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Brain Drain and Innovation in Russia

The Russian government has a number of programs underway to become a nanotechnology leader and create a Silicon Valley.  The problem is that some of the country’s best minds are not inclined to stick around under the current conditions.  From author Vladimir Voinovich in the Japan Times.

It’s a wonderful plan, but I don’t see how it will work. For example, imagine a genius who left Russia years back. He has achieved prominence in a foreign country, inventing something outstanding. Now he is asked to come home: Your motherland is waiting for you; it values your contribution; it forgives your betrayal; and it will pay you more than what you are getting elsewhere.

This brilliant scientist is still a human being. He is nostalgic for the birch trees, his old friends, ex-wife and children from the first marriage. He wants to come back, to revisit all that he has left behind, in the meantime helping his nation to become economically strong, technically advanced and prosperous.

Before making the final decision, he turns on the radio, watches a bit of TV, browses the Internet and finds out what Russia is like.

You can imagine where it goes from here.