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Russian Academy of Sciences

Russian Academy of Sciences
Moscow headquarters of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Established 1724
President Vladimir Fortov[1]
Address Leninsky prospekt 14, Moscow

The Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) (Russian: Росси́йская акаде́мия нау́к (РАН) Rossíiskaya akadémiya naúk) consists of the national academy of Russia; a network of scientific research institutes from across the Russian Federation; and additional scientific and social units such as libraries, publishing units, and hospitals.

Headquartered in Moscow, the Academy (RAS) is considered a civil, self-governed, non-commercial organization[2] chartered by the Government of Russia. It combines the members of RAS (see below) and scientists employed by institutions.

The Academy currently includes around 500 institutions and 55 thousand scientific researchers.


There are three types of membership in the RAS: full members (academicians), corresponding members, and foreign members. Academicians and corresponding members must be citizens of the Russian Federation when elected. However, some academicians and corresponding members were elected before the collapse of the USSR and are now citizens of other countries. Members of RAS are elected based on their scientific contributions – election to membership is considered very prestigious.[3] As of 2005–2007 there are just under 500 full members in the academy and a similar number of corresponding members.


The RAS consists of 11 specialized scientific divisions, three territorial divisions, sometimes called branches, and 14 regional scientific centers. The Academy has numerous councils, committees, and commissions, all organized for different purposes.[4]

Territorial divisions

Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SD RAS)
The Siberian Division was established in 1957, with Mikhail Lavrentyev as founding chairman. Research centers are in Novosibirsk (Akademgorodok), Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Yakutsk, Ulan-Ude, Kemerovo, Tyumen and Omsk. As of 2005, the Division employed over 33,000 employees, 58 of whom were members of the Academy.[5]
Ural Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences (URAN)
The Ural Division was established in 1932, with Aleksandr Fersman as its founding chairman. Research centers are in Yekaterinburg, Perm, Cheliabinsk, Izhevsk, Orenburg, Ufa and Syktyvkar. As of 2007, the Division employed 3,600 scientists, 590 full professors, 31 full members, and 58 corresponding members of the Academy.
Far East Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FED RAS)
The Far East Division includes the Primorsky Scientific Center in Vladivostok, the Amur Scientific Center in Blagoveschensk, the Khabarovsk Scientific Center, the Sakhalin Scientific Center in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the Kamchatka Scientific Center in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and the North-Eastern Scientific Center in Magadan.[6][7]

Regional centers

File:Russian Academy of Sciences SPB.jpg
The building of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg on Universitetskaya Embankment
  • Buryat Scientific Center
  • Kazan Scientific Center
  • Pushchino Scientific Center
  • Samara Scientific Center
  • Saratov Scientific Center
  • Vladikavkaz Scientific Center of the RAS and the Government of the Republic Alania- Northern Ossetia
  • Dagestan Scientific Center
  • Kabardino-Balkarian Scientific Center
  • Karelian Scientific Center
  • Kola Scientific Center
  • Science Scientific of the RAS in Chernogolovka
  • St. Petersburg Scientific Center
  • Ufa Scientific Center
  • Southern Scientific Center
  • Troitsk Scientific Center
  • Perm Scientific Center


The Russian Academy of Sciences comprises a large number of research institutions, including:

Member institutions are linked via a dedicated Russian Space Science Internet (RSSI). Started with just three members, The RSSI now has 3,100 members, including 57 from the largest research institutions.

Russian universities and technical institutes are not under the supervision of the RAS (they are subordinated to the Ministry of Education of Russian Federation), but a number of leading universities, such as Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, Novosibirsk State University, and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, make use of the staff and facilities of many institutes of the RAS (as well as of other research institutions); the MIPT faculty refers to this arrangement as the "Phystech System".

From 1933 to 1992, the main scientific journal of the Soviet Academy of Sciences was the Proceedings of the USSR Academy of Sciences (Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR); after 1992, it became simply Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences (Doklady Akademii Nauk).

The Academy is also increasing its presence in the educational area. In 1990 the Higher Chemical College of the Russian Academy of Sciences was founded, a specialized university intended to provide extensive opportunities for students to choose an academic path.


The Academy gives out a number of different prizes, medals and awards among which:[8]



File:Kunstkamera SPB 01.jpg
Original headquarters of the Imperial Academy of Sciences - the Kunstkamera in Saint Petersburg

The Academy was founded in Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great, inspired and advised by Gottfried Leibniz, and implemented in the Senate decree of February 8 (January 28 old style), 1724.[2][9] It was originally called The Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences (Russian: Петербургская Академия наук). The name varied over the years, becoming The Imperial Academy of Sciences and Arts (Императорская Академия наук и художеств; 1747–1803), The Imperial Academy of Sciences (Императорская Академия Наук; 1803— 1836), and finally, The Imperial Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences (Императорская Санкт-Петербургская Академия Наук, from 1836 and until the end of the empire in 1917).

