The well-known Russian physicist, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yevgeny Aleksandrov published a kind of manifesto in the newspaper "Troitsky Variant" under the heading "In Search of a National Idea", in which he criticized attempts to accept Russian science as such an idea, thereby reviving the great Soviet science.
“There was no great science in the USSR,” says Aleksandrov, and recalls the words of the outstanding Soviet physicist, academician Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa, who somehow figuratively compared two sciences - Soviet and American: “An American icebreaker is breaking through the ice field, followed by something - how the Soviet boats are ripening".
Aleksandrov notes that our science mainly occupied catch-up positions, which did not exclude primacy in some areas. For example: it is customary to admire our primacy in the launch of an artificial satellite, which "opened the space age of mankind". “But it was a common propaganda victory”, - writes the author. - The Americans had been openly preparing the launch of the first satellite for a long time, and our party leadership decided to overtake the Americans at any cost. As always, everything happened in deep secrecy, and when our satellite was launched five months earlier than the American one, it made a splash all over the world. For both us and the Americans, the launch of satellites was primarily a by-product of the development of military rocket technology, which both countries inherited from defeated Germany. This activity had a very indirect relation to science..."
Real scientific knowledge in astronautics appeared much later after the exploration of the Earth from space began, when they began to launch vehicles to the planets of the solar system, when orbital telescopes appeared, and so on. So, just in this area, the Soviet and Russian contributions to the scientific section of astronautics, according to Aleksandrov, are very modest: “ We were proud and proud of our primacy in launching the first man into space, the dramatic twists and turns of which became known only in recent decades. The scientific significance of man's stay in outer space is negligible compared to the mass of knowledge accumulated over six decades of the development of cosmonautics..."
But now the position of Russian science is much worse than in Soviet times, the academician is sure:
“The current Russian establishment treats science and education with disdain, preferring the cult of military power, money and a domineering career. Say, we have nothing to spend on science. If you need it, we will steal it from the adversaries. But stealing is a sin! Theft is a natural atrocious property, and we strive to humanize! And the hope for the "scratch-tack" inevitably leads to lagging behind, to fear and envy. At the same time, our illegal spies are a constant subject of national pride. Russian Stirlitz and Kim Philby outnumbered all James Bond. And now we are proud of our hackers and developers of chemical warfare agents..."
However, this kind of "achievement" is already a long-standing tradition, the author writes and gives a typical example from the Soviet past:
“My late father-in-law, Colonel of the Medical Service A. S. Mokeev, during the war worked at the Shikhani training ground, where organophosphorus nerve poisons were being developed in an alliance with the Germans before the war. In 1981, when my father-in-law met me, he showed me the newspaper Pravda, which published portraits of a number of laureates of the State Prize for their work “in the field of pharmacology”. “This, - said the father-in-law, - my colleagues, were awarded for the Olympics-80”. I did not understand, and he explained: this is for the development of undetectable doping. Then our victories were without scandals..."
However, if in Soviet times at least the semblance of shame was still observed, and such facts were strictly classified, now there is not even this:
“In today's Russia, special services rule, and secret special operations have infiltrated all areas of life - from sports to foreign policy - which is accompanied by continuous scandals, but we have learned to ignore them according to the old recipe, reflected in the anecdote about Dunaevsky's anniversary: a Georgian friend makes a toast in honor of hero of the day, ending like this: "And when everyone says that you stole your melodies, then don't believe me, dear!"..."
The academician gives a typical example of how science was actually valued in our country:
"In Russia, the title of a hereditary nobleman was given almost exclusively for military merits - Lomonosov remained until his death an Arkhangelsk man, in contrast to the Lords of Newton, Faraday, Rayleigh, Thomson, Rutherford and many others..."
Historian Yevgeny Berkovich, however, notes that Lomonosov was given the rank of "collegiate advisor", which gave the right to personal nobility. And yes, before the 1917 revolution, higher education gave the right to easily get a personal nobility.
But here, for example, in Germany the title "Doctor of Science" still fits into the passport and becomes similar to a noble title such as a count or a baron - he accompanies his bearer for life. No official document can ignore the title of doctor.
Whereas the prestige of a doctor of sciences in modern Russia can be seen from the attached table:
However, the pathos of Academician Aleksandrov's article is by no means limited to criticism; it also contains a quite sensible, albeit looking utopian proposal in the current Russian realities:
“Despite this modest assessment of Russia's contribution to world scientific progress over the past century, I would suggest making the development of science and education a Russian national idea! But not with the traditional goal of surpassing and plugging the "kosobryhikh" and "thick-eaters" into the belt, but in order to lead the movement of mankind towards humanization - for the sake of preserving it as the most important, and possibly a unique cosmic phenomenon..."
The academician recalls the indisputable fact that all the intellectual progress of mankind is associated exclusively with the accumulation of knowledge:
“What distinguishes man, the“ crown of creation ”from all other representatives of the animal world on Earth? The ability from generation to generation to accumulate knowledge about the world around and use it for the prosperity of the species. (…) Geneticists constantly insist that genetically humans are almost indistinguishable from chimpanzees - supposedly the differences in the genome are only a few percent! But people have an incomparably more developed ability to educate - to assimilate external, extragenetic information. It was this ability that turned us into humans. It is upbringing and education that turns animals into people, which should be the basis of the national idea. And among the Strugatsky brothers, the main figure of the ideal state is not a special-progressionist, but a school teacher. And it is not necessary to teach children in school about military-patriotic games, not the art of high-speed disassembly of a Kalashnikov assault rifle, but the organization of the world and the art of not being animals..."
Aleksandrov explains that “the traditionally national idea is built on the basis of national bragging - like “Rule, Britannia!” (English: Rule Britain!) or "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles!" (German: Germany, Germany above all!). Meanwhile, if we take a responsible approach to the fate of humanity, it is necessary to resolutely abandon national priorities".
This should be the idea of “a human state, maximally free from all atrocities, from claims to superiority over other nations, from lies, from militarism; about a state preoccupied with educating citizens and developing rational knowledge as the main resource for maintaining human civilization. Believing that the dissemination of such ideas should remove the threat of self-destruction of mankind, it is appropriate to list the obvious objective threats to its existence, calling for a united reasonable opposition".
We will repeat, we should talk about an international, universal idea, which does not prevent Russia from initiating, proposing such an idea for general consideration:
“ Of course, each nation has its own language, its own history, its own literature, but if you think about the interests of uniting mankind, then the exact natural sciences should be placed in the basis of school education as a universal basis. This basis, in my opinion, should be completed by the obligatory unified artificial language of the "Esperanto" type. It is natural to use it as a universal language of science, like Latin in the Middle Ages..."