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Science clothed in rags takes heart,/knocked down with a swear word from almost all homes. (Antioch Kantemir)
These lines have stayed in my memory since the 6th grade, since 1959. Our beloved teacher of Russian language and literature, Klavdiya Ivanovna Kolesnikova, Klavushka (if she is alive and by chance reads this article, a low bow to her!) told us of the first Russian poets, Kantemir and Trediakovsky1. And we, the children of the atomic and space ages, understood the meaning of these lines unambiguously: here is what it was for science and learned people of Russia in the first half of the 18th century, in the unhappy years after Peter the Great!
I was then studying in Krupskaya Elementary School N 193 on Baskovyy Lane. By the way, in the same year, 1959, seven-year-old Volodya Putin entered the first grade of our school. For three years until we graduated elementary school in 1962 my classmates and I often encountered the current President of Russia on school stairways and in the corridors. We walked past, ran past, and wore out one another. Possible Klavushka also taught him after us.
I maintain a friendship with two classmates, guys beaten down by life, have grayed, and when we rarely meet we sometimes discuss this interesting fact over a bottle, but in passing and without any special enthusiasm. And, generally speaking, I will treat our President calmly. I do not plan to accuse him of any one of the current abominations which other writers have obsessively done. The truth is, the present time, more accurately, a hard time, will inevitably go into history under the name of the Putin Era and here I can only sympathize with my former classmate.
Here I want to share some thoughts about this new unhappy time with the reader. But inasmuch as I do not have the poetic gift of Antioch Kantemir I will have to do with dreadful prose.
In the summer of 2006 there was a discussion about the intelligentsia in the newspaper Izvestiya, what it essentially is, whether one was left in present-day Russia, and whether one was needed at all. The majority of the participants expressed quite standard opinions but sometimes there was a curious one. For example, writer Maria Martens, comparing starving intellectuals with Vasisualiy Lokhankin2 wrote scornfully: "Whose howl is going up? The unsuccessful Soviet-style intellectuals who couldn’t adjust to new times? Of course, for those who couldn't find their place in the new Russia it remained only to discuss the end of the intelligentsia". We, they say, are the lords of thoughts, we suffer for the people, but the owners of candle works don't think much of us. Martens is convinced that real intellectuals are those who swim in the stream of the current wild capitalism and achieve success, that the real intelligentsia is being born right now: "It is able to work, it loves life, and it knows what it wants to achieve. But the whiners, who are accustomed to living on state subsidies, alas, do not blend into the picture of modern life".
There is no need to discuss what M. Martens understands as success. Her tone speaks for itself, everything is clear. We note only that the sputtering of the lady writer did not become the first pearl of the discussion. Rock musician Grebenshchikov produced a genuine pearl. In his understanding, the intelligentsia "are the fortunately few strata of people whose disordered state of sexual life does not permit them to perceive the harmony of the Universe". Okayyyyy. Here the now-unfashionable Komsomol poet Jack Altausen (who died at the front in 1942) who addressed this Philippic to a certain long-haired poet, unwittingly comes to mind: "Now the lyre is worth nothing, it's in the trash until it rots. The poet wanted to replace the dilemma of the world with the harmony of nature!"
But what is the "dilemma of the world"? Everyone, literally everyone, from the President to the homeless man in the basement, knows the main one of them very well. Oligarchs and pensioners, intellectuals and illiterates, know; honest workers and bandits, unbelievers and those who consider themselves believers know. And at the same time, as a rule, people find it difficult to reply to such an easy question, but if they are reminded they agree but shrug their shoulders. Insofar as it, the main dilemma, is perceived by an absolute majority as something natural. Of course, we are talking about the dilemma between an intelligent person and his mortality.
Of all the living creatures only Man is conscious of the end of his life. "He ought to know of the death sentence written when he was born", said Marshak3. The entire history of civilization is the history of Man's protest against this sentence. Back 5000 years ago Gilgamesh, the hero of the Sumerian tale inscribed in cuneiform on clay tablets, was tormented by the question: why do the gods who gave Man reason did not give him immortality? And the whole means which short-lived Man is able to resist the creeping oblivion, his only weapon in the battle for his immortality, is creativity. It is not accident that among all the names of God created by different people there is only one that is also applied to Man, CREATOR, AUTHOR.
Those, to put it politely, oddballs who whine, "Oh, how much evil there is from scientific and technical progress! Oh, if it had never happened!" are not in a position to understand that progress is gradual and that the liberating release of Man from the "universal harmony" in which Homo Sapiens was only a naked two-legged animal with an abnormally abundant brain and is somewhat inferior to any rat in the sense of adaptability to environmental conditions.
In present-day Russia the concept of a Scientific and Technical Revolution popular in the '70s and '80s has been forgotten. But therefore we, in one-eighth of the world, cannot remember that the Scientific and Technical Revolution in the leading countries did not stop. Informatics is transforming all fields of activity and nanontechnologies have quickly appeared which promise an unprecedented technological revolution. Finally, biology is becoming the leader of scientific progress in the world. The achievements of genetic engineering are opening real prospects that in the next century, even if not in several decades, a considerable extension of human life beyond the limits set by nature will become possible. The pitiful question of Gilgamesh, the main question of civilization, is beginning to be solved by science.
All progress has depended and depends exclusively on creative people, intellectuals. But they are different, under a different sky. Entire libraries have been written about how Russia differs from the West. We won't delve into this bottomless problem, we will pay attention only to one factor. A type of intellectual with an entrepreneurial vein is common in the West. Devoted scientists (Bohr and Curie) are also no rarity there but those like Nobel, Edison, Gates, or a new billionaire, the founder of Google, system, our own emigrant Sergey Brin, remain engines of scientific and technical progress.
It is another matter in Russia. Scientist businessmen and inventor businessmen do not spring up in our climate. It is no accident in the Encyclopedia Britannica along with the article "intelligentsia" for a long time there was a special article, "Russian intelligentsia". The compilers of the encyclopedia identified a special type of personality characteristic of Russian intellectuals with their feeling of public duty, culture, humanism, and conscientiousness. Scientific and technical progress in Russia has always been accomplished by dedicated people. Our type of scientist is Nikolay Vavilov4, who said: "We will go into the fire, we will burn, but we will not abandon our convictions!". It is Sergey Korolev5, who on the eve of his disastrous operation asked the doctors: "Give me another ten years of life, I have to be able to bring people to the planets!". The great scientific and technical victories of the country (by no means just in space) in the thawing '50s and '60s were provided by those dedicated people from whose necks from Stalinist noose had been relaxed. But then the so-called stagnation came.
Let's remember just a little more detail about it. In 1974 the Western radio voices attacked Soviet listeners with the thunderous article of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Obrazovanshchina [Translator's note: "pseudo-intelligentsia"], his unique manifesto against the intelligentsia. According to Solzhenitsyn, the absolute majority of Soviet intellectuals of that time were not intellectuals at all but obrazovanshchina, those who feel themselves "doomed among themselves or in the narrow circle of their dreary groups" and at the same time "support the state with all their intellectual activity". The workers of the military industrial complex whom he considered criminals provoked the special wrath of the Thunderer: "In the warm, bright, well-furnished premises of a scientific research institute the 'precision' scientists and technicians, severely condemning brother humanitarians for 'serving the regime' were accustomed to excuse their own shameless servile work and will in no way have to answer to history less terribly or less severely.
Well now, I am ready to admit that, according to Solzhenitsyn's classification, we who were then military industrial complex engineers, were the obrazovanshchina. In the scientific research institute smoking rooms of which Solzhenitsyn wrote with such sarcasm we openly spoke among ourselves about the idiocy of the system which oppressed us, not letting us work to our full potential, but then dispersed to our own places, "to support the state". Such was the strange sensation of duty we had, such a unique understanding of patriotism. We thought that we were serving neither Brezhnev, Suslov, Grechko, nor Ustinov but our own country. By the way, unlike Solzhenitsyn the wise Korney Chukovsky6 never doubted that we, the grease monkeys of the military industrial complex, were the real intelligentsia. He valued us highly and noted that it was we who form "something like public opinion" in a totalitarian country (diary entry of 16.12.1962).
Some of us actually worked "in warm bright, well-furnished" [premises] but far from all of us. Rumors about the luxury and super level of equipment of the Soviet military industrial complex were often greatly exaggerated. For example, my laboratory was in a one-story dark brick building of a former equipment shop built in 1916. In 1970 the city water mains did not yet reach there and we had to constantly fight rats there. We poisoned them, mixing a bread crumb or sugar cube with hexogen (I don't know how they do this right now but in those years in the ammunition section it was a popular method: hexogen is not only a powerful explosive but also a neurotoxin for rodents). And in so doing the workers of the other laboratories of our scientific research institute envied us. We had any place, any scientific equipment, and the rest had nothing except for worn-out writing desks.
In such conditions we had, as we said then, "to ensure parity with America" (essentially, with the entire world). Parity is not parity but we actually "maintained" the state. We extended its life for at least 15 extra years with our inventiveness and conscientiousness. If anyone wants to judge us for that let him judge himself. But we do not deny it. We are guilty.
But we are not guilty for all those who died as a result. A malignant tumor was inevitably growing in the bowels of the system. The regime, which consequently received the label "stagnant", led to the formation of an "elite" in all spheres of activity, filling it through a negative selection. Science, equipment, production - these areas where professionalism is manifest - the diseases resisted longest of all, but when the metastasis reached them and spread this was the beginning of the end.
