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Monday, February 26, 2018

Russia — birthplace of elephants

Mr. President, in reading this letter, you will be delighted. Might even start cheering. The letter is wonderful, smart, absolutely accurate and very Patriotic. It is a pity that we have nothing to do with it. This time we just Homer: are you the words of others.

They said American Professor at the economic forum in St. Petersburg. On the forum you were in, but the speech of Professor Graham was not you; maybe it’s better: all felt free. Your long-standing colleague Gref listened attentively, smiling and nodding in agreement. And how can we not agree?

photo: Alex geldings

Lauren GRAHAM. Why Russia does not benefited from the brilliant work of its scientists and engineers? Why continues to grow the gap between States that have reaped the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution, and those who are not able to do it?

Lauren GRAHAM. The reality is that Russia is one of those countries that definitely are unable to reap the fruits of the fourth industrial revolution. Little Switzerland every year, exports 3-4 times more high-technology products than Russia. Why?

Russia has such a talented creative researchers. Why with so many scientists in Russia can benefit economically from their research results?

There is a key difference between invention and innovation. Here you have invented something on the desktop or in the laboratory. Nothing similar was not there before. We congratulate you: if you were able to do it — you are an inventor! However, the innovator is different. Innovation means to take this invention and make it commercially successful. And successful not only for you but also companies where you have implemented.

The contradiction and strangeness that the Russian is amazing invent and very bad innovate.

Here are a few examples. Russian scientists belong to two Nobel prizes in the field of laser technology. But now there is not a single Russian company, which would occupy any significant place in the market for laser products and technologies.

Light bulb invented in Russia. In fact, Thomas Edison got the idea from the Yablochkov, a Russian scientist. But then, American companies have cornered the market and no Russian company with them did not compete.

Popov, a Russian scientist transferred information to the radio before Marconi. But today Russia has no any significant success on the international market of electronics.

Russia launched the first artificial Earth satellite. But today, Russia has less than 1% of the world market of telecommunications.

Russia was the first created by the hands of Sergey Lebedev electronic digital computer in Europe. But who buys Russian computers today?

Another example, he is little known. The oil industry in recent years has experienced a revolution in the technology of hydraulic fracturing oil reservoir. But no one remembers what the process was invented by Russian. I can show you scientific articles from the early 1950s, where they are 100% justified, the process of fracturing oil reservoir. With this technology you have no one did. I can this list go on and on.

The crucial question why Russian so well to develop scientific and technological ideas and so much trouble with it to extract economic benefit? The answer lies not in the lack of talent of Russian scientists and engineers did. The answer is that in Russia has not been able to build a society where brilliant achievements of citizens turned to economic development of the country. All Russian leaders from tsarist times to the present day — believed that the answer to the problems of modernization is the technology itself. Believed that the answer is in technology, not in the socio-economic environment.

This lack of understanding was very clearly shown a few years ago when I arrived in Russia with leading scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT).

Many Russians asked: how to catch up with MIT to develop the next big sensational scientific things. But the MIT scientists said the key to the success of their Institute not just in the MIT culture, but U.S. culture in General.

What kind of cultural elements that allow ideas to develop into commercially successful enterprises? It is a democratic form of government. The free market is where investors need new technology. Intellectual property protection, control of corruption and crime. The legal system where the accused has a chance to justify himself and prove his innocence. Culture that allows criticism, allows for independence. It is possible to fail, but try again. Here are some of the “intangible” characteristics of innovative companies.

But the Russians, with whom we spoke, especially in colleges and universities, did not understand these points. And they continued to ask specific questions: nanotechnology, information technology, three-dimensional printing. They asked what specific technology can bring success. Finally tired of these questions, the rector of MIT, Mr. Reif turned to his Russian counterpart and said, “You need milk without a cow!”

At the moment, the leaders of Russia trying to modernize, but, unfortunately, in line with its predecessors, the tsars and Soviet leaders. They try to separate technology from socio-political systems. They says he supports SKOLKOVO, the ambitious and expensive clone of Silicon valley. But at the same time (I have to say it, sorry) they forbid the demonstration, they suppress political opponents and entrepreneurs who have accumulated enough power to challenge them. They skewed the legal system to their advantage. They sign laws that accused Russian cooperating in scientific research with others. They support authoritarian regimes.

Such a policy can only lead to the emergence of a society where people pull in their shoulders, fearing to be punished. Upgrading means for them, unfortunately, getting new technologies in case of refusal from economic and other principles that these technologies promote and lead to success. They want the milk without the cow. And remains to this policy, a scientific genius of the Russian people, whom I respect so much, will remain economically unfulfilled.

Left American Professor, Lauren Graham, right, Chairman of Sberbank German Gref. Graham Gref in half.


Mr. President, the words of Professor Graham, it is obvious that he sympathizes with our country, admired by our scientists. It is well said, but he said nothing new. Thousands of people told the authorities of tsarist Russia, said in the USSR, continue to talk to you personally. How many letters we wrote to you about this! And what’s the point?

Hundreds of thousands of scientists have gone and leave simply because can’t implement their ideas. And there was an innovator once it has achieved a significant success, they would lose business.

Comrade Stalin in the third minute speech Graham awarded him the order of Lenin for the fact that this American Professor recognized — hurrah! yay! our priority in the invention of radio and light bulbs! The entire middle of the twentieth century we fought for this recognition. And they laughed at us, wyszukiwanie, saying that Russia — Motherland of elephants.

But in the ninth minute, comrade Stalin ordered to shoot the Professor because he dared to say that the sad state of our science and innovation achievements — the result of the Kremlin’s policy.

Prepared and sent

Alexander MINKIN.

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