Among the foreign scholars invited to work at the academy were the mathematicians Leonhard Euler, Anders Johan Lexell, Christian Goldbach, Georg Bernhard Bilfinger, Nicholas and Daniel Bernoulli, botanist Johann Georg Gmelin, embryologists Caspar Friedrich Wolff, astronomer and geographer Joseph-Nicolas Delisle, physicist Georg Wolfgang Kraft, historian Gerhard Friedrich Müller and English Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne.[10]

Expeditions to explore remote parts of the country had Academy scientists as their leaders or most active participants. These included Vitus Bering's Second Kamchatka Expedition of 1733–43, expeditions to observe the 1769 transit of Venus from eight locations in Russian Empire, and Peter Simon Pallas's expeditions to Siberia.

The Russian Academy

Main article: Russian Academy

A separate organization, called the Russian Academy (Академия Российская), was created in 1783 to work on the study of the Russian language. Presided over by Princess Yekaterina Dashkova (who at the same time was the Director of the Imperial Academy of Arts and Sciences, i.e., the country's "main" academy), the Russian Academy was engaged in compiling the six-volume Academic Dictionary of the Russian Language (1789–1794). The Russian Academy was merged into the Imperial Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1841.

The Academy of Sciences of the USSR

In December 1917, Sergey Fedorovich Oldenburg, a leading ethnographer and political activist in the Kadet party, met with Vladimir Lenin to discuss the future of the Academy. They agreed that the expertise of the Academy would be applied to addressing questions of state construction, while in return the Soviet regime would give the Academy financial and political support. By the early 1918 it was agreed that the Academy would report to the Department of the Mobilisation of Scientific Forces of the People's Commissariat for Education which replaced the Provisional Government's Ministry of Education. In 1925 the Soviet government recognized the Russian Academy of Sciences as the "highest all-Union scientific institution" and renamed it the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Political control

However from 1928 on the Politburo interfered in the affairs of the Academy. By the summer of 1929, Yuri Petrovich Figatner headed a special government commission that had to inspect the Academy and purge it of "counter-revolutionaries," turning it into a Stalinist organization. Figatner's commission originally included Sergey Oldenburg, but he was sacked for "obstructing the reconstruction of the Academy of Sciences". By the end of 1929, 128 members of staff out of 960 were fired, with a further 520 supernumeraries from 830 also dismissed. In the following year over 100 people (mainly scholars and humanists, including many historians) were charged in what is called the Academicians' Case. Former Academicians such as G.S. Gabaev, A.A. Arnoldi, Nikolai Antsiferov, had already been exiled or imprisoned, but were also put on trial. On August 8, 1931 the Board of the Joint State Political Administration Board condemned 29 people, including:

In 1931 the Joint State Political Administration Board imposed another wave of punishments on the research officers of various establishments of the Academy of Sciences, the Russian Museum, the Central Archives, and others. These included A.A. Byalynitsky-Birulya, A.A. Dostoevsky, B.M. Engelgardt, N.S. Platonova, M.D. Priselkov, A.A. Putilov, S.V. Sigrist, F.F. Skribanovich, S.I. Tkhorzhevsky, and A.I. Zaozersky). Some former officers, who worked for the Academy of Sciences such as A.A. Kovanko and Y. A. Verzhbitsky, were executed by shooting. N.V. Raevsky, P.V. Wittenburg and D.N. Khalturin who had organized various expeditions, the priests A.V. Mitrotsky, M.V. Mitrotsky, and M.M. Girs (the church group), Professor E.B. Furman, Pastor A.F. Frishfeld (the German group) and F.I. Vityazev-Sedenko, S.S. Baranov-Galperson and E.G. Baranov-Galperson (the publishers group) were also punished.[11]

Smaller commissions investigated institutions, thus the Commission for the Reorganisation of KIPS and the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography subjected these organisations to "socialist criticism".[12]

In 1934 the Academy headquarters moved from Leningrad (formerly Saint Petersburg) to the Russian capital, Moscow, together with a number of academic institutes.

