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      Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc / 30 July 2002
      Russia: Despite Drain, Some Russian Brains Remain
      • By Francesca Mereu

    The scientific establishment in the Soviet Union was one of the largest in the world, boasting one-third more scientists than in the United States. It was not only superiority in numbers; Russian scientists were considered among the world's best. Much has changed since the fall of the Soviet Union more than a decade ago. Funding is no longer a priority, and many scientists have fled abroad. In the second of a two-part story, RFE/RL finds out how much respect Russia's scientists command today, and what role they are playing in the international arena.

    Научное сообщество в Советском Союзе было одним из самых больших в мире. И это не было только количественное превосходство. Российские ученые считались самыми лучшими в мире. Многое изменилось со времени распада Советского Союза. Сократилось финансирование науки , и многие ученые уехали за границу. Во второй части повествования Радио Свободная Европа/Радио Свобода (RFE/RL) рассказывается об отношении к российским ученым в России сегодня и о их роли на международной арене.

MOSCOW, 30 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Scientific advancements were strongly supported by Soviet ideology, but after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, science was removed from the list of the state's top priorities. It was considered more important to revamp the old Soviet political and economic systems than to help the scientific community develop further.
During the past 10 years, Russian science has suffered a precipitous decline in financial support. Many Russian scientists left the country to find better-paying jobs, while others left science to work in other fields. As a result, many experts predicted the imminent demise of Russia's scientific prowess.
Irina Dezhina, a senior researcher at Russia's Institute for the Economy in Transition, said that for each Russian scientist who emigrated, another 10 left science for another sector of the Russian economy.
Dezhina said that some 800,000 scientists practiced their profession in the Soviet Union. Today, she said, only about 426,000 of them are still working in science. An estimated 10,000 to 30,000 scientists left the country.
Boris Saltykov served as Russia's minister of science and technical policy from 1991 to 1996. He said that on the one hand, the brain drain has diminished Russia's scientific potential at home. On the other hand, he said, the spread of Russian science is positively influencing the world scene. The talents of Russia's scientists are no longer a state secret, he said, but are instead being shared with foreign colleagues. "One of the signs of the new time is that the number of articles Russian scientists published together with foreigners has grown substantially.
Earlier, there were fewer. We published [our articles] in our journals, and [foreigners] in their journals. In this context, on the one hand, Russian influence has diminished [since Russia has fewer researchers]. But on the other hand, it has grown because now Russian science is more integrated with Western science," Saltykov said.
Dezhina agrees, saying that Russian cooperation with Western researchers is having a positive impact on both sides. As an example, Dezhina cited the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), an American foundation with grant programs designed to support Russian scientists. In these programs, American and Russian scholars work on projects together, with each team working in its own country.
Dezhina said U.S. and Russian scientists meet occasionally and visit one another's laboratories. In this way, she said, Russian scientists have the opportunity to use modern American equipment, and American researchers are exposed to the Russian experience.
Dezhina asked both American and Russian physicists, after three years of working together on a CRDF project, to assess the impact of their collaboration. She spoke about her findings. "For the American side, it was very important - [it was] like number one - [to be exposed to] Russian expertise in this field, and the methods they learned from their Russian colleagues. So I think that it is in their mutual [interest] to look for such programs. For the Russian side, it was also the expertise, but more importantly, it was access to the American equipment we don't have," Dezhina said. Dezhina said Russian scientists are contributing to international scientific advancements by sharing their knowledge with the world. For example, she said Russia is still considered strong in physics, mathematics, computer sciences, and genetic molecular biology. Dezhina said Russia is unique. In comparison