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Dear colleagues,

I have been told about the possible suppression (disguised as an improvement) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This is an incredible piece of news. I don't remember any such thing happening to an Academy, even less to one with such a glorious past. What is going to happen to those well-known journals of yours, such as Doklady and Izvestja? (I had three times the honor of publishing a paper in Izvestja: twice in French, and once in English.)

I know that my French colleagues feel as I do; they are going to write to you soon, to express their support.

I very much hope that your Academy will survive this crisis.

Avec toutes mes amities

J-P. Serre
Foreign member Russian Academy of Sciences
Membre de l'Académie des Sciences
Member National Academy of Sciences USA
Field Medal Abel Prize


Dear colleague,

I have heard with some disquiet about the proposals for the future of the Russian Academy of Science. It may well be that there are good reasons for these changes, but if so they are not yet apparent.

I am a mathematician and know well the great tradition of high calibre mathematics since the times of Euler and Lobatchevski. Through all the difficult times of political upheaval, mathematics continued to prosper and the Academy was able to maintain its integrity and independence.

It would be a tragedy for Russia and the rest of the world if this great historical tradition were to end.

I am a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy and I was also President of the Royal Society of London, where I had responsibilities for the whole of science. These included international relations with other academies, and I am glad to say that these links have grown closer over the years. Addressing global issues of a scientific nature, such as global warming, requires scientists of the world to work together. The Russian Academy of Science is a vital part of the world scientific community.

I am copying this message to colleagues, including the current President of the Royal Society Sir Paul Nurse.

Yours sincerely

(Sir) Michael Atiyah OM, FRS, FRSE,
Fields Medalist and Abel Laureate
Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
Honorary Professor of Edinburgh University


Председателю Государственной думы С. Е. Нарышкину

Уважаемый Сергей Евгеньевич,

я являюсь одним из представителей российской научной диаспоры. Беспрецедентное предложение российского правительства провести коренную перестройку и фактически уничтожение Российской академии наук без малейших попыток согласования с научным сообществом, является абсолютно шокирующим, и прямо говоря преступным. Я очень надеюсь что депутаты Думы примут разумное и взвешенное решение по этому поводу.

Касаясь существа дела, то есть возможного направления реформы, я хочу сделать общее замечание. В разных странах и в разных областях науки существует разные схемы финансирования, но в основном сейчас доминирует система грантов, которая далеко не всегда оптимальна. Совсем не ясно что эту систему надо внедрять повсюду независимо от существующих условий и сложившихся традиций. Принципы заложенные в структуру Российской Академии, уникальны, и обладают большим позитивным потенциалом. Было бы очень неразумно потерять возможность не воспользоваться шансом этот потенциал развить.

С уважением,
Максим Концевич,
профессор математики в Институте Высших Научных Исследований (IHES), Франциячлен Французской академии наук,
лауреат Филдсовской премии, премии Крафорда, премии Шоу и премии по фундаментальной физике.


It saddened me to learn of the planned destruction of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Being done with no input with the scientific community, even if it were done with good intentions, it is bound to have catastrophic consequences on the already precarious situation of sciences in Russia.

I cannot guess what the government wants to achieve. If it is to more easily try to direct research toward short term applicable goals, it is even worse.

Sincerely,

Pierre Deligne
Membre de l'Académie des Sciences
Field Medal Abel Prize
Professor Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton


July 2, 2013
S. Naryshkin, Speaker of the Duma

Dear Mr. Naryshkin,

I write as a former President of the International Mathematical Union and a member of both the Academy of Sciences of the United States and the Royal Society in the United Kingdom to express my shock and dismay at a proposal to disband the Russian Academy of Science. Its history far surpasses that of the US Academy, having been the leader of research in mathematics when the mathematician Euler worked in St. Petersburg under Catherine the Great. An independent scientific academy is one great institutions of our civilization, which is fundamental to the progress of science. If Russia were to abolish hers, it would cast great doubt around the world about the direction in which Russia is headed.

