“Agents” in the World of Science: Spymania Sweeps the Country

posted 16 Jun 2013, 08:24 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 16 Jun 2013, 08:45 ]
10 June 2013

Source: HRO.org (hro.org)
By Dmitry Elovsky 

The infatuation with spies can flare up not only in secret underground laboratories located on the edge of the earth, but also in the south of Moscow on a country estate, which is now the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, abbreviated to ITEP. Leaders of this research center are concerned about leaks of information , and are looking for spies among their colleagues. 

The Institute, which has recently been engaged in fundamental research involving the use of heavy ions and nuclear medicine, was recently transferred from the jurisdiction of Rosatom to the supervision of the Kurchatov Institute.

And at the same time the struggle started against foreign agents and their grants, in Moscow an American spy was detained, and legislators began to think about how to protect the country from harmful Western NGOs with their grants.

ITEP also began tightening the screws by limiting research trips, travelling to conferences, collaborating with youth scientists and even working with students and school children. They also threatened to fire all employees with contracts abroad.

The conference in honour of the 100th anniversary of the legendary Soviet physicist Isaac Pomeranchuk was held in the Institute. However, the conference was not given international status. It is almost impossible for a foreigner to get permission to enter the territory of ITEP.

As a result, the conference participants were only people with Russian citizenship. A small celebratory event was held at another institution and only two foreigners attended: Luciano Maini from CERN and the renowned Swiss scholar Henrik Leutwyler.

For the head of the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics at ITEP, Aleksander Gorsky, this is not the first year that he has struggled to ensure that the leading institute in Russia did not turn it into a closed Stanlinist research camp. 

The state is beginning to monitor the work of scientists more closely and their contacts with foreigners. Recently the government approved new rules governing the manner in which Russian scientists can receive foreign grants.

Now an organization that wishes to issue a grant for some project must ask prior permission from the Ministry of Education and Science, provide a substantial package of documents, and explain what the purpose of the project is.

Meanwhile a key ITEP staff member has resigned. Mikhail Danilov is a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and one of the most cited scientists in Russia. 

And since we have had the so-called “case of the experts” connected with the Yukos affair, as a result of which the outstanding economist Sergei Guriev left the country, perhaps soon we shall hear all about the "case of the theoretical physicists." 

Source: TV Dozhd