|Российская наука и мир|
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)
Два молодых российских магната основали фонд для финансовой поддержки российской науки. В этом году более 200 исследователей получат добавку, которая в 10 раз превышает их годовую зарплату
MOSCOW, -- Two saviors have come to the rescue of Russia's impoverished scientists. Last month, a new foundation endowed with $1 million from a pair of young tycoons announced that more than 200 researchers will receive salary supplements of up to $10,000 this year--as much as 10 times their annual salary. While commending the so-called oligarchs for their generosity, some observers have complained about the secrecy of the selection process.
The money comes from the Public Charity Foundation for the Support of National Science, funded entirely by Oleg Deripaska, the 32-year-old head of the megacompany Russian Aluminum, and Roman Abramovich, a 34-year-old oil industry executive and governor of the Chukotka region across the Bering Strait from Alaska. The new foundation's executive director, Maxim Kagan, says candidates for grants were chosen from among past winners of three academic competitions run by the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin. From this list of names, Kagan says that experts selected winners based on factors such as the number of citations their papers had received.
The 2001 grants went to 10 prominent academicians--including Yuri Kagan, Maxim's father--who each will receive $10,000 this year; 200 young Ph.D.s and doctors (the highest academic degree in Russia) each get $3000 and $5000 respectively.
The selection process was conducted in secrecy--the foundation has even refused to name the experts that helped select winners--and this has prompted some grumbling. "The atmosphere of secrecy may cause suspicion", says Pavel Arsenyev, former executive director of the Moscow office of the International Science Foundation (ISF), a similar charity set up in the early 1990s by U.S. financier George Soros. Arsenyev wonders if the new foundation enlisted any expert advisers at all, and he complains that only RAS scientists appear to have been eligible for the
According to Kagan, even if the new foundation can raise money to continue beyond 2001, the selection procedure is unlikely to become more transparent. He notes that the Nobel Committee also keeps its deliberations secret.
In announcing the foundation, Abramovich and Deripaska said they were moved to act by the parlous state of Russian science. It's also great PR in the power struggles between the oligarchs and Putin over taxes and privatization of state assets, notes the former head of the ISF's scientific council, Vladimir Skulachev. Whatever the political benefits, Abramovich and Deripaska certainly have won the hearts of at least 210 scientists.
© Copyright of Science Now is the property of
American Association for the Advancement of Science
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THE MOSCOW TIMES
Soros Freezes $1.5M in Aid to Avoid Tax
Фонд Джорджа Сороса не будет в этом году предоставлять гранты частным лицам из-за налога 35.9 %, закон о котором начал действовать с 1 января 2001 г. Мораторий не распространяется на предоставление грантов организациям
The Russian branch of U.S. financier George Soros' charitable foundation has frozen $1.5 million in grants, fearing the funds will be subject to the 35.9 percent social contributions tax that came into effect Jan. 1.
Officials from the Moscow office of Soros's Open Society Institute said Tuesday they have suspended their grant payments to individuals this year and were in talks with tax officials to clarify the rules introduced by the new Tax Code. The moratorium does not apply to grants to organizations.
Some experts argued the new legislation does not impose the tax on charitable funding for projects by nonprofit organizations, and said the confusion stems from murky wording in the guidelines that accompany the Tax Code. "The tax authorities worded the text in such a way that the accents are in the wrong place", said Natalya Burtseva, director of the legal department at the Moscow branch of Charities Aid Foundation, an NGO that counsels philanthropic organizations, by telephone Tuesday.
Burtseva said the guidelines, which are used by tax inspectors, cite the text of the law only partially. As a result, some types of payments exempt from the social contributions tax end up sounding as if they aren't.
The confusion has left charitable organizations waiting to see whether amendments will be made. "Charity is an expression of good will. . Nobody wants to run a charity expecting this will include legal suits against tax authorities", Burtseva said.
According to Yekaterina Genieva, president of OSI in Russia, the tax would force the foundation to abandon grants to individuals, which account for 7 percent to 10 percent of the $80 million it gives out annually in Russia.
"Soros doesn't want to pay this tax", Genieva said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
"It would take some $2 million a year from our budget, which would otherwise be directed to charitable causes".
Genieva said the tax could eradicate many good projects.
"Someone will stop fighting drug abuse, some scientists will not be able to attend conferences, someone will stop caring for sick children". An unnamed Tax Ministry official quoted by Interfax said that, under the new code, charitable grants from Russia-based organizations were not tax- exempt, but added that the ministry has appealed to the State Duma and the Finance Ministry to amend the law.
Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko attempted to quell fears about the tax Tuesday.
"We will try to make sure charitable aid coming to Russia is not taxed", she told Ekho Moskvy radio. "It is ideologically wrong people are helping us and we try to tax them".
© Copyright 2001 THE MOSCOW TIMES all rights reserved
as distributed by WorldSources, Inc.
