Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a major speech to the Gala Celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It is a lengthy speech, well worth the reading, in which Putin touched on some very salient points.
Noting the importance of the founding of the Academy by Tsar Peter, Putin also underlined the universal nature of science, ridiculing the attempt by the West to isolate Russia from the scientific world. “Even the times of the Iron Curtain did not prohibit communication between scientists. Come on, let’s remember how the nuclear project was created, let’s remember the outstanding physicists, Fermi, Bohr and so on, but even then it was impossible to forbid communication, and today it is ridiculous. Nevertheless, these attempts continue. At the same time, fruitful scientific cooperation between your colleagues and contacts with Russian scientists continue. I would like to stress that we will always be open to partnership in the interests of all humanity.”
“You know very well that the Academy was created at a turning point, when our country became a great power. Peter The First, the founder and inspiration of the Academy, saw the enormous role of science for the enlightenment and education, to strengthen military power and the economic potential of the state,” Putin said.
“It is known that throughout its history the Academy was engaged in fundamental science, and its role in the life of the country, I would like to emphasize this was also absolutely fundamental…. In the words of the great scientist, academician Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, the independent scientific work of Russian society began with the study of the native Fatherland, the exploration of our boundless lands.”
Putin also went on to laud the work of the Commission for the Study of the Economic Productive Forces [KEPS]: “I recall in this connection that it was the academic Commission for the Study of Natural Productive Forces that first systematically engaged in strategic planning of the country’s development. And in this sense, the growing participation of the Academy of Sciences in the development of our major infrastructure projects, including the development of global logistics corridors and new transportation routes, is deeply symbolic.” What Putin could have, but did not mention, is that this organization, KEPS, was actually set up by Vernadsky in 1915 to study the resources available to Russia when it was cut off from foreign suppliers because of the war.