Sincerely,

David Mumford
University Professor of Applied Mathematics

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Письмо Председателю Государственной Думы С. Е. Напышкину

Your Excellency,

Russian science in my field of expertise has always been extraordinarily creative, original and successful. For many decades many concepts of primary importance have originated from Russia. The role of the Russian Academy of Science in this success story has been pivotal. Institutes such as the Landau Institute, the Institute for Physical Problems, the Steklov Institute and several others, belong to the short list of world leading centers. Clearly the understanding by the Russian Academy of the criteria which allow for science at its best, has been absolutely essential.

We have been informed by our Russian colleagues that the Duma will be considering drastic changes to the organization of the Institutes run by the Academy. Why do foreigners like me care? Well, science is a global international collective enterprise: anything which happens to science anywhere in the world matters to all of us. Therefore, although we do understand that reforms in organizations may lead to improvements, we also know that unfortunate decisions may lead to irreversible damages.

Therefore we respectfully beg your Excellence to make sure that the Academy, which gathers the best minds of the country, remains at the heart of the future organization.

Respectfully yours

Edouard Brézin
Former President, Académie des Sciences
Foreign member National Academy of Sciences (USA), Royal Society (UK)
Laboratoire de Physique Théorique,
Ecole Normale Supérieure


To the members of the Russian Parliament

We have learned with great shock and disbelief that a project will be presented to the Russian Parliament that intends to suppress the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Russian Academy is a most prestigious, worldwide well-known, institution, which in all times has gathered some of the most famous Russian scientists. It has played, and still plays, a major role in the promoting research of the highest quality in Russia and, in some circumstances, preserving its integrity. Its suppression would thus inflict a major damage to Russian science and, as a consequence, also to science worldwide.

Jean Zinn-Justin, Jean Iliopoulos, Bernard Derrida,
Members of the French Academy of Sciences


Dear Academician Kozlov,

I am writing about the shocking news I have just heard that the Russian Government is proceeding to legislate to liquidate the Russian Academy of Sciences and to create on its basis a new public organization subordinate to a special government agency whose decisions are based on bureaucratic rules rather than purely scientific merit.

The Russian Academy of Sciences with its illustrative history dating back all the way to 1725 is one of the most prestigious academies of the world and has provided for so many centuries an unparalleled free and nourishing environment for the advancement of sciences and the establishment of scientific standards. It belongs not only to the Russian people but, as one of the scientific organizations of the greatest impact, also to the world community of scientists.

As a mathematician and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, I am writing to add my voice to those in the world community of scientists who are alarmed by the unthinkable possibility of the liquidation of the Russian Academy of Sciences. I urge that you and your fellow academicians and other mathematics colleagues in the Russian Academy of Sciences stand together to take all measures within your power to make sure that the prestigious historical Russian Academy of Sciences will continue to function as it now does to provide the free and nourishing environment for the advancement of sciences and the establishment of scientific standards.

Sincerely yours,

Yum-Tong Siu
William Elwood Byerly Professor of Mathematics of Harvard University
Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences


Письмо иностранного секретаря Национальной Академии наук США
профессору Принстонского университета лауреату Филдсовской премии Андрею Окунькову

Dear Professor Okounkov:

Thank you for your message regarding the Russian Academy of Sciences. We are transmitting a letter to the Presidium of the Russian Academy expressing our concern about the independence of the Russian Academy. The letter will be signed by Ralph Cicerone, as NAS President and myself, as NAS Foreign Secretary. It is my understanding that the letter will be transmitted this afternoon.

Thank you for writing me to express your concerns about this unfortunate situation.

Sincerely,

Michael CleggDonald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences


To whom it may concern,

We have been informed by our colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences that, last Thursday, the Russian Government unexpectedly approved a draft law on liquidation of the Russian Academy of Sciences (founded in 1724) and that the law might be hastily approved this week. Moreover, we have been told that this law has been proposed without any involvement of the two councils created by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science for consultations with the scientific community.

We do not want to enter into the details of this plan, but we are seriously worried about this development. Since its inception, the Russian Academy of Sciences has been one of the foremost research institutes in the world and a crowning glory for Russia. We take the liberty of stressing that changes in the structure and leadership of such an old and productive scientific organization, even when they are deemed to necessary, should be done with extreme care and with the full involvement of the scientific community, not by means of laws passed hastily in any parliament. Cutting-edge science is done by scientists and it is important for the proper working of any scientific institute that scientists be involved in its leadership. This is all the more true for an institution of the quality and impact of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

We sincerely hope that the Russian Government will recognize the importance of the Russian Academy of Sciences for the country and its future, and that it will reconsider its present plans to approve via fast-track a legislation that might have very negative consequences for Russian science.