The dissertation system of that time with lifetime benefits given for a scientific degree and position and not for specific results from work, advancement "through Party channels", and simple bribery led to less and less competent people ending up in senior positions in scientific and technical fields. Not just untalented but often blatantly incompetent and even unsuitable types. I, for example, had to serve under the command of a laboratory chief chosen from outside, a person with a completely rotten mentality who suffered from chronic alcoholism and epilepsy. Everyone knew that he was in no condition to have the right to work in such a field as ours but he had the degree of candidate of sciences and someone's patronage.
I considered and still consider the specialists of the Soviet period to be the most talented in the world. Our inventiveness was sharpened in the constant battle with the system. Only with extreme mental exertion, only with the aid of nonstandard solutions could we, overcoming the resistance of the bureaucratic machine and the shortage of equipment and materials, have nevertheless created something real, although the same military equipment. I think that we could have completely supplied the state with sufficient defense potential at a much lower price and freed up resources for civilian industry without permitting a critical lag behind the West in the most important fields, automation and computerization. But it was not in our power to endlessly resist the growing chaos. It was said a long time ago: an army of lions commanded by sheep will inevitably be beaten.
When they speak of the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union they remember first that the economy was overburdened by a monstrous arms race in the oddest and most extensive form and military-political adventurism throughout the entire world, from Ethiopia to Afghanistan. But in the final account the Soviet system collapsed because it completely lost out to the West in efficiency, that is in the area of scientific and technical progress. In 1917, as our ideologues said, a socialist revolution was victorious in one country. Seven decades later in the same country suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of a scientific and technical revolution.
And it historically occurred that in the middle of the '80s the numerical majority of the Russian population disappeared. The Russian and non-Russian populations became equal because the first continued to fall and the second, to grow. The main factor which had forged an empire disappeared and the only factor which could have replaced it, the scientific and technical leadership of an imperial people, did not appear. For the Baltic, Ukrainian, Georgian, and Moldavian nationalists, for the enormous masses of the young Muslim populations of the southern republics, the mother country represented neither authority nor a source of blessing, high-quality goods, advanced medicine, etc. The stream of subsidies and privileges from the RSFSR to the union republics (on the order of 50 billion 1980s dollars annually) did not influence their feelings in the slightest. They saw the mother country as only a foreign parasite who pursued its imperial goals in the world and did not let the subject peoples live normally.
And then PERESTROYKA was announced.
In 1985 there was not even talk of any democracy or glasnost nor any market relations or human rights. The new General Secretary Gorbachev recognized only one thing as special which threatened the collapse in the near future, the USSR's lag behind the West in the area of scientific and technical progress and labor productivity. Gorbachev's only goal was to get scientific and technical progress started. It is not hard to imagine: the matter could only be started by relying on the intelligentsia, it was the main producer class.
The first years of Gorbachev's rule (1985-86) are recalled as a time of hope. We engineers of the defense industrial complex were full of optimism. It seemed that they would begin to remove the fools from our neck, although gradually, and we finally would get room for creative initiative. The sequence of the reforms seemed obvious to us: the production of weapons which had impoverished the country to an unimaginable scale would be gradually reduced to reasonable limits and the quality of new development efforts would be increased at the expense of the quantity of combat equipment being produced. A well thought-out conversion of military industry would be carried out at the same time. We talked a great deal among ourselves about what technical and organizational difficulties we would have to overcome. How naive we were!
The ruling elite, forced for the sake of the success of "perestroyka" to give a bit more freedom to the intelligentsia, feared it. An entire army of overseers existed in the state security system and Party organizations who caught and crushed any breath that was too free. The fighters against "Zionism" were included here and, to put it simply, professional anti-Semites. (The anti-Semitism of our bureaucracy was always one of the forms of a hatred of the intelligentsia as a whole without ethnic distinction). These functionaries had no other profession and they were not capable of earning a living at any other occupation. The liberation of the intelligentsia and the strengthening of its position in society would mean a mortal catastrophe for this entire brotherhood. Therefore a program was adopted in the spirit of Party dialectics: when giving more freedom to the intelligentsia create a fright for it at the same time. If possible, force the Jews out of the country entirely and put the fear of God into the others. In a search for protection they sucked up to the government so that it did not get too carried away.
Long before this, back at the end of the '40s and the beginning of the '50s , the notable playwright and wit Yevgeny Shvarts called the Stalin campaign "to fight cosmopolitanism", in the course of which not just Jews were affected, the "hydrogen sulfide bomb". This weapon was put into operation again in "perestroyka". State security and its assistants started to exterminate the intelligentsia by the same means with which a polecat waits for a clean badger from its burrow. Back in 1986 the notorious Pamyat' society crawled into the light and an anti-Semitic campaign began to flare up in the magazines and newspapers which had awarded themselves the title of "patriotic", which liberal publications countered as best they could (the so-called "magazine war").
Two processes developed in parallel: each step along the path of rational reform - glasnost, the exposure of Stalin's crimes, the permission for individual work and cooperatives, the introduction of a system of alternative elections - was accompanied by an intensification of anti-Semitic hysteria even up to direct threats of mass pogroms. This phenomenon was called "deportation by fear" in the liberal press.
It was not difficult to collect idiots to make groups like Pamyat'. And there were also no problems encountered with getting people for the "magazine war". Since the time of the "war against cosmopolitans" there has constantly been formed and replenished a host of pencil-pushers in our literature whom, back in the '60s Tvardovsky7, Paustovsky8, and Chukovsky, judging from the diary of the latter, in conversations between themselves simply without any political correctness called "the Black Hundreds"9 and "scum". This mob needed only to be given the order "Fas!" [Translator's note: the order to a police dog to attack].
The decision about such an order was made at the top, of course. Only those who do not have the slightest understanding of Soviet realities can think that supposedly in 1986 the creation in the USSR of legal active fascist groups and the unleashing of open fascist propaganda was possible without the highest sanction. It is understandable that in this case, as in many others, Gorbachev did not foresee the consequences. But you don't justify yourself before history with stupidity. In court this is an aggravating circumstance.
The USSR's losses as a consequence of this "magazine war" turned out to be the greatest since the Second World War: more than 600,000 people in just the period 1988-1991. Not killed, nor taken prisoner, but all the same emigrants: in military language, irrecoverable losses. Those who left (fled) were mainly middle-ranking intellectuals - engineers, doctors, and teachers. It is with these people that the process of liquidation of the intelligentsia as a class began. This was a tragedy not only for those forced out of their homeland but for the country, considering our catastrophic shortage of people as it was. I remember very well how the head of the surgery department of a children's hospital in which she had to operate on my young son told me with sorrow about the poor condition of her clinic after the best surgeons had left.
The main damage turned to be generally incommensurate with the losses caused by the flight of Jews. It turned out that it had to unavoidably occur in such a multi-ethnic country as the Soviet Union: the appearance of fascist groups in Russia clearly protected by the authorities, blatant fascist propaganda spread by literary journals aspiring to respectability - all this was immediately reflected in the union republics. There they began to seethe and their own national passions which had long accumulated, burst into the open. The complete collapse of a great power, which its enemies had not been able to achieve in two world wars, became the final result. The "patriots" worked very successfully.
But by that time the most energetic figures of the ruling elite were already spitting on the fate of the country. They had made their own "perestroyka" with regard to goals and means. Instead of a struggle to reform socialism and for scientific and technical process they preferred to cast the entire previous system into oblivion along with the senior officials stubbornly, clinging to purely political power and with the use of Party capital and ties they themselves ran to seize public property declared worthless…
The earthquake which destroyed the USSR had still not died down when the so-called "economic reforms" began in Russia under the leadership of Yeltsin. They were carried out by 35-year-old Yegor Gaydar, who occupied the seat of Prime Minister, and a team of young economists who received the name "the young reformers". Since that time Stalinists and the pseudo-"patriots" have not stopped accusing Gaydar and his team of deliberate robbery of the people. In objecting to them the liberals show that when all economic ties had collapsed and under the severest time pressure the Gaydarites acted with the only possible methods.
It is thought that one of these versions is worth the other. Yes, the "young reformers" opened the way to unheard of enrichment by quite unsympathetic people (but others and they themselves were not badly enriched by their own "reforms"), but here the matter was obviously not so much in the original evil design as much as in the initial fallaciousness of the concept of "reforms" that was chosen. Simply put, in the elementary incompetence of the "young reformers". They did not understand that a modern market economy is first of all a competition of the newest technologies. They did not understand that the only wealth which Soviet power had accumulated in 70 years of existence (in many respects against its will, to supply the needs of a military industrial complex) was a class of specialist intellectuals. And thanks to the fact that they had lightheartedly torn down the country's entire scientific and industrial complex in order to introduce a primitive capitalism in Russian according to the writings of Adam Smith.
Of course no one thought to enlist the scientific and technical intelligentsia in solving the problem. And hardly just because of notorious time pressure. In the book “Strange Civilization (Ast-Astrel’ [Publishers], 2006) V. S. Tsaplin notes, “People who personify authority or serve it allow themselves to regard technocrats, that is, those people who have received a natural sciences or technical education and work in corresponding fields, with arrogant condescension. At the same time the advantages of technocrats are a lesser inclination toward mythologizing awareness and a more developed professional capacity for analytic thinking. These qualities are necessary when solving social problems to no less a degree than in science and technology. Technocrats think that even such a complex formation as a human community can be analyzed and brought into conformance with sensible ideas about a rational organization of life. From many points of view technocrats are able to give odds to any professional politician, although the mythologized electorate simply is not able to understand that today the capabilities of rational thinking and real knowledge exceed the power of force, money, and the manipulation of awareness”.
