the 34
tons now. I'd be a lot happier if it was the rest of the plutonium. There are
a lot of things that they could have done two years ago that they should have
done now that I hope they are going to do in the future. I would not
underestimate how important it is.
RAY SUAREZ: So is the table set for the next President, Stephen Cambone?
STEPHEN CAMBONE: I think it probably is. I'm doubtful that we can get from
where we are to any kind of an agreement that would bee satisfactory to the
two sides. On the issue of teaching, it is important to think about what we
are teaching by the big agreements we're proposing, because by sticking to
the ABM Treaty, by sticking to the concept of offensive deterrence as the
basis of the strategic relationship between us, what we are teaching our new
partners is that we expect a certain kind of relationship with them. And the
administration has not broken that mold. It consistently pushes that line off
argument. I think they may end up reaping what they sow. Consequently we have
to wait for a new administration, it's either going to be the Gore or the
Bush administration which is going to have to make a clean break if they hope
to get the kind of missile defense we'd like to have and the kind of
relationship we want with the Russians.
RAY SUAREZ: President Putin said he's ready to work with both of them.
EDWARD LOZANSKY: The new president has to decide do we want Russia as a
strategic partner or not? So far we only hear empty words, rhetoric. If
America wants Russia as a strategic partner, it can be achieved. My
information or my sources I go to Moscow all the time, Russia is ready to
become America's strategic partner. America is not ready to accept Russia as
such. When America is ready, then this can dramatically change.
RAY SUAREZ: Quick comment, Michael McFaul.
MICHAEL McFAUL: For that to happen Russia has to act like a strategic partner
- has to act like a democracy that is integrated into Europe. That is the key
in U.S.-Russian relations. Right now they're indifferent to democracy. Mr.
Putin is indifferent. Whether they go forward or backward will dictate- what
kind of relationship we have in the next decade.
RAY SUAREZ: Gentlemen, thanks a lot.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta - Nauka
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
RUSSIAN SCIENCE IN THE MIRROR OF SOCIOLOGY
Empirical Studies of 1994-1999
D. Sc., Head of Sociology of Science Sector, Institute
of History of Natural Science and Technology, Russian Academy
CURRENT CONDITION OF RUSSIAN SCIENCE.
ATTITUDES AND INTENTIONS OF RUSSIAN SCHOLARS
At the start of the reforms in the early 1990s the
Sociology of Science sector of the Institute of History of
Natural Science and Technology initiated a long-term research
of changes affecting Russia's academic institutions under the
new conditions. Within the framework of this project
sociologists conducted three empirical studies in 1994, 1996
and 1998 respectively, which revealed the actual situation in
Russian fundamental scientific research and enabled the
pollsters to provide an objective assessment of the
transformations in the professional performance of Russian
scientists as well as in their attitudes and aspirations.
The sociologists focused on the leading academic
institutions engaged in advanced research in such areas as
physics, chemistry and biology. It ought to be stressed in this
connection that this article does not describe the general
situation in the Russian academic community, nor does it
provide a profile of "an average Russian scientist." Of the
vast realm of Russian science the studies centred solely on the
area of fundamental research. Moreover, the study of the
post-1994 period was narrowed down to a group of Moscow-based
elite academic institutions. Understandably, the general
nationwide situation is much worse, but the sociologists'
deliberate selection of the given specific academic segment for
research is justified by the fact that universally, it is the
leaders that determine the pace and vector of scientific
How do academics themselves assess the current situation
in Russian science? In the three polls conducted in 1994, 1996
and 1998 respectively nearly 80 percent of the respondents held
the opinion that in the area of fundamental research the
situation had deteriorated to the critical level.
Interestingly, such an opinion related only to the general
situation in the Russian Academy of Sciences as a whole. Only 7
percent of the respondents assessed the general situation as
satisfactory. At the same time, the respondents were much more
optimistic in assessing the situation in their specific field
of research or in their own academic institutions - 30 percent
and 53 percent respectively.
In other words, the more personalised the area of assessment,
the less pessimistic the point of view (see Table 1).