We hope that hasty law making will not destroy the research environment built by centuries of scholarly work by Russian scientists.

Yours sincerely,

Luca Aceto
President of European Association for Theoretical Computer Science
on behalf of the association as a whole


To the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia
To whom it may concern

I have been informed from Russian and Italian colleagues that the prestigious and cultural world leader Russian Academy of Sciences is going to be profoundly mined by an administrative reorganization.

As President of the Italian Geological Society, I invite you to reconsider this heavy decision. The members of the Russian Academy of Sciences have a great tradition in developing the highest standards of cultural and scientific growth. You are certainly right in funding more your best scientists after a careful evaluation, and I entirely support the battle for a better science for a better society. However, according to Leonardo and the last centuries history, no good application can develop without appropriate basic and free research, not directly controlled by the political power. Our Russian colleagues have an outstanding scientific reputation and they were selected through the highest standards of co-optation by the Russian Academy of Sciences.

We in Italy have a great respect of the scientific community in the Russian Federation.

For the benefit of your great Nation, I firmly support the deep concern of the Russian Academy of Sciences members, and I hope you can stop dismissing one of the very few top world academies.

With my best wishes,

Carlo Doglioni

Leonardo Da Vinci: «He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.»

Prof. Carlo Doglioni
President of the Italian Geological Society — founded in 1881

Recipient of the Spendiarov Prize of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Member of the Academy of Europe
Member of the Accademia dei Lincei
Member of the Accademia delle Scienze — XL
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra
Università Sapienza, P.le A. Moro 5, Box 11
00185 Roma — Italy


I am Prof. Cumrun Vafa, a professor of physics at Harvard Univeristy. I have been following the development of science in my field in Russia for many years and have visited Russia attending conferences over the years.

I write in of support of Russian Academy of Sciences and write against the draft law on liquidation of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

In my opinion liquidation of the Russian Academy of Sciences will have severe adverse effect on the freedom of academia in Russia.

Sincerely,

Cumrun Vafa
Professor of Physics
Harvard University


Dear Minister,

We hear from our distinguished colleagues that a deep and serious transformation of the Russian Academy of Sciences is being planned.

The Russian Academy of Sciences has represented for many of us excellence in scientific research, and we were, in the last 40 years, deeply admired and appreciative of the work of our Russian colleagues.

We want to firmly stress the fact that, when touching such an old and distinguished institution, one should do it with extreme care and full involvement of the scientific community.

In fact, the main point of being of Academies is that scientific excellence should be judged by scholars who have dedicated their lives to the ideals of science and culture. And not by politicians, or, even worse, bureaucrats.

Even if such a comparison may look akward to you, keep in mind that the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the Italian national Academy (more than 400 years old) was only 'reformed' during the Mussolini times, when it was replaced by the Accademia d'Italia.

After the war, Italians and antifascists wanted to go back to the tradition of the old Accademia dei Lincei, which is the most ancient Academy in the world, and had among its most brilliant publications, the publications by Galileo Galilei which led to the 'new science'.

We do therefore hope that hasty and not well planned 'reforms' will not destroy what centuries of scholarly work has built.

Sincerely yours

Fabrizio Catanese
Chair Professor Mathematik VIII (Algebraic Geometry)
Universität Bayreuth
Corresponding member Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
Ordinary Member, Akademie der Wissenschaften, Göttingen


Dear Colleagues,

The recent unexpected draft law of the Russian Government that foresees a reform of the Russian Academy of Sciences has been brought to the attention of the Italian National Academy of Sciences, known as Academy of the XL.

Our Academicians all share my personal concern that having the Russian Academy under a special administrative agency that can select and appoint the Academy members, will impact rather seriously on the independence and international reputation of the Academy itself. We feel very strongly that the high scientific standards achieved by the Russian Academy of Sciences can be ensured solely if the academic leaders are elected by the members among the most eminent representatives of the Russian scientific community.

