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Saturday, March 17, 2018

At a closed meeting with Putin academics opposed to the “law of three candidates”

With a request not to approve the amendment to change the election procedure of the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences in September, appealed on Thursday the Russian academicians to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. The bill on preliminary approval of all three candidates were approved by the government of the Russian state Duma recently.

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photo: kremlin.ru

Recall that the scandal with the elections of the head of the Academy of Sciences this year began with their cancellation on March 22 when three of the academician Vladimir Fortov, Vladislav Panchenko, Alexander Makarov withdrew their candidacies under pressure from the presidential administration. The pretext by which academics “advised” to cancel the election was almost far-fetched: lack of a democratic election system – from wounds demanded to make the necessary changes, associated with “greater openness” and “equal opportunities”, and the event was moved to September 2017.

The Academy has modified the provision that candidates could nominate a diverse group of members of the Academy, giving each at least 50 of their votes. It was assumed that such nominees will be typed 6-7 people who will hold on equal terms pre-election debate, will announce their programs, so that after the General meeting of RAS academicians voted for one of them. While I worked on my situation, came the idea to amend the law reducing the maximum number given for the winner of the votes from 2/3 to 50% plus 1 vote, that is, until a simple majority, otherwise it risked to disrupt the elections because of the complexity of set 2/3 of the votes. However, after making this proposal to the Duma, there also came another bill from the faction United Russia with another amendment: the state’s desire to have an opinion in the election. It was suggested that the approval of candidates, a kind of filter in the form of members of the government, which starting from the specific criteria, in particular, “livable, or quarrelsome candidates” (this was told by one of the authors of the bill, Gennady Onishchenko) could prevent the election only three candidates from the General list.

Academics passed the bill with hostility, which is not surprising – they wanted greater democracy, but instead led to the actual appointment of the President of the government. A group of academics sent to the Duma requesting not to accept the amendment, and to hold elections in the old way, without reducing the number of candidates and preventing them from no filters.

In this regard, President Vladimir Putin for the second time in the last 30 days received the academicians of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) in the Kremlin to discuss changing the way of electing its leader.

According to those present at the meeting, ex-President of RAS Vladimir Fortov, the conversation lasted 2.5 hours. Had a long informal conversation about the fate of the Academy of Sciences. Official decisions at the meeting were not accepted. Vladimir Putin gave the floor to each of the 25 participants and listened to their opinion. The questions dealt mainly with the two main problems of the Academy. The first is the reform of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The General consensus was to look for ways of integration of the RAS and FANO. Discussed technical proposals – how to do it without breaking the law. The second topic was the election of the President of the Academy. According to most opinions, it is necessary that the elected head wounds claimed by the President. The idea proposed in the last bill of the state Duma is to select three candidates from the long list according to certain criteria, were also discussed by participants. Academics spoke out against the limitations of the three candidates. Vladimir Putin promised to think over the problem.


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