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Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Academy of Sciences remained without the President


“The question is whether the Academy to maintain autonomy within the state, remains controversial,” said corresponding member of RAS Vladimir Mironov, sharing his impressions of the incident with the election of a new President of the RAS. Elections have been postponed from this Wednesday to the fall, candidates, including the current head, academician Fortov, fizzled, requires the Cabinet to decide. In what may be the “new scheme” appointment of the head wounds?

The Chairman of the Duma Committee for education and science Vyacheslav Nikonov in comments to the TASS has not confirmed media reports that members allegedly discussed the bill on the appointment of the head of the Russian Academy of Sciences by the decision of the President of Russia. In the Committee “there is no such bill,” said the Deputy Nikonov. “I about it heard nothing” – said the head of the profile Committee.

“Rectors of the University of Moscow in pre-revolutionary Russia had the right to appoint the Emperor. Another thing is that it this right is rarely used”

Now, as you know, the President of RAS is elected by vote of the academicians and corresponding members of Russian Academy of Sciences.

This established procedure has stalled. On Monday, all three presidential candidates ran – the current President of the Academy Vladimir Fortov, Director of the Institute of molecular biology. V. A. Engelgardt, Alexander Makarov, and the Chairman of the Board Russian Foundation for basic research (RFBR), Director of the Institute on laser and information technologies of RAS Vladislav Panchenko – decided to withdraw their candidatures.

As reported TASS, initially at the General meeting Makarov and Panchenko confirmed that refuse to participate in elections, thanking them in nominating candidates for the post, and the current President of the RAS, Vladimir Fortov, has also decided to withdraw from participating in the elections, not wanting to “remain uncontested candidate.”

The annual General meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences the majority of votes decided to postpone the election of its President (which was to take place this Wednesday, 22 March) in the fall of 2017.

When discussing the stalemate in the leadership of the Russian Academy of Sciences and reported on the replacement of the election of the President of the Academy of his appointment by decision of the head of state.

“Quite a revolutionary change ready”

Scientific Secretary of the RAS Mikhail Paltsev said that the state Duma is preparing amendments to the law on science that will directly affect the procedures for the appointment of the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “You can talk about the analogy with the Moscow and St. Petersburg universities, where leaders are appointed by the President of Russia. Is there enough revolutionary changes are prepared, in any case, those materials, documents that I have seen. In April, the law is already supplied to the Committee, not much time left”, – quoted the words of the head “Interfax”.

Scientific Secretary of the RAS suggested that the law may be adopted by the state Duma in spring session. In other words, it is possible that in November the new President of the RAS will pass already under the new scheme.

Scientific Secretary of the RAS Mikhail Paltsev believes that he mentioned “the new scheme” (which, in his opinion, and will be tested in the fall) might look like this: General meeting of the Academy selects a few candidates for the post and sends it to the President, who will choose one of the candidates.

“It’s not very good, it is necessary that they somehow decided”

On Monday, the head of the government Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting with Deputy Prime Ministers expressed concern with the situation around the election of the new head wounds. The Prime Minister instructed, if necessary, to provide academics with legal assistance. “It’s not good that they (academics) are somehow determined”, – he said.

Initially about the situation with the elections of the head wounds Medvedev reported Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

“Was subordinate to Kovalchuk”

It is significant that the day before the current President, academician Vladimir Fortov, opposed the changes forthcoming elections to the Academy. “I am against this approach. Want to change the rules, but in the next election. However, some changes, the Bureau decided to make. For example, we added a day to the discussion of candidates,” – said FORTS in an interview to “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”.

This Friday it became known that a number of academics, including one of the candidates for the post of head of the RAS, academician Vladislav Panchenko, took the initiative to postpone the presidential elections of wounds at a later date due to problems with the procedure of their conduct. In particular, Panchenko is not satisfied that the Charter has no mechanism of selection of candidates, their nomination and discussion.

In this edition of “Kommersant” notes that academia itself Panchenko considered the main rival Vladimir Fortov, “because it is subordinate to the head of the Russian research center “Kurchatov Institute” Mikhail Kovalchuk, a person close to President Vladimir Putin.”

Recall that the previous elections of the President of RAS was held in may 2013. In voting took part about 1.3 thousand members of the Academy. Vladimir Fortov scored 58.3% of the votes, thus succeeded Yuri Osipov, who headed the Academy from 1991 to 2013. Its competitors, academicians Zhores Alferov and Alexander Nekipelov, got 26.3% and 10.9% of the votes respectively.

In December of last year the Presidium of the RAS approved the detailed description of the procedure of presidential elections. In February 2017 were entered amendments to rules of elections allowing to vote for only one candidate.

Fortov promised not to run in November

Corresponding member of RAS, Dean of the philosophical faculty of Moscow state University Vladimir Mironov, who was present at the meeting of the Academy, shared with the newspaper VIEW his impressions.

“Some candidates were not satisfied with that as the basis for selecting the presidential candidates of the RAS was taken as a ranking, in this case an advantage, as a rule, has the current President. They demanded that the selection of candidates was made from scratch, and in this case, the procedure would be more transparent,” he said.

According to Mironov, at first, all three candidates, including Fortov, acted in solidarity and withdrew. “Was created a conflict. Then there was a need to postpone the election after further amendments to the Charter of the RAS. It was proposed to hold the elections in November.

Then Vladimir Fortov had asked at the meeting to remove himself from the position of head wounds and to appoint until November acting someone else. The Assembly disagreed and voted to FORTS remained the acting head of the RAS until November,” continued the scientist.

Now, according to Mironov, all these decisions of the meeting must be approved by the government, which is also to the scientific community a bit unusual. “Now until November Vladimir Fortov remains acting President, however, he said at the meeting that is unlikely to be nominated for this post in November,” – said Dean of the philosophical faculty of Moscow state University.

Whether Academy autonomy?

As for the idea about the appointment and the approval of the head wounds directly by the President of the Russian Federation and proposals of the Prime Minister to provide legal assistance, it reminded Mironov in the Soviet and Russian period the Academy was famous for its autonomy and power in her case rarely intervened.

“On the other hand, if the Duma to change the law, nothing much will happen. This is acceptable practice. Those of rectors of the Moscow University and in pre-revolutionary Russia had the right to appoint the Emperor. Another thing is that it this right was rarely used and often addressed to the academic Council. I think the question of whether the Academy to maintain autonomy within the state, remains controversial,” he says.

Doctor of political Sciences, Professor of the RSUH Sergei Chernyakhovsky, in turn, also notes that even in pre-revolutionary times, the government in the activities of the Academy to intervene could not. In his opinion, if we represent the Academy as something subordinated to state structures, it would be wiser if her office had intervened personally by the President.

“Although I personally think a more efficient Soviet model, when the USSR kept a relative autonomy from the state. Besides, now already is FANO (Federal Agency of scientific organizations), and because the autonomy of the RAS is relative”, – said political scientist newspaper VIEW.

On the other hand, said Chernyakhovsky, appointment directly by the President of the rectors MSU and LSU strengthened the position of the rectors themselves. “Now the leaders of universities have become more independent in relation to the other structures. If the President of the RAS will be approved by the President, the Academy will be less dependent on government,” – suggested the expert.

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