Essentially our "young reformers", however much they spit upon Communism, behaved exactly like the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution, only with a minus sign. Both in 1917 and in 1992 people were willing to reform the life of the country who had not worked a day in the realm of real science or real production, and simply had no conception of how to create wealth. Both the Gaydarites and Bolshevik leaders alike were convinced that rolls grow on trees and it was simply a matter of replacing the owner's trees. The Leninists thought: it is worth abolishing private property as soon as socialism comes. The Gaydarites: it is worth abolishing public property, distributing it into private hands as capitalist prosperity is established.
To the credit of the Leninist Bolsheviks, who are now spit upon from all sides, from both liberals, “patriots”, and Stalinists, it ought to be noted that the Bolsheviks learned quite well from their mistakes. Lenin’s own theory demanded that socialism surpass capitalism in labor productivity and coming to power he, a great pragmatist, almost immediately realized that the enthusiasm of the “liberated” workers and peasants by itself won’t do, the most advanced science and technology were needed.
We now eagerly recall Lenin’s famous phrase, “the intelligentsia is not the brain of the nation, but its shit”. But for some reason no one recalls that in the most difficult conditions of the Civil War science centers were created which provided the country’s might. The Physico-Technical Institute, the Radium Institute, the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute, the State Optical Institute, and other scientific organizations which the previous Russia had not known and which made the new Russia, the USSR, a great power were founded in the years 1918-1922 when the economic and political situation were, to put it politely, somewhat worse than the situation of the beginning of the ‘90s.
This is one of the paradoxes of our history: in a post-revolutionary country from which many had fled, saving themselves from starvation, war, and the punitive actions of the new government, thousands of engineers, scientists, and artistic figures; at the same time attempts were made to retain science and technology specialists and, what is more, create conditions for them to work, counting on the long-term prospects. In the leadership of that time which was composed, as they now assure us, of completely stupid, illiterate cruel commissars, there were nevertheless people capable of looking ahead.
Even now, 15 years later, after the “reforms” they started, the Gaidarites, as it appears from their current statements, have not recognized any such thing.
Chernomyrdin, who occupied the chair of Prime Minister from 1992 to 1998, inherited the “young reformers” in which a “raw material ideology” was rhapsodized which completed the destruction of the sphere of intellectual work. The essence of the “market economy” which took hold in Russia was straightforward: the top people got the output and sale of oil, natural gas, timber, and metals abroad and for the rest of their fellow citizens the domestic resale of imported goods bought for the streams of the same profits from the export of raw materials became the main form of work. The model is indeed remarkable for a tiny emirate with a stable dynasty and devastating for such a country as Russia.
Lenin said that “politics is the concentrated expression of economics” and turned out to be right. After our economy was deprived of the only real pulse which creates scientific and technical progress, the political life of Russia was turned into an imitation. The militant incompetence and candid sabotage of direct responsibilities corrodes all structures, in administration and legislation, in the army and judicial system, and in law enforcement and social security. There is no need to write about this in more detail as the readers do not live on Mars.
Curious comparisons come to mind when you think about what kind of society we now have. In the ‘20s, an epoch of all kinds of revolutionary experiments in art, there existed the idea of “a theater without an audience”, a massive dramatized act in which each participant would play a certain role, simultaneously as an actor and as a member of the audience. Hence sometimes there appears the sensation that what has happened in our country in the past two decades is not at all a change of the social system but the organization of just such a “theater without an audience”. Without their consent the bulk of the people have been enlisted as extras in a performance where the lead roles - politicians, bureaucrats, big businessmen, etc. - have been snatched away and will now be held by any means by imposters, remarkably clever, but untalented in all the rest, including in acting and producing.
One need not talk now about any system, even a bureaucratic one. The famous “Peter Principle” (“In a hierarchy each worker reaches his level of incompetence. All work is done by those who have not yet reached their level of incompetence”) does not work where, from top to bottom, instead of work there is imitation, where posts and social roles are achieved by bribery, the use of ties of kinship and friendship, and simply usurpation.
The formation of phony opposition parties and the law about abolishing the minimum turnout for elections at all levels should strengthen the abnormal pyramid. The imitation of democracy in Russia is gaining firm legislative form.
An unreal society inevitably gives rise to an unreal answer to Gilgamesh’s question. In the final analysis, such an answer comes down to the famous criminals’ moral: “You die today and I die tomorrow”. Therefore there is no need to be surprised at the current frenzied corruption caused by the shamelessness of bureaucrats and the nouveau riche and their demonstrable refusal to observe even some of the niceties which the Soviet elite had observed.
An appeal to religious morality on which the others have set their hopes like a panacea will not help here. Concepts of honor, which have existed in civilized countries in all eras and in each class, were based primarily on vital realities and professionalism (the honor of the nobility, officers, and "a merchant's word of honor" from Ostrovsky's heroes10).
I remember when in my youth I read about geographic discoveries and one story struck me. At the end of the 1840s the expedition of the famous English explorer John Franklin went missing in the ice of the Canadian Arctic. Several rescue expeditions were sent to its aid. The largest, five ships, was sent on its way in 1852. For two years these rescuers made many outstanding discoveries in searches in very difficult Arctic conditions but they found no trace of Franklin. Moreover, they were forced to abandon four of their own ships in the ice and returned to England with difficulty.
The homeland greeted the heroes as required by law: the chief of the expedition, the captains and senior officers of the lost ships were immediately brought to trial. And every one of them had to explain with documents in hand every one of their actions during the entire voyage. And to prove: I did everything correctly, I did everything that I could, we lost ships and could not find the people who were lost only because of insurmountable natural circumstances.
Each of them, except the chief, was given the verdict: "Exonerated with honor". And only the chief was given the verdict "Exonerated". Simply exonerated, WITHOUT HONOR. Because he was the commander. Because, no matter how severe the climatic conditions, no matter how remarkable the discoveries that were made, the expedition did not perform its mission, it did not find the missing people, and what is more lost its own ships.
We have had a catastrophe through the fault of the command of the sailors of the submarine Kursk (2000), a mass catastrophe through the fault of the clumsy special services and rescuers of the hostage audience of the "Nord-Ost" musical (2002), the hostage children at the school in Beslan (2004), the sadistic humiliation of army draftees, militia torture, bribes and embezzlement at all levels of power, etc. Not one of our generals, officers, bureaucrats, being disgraced, not only did not shoot himself but did not even voluntarily retire! To what would that legendary admiralty court have led? It is terrifying to even think about it. A yardarm and enough rope on sailing ships. Yes, there is nowhere for us to get "prim judges in curled wigs". But if by some miracle they were found who would give them the right to judge and who would obey them? The laws of honor originate and are followed only among professionals, not imitators.
Thus, the intelligentsia which was the main force which supported the changes at the end of the '80s and the beginning of the '90s became its main victim after the coup. As Ms. Martens correctly noted, there was no place left for it in the new Russia. This result is typical of social revolutions: the class which is most active in achieving it always yields victory to new oppressors. But in comparison with, say, the peasants of the '20s and '30s, from whom Stalin took away the land they won in the Revolution and the Civil War and simply herded serf-like into collective farms, the post-Soviet intelligentsia had few possible choices.
Properly speaking, there were three. First, remain in half-dead, scientific production organizations and design bureaus almost deprived of financing and drag out a miserable existence and wait for the new masters of life throw them out on the street during the next "layoff for the purpose of economy" or conversion of property (buildings). Second, forget about their profession and flounder in the murky waves of the reselling business to make ends meet. And finally, third, leave a country where their knowledge and abilities no longer find application. It is not hard to guess what path the younger and more energetic have chosen who did not wish to abandon their chosen field and who were confident in their abilities.
This is how S. V Kolesnikov, the Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Statistics of the Russian Federation, delicately writes about this in the collection of articles entitled "Why Russians are Dying Off". (Eksmo Publishers, 2004): "Emigration beyond the former USSR developed chiefly as an ethnic phenomenon. However, this characteristic is subsequently gradually being lost". We translate his words from bureaucratic language to Russian. They called the mass emigration of 1988-1991 "Jewish". This actually was an emigration along the ethnic lines attached to the previous system. But immediately after it there began and continues to this day a class emigration, which received the scornful name "brain drain": the intelligentsia, the leading producer class, no longer without the distinction of the Soviet "fifth point"11, are leaving the country.
S. V. Kolesnikov mechanically notes only the change of the ethnic nature of the emigration. But it is much more important that in comparison with the previous one the new emigration has turned out to be completely different in the psychological sense.
We don't know how things are with Ethiopian or Moroccan Jews but there are clear features in Russian and German Jews which irritate even those fellow countrymen of non-Jewish origin whom you would never accuse of anti-Semitism. The writer Yuriy Nagibin, having arrived in Israel in 1993, where hundreds of thousands of our emigrants had settled, forced from their homeland during "perestroyka", wrote that they "continue to feel an undivided love for Russia. This devoted love, to the point of groaning and muttering and not an old lady's or a slave's, was the only thing that has irritated me in Israel" ("Darkness at the End of the Tunnel", PIK Publisher, Moscow, 1996). But in 1938 when he had emigrated Remarque replied with irritation to a question of a French journalist "Does he long for his homeland?": "No, I am not a Jew…. In spite of widespread opinion, Jews in Germany were the most zealous patriots…National sentiment is acceptable to me if it nourishes culture and progress, but not if it reflects an absurd idea of superiority over all neighbors" (W. von Sternberg, "As if All for the Last Time", Foreign Literature Magazine, N? 10/2000).