We do hope that your Government will be able to annul the above-mentioned draft law such that Russia can continue to rely on an independent self-governing, highly ranked, National Academy.

Sincerely.

Prof. Emilia Chiancone
President of the Italian National Academy of Sciences


Dear Minister,

We hear from our distinguished colleagues that a deep and serious transformation of the Russian Academy of Sciences is being planned.

The Russian Academy of Sciences has represented for many of us excellence in scientific research, and we were, in the last 40 years, deeply admired and appreciative of the work of our Russian colleagues.

We want to firmly stress the fact that, when touching such an old and distinguished institution, one should do it with extreme care and full involvement of the scientific community.

In fact, the main point of being of Academies is that scientific excellence should be judged by scholars who have dedicated their lives to the ideals of science and culture. And not by politicians, or, even worse, bureaucrats.

Even if such a comparison may look akward to you, keep in mind that the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the Italian national Academy (more than 400 years old) was only 'reformed' during the Mussolini times, when it was replaced by the Accademia d'Italia.

After the war, Italians and antifascists wanted to go back to the tradition of the old Accademia dei Lincei, which is the most ancient Academy in the world,and had among its most brilliant publications, the publications by Galileo Galilei which led to the 'new science'.

We do therefore hope that hasty and not well planned 'reforms' will not destroy what centuries of scholarly work has built.

Sincerely yours,

Luciano Maiani
Emeritus Professor, Università di Roma La Sapienza, Italy
former Director General, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
associate to the Russian Academy of Science


Dear colleagues,

I have learnt with considerable alarm the projects of reform of the Russian Academy of Sciences, undertaken without any prior consultation or approval of the scientific community.

On this occasion, I wish to express my personal appreciation to the extraordinary contribution of Russian scientists and mathematicians, often undertaken under duress in the most difficult circumstances. Scientists in Russia deserve to be respected as much at home as they are abroad.

With my best regards.

Jean-Michel Bismut
Membre de l'Académie des Sciences
Département de Mathématique
Université Paris-Sud
F-91405 Orsay
France


Dear Colleague,

We have just been informed that the Russian Government plans to liquidate the Russian Academy of Sciences which belongs to the oldest and most respected academies worldwide with a huge number of worldwide outstanding scientists in its records. This would be an outrageous decision. We strongly appeal to the Russian Government to suspend the plans for destructing such a famous institution and urge to respect the academic independence of science.

Gisbert Wuestholz
Senator of Mathematics, German National Academy of Sciences — Leopoldina
Section Chair, Academia Europaea
Member of Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften


Dear Minister,

The President and the Scientific Committee of the Italian Association for Mathematics Applied to Economic and Social Sciences -AMASES- received from Russian colleagues information about a deep transformation of the Russian Academy of Sciences. We do not want to enter into the details of this plan but we firmly stress the fact that, when touching such old and distinguished institutions, one should do it with extreme care and full involvement of the scientific community. Needless to say that, even in the most obscure years of the past, the academic institutions of Russia and the Soviet Union have always carried a very high and unique scholarly tradition. We are afraid that not well planned «reforms» may destroy what centuries of scholarly work has built.

Sincerely yours

Prof. Achille Basile, Università di Napoli (president)
Prof. Antonella Basso, Università di Venezia (secretary)
Prof. Gian italo Bischi, Università di Urbino
Prof. Fabrizio Cacciafesta, Università di Roma
Prof. Andrea Consiglio, Università di Palermo
Prof. Stefano Herzel, Università di Roma
Prof. Lucia Maddalena, Università di Foggia
Prof. Bruno Viscolani, Università di Padova


Honorable Minister, we hear from our distinguished colleagues that it is in act a deep transformation of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

We do not want to enter into the details of this plan but want to firmly stress the fact that, when touching such old and distinguished institutions, one should do it with extreme care and full involvement of the scientific community. Such reforms, when done only by bureaucrats and politicians destroy traditions and do not build anything useful for the future. Needless to say that, even in the most obscure years of the past, the academic institutions of Russia and the Soviet Union have always carried a high and unique scholarly tradition.

