Fyodor A. Kondrashov, Alexey S. Kondrashov & Mikhail S. Gelfand
Nature 522, 419 (25 June 2015) doi:10.1038/522419a
Published online 24 June 2015
Philanthropist Dmitry Zimin is closing down his successful Dynasty Foundation — modern Russia's first private science-funding organization — after the Ministry of Justice fined it for being a “foreign agent” (see Nature 521, 273; 2015). Like many other Russian scientists, we believe that these events will have dire immediate and long-term consequences for Russia's science.
Ironically, the government has been trying to revitalize Russian science in the past few years. Along with increased research funding to universities and a drastic overhaul of science management, it set up a mega-grant programme to attract back Russian scientists working abroad. It also created innovation centres and transferred fund management from the previously independent Russian Academy of Science to a government organization (see go.nature.com/m75bj4).
The controversial law that claimed the Dynasty Foundation is intended to curtail perceived foreign influence in Russian politics. This case suggests that the future of Russian science depends on political forces to a greater extent than the government seems prepared to acknowledge.