So the emigration after 1991 was already Remarquean in its character. They left without regrets. I can make a judgment about this not only from the materials from the mass media but also from the example of people I know and even several relatives who left the country from the '90s to the beginning of this decade.
In the process all this cannot be written off just to socioeconomic reasons. One of the main factors which cause intellectuals to emigrate is, as before, our home-grown fascism. Created by late-Soviet state security officialdom, it did not just simply survive the defeat of the system that created it but, compared to Gorbachev's time, flourished in a fancy brown color with an odor appropriate to the color. Now in the country there is not just one "Pamyat'" but a multitude of such organizations. They poison the air and according to official data of Public House there are more than 100 fascist newspapers and magazines, several book publishers, and about 500 Internet sites. In almost any bookstore there are fancily published books of the newfound ideologues of mindless fascism and in almost any newspaper kiosk they sell the same filthy little newspapers. Moreover, in Gorbachev's time the fascists and skinheads were still not killing people on the streets as they do now.
Yes, the anti-Semitic and fascist hysteria, it would seem, did not directly ensnare the majority of post-Soviet emigrants (as it did Remarque at one time). They left first because of the disruption of the field of intellectual work in Russia, and because of the inability to achieve their potential at home, for which they had to hide their adolescent sons from being conscripted into our degenerate army. And at the same time the authorities undoubtedly could have considerably reduced this emigration, which is ruinous for the country, by the simplest and cheapest means: suppress the fascist activity in the country using the laws on the books.
And the problem is not just that intellectuals are delicate, sensitive creatures who find it difficult to exist in a toxic atmosphere. Intellectuals are genuine pragmatists. Therefore the behavior our country, which is so solicitous of fascists, gives intellectuals an unambiguous signal: there will be no turn toward reality. The authorities do not want (are not capable) of returning to the path of scientific and technical progress, but therefore tosses down to the masses a pitiful ersatz caveman nationalism as an idea somehow connecting human life with something more eternal.
All the rest, including the indifference of the authorities toward the "brain drain", even ignoring the danger that with the continued encouragement of fascism that multinational Russia risks repeating the fate of the collapsed USSR, is an unavoidable consequence. In the ersatz system, which rejects creative work and professionalism, only the intelligentsia is a harmful element, a threat to stability. But the throwers of the hydrogen sulfide bombs in the "theater without an audience" will always be needed. To better control the mob of disenfranchised extras.
The "Remarquean" emigration, unlike the "Jewish" emigration, has turned out to be prolonged. It has happened (it is happening) somewhat gradually and prosaically. Therefore the average person still was not fully aware of the scale of the losses suffered by the country. But the scale is shocking!
In a recent interview (Izvestiya, 20.09.2006) film director Aleksey German counseled: "My audience left quickly… Five million people have left the country in the past 15 years". (And this is specifically from Russia! We remember that during the "Jewish" emigration of 1988-1991 the entire Soviet Union of that time lost "only" 600-650,000 people).
After 1991 they left mainly for the US, Canada, Britain, Germany, and France. The five million of which German spoke, these were, of course, with families: with wives, little children, and elderly parents. Let the number of purely specialists who have moved to the West be one-third, one-fifth, or one-tenth less than the number mentioned by German. It doesn't matter? Occasionally the loss of a single intelligent head is a national catastrophe for the country.
So possibly this is not the clearest example from history, simply the first which came to mind, and which, as everyone knows, teaches nothing. In 1930 the chemist Vladimir Ipat'yev left the USSR (he went to the US on business and stayed there). The reason for his flight was the so-called "Prompartiya" trial fabricated by the Stalinist punitive organs which was directed against the technical intelligentsia. In the US, and not in the Soviet Union, Ipat'yev developed industrial technology to obtain isopropylbenzol, an antiknock additive to aviation fuel, allowing the octane number to be sharply increased and thereby the power of the engine. Those who are interested in the history of technology and military history know what came of this as a result. During the Second World War American and British aircraft flew the most powerful engines at that time. But for the USSR the absence of its own production of isopropylbenzol and dependence on deliveries of American aviation fuel via Lend Lease turned pilots in the air, soldiers, and civilians on the ground into countless losses. This was the price of one intelligent head.
How many heads like Ipat'yev's left for the West in the two waves of emigration beginning with Gorbachev's "perestroyka"? Innumerable, it appears. According to a statement of American specialists, back in the beginning of the '90s as a result of emigration from the USSR such a concentration of talent had been collected such as had not been seen since the Second World War when scientists from all of Europe fled to America. And in the last decade and a half this concentration has increased to a simply incredible degree.
The writer Vladimir Voynovich says (Delo, 26.09.2005): "I once spoke in Silicon Valley near San Francisco and about 1000 people came to my speech. They had to have 100,000 in order to get a 1000-seat auditorium! When I spoke at American universities and spoke English they shouted at me, 'Speak Russian, we don't understand English!' And the same everywhere, in the US, in Germany, in France, in Britain…These people with great intellectual potential have simply fled Russia and it has been left AN EMPTY SHELL".
An empty shell is no exaggeration, nor a figure of speech but contemporary reality. Film director Il'ya Khrzhanovsky laments (Moskovskie Novosti, 27.01-02.02.2006), "I am making a film about Landau12 and I have a big problem: I can't find a good consulting physicist. They have all left". But the current Prime Minister, a simple soul, recently exclaimed before the television cameras in some masochistic delight: "Soon everyone who knows the words 'joule' and 'Vernier caliper' will get $100,000 a day from us!"
But now at international conferences about the most important fields of scientific and technical progress, for example, nanotechnology, from 10 to 25% of the scientists are our former countrymen, emigrants working in Western universities and firms (www.svobodanews.ru/Transcript/2006/12/05/20061205154901263.html).
By comparison, Germany in the '30s both in absolute and in relative numbers lost incomparably fewer specialists than we have in the last two decades, but to the present time has not recovered from even such losses. Even 60 years after the war German basic science, which before Hitler came to power was the foremost in the world, has not been able to recover from the damage caused by the emigration of the best intellectual forces and the outburst of fascist obscurantism.
Yes, one could say that Germany was lucky: you think, the loss of world scientific leadership! But our country, without a war, has fallen into such a disaster which has no counterpart in history. Never have brains been kicked out of Russia with such force. One recalls that at the juncture of the '80s and the '90s liberal publicists were shattered: "The people were corrupted by socialism, there is no one with whom we are to go to a market economy!". It was asked: with whom are we now to leave the darkness of the wild market for scientific and technical reality?
Imitation "patriots" howl about some worldwide plot whose goal is to crush Russia. If this plot actually exists then it needs to be admitted that uncommonly unscrupulous pigs are collected in it. They might at least issue some little medal to our rulers and our "patriots". They are the ones who have done the work for this accursed plot!
I cannot understand the moaning of a certain part of the liberal press about the dearth of information in present-day Russia. There is quite enough information just like there was in the time of the Brezhnev stagnation. True, then in the '70s and the beginning of the '80s television, radio, and the lead articles of newspapers chimed about the wise policy of the Party and government, labor successes, and the unbreakable unity of the Soviet people. But quite often in the national newspapers somewhere on page four or five one could find an inconspicuous article about the poor condition in some sector of industry. And we engineers, knowing quite well on what side of the bread the butter is, clearly saw when reading these articles that things were going backwards, to a catastrophe.
Something like this is also happening now. Yes, television news and analytical programs have been emasculated and, yes, the political commentary of large newspapers (Izvestiya, Moskovskie Novosti, and others) have become cautious and measured. But we find facts and figures in these same newspapers without difficulty which accurately indicate the real state of affairs.
Here is the main reality: in October 2006 the specialists of the World Bank published data about labor productivity in the manufacturing sector of the Russian economy. (Just in the manufacturing sector, inasmuch because of the current super-high prices for energy there is no sense in estimating the labor efficiency in the area of the extraction of natural resources). The analysts' conclusion: in 2005-2006 labor productivity in Russia was 50% of the level of Poland, 40% of the level of Brazil, and one-third of the level of the Republic of South Africa. This is a collapse. In the 20-plus years after the announcement of "perestroyka" begun just for the sake of improving labor productivity we have ended up in a worse position than we had (in the '80s we supposedly did not lag behind Poland and the Republic of South Africa). This means that everything that we have had to endure during these years, including the collapse of the country and the impoverishment of millions, all this was for nothing. The unavoidable happened: the "reforms" which were not based on scientific and technical progress, the "reforms" which reject the professionalism and the creativity of the intelligentsia, have turned out to be an extravagant imitation. And, of course, the patient can only get worse from such bogus medicine.
All the present abundance of food, goods, and consumer equipment in our stores is imported. Russia's dependence on imports has not simply become dangerous but absolute. It is sufficient to say that even 85% of the meat we buy is foreign. We pay for all this with the only thing we have, the export of natural resources, which comprises 90% of our exports. One only has to subtract the exports of natural gas and oil and it turns out that not only Germany and Japan, but also Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic countries have a considerable positive total trade balance with us. Thus in reality it seems that the "rebirth of Russian might" on such a foundation being celebrated by court polytechnologists is being erected from a vacuum.