both with Western countries and the countries of the former Soviet Union, the level of foreign participation in Russian research is very high, and the growth of such participation is unprecedented. Vitalii Lissotschenko is the head of LIMO, a German firm that produces micro-optics and laser systems. Lissotschenko, a physicist specializing in optics, left Russia as soon as he felt there was no hope to develop his skills further at home. Lissotschenko attracted German investors and founded LIMO. He said the level of Russia's scientific expertise is still high, for the time being, but that scientists lack the financial means to achieve results. "In Russia, scientific potential existed, it still exists and, I believe, it will remain. The theoretic level is very high. But because of financial problems, it is very difficult for our people to get practical results in their work," Lissotschenko said.
Lissotschenko said laboratories in Russia are capable of performing top-quality work but that such research is slowed by what he called an "elementary lack of equipment."
Aleksandr Karasik agrees. He is a professor at the Moscow Engineering Institute and a researcher with the Laser Department at Moscow's General Physics Institute. Karasik said Russian scientists now have the chance to receive foreign grants and work with foreign colleagues, but that this money is not helping them improve their professional expertise. "Money [from foreign grants] is not enough to improve our scientific level. With that money, you can't buy modern equipment. It is some support. You can buy a personal computer. But modern science is based on very expensive equipment. What we had in Soviet times matched the international level. Now [our equipment] is not at that level, and year by year the gap between us and the [world's] leading scientific countries is growing bigger and bigger," Karasik said. Petr Zverev, head of the Laser Department at the General Physics Institute in Moscow, looks at the situation with more optimism. He said Russian scientists are playing a great role in international scientific circles, despite the poor equipment they must work with. "Very often, we go to conferences to report our results. In Europe and in America, people listen to our results. Yes, of course, we cannot perform and experiment at a high technological level, but we can use our heads and think up tricky solutions that can show international science [the value] of our achievements," Zverev said. But Karasik said the Russia scientific community is resting on its laurels. For example, one of the most positive recent events to occur in the Russian science establishment was the 2000 Nobel Prize in physics, awarded to Russia's Zhores Alferov. But Karasik said the prize was given for work Alferov had done 20 years earlier.
According to the Center for Political Information, some 800 to 1,500 scientific inventions and processes were certified every year in the Soviet Union. Today, it says, Russia certifies only some 100 inventions and processes annually.
Lissotschenko said Russian science could improve with the help of foreign investment, but he said the country doesn't offer enough guarantees to attract investors. "We may build a firm in Russia, like the one we have [in Germany]. We may also make some investments in [Russian] technology. But first of all, the conditions are such that it is impossible to have guarantees for our investments. [Second,] it is difficult to buy land or to build a firm on sites with developed infrastructures. But if there is some initiative on Russia's part, and some guarantees, we are ready to take the issue into consideration," Lissotschenko said.
Many Russian scientists are making ends meet thanks to contacts they have with foreign universities. Today's average salary for scientists in Russia varies from $60 to $100 per month. Foreign grants add some $200 to $600 per month, Dezhina said. Moreover, such grants are not subject to income tax or value-added tax.
But Saltykov said many laboratories in Russia are still not accustomed to the new reality. "What Russian science lacks is good modern management. Most leaders in science today are Soviet leaders. They were able to organize work, to spend money, when the money was given by the state. But they don't have experience at all on how to find money, on how to find orders. Some of them complain that they don't know how to write grant applications. They complain that they have to spend too much time writing proposals. But it is normal life [for scientists] in the West,"
Saltykov said. Saltykov said there are research centers that work at the highest levels because they have good managers who know how to procure the necessary funds. Indeed, the most successful Russian research institutions get more than 25 percent of their budgets from foreign sources.