Scholars' assessment of situation in fundamental
research over 1994-1998 period, %
Assessment of In the Russian In the respond- In the respond-
situation in Academy of ents' specific ents' particular
fundamental Sciences as field of academic
research a whole research institution
1994 1996 1998 1994 1996 1998 1994 1996 1998
Satisfactory 7 9 7 16 20 80 34 38 54
Critical 86 81 79 75 68 57 62 57 40
non-existent 7 10 14 9 12 13 4 5 6
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Among the main causes of the ongoing crisis in the Russian
science the scholars singled out the following: underfunding
(75%), continued general socio-economic disintegration of the
country (68%), flaws in the state's policy toward science
(53%), lack of strategic and tactical programs with regard to
re-organisation of the national science (47%). We believe that
the above answers vividly reflected scholars' dissatisfaction
with the country's administrative bodies which had failed to
meet the vital needs of the academic community. At the same
time, the poll revealed lack of the in-depth understanding of
the true reasons which had brought about the current systemic
It is well known that evaluation of quality of scientific
research is a complex problem which hitherto has defied
successful solution. Nevertheless, scholars themselves (at
least, those who work at the elite academic institutions) have
quite a definite opinion regarding the professional value of
all academic achievements in their particular field of
research. The fact that in natural sciences progress comes as
a result of international efforts and accomplishments breeds in
scholars a certain semi-intuitive notion of an "average
international standard" used as a yardstick in evaluating the
quality of individual research work.
As regards evaluation of the quality of their own
research, over three-quarters (77%) of all respondents of the
1994 poll held the opinion that their results were in line with
the average international standard, and, as a matter of fact,
this was indeed so. Unfortunately, in the course of time this
percentage kept falling, with only 73 percent of the 1996
poll's respondents claiming compliance of their research work
with the aforesaid standard. By 1998 the percentage dropped yet
lower to 62 percent.
Similarly decreasing was the number of scholars who believed
the quality of their research to be higher than the average
international level. In 1992 such high achievers comprised 23
percent of all respondents, the poll conducted in 1998 revealed
that their share had shrunk to just 8 percent (see Table 2).
Gradual departure from the internationally recognized quality
standard makes a depressing effect on our researchers'
self-perception, all the more so that to remain on a par in
conditions of an economic crisis one has to exert an ever
increasing effort with every passing year.
Scholars' assessment of own research quality against
the "average international standard" in 1991-1998, %
Assessment 1991 1994 1996 1998
Higher 23 11 9 8
On a par 67 66 64 54
Lower 10 21 24 28
Much Lower 0 2 3 10
Total 100 100 100 100
Most Russian researchers are in a depressed state of mind,
which is quite natural given the dismal economic situation of
the 90s. Still, the depression is not as deep and widespread as
one could have expected. In their answers to the question what
was keeping them in science most respondents (53%) of the 1998
poll named a real opportunity to carry on with their research.
Reluctance to change one's life's vocation which used to be the
leading reason in 1994, receded to the second place (44%) in
the 1998 motivational hierarchy. Almost as many respondents
(43%) hoped for improvement in the condition of national
science (against 47% in 1994, and 36% in 1996). The absolute
majority of researchers do not visualize themselves in any
other field of human activity but science.
Respondents' answers to a direct question concerning their
further plans and intentions leave no doubt that at present the
Russian academic community consists of people sincerely
committed to their vocation (albeit, for different reasons:
some see no alternative to their chosen pursuit in life, others
are just incapable of applying themselves in other areas). Each
of the three studies revealed just 1 percent (!) of respondents
who planned to change his/her professional pursuit and quit
80% to 90% of respondents declared their firm intention to stay
on in the academic community and keep true to their vocation.
Such strong commitment appears particularly impressive against
the backdrop of the miserly remuneration scientists receive for
RUSSIAN SCHOLARS' STANDARD OF LIVING
It is well known that throughout Russian economic reforms
prices have been growing much faster than budget-dependent
salaries and wages. As a result of all the economic
transformations our scholars first became five to six times,
and after the 1998 collapse ten times poorer than they used to
be just a decade ago. Salaries of the absolute majority of
Russian scholars fall far short of the officially proclaimed
subsistence level. After a recent salary rise declared in April
2000 junior researchers receive 550 to 620 roubles and senior
researchers - 880 roubles a month. Additionally, holders of the
candidate of sciences degree are entitled to a 250-rouble
monthly bonus, holders of the doctor of sciences degree to a
Nevertheless, only 79% of the respondents of the 1998 poll
named low rate of remuneration as the main factor of their
dissatisfaction with their work; 57% of the scholars are
dissatisfied with their work because of the shrinking base for
experiments, 53% - for lack of opportunity to conduct
full-scale research, 23% - because they feel their work is not
Against the background of deteriorating condition of
Russian science, some answers to the poll's questions attest to
a certain improvement in the living standards of some scholars.