"But now our gross domestic product is constantly growing!" exclaims one reader. Yes, it is growing. Here, Igor' Nikolayev, the Director of the Department of Strategic Analysis of the FBK Company, is preparing an index of the increase of the growth of gross domestic product for 2006 (Moskovskie Novosti, 10-16.11.2006). It turns out that the forecast total increase of 6.6% is formed from quite unequal factors: "For example, if from January to September 2006 the retail trade turnover increased by 12.3%, the growth of industrial manufacturing was 4.2%. It turns out that we are growing primarily due to trade. In addition, financial activity, operations with property, are growing quickly. In general, types of activity in which speculative factors are most clearly expressed are in the forefront".
the growth of manufacturing by 4.2%, as Nikolayev points out, it also a cunning component figure: "The production of machines and equipment for January-September 2006 decreased by 3.4% in comparison with the same period in 2005. The production of electrical equipment, electronic and optical equipment (an increase of 0.2%) practically did not increase. On the other hand, the manufacture of articles from hide and the production of shoes grew (by 12.9%) and the production of rubber and plastic articles (by 10.6%)".
But as a result of the "reforms" and "the struggle to double gross domestic product" some high-tech and vitally important sectors simply perished and disappeared completely. The chemical and pharmaceutical industry, for example. Academician Andrey Vorob'yev: "If tomorrow, God forbid, a war began and a serious epidemic threatened, Russia would be left without antibiotics because they are no longer produced. We have liquidated the antibiotic industry with our own hands". Academician Aleksey Yegorov: "All the medicines which we have are 98% supplied by foreign substances. We have lost our production completely!" (Argumenty i Fakty, 24-30.05.2006).
That is how things are in reality with the growth of the notorious gross domestic product. An analysis of generally accessible newspaper reports shows that this is just one more imitation. Even officials of the Ministry of Economic Development, groaning and wrinkling their brows, admit that the excessive development of the sectors of the fuel and energy complex and trade have reached such levels that further growth is impossible without huge investments in technology-intensive production (Izvestiya, 28.04.2006). In the opinion of the officials, the main problem is where to get investors inasmuch they are not eager to invest in Russia.
Of course, complaints about a lack of investors with such a favorable financial situation in the country as now are a clear example of the professionalism of our managers (as the cartoon hero Cat Matroskin said, "We have money, we don't have enough brains"). However, much more important is the question: who will make use of the investments? What scientists, what engineers, what skilled workers?
The biggest, most genuinely criminal stupidity of the "reformers" in the '90s was that they did not even try to develop a conversion program for the military industrial complex. With contemptuous indifference, and perhaps even sadism, which seemed detectable in some statements, they condemned to collapse the defense scientific production associations and scientific research institutes where the best engineering personnel were concentrated. The shortage of resources at that time is no justification. Were there enough resources in 1918 when the Central Aerohydrodynamic and Physicotechnical Institutes were created? In the 1990s the engineers who remained in the defense industry also worked for pennies and for devotion to their work. How government programs able to use their knowledge and talent, programs aimed at the future would have raised their spirits without a lot of financing for the time being! How many fewer intelligent specialists would have left the country, how many fewer would have died from hopelessness! And the specialists' intellect in itself could have replaced many billions of dollars in investments.
Possibly in destroying the military industrial complex Gaydar, Chernomyrdin, and the other "reformers" listened to the opinion of Solzhenitsyn, who in 1974 said in the same article, Obrazovshchina, "But, well, if we lost half of the scientific research institutes tomorrow, the most important and secret ones, would it put an end to science? No, imperialism". Solzhenitsyn's dream has been realized: "the important and secret scientific research institutes", well know, they have been necrotized or depopulated. An end has not actually been to world science, it only flourishes, fed by our specialists. An end has been put to our country as a great, independent power.
The current government seemingly suddenly remembered. Vice-Premier Sergey Ivanov speaks of plans to invest 5 trillion rubles in the military industrial complex by 2015 and make it "the locomotive of the Russian economy". Of course, better late than never, and one might be delighted at the remarkable plans. But something prevents my delight. First, the total promised by S. Ivanov only sounds substantial. In recalculating this is a total of $20-25 billion a year, the budget of any single, but not the largest, American corporation. Second, the main question remains undecided: who and by what means will even such modest investments be realized into real technologies?
Some little islands of our military industrial complex are still holding out: more often from foreign orders, less so from domestic financing, in all cases, from the enthusiasm of senior workers (today's television and newspapers love to report the successes of these "little islands"). But on a whole the situation is disastrous, especially with personnel. Even back in 2000 the President himself publicized this information: from 1996 to 2000 the average age of those working in the defense industry had increased from 47 to 58 and the average age of the equipment was 25-30 years old (the standard is 10-15 years), and about 300 of the most important technologies had been irretrievably lost. Since that time the situation has not improved (see the article of V. Shlykov for more detail, http://www.ej.ru/experts/entry/10/). Yes, and this very dangerous empty shell under the load-bearing structural elements of the state is well known without official statistics. One does not have to know the figures, one need only to have eyes. Three of my friends work in three different scientific research institutes of St. Petersburg which are vital to the most important sectors of the military industrial complex. The friends are from 55 to 60 years old. Each of them is the youngest in his department and one of the youngest in the institute. There is NO ONE behind them.
This means that not only a multitude of the newest foreign technologies along with equipment will need to be obtained to carry out S. Ivanov's program, as during the time of the first Soviet "five-year plan" (1929-1932). An entire army of new scientists, engineers, and skilled workers will needed to be created and trained again. But where are we going to get new recruits for such a scientific and technical army? The tragedy is not just that there is a low birthrate in Russia. The tragedy is that the values orientation of our few young people who have grown up in the unreal conditions of wild capitalism has been distorted. Sociological surveys show that a majority of young people consider lawyers, financiers, managers, etc. to be the elite of society and they try to get a corresponding education. In their view, engineers and scientists are hired workers, subordinate functionary workers. The fascination of scientific research and technical creativity is simply incomprehensible to a majority of the young.
Therefore the very atmosphere in the country must be changed to revive scientific and technical progress. As the plumber in a famous anecdote of the years of stagnation said, "not the just the washers need to be replaced, but the whole system".
However, the current system is demonstrating some positive dynamics. For example, according to information of the magazine Forbes (March 2006) 13 the number of dollar billionaires in Russia in 2005 has grown by six and has reached 33. Even more curious is the structure of this increase: the most profitable sectors systematically come under the control of officials and men of power (in the last 2.5 years only the formal share of the state sector of the economy has increased by 1 and a half times by swallowing up private companies, and has reached one-third of the economy, and continues to grow). To put it simply, the recent "oligarchs" of the Yeltsin era who irritated the population by their ostentation, defiant style, and often (in the average person's understanding) non-Russian origin are being forced out by modest, quiet "men of power". And the court polytechnologists are trying to feed this appropriation of all the same streams to the people from the export of natural riches by other bosses as some beneficial revitalization.
The consequences of the destruction of the intelligentsia and the substitution of reality by an imitation are displayed most obviously in the precipitous fall in the cultural level of the public. I can judge the situation from a field that is close to me, literature. It is becoming harder and harder for writers and publicists writing seriously on serious topics to reach the reader, that is, to get published.
For some reason my literary friends are reluctant to talk about this outside our own circle. But to be silent means to take responsibility for the literary catastrophe on oneself, whereas here the principle of the Soviet engineer is appropriate: "I have no intention of responding to fools". The problem is not in any personal offense. The problem is that they are not giving us access to readers or with such great difficulty, that is, for us ourselves and also as readers, they are not giving us access to the authors in whom we are interested. The normal literary process, an artistic perception of recent history and modern times, an exchange of thoughts and ideas with the aid of the printed word is becoming impossible. (For the influence of a book on the public consciousness cannot be compared with the influence of any periodical. A book influences more slowly, although deeply and permanently).
The only plus of the current publishing system is the large number of republished classics. As for all the rest they can be completely described as Mark Twain described the US publishing system at the beginning of the 20th century: "The public opinion of a nation is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking".
It is understood that book publishing is an incarnation of all our swindling, semi-criminal business and unavoidably replicates its psychology and morals. But at times the impression is created that completely untalented businesspeople go into the publishing business and they go there because the production of literary falsification seems easier and safer to them than manufacturing and selling poor-quality vodka and counterfeit cosmetics.
The majority of them do not engage in searching for and selecting authors but in hyping previously designated candidates. Even the production term "personified publication project", abbreviated PIP, was thought up for this exercise. And it turns out that one can actually hype whomever is desired (for some period of time). St. Petersburg publishers recently even hyped a young woman with a not entirely healthy head and with unhealthy kidneys, who described the process of her own urination in her stories. At one time Viktor Shklovsky14 lamented: "In literature some give blood, others urine. Acceptance is by weight". Such a refined literary aristocrat as Shklovsky could not have dreamed in a fitful sleep that a time would come when in Russian literature that the acceptance of blood would stop completely and in return urine would be required in the literal sense.
By the way, the difference is not at all great between the openly trashy publishers disgorging streams of stupid detective stories, absurd fantasies, mysticism, sugary little romance novels, and some other publishers who advertise themselves as publishers of highbrow literature. The "trashy" publishers even seem more honest inasmuch they do not claim to be intellectual. The idiocy and boorishness of the "pretenders" is no less; in these publishing houses they throw out manuscripts which come in without reading them in the same way, unless they don't like to hype PIP's independently but prefer already hyped (preferably dead) authors, or rather grants. They will publish anything for grants. Overall there is greater harm from the other "pretenders" than from the "trash" publishers. More, inasmuch as the "pretenders" imitate the literary process with aplomb and create the appearance that their production is actually contemporary Russian literature.