©(c) 1995-2002 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc., All Rights Reserved

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      Business Wire / Monday, July 22, 2002 8:06 AM EST
      Department of Energy Selects View Systems, Inc. as Industry Partner for Joint U.S./Russia Project
      Департамент энергетики выбрал компанию View Systems, Inc в качестве партнера для осуществления совместного российско-американского проекта

BALTIMORE, Jul 22, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- International Program to Keep View Systems' Future Products Competitive View Systems, Inc. (OTCBB:VYST - News), a premier provider of specialized products for the security and surveillance industries, today announced that the U.S. Department of Energy has selected the company as its industry partner for a joint U.S. and Russia project called The Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention Program (IPPP) to enhance U.S. national security.
View Systems currently has the most advanced weapons detection technology in the world and will work with IPPP Russian scientists to further develop future threat detection technology for the global marketplace, based on View Systems' s SecureScan(TM) Concealed Weapons Detection System. Funded through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the cooperative IPPP program is designed to enhance U.S. national security and nonproliferation objectives by cooperatively engaging former Soviet weapons scientists, engineers and technicians involved with weapons of mass destruction, or underlying technologies, on non-weapons related projects, "This new program fits precisely with our intermediate-term technology sourcing strategy and will help SecureScan remain competitive in the future," said Paul Reep, president and chief operating officer of View Systems, Inc. "The Department of Energy has significant and demonstrated technological capability. Combining their strengths with a counterpart entity in Russia creates a technology engine for View Systems that is unmatched in the world today." While several other U.S. Government initiatives are also aimed at preventing weapons of mass destruction proliferation, the IPPP program has a unique approach. It seeks to create a phased process to move beyond cooperative research and development to eventually form commercial partnerships between U.S. industry and the former Soviet facilities.
Two entities are used to pursue commercialization: The Inter-Laboratory Board (ILAB), made up of members from ten of the DOE National Laboratories, initiates contacts with the New Independent States (NIS) institutes of the former Soviet Union and performs capabilities evaluations and technology assessments.
The United States Industry Coalition (USIC), comprised of participating U.S. companies, evaluates commercial potential of the proposed projects. USIC promotes those that have the potential to be cost effective to implement, that are attractive to investors, and would be commercially viable. View Systems has also been invited to be a member of USIC.
About The Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention Program (IPPP)
The Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention Program, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is a cooperative program designed to enhance U.S. national security and nonproliferation objectives by cooperatively engaging former Soviet weapons scientist, engineers and technicians currently or formerly involved with weapons of mass destruction (or underlying technologies) on non-weapons related projects; as well as identifying and creating non-military commercial opportunities for former Soviet weapons of mass destruction related technologies.
A population of 60,000 former key Soviet weapons scientists, engineers, and technicians have been subject to sharp government funding cutbacks at their research institutes since the demise of the Soviet Union. Since program inception in 1994, institute-by-institute and scientist-by-scientist, the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention program has engaged 10,874 NIS scientists, engineers and technicians: 5,372 engaged in currently active projects (an increase of almost 2000 from FY1999).
About View Systems, Inc.
View Systems, Inc. (OTCBB:VYST) is a premier provider of specialized products for the security and surveillance industries, providing unparalleled protection to customers worldwide. The company offers weapons detection and surveillance products for security and law enforcement professionals, military, government agencies, schools and universities, event and sport venues, corporations, commercial businesses and residential customers. Core to these products are the company's expertise in digital video/image processing, facial and other biometric verification technologies, as well as system integration, electronic packaging and assembly.
The company's flagship product is the SecureScan Concealed Weapons Detection System that incorporates a safe, sensing technology with video and image recognition capabilities. This award-winning product uses a walk-through portal that can detect and accurately pinpoint the location, size and number of concealed weapons, such as knives, box cutters and guns, while allowing personal items like pocket change, keys, pens to pass without alarming the system, greatly improving security checkpoint screening efficiency. View Systems is headquartered at 1100 Wilso Drive, Baltimore, MD 21223; Tel: 410.646.3000; Fax: 410. 646.0987 and at www.viewsystems.com. The company's channel management includes an extensive network of resellers, OEMs, dealers, product representatives, licensees and strategic alliance affiliates worldwide.

© 2002 Business Wire

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    A&G Information Services / Thursday, July 25, 2002 10:19 PM EST
    Physicists from Gatchina (Leningradskaya Oblast) Will Earn on China

    Институт ядерной физики им. Константинова Росийской академии наук (Гатчина) и институт ядерной физики и химии инженерной академии в Китае заключили контракт на 1,5 миллиона долларов, по которому российская сторона спроектирует, построит и поставит в Китай три нейтроно-подводящих системы для нового реактора, а также обучит китайских специалистов работать на новом оборудовании

ST.PETERSBURG, Russia, Jul. 22, 2002 (A&G News via COMTEX) -- The Konstantinov Institute of Nuclear Physics, of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Nuclear Physics and Chemistry of the Engineering Academy of China concluded a $1,5 milliion contract.
Russian side will project, produce and supply to China three neutron-leads for the new reactor, and also will teach Chinese personnel to work with the new equipment. Total neutron-leading system 150 meters long will 2-3 time sincrease experimental possibilities of thereactor.
Russian Institute of Nuclear Physics has at present 40 different agreements with USA, Switzerland, Germany and Finland; most of themare of scientific character (personnel exchange).
The contract with China for supply of theequipment is the first such contract of the Institute. URL:www.aginform.com.

