Mr Fortov also spoke of the Russian researchers’ international ties, particularly negotiations with the United States National Academy of Sciences, contacts with the UN and UNESCO and a number of international projects.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Fortov. You and I had agreed to meet to discuss the current problems of the Academy’s development. It is good to see you.
President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Fortov: Mr President, events are developing rather fast. The meeting [of the Council for Science and Education] at the Hermitage building was of great help. The ‘dual key’ system is on. This gives us an opportunity to focus on research, while the Federal Agency for Scientific Organisations would deal mainly with the complicated matters they are facing. Now both the Federal Agency staff and we have come to better understand how the system works. Problems do occur, of course. I will try to tell you about many of them today.
However, I would like to report on the implementation of some of your instructions dealing with international ties. The thing is that, as I have told you earlier, our foreign colleagues are showing an interest in joint work. The Academy of Sciences’ delegation recently visited the United States, where we had very interesting talks with the American Academy of Sciences and agreed on some projects that are to be launched shortly. They have to do with hydrocarbon power generation, environmental protection, and climate change studies, along with work that has to do with the northern areas (they are also interested in northern areas), with non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear technology. The atmosphere of the visit was very friendly and interested.
Vladimir Putin: This is what diplomats refer to as mutual interest, a natural interest.
Vladimir Fortov: Yes, and in science, if there is no real interest, it is next to impossible to make scientists do anything.
Here we have developed a certain trend for joint work. A delegation of the United States National Academy of Sciences recently visited us here and we agreed on some additional projects to study outer space, specifically Venus, things that had been somewhat undecided. I have prepared some documents for your information; I will give them to you.
At the same time, you gave us instructions regarding UNESCO and the Scientific Advisory Board set up by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that unites some 20 scholars from different countries.
We recently met in Kuala Lumpur and the discussion covered a number of issues that were of interest to the UN as an organisation – global warming, combatting terrorism, matters pertaining to interethnic relations, medicine and overall development. This is something the organisation has always been interested in.
Acting on your instructions, we suggested to Mr Ban Ki-moon and the people working on these issues around him, from UNESCO (Irina Bokova organised this meeting, you met her) to have the next such meeting in St Petersburg. This idea was met with enthusiasm. We are planning it around December 12–14. It would be good if you could support this meeting, which coincides with the Culture Forum in St Petersburg. It would be great if you could take part in the meeting and talk to the academics, particularly since we expect Mr Ban Ki-moon and Ms Bokova to be there, and Ms Bokova’s attitude to us is very kind.
Vladimir Putin: As for my participation, we will have to see about that – there is plenty of time until December. However, we will certainly support the meeting in terms of organisation and in every other way. It is a good idea.