In response to criticism from the public publishers sometimes justify themselves: "We live in a market economy! What are we to do if the book trade does not demand serious literature!" The comment of the famous economist Gennady Lisichkin is recalled in this connection: "There cannot be a market system in which neither the producer nor the consumer dictate the conditions, but rather intermediaries". Lisichkin is right: the producers and consumers, for example, a peasant and a buyer of food at a market, a writer and a reader, in our imitation of a market system are not free agents but just objects of the manipulation of intermediaries. In the first case, they are bandits and second-hand dealers, in the second, publishers and booksellers.
It is understood that publishing policy is primary in the literary arena, and bookselling policy is derivative. Those cases where clever books miraculously broke through the publishing "Mannerheim Line"15 and appear in editions of a few thousand copies but almost never get to stores and sit in warehouses, only confirms what I have said. What is more, many publishers have their own bookstores or at least their own departments in large stores.
The results are pitiful. The assessment of the newspaper Argumenty i Fakty (N? 7/2006, p. 25), according to which 90% of the books published in Russia are "patently chaff", seems excessively optimistic. Maksim Moshkov, the creator the internet library site http://www.lib.ru is more categorical and closer to the truth. Speaking on the Kul'tura television channel he said: "Ninety-nine percent of the unsaleable stock of books filling our bookstores is trash". This is why not only those who are not familiar with the current publishing mechanism but even the other denizens of literary circles have formed the impression that literature in Russia is finished. In one of his articles the gloomy critic Zolotonosov maliciously exclaimed: "Russian literature died and did not manage to ask for ears!"16.
Of course, this is nonsense: real literature in Russia is alive. It is being written, it simply does not find a normal outlet to readers and, like any living organism, it searches for a means of survival. Modern poetry has already moved to internet libraries and serious prose will move there next. But this is not a panacea, of course. At any level of computerization the most accessible internet will all the same not become (at least in the foreseeable future) a complete substitute for the printed book. But this means that beyond the narrow circle of intellectuals and visitors to internet libraries the rest of the population will continue to run wild.
It needs to be said that current publishers are also experiencing alarm, at times crossing into panic. If 15 years ago Russia was considered the most literate country in the world, now sociological surveys show a steady decline in the percentage of active readers. For example, according to data of the Russian Press Committee, during just the past two years this share has dropped from 26% to 23%, but according to a statement by writer Eduard Radzinsky it is now only 16%. Consequently, people are buying fewer and fewer books.
There is nothing surprising in this. Any falsification, even in the cosmetics business, quickly exposes itself. The most naive girl who has applied Vaseline and soot on her eyelashes several times instead of French eyeliner finally grasps that they are selling her a counterfeit product in the bright little boxes. But, so much the more, in literature fraud cannot last long. There are fewer and fewer who give their real money in bookstores for an imitation, for PIP's, for innumerable novels indistinguishable from one another, suggesting that the entire world is a madhouse and that everyone in it is a monster, or for buffoonery concealing a lack of ideas. In the process people of the older generation remember Soviet commerce (shelves breaking from goods but nothing to buy), but the young were always raised in the conviction that contemporary literature is trash which is published in torrents and is insistently advertised but it means that there is no sense at all to paying attention to it.
Publishers are not able to understand that they themselves are sawing on the branches on which they sit, feeling that it is sagging and they react in the spirit of our wild business, with still wilder advertising. The latest slogans thrown at the masses - "time to read" and "read stylishly" - clearly ought to interest a psychiatrist.
Galina Solov'yeva concludes her article, "Book Passions, Russian Style", about the state of book publishing and bookselling in Russia (Delo, 20.11.2006) with a desperate appeal to the government: "Humanitarian catastrophes, unlike natural ones, occur quietly but irreversibly. And if the government does not concern itself with a program to support serious reading in the near future then the wave of book fast food which has swept over Russia will take on the nature of a tsunami. And then one morning we will wake up in a completely different country".
It seems to me that Ms. Solov'yeva is somewhat naive. Without a general turn toward reality by our entire society nothing will change in the publishing and bookselling area by itself. And a "program to support serious reading" will end up being one more imitation shoving public money into someone's pockets. And the humanitarian catastrophe which Solov'yeva only sees in the future actually happened long ago. We have long been in another country.
They say that the next-to-last Soviet leader, the fatally ill Konstantin Chernenko (1984-1985), had the custom of replying to his colleagues who reported something unpleasant to him with a single phrase, "Don't dramatize the situation!". So possibly we should not be dramatic? Can we will live as fools, sitting on oil and gas pipelines, without science and technology, without an intelligentsia, with an imitation of democracy, political life, and Russian literature? And Leonid Grigor'yev, the President of the Institute of Energy and Finance, notes the calming tendencies (Izvestiya, 15.03.2006): "A considerable portion of the population, primarily young people and business, have accepted the new reality: an average-developed raw materials producing country with great social inequality. Those who were 40-45 in 1990 have become 55-60, and for the most part they have lost this decade and a half in science and life. The well-educated population of the postwar Baby Boom, the children of Victory and demobilization, are retiring. Young people (those now under 40) have never participated in large scientific or technical projects. In many respects the country has already adapted to a life rented on raw materials. Soon its intellectual power will no longer trouble the population…"
So will we live as fools or not? The answer here is unambiguous: we will! Of course, we will. Only not for long.
Having ruined almost all our science, expelled, exterminated or morally destroyed a considerable portion of our intelligentsia Russia has lost the capability of independent scientific and technical progress. And one can only imagine at what a most unfortunate moment of our historical fate this has happened. At a moment when the rapid and irreversible aging of the people and a reduction in their numbers has begun.
In the recent past the population of Russia has declined by about 0.5% a year (about 700,00). However the real problems have not yet begun for us: generations of the relatively "abundant" years came of working age but the shortfall was covered by a comparatively small (yes, yes, comparatively small, a total of some 12,000,000 people as of 2005) influx of migrants from other countries. But, beginning in 2010, about a million people will leave working age annually and beginning in 2015, about one and a half million. They will be replaced by the much less numerous generations born in the 1990s. Even if by some miracle tomorrow we reduced mortality to the level of the leading European countries we will all the same not be able to raise the birth rate above the level of those countries. But this means an irreversible distortion is coming: the number of pensioners will exceed 50% of the population.
Our would-be reformers, following Adam Smith, having said "the invisible hand of the market" itself would sooner or later regulate everything for the common good, did not trouble themselves to match their "reforms" to the demographic situation. It seems like they had no understanding of the brutal and growing "people shortage" about which every Soviet engineer has known about since the mid-'70s. They did not understand that Russia simply does not have several decades to spare for the market element to reform the country naturally. They didn't understand what the intelligentsia they trampled upon clearly understood: with a catastrophic shortage of those of working age and an overabundance of elderly people it has only one path: SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL MOBILIZATION. The only salvation is in such a development of high technologies in which a comparatively small number of people would be engaged, in manufacturing and in agriculture, in all energy systems, transportation, communications, construction, security, etc. Only the scientific and technical self-sufficiency of our country can give Russian culture a firm basis. Only then would Russian history be continued in Russia.
The approach toward the problem of migrants who naturally also change within the framework of scientific and technical mobilization. Not only because an immeasurably small unskilled workforce would be required. It is more important that Russia then attract completely different migrants, young scientists and specialists from the republics of the former USSR, even from the "Third World". In such an event, as Aleksandr Volkov justly writes in an article "Waiting for the Middle Ages?", "Moscow could become… a great center of culture joining hundreds of peoples around it… Our country has a single chance of remaining a superpower, without which since Peter the Great's time the very existence of Russian peoples seems unthinkable, this enormous community collected from the dregs of Eurasian expanses" (Znanie - Sila, N 3/2006).
Alas, a scientific mobilization has not happened and our "indigenous population" (the new official term) will soon be unable to handle even the tasks of their own life support on their own territory. But this means that the growing stream of "guest workers" will turn into a flood. Sergey Mironov, the Chairman of the Federation Council, has been sounding the alarm (Izvestiya, N 26/2006): "It is ruinous to set our hopes on our bringing in foreign workers and thereby solving the problem. The whole world was recently convinced of this from the example of France".
Very true. But words won't help the problem. Here is one of two choices: either scientific and technical progress or the mass importation of manpower. If the first alternative is crossed off and the intelligentsia is trampled upon and expelled, we invariably get the second. And no "movements against illegal immigration", no skinheads will accomplish anything. All their street marches with Nazi salutes, they are not just an abomination but a total waste of time just like publishing decrees about "percentage norms" in markets, quotas for the residence of migrants, etc. (an imitation of concern and government activity).
It is absolutely clear that the marching blockheads are not able to do anything real to save Russia. It is impossible to imagine that one of them would study and engage in scientific research, invention, or construction. Something suggests: none of them are having and raising three children (the minimal number necessary to stop the people from depopulation). But, oh, how the marchers want to be fed! And someone ought to develop a surplus product to pay pensions to their parents and then when they get old, to themselves. But the economic scum have their own laws which you won't alter with any decrees about norms and quotas. Therefore the stream of newcomers flowing into Russia will only grow.
Personally I have absolutely nothing against "guest workers" as such. However I would be ready to greet their mass arrival only in the event that Russia would preserve a sufficient potential for assimilation. If this could be the only way to place the newcomers under our laws, customs, and standards of living and instill in them the concepts of our culture without force, in the final account, to make them Russians. But I am afraid that Russia's potential for assimilation is exhausted. And, as the same Sergey Mironov rightly fears, instead of assimilating those arriving will begin "to create their enclaves on our land". But Aleksandr Khramchikhin, Chief of the Analysis Department of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, warns (Izvestiya, 10.01.2006), those arriving will sooner "assimilate Russians into themselves like the migrants from the Near and Middle East are today beginning to assimilate the Europeans on their territory".