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ITAR-TASS / 03/13/2001
Conference on social policy opens in Moscow
В Москве открывается Всероссийская научно-практическая конференция "Социальная политика в условиях обновления государства: опыт, проблемы и перспективы"
MOSCOW, Mar 13, 2001 (Itar-Tass via COMTEX) -- The all-Russia scientific and practical conference "Real social policy in conditions of state modernization: experience, problems and prospects" opens in the premises of the Russian Academy of Public Service under the Russian President on Tuesday. It will be attended by Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko and heads of the ministries of the social sector.
The conference has been organized by the Russian Academy of Public Service jointly with the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education, the Pension Fund and the Academy of Labour and Social Relations.
© 1996-2001 ITAR-TASS. All rights reserved
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THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES / 03/02/2001
Education Plans Meet National Protests
Преподаватели, профессора и студенты С-Петербурга протестуют против реформы образования, предложенной правительством
Some 4,000 St. Petersburg teachers, professors and students joined a Russia-wide protest Tuesday to picket education reforms suggested by the federal government that could put much of Russian higher education on a paying basis. They also protested for higher teacher salaries and better student stipends, which, according to protesters, barely keep the educational community afloat. The protesters, organized by the Union of Education and Science Workers, gathered in front of Kazan Cathedral bearing banners that read: "Down with paid education", "Down with reforms", and "President, who are you with?" The banners were mainly aimed at suggestions by Economic and Trade development Minister German Gref and Education Minister Valentina Mat vi yenko, who recently floated the idea of standardized testing for students wanting to enter institutes of higher education, similar to the American Scholastic Aptitude Test. Test results would then reflect how much students would pay for their education, with higher scorers being subject to lower tuition brackets - or even a free ride - as well as having a shot at attending more prestigious schools. Under the current system, hopeful students must travel to and sit entrance exams administered at the university or technical institute they wish to attend. Teachers protesting Tuesday spoke out vociferously against the reform plan, saying it would lead to the commercialization of higher education.
But Matviyenko told ORT television Tuesday that the standardized testing system would give more educational opportunities to students who live in far-flung regions, but who don't have the means to travel to specific universities to sit entrance exams.
The reform would also add another year to Russia's primary and secondary education: Children would go to school at age six instead of seven, and the last two years of high school would include preparation for the standardized state exam. Education Ministry press secretary Yury Semyonov added that more specific subject exams - similar to Britain's A level exams, for instance - could be added later.
A first run of the standardized exam will be given this spring in six remote regions across Russia, such as Yakutia in eastern Siberia and Samara in the western Urals.
Should the experiment prove successful, Semyonov said, it will be passed to the Duma as a bill. Semyonov added in a telephone interview Thursday that standardized testing would also foil rampant bribery among students and examiners. This happens, he said, "when parents hire tutors to prepare their kids for entrance exams and then those tutors sit at admission boards as examiners". But Vladimir Kuznetsov, deputy chief of St. Petersburg Education Trade Union, said in a Thursday telephone interview that standardized tests would put children in the provinces - where education is often poor - at a disadvantage to their more worldly counterparts in cities. "Kids from villages will be thrown out automatically", he said.
As for the salary and stipend angle of the protest, Kuznetsov said most teachers live on 30 rubles a day. Their salaries range from 200 to 800 rubles a month, and even though Gov. Vladimir Yakovlev has already earmarked funds to double each teacher's salary, times are still tight. "How can we survive on one-thousand rubles a month? We eat soup for lunch and have a main course only at dinner", said Ludmila Ivanova, a teacher at kindergarten No. 136.
©Copyright 2001 THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES
all rights reserved as distributed by WorldSources, Inc.
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IRKUTSK, March 6 (Itar-Tass) - Siberian scientists have set about creating an ecological atlas of sustainable development of Lake Baikal area, Valerian Snytko, Director of the Institute of Geography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has told Itar-Tass.
ITAR-TASS / 03/06/2001
Siberian scientists to compile Lake Baikal ecology atlas.
Snytko said the atlas would comprise a large series of charts, showing in dynamics the natural conditions and the socio-economic condition of almost the entire area of Buryatia, one-third of Irkutsk region and part of Chita region.
"This is what, according to the Federal Law on the Protection of Lake Baikal, is referred to as the Baikal natural territory, which includes the area of lake proper, the central zone, a buffer zone, and the zone of atmospheric influence", Snytko pointed out.
The scientist said this atlas compilation will become a model for the creation of an ecological atlas of sustainable development of the whole of Russia. Moscow State University has been assigned to coordinate the atlas compilation work under a project of the International Cartographic Associaiton.
© (c) 1996-2001 ITAR-TASS. All rights reserved.