We hope that hasty and not well planned «reforms» will not destroy what centuries of scholarly work has built.

Sincerely yours

Claudio Procesi
Professore Emerito
Dipartimento di Matematica, G. Castelnuovo
Membro dell'Accademia dei Lincei
Università di Roma La Sapienza, piazzale A. Moro 00185,
Roma, Italia

Sir Basil Markesinis
Queens Counsel,
Member of the British Academy and Foreign Member of the Academia dei Lincei

Giulio Maier
Professor Emeritus of Structural Engineering
Technical University (Politecnico) of Milan
Membro dell'Accademia dei Lincei

Enrico Arbarello
Professore di Geometria
Sapienza, Roma

Stefano Schiaffino
Professore Emerito di Patologia Generale
Università di Padova
Membro dell'Accademia dei Lincei

Adriano Prosperi
Accademia dei Lincei

Erio Tosatti
Professore Ordinario di Teoria degli Stati Condensati,
International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) Trieste
Former Director a.i., Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) Trieste
Socio Corrispondente, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
Foreign Associate, National Academy of Sciences, USA

Corrado De Concini
Linceo, Prof. Algebra
Università La Sapienza Roma

Federico Capasso
Accademia dei Lincei

Giuseppe Anichini
Professore di Analisi Matematica — Firenze
Segretario Unione Matematica Italiana

Enrico Castelnuovo
Professeur honoraire de l'Université de Lausanne
Professore emerito della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
socio corrispondente dell'Accademia dei Lincei

Giacomo Becattini
Prof. emerito di economia politica e Accademico dei LIncei

Claire Voisin
CNRS Senior researcher, French Academy of Sciences

Fabrizio Catanese
Chair Professor Mathematik VIII (Algebraic Geometry)
Universität Bayreuth
Corresponding member Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
Ordinary Member, Akademie der Wissenschaften, Göttingen

Giancarlo Vecchio
Emerito presso l'Università di Napoli Federico II e
Accademico dei Lincei

Kieran G. O'Grady
Prof. ordinario di Geometria, Università La Sapienza di Roma
Socio corrispondente dell'Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei

Giuseppe Cacciatore
Ordinario di Storia della filosofia — Università di Napoli "Federico II
"Membro Corrispondente dell'Accademia dei Lincei

Gennaro Marino
Professore Emerito
Università di Napoli Federico II
Socio corrispondente
Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei

Maurizio Prato
Professor of Organic Chemistry
Center of Excellence on Nanostructured Materials
University of Trieste, Italy
Member of Accademia dei Lincei, Roma

Glen Bowersock
Professor of Ancient History, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

Paolo Podio-Guidugli
Università di Roma TorVergata
Membro corrispondente dell'Accademia dei Lincei

Giancarlo Setti
Emeritus Professor — University of Bologna
Academic Secretary — Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei

Carlo Di Castro
Professor of Theoretical Physics (Emeritus)
Member of the «Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei»

Paolo Matthiae
Professore Emerito Università Sapienza di Roma
Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Antichità
Socio Nazionale dell'Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
Associé Etranger de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris
Member of the Royal Swedish Academy, Stockholm
Member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien

Carlo Patrono, MD, FRCP
Professor and Chair of Pharmacology
Catholic University School of Medicine
Rome, Italy
Member of the «Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei»

Aldo Montesano
Emerito di Economia politica presso l'Università Bocconi
Socio nazionale dell'Accademia dei Lincei
Membro effettivo dell'Istituto Lombardo

Prof. Francesco De Martini
Accademia dei Lincei, Roma

Maurizio Brunori
Accademia dei Lincei

Gabriele Veneziano
Collège de France \& CERN

Prof. Emerito della Sapienza di Roma Maurizio Calvesi
Dipartimento di Storia dell'arte
Socio dell'Accademia dei Lincei
Premio Balzan 2008

Gianfranco Pasquino
già professore di Scienza politica, Università di Bologna
Dal luglio 2005 Socio corrispondente dell'Accademia dei Lincei

Fulvio Tessitore
Emeritus Professor, Università degli studi di Napoli "Federico II
"Academic Secretary, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei Roma

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