A completely realistic assumption if you consider that on the basis of his calculations I. A. Gundarov, one of our authoritative demographers, predicts (the collection of articles "Why Russians are Dying Off", Ehskmo Publishers, Moscow, 2004): in 2003 our industry and our army "ended up being forced to 80% staff themselves with emissaries of other peoples and other cultures". Then this will actually already be a completely different country.
In the longer range outlook, to 2050, all the forecasts set the size of the Russian population at about 100,000,000 (instead of today's 140,000,000). These forecasts differ somewhat with regard to ethnic composition. It is clear only that by 2050 no more than 50-60% of today's citizens of the Russian Federation and their descendents will remain in the population. For example, one of the forecasts predicts that in the Russia of 2050 there will be 33,000,000 Russians, 27,000,000 Chinese, and 16,000,000 Tajiks (Argumenty i Fakty, N 22/2006).
But can it be that scientific and technical mobilization is a utopia, the unsubstantiated fantasies of a humiliated intelligentsia? Here, they tell us, look at France. With their low birthrate the French have not announced any scientific mobilization and initially they let a mass of "guest workers" into the country to perform all sorts of unskilled labor, then adopted a 1976 law about the reunification of families, and then the "guest workers" made their homes together with their families on French soil, and established their own birth rate which is many times that of the local population. As a result the French have what they have, but their prospects are still brighter. It means that we in Russia are only traveling the unpleasant but, alas, unavoidable path for developed nations.
The French example is of course impressive. However, why should we repeat someone's negative experience? Why not instead learn from someone else's mistakes? And if, as some philosophers say, we are not Europeans but Eurasians then we would we not look for an example for imitation not in stupid Europe but in wise Asia? For example, in Japan.
The birth rate in contemporary Japan, as in Russia, is below the mortality rate, which is natural for a highly-developed nation which has undergone a demographic transition. The truth is, the Japanese live somewhat longer than us (they drink less, not to mention their level of medical care), but nevertheless the population of Japan is constantly aging and shrinking. Right now every fourth resident of the country is over 60 and every fifth is a retiree. The burden of Japan's expenses for social security and medical insurance is about 25% of the national income and beginning in 2007 the postwar baby boom generation, thanks to which Japan was once able to accomplish an economic miracle, will start to retire. It has been calculated that at current rates the population of Japan in the 21st century will fall by two-thirds, from 127 million to 40 million.
Unlike our "patriots", Japanese politicians clearly do not understand their luck because they are not accused of "the genocide of the Japanese people" by all sorts of backstage intrigues (but what kind of PR it would be!), but they are solving the problem with clear heads: what to do about the worsening shortage of labor resources? There are a total of two alternatives. The first is obvious, let "guest workers" into the country, because there's no need to look far: right next door, in Asia, you will find millions, tens of millions of willing workers. But the Japanese don't want that! The present-day Japanese public does not suffer from xenophobia and isolationist complexes but the prospects of getting unavoidable problems along with a mass of newcomers and the prospect of threatening their culture, their way of life, and their security does not tempt the Japanese. What is left? Only one thing. And here, in Japan, the most high-tech country in the world, a new scientific and technical market is being prepared. The Japanese government is discussing a program to create an army of robots which would take upon themselves all the difficult and undesirable work (RG. Nedelya. N 139/2006) 17.
In addition: in spite of the shrinking population Japan is not at all planning of abandoning aspirations to the role of a superpower. Only by directing its expansion does it now choose not neighboring lands as it once did, but in the spirit of the times, space. The plans of the Japan Space Agency have been published: beginning in 2007 exploration of the Moon will begin with automated equipment and in 2020 Japanese astronauts will land there and begin to build bases which will be finished in 10 years. A permanently occupied science station will begin to operate on the Moon in 2030. And this is all being done not only to explore the universe, and not only for the sake of the country's prestige and to increase patriotism. It is more important that the realization of such plans will give a new impetus to the development of national science and technology. Well done, people!
The Russian prospects of which we spoke above (the settlement of the country by tens of millions of migrants while the native population quickly declines) seem like a nightmare to some. But there is a very favorable scenario that might happen to us if vigorous steps are not taken to return to the path of scientific and technical progress. Indeed, the most favorable! In reality they won't let us die out so quickly and quietly.
Right now in the world the conflict between Western countries and Southern countries is heating up. This is usually seen as a clash of civilizations - Western, with its Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman roots, and Southern, with Islamic. There is even an opinion which exists about some special harmfulness of Islam. Islam in itself is no worse or better than any other traditional religion. The original cause of the conflict is the demographic transition of southern peoples which they began later than Western peoples.
This period always and everywhere is accompanied by great upheaval. It is sufficient to recall that in Europe alone, the most developed part of the planet, in the 20th century it cost humanity two world wars and the loss of more than 100 million lives. The most terrible examples of insanity were provided by the two very countries in which at the beginning of the last century the greatest birth rate erupted, Germany and Russia. At the present time in such a situation are Iran (in the last 50 years the population has more than tripled, and more than half is younger than 20), Afghanistan (42% of the population is under 14), and other hotbeds of world instability. By the way, several former union republics of the USSR, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbayjan are at the stage of demographic transition, hence the masses of migrants.
But if Europe had half the century to sow their wild oats in world wars and revolutions and complete a demographic transition then the present developing countries do not have such spare time and the Earth does not have sufficient resources to withstand their demographic transition. There are only two possibilities: either this transition causes such catastrophes which will lead to the end of life on the planet or it will be prevented.
The latter seems more likely. No matter how much the fanatic ideologues of the South despise the pampered and dying, in their opinion, Western civilization, the West has overwhelming scientific and technical superiority on its side and this is the decisive factor. At the present time the South is attacking only because the West, on the one hand, is trying to wage war on terrorism with the methods of classic wars which are unsuitable for this (Iraq and Afghanistan) and, on the other, by established rules of political correctness forged by them for themselves. However, sooner or later the West will draw conclusions from their military mistakes and, however regrettable it may be, the numerous humanitarian restrictions dictated by political correctness will be dropped as the scale of terrorism grows.
It is hard to say whether Russia will manage to avoid direct participation in a new world war. Clearly, all our policy should be directed at remaining apart from this and observing a benevolent neutrality with respect to the West. (The West, inasmuch as we ourselves are part of it, no matter what our "patriots" prove otherwise and no matter what the West is in someone's imagination, is often in reality foolish and unfriendly toward us). Will government leaders accustomed exclusively to an imitation of democracy inside the country and imperial power outside it be able to pursue such a maximally realistic and intricate policy (straight from Nekrasov: "be patient and perish, be impatient and perish"18)?
However, geopolitical realities can end up so unfavorably that no diplomacy, even the most virtuous, will help us stand aside. For example, if the current trends are maintained by 2050 Iran, which by that time will have 120 million people with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, will threaten the southern borders of a Russia of 100 million in which the Russian population is no more than half.
But even if our country is able to avoid direct participation in a world conflict we will get our share of upheavals. The territories which border Russia on the south and southeast might become an arena of combat operations, including with the use of weapons of mass destruction. Even if the Russian population does not suffer directly we will have to deal with all kinds of side effects, even if only in the form of an invasion of millions of refugees through our open borders.
It is absolutely clear: in order to be protected from approaching cataclysms Russia should first have the most up-to-date weaponry and second, which is no less important, it should rely on a high-tech, self-sufficient industry and highly-developed infrastructure. Constantly and always! In the Great Patriotic War we "could have allowed ourselves" to lost millions of lives and hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of territory until the quiet intellectuals not yet shot by Stalin in the 1930s like Shvetsov19 and Lavochkin20 brought the newest combat equipment up to snuff in the rear and drove its production. In the conflicts of the 21st century we will not have reserves, nor lives, nor territory, nor time.
Right now the attitude of the authorities and the greater part of the public toward the intelligentsia is reminiscent of the attitude toward the army as expressed by the favorite saying of General Lebed'21: "Let there be no war, those sons of bitches, but if there is a war, they're our boys!" If such an attitude goes on for a while when the storm hits it will be too late to call to the intelligentsia: "our boys!". There simply won't be anyone to call upon.
Meanwhile, the main crisis of civilization is coming to the fore right before our eyes, in comparison with which all the present confrontations between the West and the South can seem nothing more than a light intermezzo. The development of biology is leading humanity to a solution of Gilgamesh's problem in earnest. In the past 10 years there has been a stream of reports from scientific centers about achievements capable of bringing a sharp increase in longevity.
We will cite one of the recent such reports which is sufficiently representative ((www.svobodanews.ru/Article/2006/11/09/20061109133335250.html): "The famous British gerontologist Professor of Cambridge University Aubrey de Grey says that biology, which is developing at a rapid pace, will be able in the near future to guarantee human longevity of a thousand years. The British scientist is convinced that the first person who will live a thousand years has already been born… Right now, says the British gerontologist, we have a real opportunity to extend life for many hundreds of years and such experiments are being performed on animals. In five years they will begin to conduct them on a human and by approximately 2030 the aging of the organism will be curbed".
