SCIENTISTS READY TO PROTEST
Izvestia, June 21, 2002, p. 2
On June 20, the staff union of the Russian Academy of Sciences announced launching a march of protest by the Russian scientists. The march will begin on June 24 in the scientific town of Pushchino and will finish on June 27 near the Cabinet offices in Moscow. Organizers of the action hold the government as the main culprit of the adversities of the national science.
Russian science has been on the verge of extinction by the age factor, Valery Sobolev, the chairman of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ staff union, candidate of biological sciences told Izvestia. Over the past eight years, the number of scientists in Russia has decreased from 525,000 to 400,000; 60,000 of them only are in the most efficient age between 30 and 39 against 130,000 previously. By 2010, the number of scientists in Russia will only be 260,000, with only 40,000 of them in the “golden” age for research.
The number of scientists in the West has been rising due to reflux of scientists from Russia. As some estimates have it, Russian speaking programmers have carried out about 30% of Microsoft’s research projects. The number of Russian scientists working over Western orders at home has been increasing.
With the fairness of reproaches for funding cutoffs (from 2.88% in 1997 to 1.55% in 2002), the science itself must assume a part of the guilt for its adversities. There’s almost no intellectual property protection in science, thinks Sergey Aldoshin, the member of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ presidium. At the same time, the scientists are only learning to find common language with the business and attract it.
The figure between 500,000 and 800,000 scientists who have gone abroad is not quite correct. Most probably such scientists work on grants and spend only a few months on their business trips.
524 MILLIONAIRES DECLARE THEIR INCOMES
Izvestia, June 21, 2002, p. 2
On June 20, Russia’s Ministry of Taxes and Duties published official data on results of the income declaration campaign of 2002. No sensation – instead of the promised 10 million tax returns, individuals submitted to the tax bodies only 2.6 million declarations.
On the whole, the Ministry of Taxes and Duties admits that the declaration campaign was a success and yielded the same results as last year. At the same time, there were received 524 declarations from individuals whose incomes exceed 10 million rubles. The ministry officials note that among them were those who earned over 100 million rubles last year.
These figures do not make the real indication of the number of millionaires in the country. Thus far, the ministry’s officials said, it is generally impossible to draw conclusions on the level of the population’s incomes, since far from always tracing and inspecting the people’s sources of income is a success. It is only clear that the Russian millionaires and multi-millionaires prefer residing big cities. Thus, their number in Moscow is 326, in St. Petersburg – 33. For those who haven’t accounted fairly the Ministry of Taxes and Duties promises visits of the tax police in the near future.
MONOPOLISTS’ BELTS TIGHTENED
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, June 21, 2002, p. 2
At its meeting of June 20, the Cabinet finally determined the rise in the electricity, heat and railroad transportation rates. The rise will be almost one third less than the natural monopolies propose.
In fact, a situation which occurred six months ago has been repeated: when the cabinet was considering raising the rates for services of the natural monopolies for the first time. They were then proposing an almost 40% increase of the rates. However, the Cabinet tightened their belts.
The Cabinet meeting of June 20 was developing in accord with a similar scenario. As a result, Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko announced that in 2002-2003 the gas rates would rise 15%, railroad transportation rates almost 7%, electricity rates some 14-16%. In the opinion of Khristenko, the rise in prices proposed by the natural monopolies might provoke inflation of 13-15%. In its turn, this would automatically raise the rates for all goods and services. The
Cabinet’s variant envisages lower rise in prices – of 4.5% annually at most. It was ordered to adjust the monopolies’ rates to these figures.
WOULD NOT FOREIGNERS PASS?
Trud, June 21, 2002, p. 2
On June 21, the Emergency All-Russian congress in defense of migrants will close in Moscow. In this unusual manner, the human rights groups of Russia decided to celebrate International Refugee Day this year. The congress “is not held in defense of migrants alone, but also of our future,” Lyudmila Alekseyeva, the chairwoman of the Moscow branch of the Helsinki group said. In her opinion, “the current migration policy program in Russia is anti-Russian.”
“We’d rather die out in the vastness of our own country, but won’t let the foreigners enter here!” she emotionally determined the spirit of the current migration laws.
Lidiya Grafova, the head of the Coordinative council for aiding refugees asserts that the law on citizenship adopted of late “factually closes the door to some 3-4 millions of our former compatriots,” who are willing to enter Russia. In her words, the matter concerns the people, who would be able “to save Russia from a demographic crisis and replenish its vanishing labor potential.”
On his part, the Minister of Nationalities, Vladimir Zorin, said that arguments of human activists deserve some attention, and the government has been dealing in this issue already. In his words, legislative acts to regulate migration processes are drawn up now. A thought-through migration policy is required, V. Zorin thinks. Having merely opened access to Russia for everybody willing to enter, we wouldn’t resolve the problems of manpower in the country, since thus far “newcomers mainly settle in Moscow and southern Russia, where there’s population and manpower redundancy; at the same time, many people migrate to the Kursk, Voronezh, Bryansk regions or to the Far East.” In the minister’s opinion, the settlement of migrants should be taken under control and introduce quotas for each Russian region. He also expressed a hope that the results of the population census will provide for a real demographic prospect and aid resolving this very complicated problem.