Author: Anastasia Bashkatova

(By Anastasia Bashkatova. Nezavisimaya gazeta, Nov. 24, 2016, p. 4. Condensed text:) [Russian] President Vladimir Putin is convinced that he should manage the work of the Academy of Sciences. And there are grounds for this. Russian science is 80% funded by the [federal] budget, presidential aide Andrei Fursenko recalled yesterday. Russia is the absolute [world] leader in terms of the amount of federal money spent on science and development as a percentage of gross domestic product.. . .

It amounts to 0.4% of Russia’s annual GDP, according to data from the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecasting (CMASTF). For comparison, direct government funding of science and development in the US is less than 0.25% of GDP, and in China, it is less than 0.1% of GDP. Granted, some countries extensively use indirect tax incentives for business expenditures on R&D.

It was said during yesterday’s meeting of the [Russian President’s] Science and Education Council, chaired by President Vladimir Putin, that more private capital needs to be raised for research and development. "Today, science is almost 80% funded from the budget. This runs completely contrary to international practice and hinders the development of science as a whole," presidential aide Andrei Fursenko said.. . .

The real sensation at yesterday’s meeting was Putin’s sparring match with Russian Academy of Sciences head Vladimir Fortov. The president recalled that late last year, he requested that [government] officials "refrain from standing for election as new members of the Academy of Sciences." According to him, "people holding state posts, particularly at the higher levels, are busy doing their jobs, or at least should be if they take their jobs seriously." "Otherwise, they are incapable of doing their jobs and would only have time for scientific pursuits in their free time, which hardly exists at all for people working conscientiously in administrative positions," Putin said.

However, the president ...

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