Vladimir Putin: In recent years not only Russia but the whole world has changed. Europe, Russia and Poland are not what they used to be. Great changes, long predicted by scientists, are taking place in the economy, in international and cultural life. We are witnesses and participants in this process.
All this confronts science – both fundamental and applied – with a new set of tasks. The intellectual resources of our countries should be used to look for new approaches to research and to methods of cooperation. I think the attention our governments attach to promoting bilateral scientific ties is the best proof of their commitment to giving them a new impetus.
I believe the priorities of scientific cooperation between the two countries should be determined by scientists themselves. At the same time I would like to mention some spheres which I think are important both internationally and regionally.
First, I believe that the priority for our two countries and for the world community as a whole is addressing environmental problems together.
Russia is currently developing its environmental doctrine; it is being done by the National Ecological Forum which includes some of our top scientists. But as part of the bilateral dialogue we could start working on the regional aspect of environmental security and contribute jointly to creating an international system of environmental security.
Second, we need a profound analysis and insight into present-day processes taking place in the two countries in the social, political and legal spheres. That is very important for practical politics.
Third, we share an interest in the study of other problems, including emergent economies as well as the specific character of transborder economy and related changes in the social structure.
I think in seeking to strengthen the ties and confidence between such long-time neighbours as Poland and Russia it is important to proceed from an objective assessment of the past.
Further. High technologies and innovative programmes are undoubtedly the priority practical tasks. We already have some common successes to report. The Programme of Bilateral Scientific-Technical Cooperation includes 100 projects such as the production of new materials and electronics, engineering and transport, the agricultural industry and the social sphere. I think that Poland, rich as it is in natural resources, may be interested in some modern Russian technologies of exploring and developing mineral fields.
The implementation of new ideas requires new people. I think it is high time we restore and develop further the good tradition of exchange of scientists, experts and students. We already have launched some initiatives in this field. For example, at the personal initiative of President Alexander Kwasniewski, 13 Russian students have received scholarships to study in Poland.
I think we can consider joint actions to reinvigorate the Eurofaculty project in the field of economics and law at Kaliningrad State University which tailors its teaching standards not only to Russia but to the Baltic countries, and consider sending students from both countries to study there.
The undisputed leaders in scientific cooperation are the Polish and Russian Academies, as well as the government agencies of the two countries in charge of cooperation. But the dialogue of scientists will only gain if the resources of independent scientific unions, associations and academies in both Russia and Poland are brought in. These associations are dynamic and promising.