Over the past five years, Russia has lost about 50,000 researchers, said Valentin Parmon, vice-president of the Russian Academy of Sciences and head of its Siberian branch, recently.
According to him, no country in the world has experienced such losses. “Now, while everyone is talking about technological sovereignty, the future depends on high technology, the problem is that Russia as a state has missed those who can do it,” says Academician Parmon .
Meanwhile, since the beginning of the military aggression launched by Moscow against Ukraine, the Russian Federation, according to various estimates, has grown from 600,000 to more than one million citizens.
According to a Kremlin-commissioned survey of students at more than 500 universities, a third of students said they wanted to leave Russia, including 58% at the HSE, Important Stories recently reported.
It is obvious that the departure of scientists from the country will have a negative impact on the state of Russian science, says Dmitry Dubrovsky, lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University in Prague (who previously taught at the Higher School of Economics and the Smolny Institute of St. Petersburg State University). At the same time, he continues, it is not easy to objectively assess the current situation.
“Sociologically, it’s not very clear what ‘deceased’ means,” he said in an interview with Russia’s American media service. – A person who has gone abroad and is working remotely from there – what category does he belong to? Those who sold everything before leaving, quit everywhere and closed all projects, in fact, there are not too many of them.
First of all, two main categories leave, explains Dubrovsky: “The very young and most active personnel who understand that their future is not in Russia. Because science and education are the most oppressed there. Another category is that of those who, in one way or another, have been involved in international networks, and can generally count on work or support from the international scientific community. And, finally, a very small part – those who are directly persecuted in Russia for civic activities.
Moreover, the expert points out, emigrant scientists are the most professional and competent specialists in their field.
“It’s a double blow to Russian science and education,” Dubrovsky said. – The present that made Russia part of the international scientific community is disappearing, because it was these people who provided the necessary coordination. Moreover, it directly affects the future, as young people who see no prospects for themselves in their home country leave.
Since 2010, Russia has been investing less and less in science and education, recalls the scientist.
“According to the latest data,” he explains, “it lags behind the world’s leading countries in terms of investment in science and education by about 2-4 times. In the Russian budget, about one percent of GDP is allocated for these purposes, and in Israel, in my opinion, about 4.5%. The Kremlin, in words, would still need science. But that’s just puffing out the cheeks. In fact, they want to put science and education on a war footing, and all other areas are considered non-priority and sequestered.
The number of people from the scientific community who have left and continue to leave Russia is difficult to count, underlines Evgenia Chirikova, coordinator of the Activatica.org portal.
“Sometimes it looks like the mastermind is being kicked out of Russia right now,” Chirikova said in a commentary for Russian service American media. – My husband and I no longer have any of our young scientific friends in Russia. All of them – the most patriotic – have long been abroad. The war in Ukraine greatly increased the exodus of educated young people attracted to science from the country. There are only people of the older generation left, those who are already afraid of radically changing their lives.
Obviously, this is a trend, the reasons for which are quite understandable, continues Chirikova: “If a person has intelligence, he will never want to put up with what is happening in Russia: with these Z symbols , with a mouth on which the authorities hang a padlock. Under these conditions, there is no need to talk about the real technological development of the country.
However, this is a long-standing issue and complex in nature, she said.
“20 years ago, when my husband and I had our own engineering company, we were engaged in serious developments, especially in the field of lightning protection,” recalls Chirikova. – And even then it was noticed how many scientists moved, for example, to America. They moved, of course, not from a good life. So, to get a job at a nuclear power plant, you had to … buy a license for 10,000 dollars. Basically, to bribe. Therefore, the level of engineering personnel engaged in the maintenance of the nuclear power plant was close to disaster. And this is not an exception, but the rule. Problem with object design. Therefore, the growth of man-made disasters, and the further, the worse.
Underfunding of science and education has become commonplace, says the Russian ecologist. “Now, she explains, because of Western sanctions caused by the war in Ukraine, there is less and less money in the country’s budget, and therefore also for science. Miracles don’t happen. The main question is whether the Kremlin will realize that a protracted war is a super expensive affair that drags the country down. There are serious doubts about this. »
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