This improvement, however, resulted not from better funding of
science, but from emergence of grants as a form of selective
financing of individual projects. Grants have brought about
stratification of the academic community and caused many
scholars to combine a few jobs at a time. Indeed, as compared
with 1994, the polls of 1996 and 1998 reveal a much lower share
of scholars not doing special research for extra pay (11-12%
Similarly, the share of scholars awarded domestic grants
increased twofold, and international grants - threefold over
the described period (see Table 3).
It ought to be noted in this connection, however, that
such a marked growth of grant-winning scholars reflected in the
1996 and 1998 polls should to a large extent be attributed to
the fact that these polls targeted a more select focus group
comprising researchers of a number of elite academic
institutions in Moscow, as compared to the 1994 poll. It also
accounts for an increased share of scholars with foreign grants
reflected in the 1998 poll, whereas in reality the number of
foreign grants allocated to Russian fundamental science after
1996 did not rise but, on the contrary, was substantially
diminished. Results of the 1998 poll bear out the latter trend
by showing that while over two thirds (71%) of all respondents
took part in the research backed up by foreign grants in 1996,
less than half of those remained involved by 1998 (see Table 4).
Share of Scholars Doing Extra Research for Extra Pay
in 1994-1998 Period, % *
Extra Income for 1994 1996 1998
Extra Academic Work
Russian grants, programs 31 60 58
Foreign grants, programs 16 46 50
Extra work contracts 24 14 21
Spare-time work at other
academic institutions 13 14 10
Teaching 8 10 17
Lack of extra work 30 11 12
*) Sums in columns may total over 100%, as some scholars
have a number of extra jobs at a time.
Involvement of the 1998 Poll's Respondents
in Research Backed by Foreign Grants in 1996-1998, % *
Involvement in Research 1996 1998
Backed by Foreign Grants
Management of team grants 25 12
Participation in team grants 64 44
Doing individual grant-covered
research 8 3
Lack of foreign grants 29 48
*) Sums in columns may total over 100%, as some scholars
have a number of extra jobs at a time.
By 1998 interest (at least, fundable interest) in Russian
science had significantly subsided, and the volume of foreign
funding of Russian academic research had fallen to a rather low
In general terms, personal wants of Russian scholars are
very modest. Polls show that over half of our academics would
be content with a two - fivefold rise of the current income,
34% with a six - ninefold rise, and mere 13% think that a
tenfold increase of pay is necessary.
The need for real instead of lip-service reforms in
national science was cited by over four fifths of the
respondents, with 38% upholding the necessity for radical
reforms and 44% opting for a strategy of gradual unhurried
transformations. However, very few scholars proved to be ready
to answer the direct question as to what exactly needs to be
changed in the current system of administrative and financial
management of the fundamental science.
MYTHS AND REALITIES OF RUSSIAN SCIENCE
The empirical material contained in the three sociological
studies spanning the greater part of the past decade allows one
to maintain that the real life of Russian scientists is
shrouded in a host of spurious speculations and myths. To a
large extent it is the mass media that have either deliberately
or unwittingly badly misrepresented the actual situation by
cultivating those myths and speculations.
Social and professional status of young scholars. The
early 1990s saw numerous statements about the difficult
situation young Russian scholars had allegedly found themselves
in. Some went as far as claimed that the young scholars were
victims of an all-round discrimination. Then the media rushed
to the opposite extreme and began to paint the picture all rosy
touting plentiful benefits allegedly in store for young
researchers. Yet, neither of the two descriptions corresponded
with the actual state of affairs. In reality, almost half (46%)
of the young scholars covered by the poll received financial
support from various domestic programs and grants. No other age
group was offered as much support, hence all talk of
"discrimination" holds no water.
At the same time, all praise sung on account of certain
particular attention to the needs of young scholars have little
if any substance at all. A special decision of the Russian
Academy of Sciences which, among other things, envisaged, for
example, providing young scientists with appropriate housing
arrangements for the time being remains on paper.
