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Russian Academy of Sciences Fights for Independence

The Russian Academy of Sciences, the nearly 300-year-old esteemed academic institution which once defied Soviet demands to expel Andrei Sakharov, is currently waging the battle of its lifetime to maintain its independence from government efforts to tighten control. If the new charter is drafted according to official requests, the Foreign Ministry will have oversight on the foreign policy thinktanks, the government will have the ultimate approval on academy appointments and assign budgets (or lack thereof) on research projects, and “greedy bureaucrats” will gain control of the Academy’s valuable portfolio of real estate. Ultimately, the pressure seems to be on the institution to better commercialize itself. From the Post:

Livanov, the deputy minister, said the academy could quickly squeeze much more money out of its operations, particularly by exploiting its real estate. “Not long ago, we analyzed the assets of the academy, and our results showed us that these assets, if used efficiently, could generate 35 to 40 percent more revenue,” Livanov said. “We’re not changing ownership. It is state property and will remain state property.” “Now I hear the bell ring,” said Rogov, of the U.S.-Canada institute. “That academy building would make a nice trading center, and that one a nice bank, and that one a nice mall.”