© 2002, A&G Information Services, all rights reserved

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      Nature / 04 July 2002 V. 418. p. 65 - 68
      Muted climate variations in continental Siberia during the mid-Pleistocene epoch
      • A.A. Prokopenko, Douglas F. Williams, M I. Kuzmin‡, E. B. Karabanov, G.K. Khursevich & JOHN A. Peck

The large difference in carbon and oxygen isotope data from the marine record between marine oxygen isotope stage 12 (MIS 12) and MIS 11, spanning the interval between about 480 and 380 kyr ago, has been interpreted as a transition between an extremely cold glacial period and an unusually warm interglacial period, with consequences for global ice volume, sea level and the global carbon cycle. The extent of the change is intriguing, because orbital forcing is predicted to have been relatively weak at that time. Here we analyse a continuous sediment record from Lake Baikal, Siberia, which reveals a virtually continuous interglacial diatom assemblage, a stable littoral benthic diatom assemblage and lithogenic sediments with 'interglacial' characteristics for the period from MIS 15a to MIS 11 (from about 580 to 380 kyr ago). >From these data, we infer significantly weaker climate contrasts between MIS 12 and 11 than during more recent glacial-interglacial transitions in the late Pleistocene epoch (about 130 to 10 kyr ago). For the period from MIS 15a to MIS 11, we also infer an apparent lack of extensive mountain glaciation.

© Nature © Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 Registered No. 785998 England

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      Asia Pulse / Thursday, July 25, 2002 8:32 PM EST
      Taiwan-Russia Association to Be Inaugurated: MOFA

TAIPEI, Jul 26, 2002 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- The Taiwan-Russia Association (TRA), jointly organized by heavyweights in the academic and business circles of both countries, will be inaugurated July 27 in Taipei, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official announced Thursday.
Francis T.N. Chang, Director-General of MOFA's West Asian Affairs Department, told a press conference that the TRA will join hands with Taiwan's representative office in Russia - the Taipei-Moscow Economic and Cultural Coordination Commission (TMECCC) - to step up exchanges and cooperation.
TMECCC was set up in Moscow in July 1993 to promote bilateral relations, while Russia opened its representative office in Taiwan - the Moscow-Taipei Economic and Cultural Coordination Commission (MTECCC) - in December 1996.
The TRA, the brainchild of the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), a private think tank, will be a non-profit organization aimed at boosting bilateral exchanges in the fields of economy and trade, science and technology, banking and finance, culture, aeronautics and space industries, arts and energy resources.
About 60 individuals and representatives of companies and organizations, including TIER President Wu Rong-i, China External Trade Development Council President Shea Jia-dong and Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park Administrator Lee Chieh-mu, are expected to be founding members of the association.
Following its inauguration, the association will launch a series of major projects for the boosting of bilateral relations, such as organizing "Russian Week" activities, large-scale shows of science and technology, tourism, historic relics and objets d'art, as well as inviting Russian performance groups to visit the island.
In addition, it will sponsor academic symposiums in cooperation with domestic and Russian institutions and will invite influential Russian politicians, scholars and business leaders to make fact-finding visits to Taiwan or deliver lectures. According to a CNA dispatch from Moscow, MTECCC Chairman Oleg I. Lobov left for Taipei Tuesday to witness the TRA's inauguration, during which he will deliver a speech on the development of bilateral relations.
Lobov and other Russian liaison officers, including Vladislav Verchenko, director of the MTECCC's Taipei Office, and Alexander Bimkin, the MTECCC's deputy director in charge of business affairs, attach great importance to efforts to bolster Taipei-Moscow relations.
Prior to his departure, Lobov told CNA that the Russian government is expecting to promote substantive exchanges with Taiwan in various sectors. He said he will take the opportunity of his visit to Taipei to meet and persuade Taiwan business leaders to increase their investments in Russia, singling out the real estate market and the establishment of top-end business clubs in Moscow as the best investment targets.

© 2002 Asia Pulse Pte Ltd

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Продолжение дайджеста за ИЮЛЬ 2002 года (часть 2)
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