Sociologists were monitoring the situation in the academic
community throughout 1996 and registered a surprisingly small
contribution made by young scholars to the most advanced areas
of scientific research. It means that the existing methods of
support fail to encourage professional growth of the younger
generation, and therefore do not provide for reliable
continuity in fundamental research in the years to come. It was
empirically proved a long time ago that in the area of natural
sciences researchers of 30 to 40-45 years of age work most
However, the sociologists found that in the academic
institutions covered by the polls it was researchers from the
senior groups of 41 to 50 and 51 to 60 years of age that were
the most productive and yielded the best results. Such a
situation is totally abnormal for steady development of science
and is fraught with dire consequences of the "scrape the bottom
of the barrel" effect.
Scholars' 'out-of-lab' earnings. For some reason many
people believe that our scholars are quite well-off, since most
of them have one or more jobs on the side in other areas than
fundamental research. Yet the polls testify to the opposite: if
a scholar does have an extra job it is usually related to his
basic area of research and, consequently, yields but a scanty
Half of our scholars, for all that matter, not only have no
jobs on the side, but refuse to moonlight in principle, as
that, in their opinion, would distract them from their main
pursuit. 30% of scholars would like to get an extra job in
other better-paying areas of human activity but fail to find
one. 20% (mostly young scholars) indeed moonlight in spheres
other than academic science. Interestingly, the percentage
proportions in the described pattern have not changed over the
last five years.
Emigration and migration. The notorious "brain drain" or
emigration of Russian scientists abroad is perhaps the most
acute and at any rate the most media-hyped issue related to the
situation in domestic science. Should one take at face value
everything our press writes on this account, it would transpire
that nearly all Russian scientists have already gone abroad,
with those few who are still here yearning to follow suit. All
such speculations are supported by the reasoning given by those
who had emigrated in early 90s. The emirgres of a decade ago
claimed that science and Russia were two incompatible
alternatives, in other words, once you chose to stay in Russia,
you would have to leave science; alternatively, once you chose
to stay in science, you would have to leave Russia. But
adherence to outdated notions, which do not take into account
substantial changes in attitudes and intentions of our
scientists, helps ensure survival of this pernicious and
damaging myth. In actual fact, the number of scholars wishing
to go abroad shrank tenfold over the 1994 - 1996 period from
20% to 2%. The last two polls show that a large part of our
scholars (40%-43%) do not want to leave Russia, 40% to 45% of
Russian scholars would like to leave the country for some time,
yet by all means would come back later. Only 2%-3% wish to
leave Russia for ever (at the same time, most of the latter
acknowledge that, their plans are unrealistic).
The results of the polls enabled the sociologists to
maintain that by 1996 the academic emigration had changed for
the so-called "pendulum migration." By that time, on the one
hand, all available vacancies abroad had been filled, on the
other hand, the pool of prospective academic emigres had been
almost fully tapped out. Besides, the direct contact with
Western academic practices brought about strong disenchantment
in many of those who had left. Many Russian scholars saw that
their foreign colleagues thought their professional value would
be much higher in the capacity of members of Russian research
teams doing own research at home.
Interestingly, the analysis of all forms of our scholars'
international contacts show that former colleagues engaged in
research work abroad are not lost for their former teams in
Russia, unlike those who have quitted science without leaving
the country. As a rule, even those academic emigres who had
received permanent employment abroad with a stable academic
position to their name retain contacts with their former
colleagues in Russia and frequently help them to obtain grants
for joint research projects. Likewise, they often promote
efforts of our research institutions in establishing direct
contacts with foreign academic centres.
On the whole, over the last decade the number of those
working at academic institutions has certainly decreased,
however, not to such an extent as many tend to think and not so
radically as in the field of applied science. In the 1990-1998
period the Russian Academy of Sciences lost 12,000 scholars or
18.6%, with the number of scholars who left to work abroad
estimated to be about 10%. However, it is virtually impossible
to provide reliable statistics concerning Russian academic
emigration, as many researchers hold short-term contracts which
they usually extend two or more times.
The percentage of scholars who have quitted science for
reasons of a sharp drop of public demand for academic research
is not critical. The damage the Russian science has sustained
stems primarily from loss of quality, not quantity. In
principle, the Russian science would be better off if 20%-25%
more staff would leave to work in other walks of life,
providing, however, that those who have left would belong to
the so-called "dead souls" or the ballast which weighs the
Academy down and seriously impedes further progress.
Unfortunately, there are no miracles, and the realities of our
current socio-economic development continue to stimulate the
most talented and promising Russian scientists to seek work
Web page for CDI Russia Weekly:
to CDI's Home Page I Return
to CDI's Library