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THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES
Yandex Wins Big At Intel Ceremony
На церемонии, проведенной в Художественном театре им. Горького Российской академией Интернет, представителям поисковой системы Yandex были вручены призы: за лучшую поисковую машину и каталог товаров и услуг, а также Гран российской сети Интернет
The stars were out and not in small numbers at the Intel Russian Internet Awards held at Moscow's Gorky Art Theater last week, with guest presenters including Russian television celebrities Dmitry Dibrov and Lev Novozhyonov.
The nominees were selected by submissions made to the Russian Internet Academy, a body of academics and Internet professionals.
Yandex (www.yandex.ru) made frequent trips to the podium, taking five prizes: the best search engine and catalogue of goods and services, the award for online services, the press prize, the '"Web Chooses You" award - decided by visitors to the ceremony's site (www.nagrada.ru) - and the Grand Prix of the Russian Internet. In addition, Yandex general director Arkady Volozh was named RuNet's man of the year.
The information and sociopolitical category was taken by Gazeta.ru (www.gazeta.ru), a site that claims its news is so fresh that if it were on paper, the ink would always be wet.
Ekho Moskvy (www.echo.msk. ru) won for covering traditional news on the Internet, and its popular program EkhoNet (www. echonet.ru) took the award for reporting Internet news.
In a nod at concerns over keeping the Russian language "clean" and correctly spoken, the Russian Language Information Portal (www.gramota.ru) took the education and science award.
Russia's great architects were given a pat on the back when the Architecture of Russia Web site (www.archi.ru took the art and museums award.
The prestigious literature category was awarded to the Russian Reading Circle Magazine (www.russ.ru/krug).
The online art award, dedicated to Internet-orientated projects by a single artist, went to Darya Tchuzhbina's site (dasha. paragraph.ru).
The Russian Internet Academy created the children and youth category to encourage the development of sites for children. The Virtual Kids Children's Portal (www.vkids.ru) took the prize for its simple, user- friendly design and relevant, well-organized content.
Popular site Zvuki.ru (www. zvuki.ru) was the music victor. Although other online music sites have seen a good deal of publicity in recent months, Zvuki.ru claims to be the largest legal music encyclopedia in Eastern Europe.
The development of Russian e-commerce has been inhibited by the distrust of the banking system and an affinity for making payments in cash. It was, therefore, encouraging to see high-quality players in the e- commerce category. Internet bookstore OZON (www.ozon.ru) walked away with the trophy.
© Copyright 2001 THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES
all rights reserved as distributed by WorldSources, Inc.
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ITAR-TASS / 03/12/2001
Forum of high defence technologies under way in Moscow
- By Alexander Kovalyov and Yevgeny Nikitin
В Москве пройдет второй международный форум по высоким технологиям. Участники форума обсудят пути международного сотрудничества в сфере высоких технологий
MOSCOW, Mar 12, 2001 (Itar-Tass via COMTEX) -- More than 240 enterprises and organisations of Russia, based in 25 regions of the country, are taking part in the work of the second Moscow international forum on high defence technologies, which opened on Monday. It is being attended by representatives from enterprises of the country's defence complex, from Russian and foreign enterprises and organisations specialising in the production of science-consuming goods, from investment funds, financial, crediting and commercial organisations, from financial-industrial groups, banks, and insurance companies.
An international conference will be held in the course of the forum under the watchword: "High Technologies for the Benefit of People and Society". There will be panels to discuss different problems of science and technology. Some investment projects will be submitted. The forum participants will discuss ways to promote international cooperation in the sphere of high technologies. An HT-2001 Exhibition will be put on view during the forum. It will feature products manufactured by high technology sectors of the economy: aerospace industry, machine-building, atomic and power industries, laser, radio-electronic and communication factories, biotechnology, etc.
The forum was organised by the Moscow city government, the Russian Fund for the Development of High Technologies, the Institute of Economy and Complex Communication Problems, the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Expo-Centre Joint-Stock Society.
©(c) 1996-2001 ITAR-TASS. All rights reserved
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Xinhua News Agency
China, Russia Cooperate on High-tech Promotion
Город Томск с его старейшим в стране университетом и город Лиянь (Liaoyang) в северо-восточной провинции Китая заключили соглашение о создании зоны развития высоких технологий для реализации научных достижений
SHENYANG, Mar 7, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Liaoyang, a city in northeast China's Liaoning Province, and Tomsk, a famous university town in Russia, have signed agreement on building a high-tech development zone to materialize research achievement.
According to the agreement, both sides will cooperate on about 200 projects covering coating, new materials, wireless network, and chemical products. So far, implementation of the projects are proceeding smoothly.
Located in Liaoyang, the zone will apply research achievements from the Russian Academy of Sciences and Russian universities.
Sun Liangyuan, mayor of Liaoyang, said the government will encourage cooperation with overseas research institutes. "The city is trying to become the largest base for petrochemical products and chemical fibres in north China", said the mayor.
Government officials also pledged efficient service and favorable policies for the projects.
©2001 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY
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