14 Aug 2019 18:39

Order restricting visits by foreigners to Russian scientific centers is recommendatory in nature - Education and Science Ministry

MOSCOW. Aug 14 (Interfax) - The Education and Science Ministry's order restricting visits by foreigners to Russian scientific centers and communication with colleagues in Russia, which has perplexed scientists, is not mandatory and is aimed at keeping records of research workers' foreign connections, the ministry said.

"The document is recommendatory in nature and it reflects the global practices, tendencies and approaches in interaction with the state bodies of foreign states, international and foreign organizations, the Russian Education and Science Ministry press service said in a report received by Interfax on Wednesday.

The recommendations are aimed primarily at "keeping records of the indicators of the growth of international connections, including as part of the implementation of the national project Science, and they are by no means aimed at exercising control over organizations reporting to the Russian Education and Science Ministry," the ministry said.

At the same time, the agency said Russian scientists and specialists "face certain restrictions when they visit organizations and agencies abroad."

The newspaper Troitsky variant earlier published on its website a scan of some pages of the Education and Science Ministry's order outlining recommendations regarding contacts with foreign and international organizations (the document is currently inaccessible). The order was sent to structures reporting to the Education and Science Ministry. The newspaper Moskovsky Komsolmolets also paid attention to this information.

According to media reports, the document provides that Russian organizations will be required to notify the Education and Science Ministry of any planned meetings with foreign colleagues, providing a list of participants and copies of their passports, and reports with round stamps will need to be sent to the ministry after such events. The document also limits contacts between Russian and foreign scientists at the non-working time: allegedly, there is a recommendation to request permission from the superiors and file a detailed report on the issues addressed in conversations with foreign colleagues after such meetings.

The document also dealt with the use of recording ad copying devices by foreigners in Russian scientific organization. Alexander Fradkov, the head of the complex systems management laboratory of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has written an open letter to the Education and Science Ministry in which he criticized these recommendations, asking whether cell phones and watches need to be taken away from international conference participants.