It might appear that Professor de Grey with his hundreds and thousands of years overstates his case. Other scientists are much more cautious. They also give the timeframe for the solution of the problem as 2030-2040, however they are not yet speaking of a complete halt but a slowing of the aging process and about increasing human longevity initially "only" to 120-140 (the so-called species limit for Homo sapiens). But such an increase can already be considered a unique form of "immortality" in practical consequences, for the learning process will be prolonged and long-lived people will have sufficient time to be able to make use of new technologies which will undoubtedly appear to further extend life.
What will the consequences be? Professor de Grey predicts: "For example, you will be able to go to a discotheque with your great-great-great-great grandchildren". He is obviously a good-natured person and jovial but here, alas, we cannot share his optimism. Individual human immortality will become the most severe test for human civilization in all its history. Only one thing is seen as an undoubted plus from the very start: the population decline of the highly-developed nations which have undergone demographic transition will stop. The technologies of immortality will become a cause of terrible upheavals in all the rest.
Many scientists who have dealt with the problem of extraterrestrial life have thought that technologically developed civilizations are not capable to last a long time and die without a trace, which explains the silence of the cosmos (I. S. Shklovsky22. "The Universe. Life. Reason", Nauka Publishers, 1965, 1973). But up to now convincing assumptions have not been advanced for the possible causes of the death of civilizations. It is imagined that the achievement of individual immortality itself is the most critical boundary which is almost impossible for a civilization to overcome.
This problem is extraordinarily complex. It is impossible to examine it within the framework of this article, even briefly. I have tried as best I could to interpret the prospects and the threats created by immortality in my books "The Humane Bullet' and "The Last Tower of Troy" (see my website http://www.humanebullet.com/index_eng.html).
Here I would like to discuss just the main condition for the survival of a society of "immortal" people: in order for our entire civilization, which has lasted 7000 years, not to disappear in a destructive flash like a meteor, which is just a moment in history, a matter of decades, people will have to change emotionally. Simply put, the majority of them have to become intellectuals at the highest, I am not afraid to say, Russian meaning of this word. Just this: the entire world has to accept the ideology of real intellectuals, their goals, the sense and meaning of life, the spirit of knowledge, selfless devotion, and humanism.
Will they say that this is impossible? However, if this does not happen, there won't be anything at all. The planet Earth will return to the "harmony of the Universe" and no intelligent beings will disrupt this harmony any more.
But let us return to today. Today we love to quote the famous words of Czar Alexander III that Russia has only two allies, its army and its fleet. So it was (if it was) in the 19th century. Russia's real allies in the 21st century are called science and technology. This actually means that Russia has one real ally, its intelligentsia. Without the intelligentsia there will no longer be an army or a fleet, not even the country itself.
Therefore the current attitude toward the intelligentsia ought to be radically changed. Science should not become a victim of primitive market relations and we should not cater to these relations. On the contrary, we should organize a market economy and political life such that scientific and technical progress is the decisive factor determining the development of society.
Nobel laureate and Academician Vitaly Ginzburg makes an appeal (Parlamentskaya Gazeta, N 146/2006): "First of all we need to raise a new generation of Landaus, Kurchatovs23, and Korolevs". There is simply no other way". The government eagerly displays agreement with such ideas but in practice our notorious "education reforms" are aimed at commercialization, disruption of a common educational space, and a lowering of the intellectual level of the coming generations. In schools the amount of time devoted to the study of mathematics, physics, and chemistry, subjects which create the basis for logical knowledge and give adolescents an idea of the laws of nature and the use of these laws in human activity, is constantly reduced.
If this is happening consciously, seeing as people capable of logical thinking are the main danger for the imitators of all stripes, or whether it comes about, so to speak, as a general mess it is not important. It is important that if the world plot which is preparing Russia's demise actually exists it can now disband itself with a calm spirit. The matter is in the reliable hands of our own fools.
Summing up, it is simple. What is real is only what serves the progress toward immortality. Reality is in learning the Universe, in scientific and technical progress, in human creativity, this self-knowledge of humanity, in thousandfold ridiculed intellectual selfless devotion. But the endless sharing of income from pumping oil and gas, the ranting about "an energy superpower" and "sovereign democracy", the network of political consultants, the manipulation of elections, the daytime search with a lamp for a national idea, marches with hands thrown up and the other games of the "patriots", the mystical howling of "patriotic" publicists about building a "fifth Russian empire", book publishing with hype about PIPs, and the mannerisms of television buffoons - all this is no more than an imitation, an artificial attempt to dampen the acuteness of real problems. Or, in the concepts of accessible thinkers like Grebenshchikov, an attempt to arrange a sex life through masturbation. But masturbation, with all its numerous virtues, has one principle shortcoming: nothing comes of it. And the future is not secured with its aid.
One is supposed to close an article on an optimistic note. In spite of all the abominations of life the author should inform the reader of something reassuring and mood-elevating, and share his thoughts on "what to do". But I don't see the need for this. You, dear reader and so an optimist, will continue to live in Russia anyway. Anyway, you are an intellectual strong of spirit since you read this magazine and you have even reached the end of my article. And, finally, you are a real patriot (without quotation marks) if in spite of the fact that you work in a skilled labor field if you bring up, here and now, children and grandchildren, in a word, you do real things, then you can withstand the phantoms of the imitation that surround us. Sooner or later the phantoms will be dispelled and reality will remain, unsightly, ruined by the imitators, but whatever kind it will be. And it is we who have to try to even change it. Who else?
But I just want to conclude the article by describing an unhappy story. Several months ago I had to bury one of my last relatives remaining in Russia, the husband of my first cousin. He was a talented electronics engineer and there were many more colleagues than relatives at the funeral. All were about the same age, engineers in their '60s, gray-haired, bald, the debris of a scientific empire. In a word, those who in Ms. Martens' neat phrase "they are, alas, not blending into the picture of modern life". Now they fill orders for military electronics for foreign armies (and our government, which pays them pennies, gets good money in dollars for exporting their intellectual product). They also try to make something for their own army. But in several years they will leave. And there is no one coming to replace them.
At the funeral dinner table they recalled what a brilliant specialist the deceased was, what very interesting and difficult problems they had solved with him. Then, of course, they talked about today's ruination, about the disparagement of our intelligentsia, and the ubiquitous celebration of a glaring lack of talent. Sitting next to me was a friend of the deceased who began to get drunk and shouted out, "Engineers! We know so much, we have so much skill, we can do so much! And to whom we gave power, to such fools!"
One relative, who had lived in Germany for a long time and had come for several days for the sad event, heard these conversations and she suddenly exclaimed, "People, where can you still get such intelligent company? Only in Russia and only at funerals!" And in a few seconds quiet reigned at the table.
1 Antioch Kantemir (1708-1744), Vasiliy Trediakovsky (1703-1769), the founders of Russian poetry.
2 Vasisualiy Lokhankin, an ironic example of an incompetent intellectual from the satirical novel by I. Il'f and Ye. Petrov, "The Golden Calf" (1927).
3 Samuil Marshak (1887-1964), outstanding poet, the author of children's and philosophical verses, and translator of R. Burns and W. Shakespeare.
4 Nikolay Vavilov (1887-1943), a great Soviet biologist who died in prison for refusing to accept Lysenkoism.
5 Sergey Korolev (1907-1966), the father of the Soviet space program.
6 Korney Chukovsky (1882-1969), outstanding children's poet, critic, translator, literary figure, and memoirist.
7 Aleksandr Tvardovsky (1910-1971) - great Russian poet.
8 Konstantin Paustovsky (1892-1968) - outstanding writer, master of lyrical prose.
9 "The black hundreds" - an anti-Semitic pogrom organization created by the Czarist police at the beginning of the 20th century.
10 Aleksandr Ostrovsky (1823-1886) - great playwright; many of his plays picture the morals and manners of the Russian merchant class.
11 In Soviet-era forms the fifth point was a question about nationality, understood as ethnic origin (by blood).
12 Lev Landau (1908-1968) - one of the greatest Soviet and world theoretical physicists.
13 After this article was written and sent to the editor of the magazine Neva new information from Forbes Magazine was published: during the year 2006 the number of dollar billionaires in Russia grew by 20 to 53.
14 Viktor Shklovsky (1893-1984) - famous writer, critic, and literary figure.
15 The line of powerful Finnish fortifications on the Karelian Isthmus which cost the Red Army enormous losses to overcome during the "Winter War" 1939-1940.
16 Refers to the episode from the famous film "Chapayev" (1934) where before death a dying Cossack asks for ears.
17 After this article was written and sent to the editor of the magazine Neva a report was published: the Japanese government has prepared a nine-year program to create robots. It provides first for the creation of robots which perform the functions of orderlies and nurses to look after elderly and sick people ("Rossiyskaya Gazeta", N? 4/2007).
18 From the poem of the great Russian poet Nikolay Nekrasov (1821-1877), "To Whomever Wants to Live Well in Russia".
19 Arkady Shvetsov (1892-1953) - the designer of the best Soviet piston engine aircraft engines.
20 Semen Lavochkin (1900-1960) - the designer of the best Soviet fighters of the Second World War, the La-5 and La-7 with Shvetsov's engines.
21 Aleksandr Lebed' (1950-2002) - one of the best-known political leaders of post-Soviet Russia and Governor of Krasnoyarsk Kray. He died in a helicopter crash.
22 Iosif Shklovsky (1916-1985) - outstanding astrophysicist and researcher of the problems of extraterrestrial intelligence.
23 Igor' Kurchatov (1902-1960) - outstanding physicist and organizer of science; the leader of the Soviet atomic bomb project.
Translated by Gary Goldberg
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