At the end of and first year after World War II the Academy consisted of eight divisions (Physico-Mathematical Science, Chemical Sciences, Geological-Geographical Sciences, Biological Science, Technical Science, History and Philosophy, Economics and Law, Literature and Languages); three committees (one for coordinating the scientific work of the Academies of the Republics, one for scientific and technical propaganda, and one for editorial and publications), two commissions (for publishing popular scientific literature, and for museums and archives), a laboratory for scientific photography and cinematography and Academy of Science Press departments external to the divisions; 7 branches (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, Urals, and West Siberian), and 8 undependent Academies in Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Lithuania, Uzbekistan, Latvia, and Estonia.[13]

The Academy of Sciences of the USSR helped to establish national Academies of Sciences in all Soviet republics (with the exception of the Russian SFSR), in many cases delegating prominent scientists to live and work in other republics. In the case of the Ukraine, its academy was formed by the local Ukrainian scientists and prior to the occupation of the Ukrainian People's Republic by Bolsheviks. These academies were:

Republic Local Name Established successor
Ukrainian SSR Академія наук Української РСР 1918 National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Byelorussian SSR Акадэмія Навукаў Беларускай ССР 1929 National Academy of Sciences of Belarus
Uzbek SSR Ўзбекистон ССР Фанлар академияси 1943 Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan
Kazakh SSR Қазақ ССР Ғылым Академиясы 1946 National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Georgian SSR საქართველოს სსრ მეცნიერებათა აკადემია 1941 Georgian Academy of Sciences
Azerbaijan SSR Азәрбајҹан ССР Елмләр Академијасы 1945 National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan
Lithuanian SSR Lietuvos TSR Mokslų akademija 1941 Lithuanian Academy of Sciences
Moldavian SSR Академия де Штиинце а РСС Молдовенешть 1946 Academy of Sciences of Moldova
Latvian SSR Latvijas PSR Zinātņu akadēmija 1946 Latvian Academy of Sciences
Kirghiz SSR Кыргыз ССР Илимдер академиясы 1954 National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic
Tajik SSR Академияи Фанҳои РСС Тоҷикистон 1953 Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan
Armenian SSR Հայկական ՍՍՀ գիտությունների ակադեմիա 1943 National Academy of Sciences of Armenia
Turkmen SSR Түркменистан ССР Ылымлар Академиясы 1951 Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan
Estonian SSR Eesti NSV Teaduste Akadeemia 1946 Estonian Academy of Sciences

Post-Soviet period

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, by decree of the President of Russia of December 2, 1991, the institute once again became the Russian Academy of Sciences,[2] inheriting all facilities of the USSR Academy of Sciences in the territory of Russia.

Near the central academy building there is a monument of Yuri Gagarin in the square that bears his name.

Dissolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences

On June 28, 2013, the Russian Government unexpectedly announced a draft law of dissolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) founded in 1724 and establishing a new "public-governmental" organization with the same name. During this reform, all buildings and other property of the Academy will be taken away under control of a government-appointed official.[14] The reform is allegedly authored by Mikhail Kovalchuk, brother of Yury Kovalchuk, known as Vladimir Putin's personal banker.[15] Mikhail Kovalchuk was repeatedly rejected during elections to the Academy.[16] Simultaneously, a new law regulating the status of the new organization was submitted for approval by the Russian Duma (the Parliament of the Russian Federation) and was submitted for approval the following week. After the acceptance of this law, a liquidation process of the Academy should be completed within three months.

The law puts severe restrictions on the autonomy of academic institutions in Russia and deprives RAS of the control over all of its material assets. All the existing institutions of RAS are offered to move away from the new organization, to subordinate them to a special administrative Government agency, "Agency of Scientific Institutions", and to subject them to a selection compliant with certain conditions defined solely by this agency. The functions of this agency are not well-specified in the law.[17]

The draft law, which fundamentally changes the system of science organization in Russia, has been prepared and examined without discussion within the scientific community. Even the public structures created by the Ministry of Education and Science for consultations with the representatives of the scientific community have not been involved in a discussion of the draft law and have not been informed on its existence. The Academy has also not been informed on the existence of the project.

This piece of legislation, accompanied by the unusual haste with which it was announced and put through the first stage of approval (described by some as "Blitzkrieg"), created a considerable worry in the academic community and a strong rejection by many leading Russian and foreign scientists.[18]

A large group of members of the Russian Academy of Sciences announced their intention not to enter into a new academy after the reform.[19]

Many world's leading scientists (including Pierre Deligne, Michael Atiyah, Mumford, and others) have written open letters which referred to the planned reform of the "shocking" and even "criminal".[20]

Presidents of the Saint Petersburg, USSR, and Russian Academies of Sciences

The following persons occupied the position of the Academy's President (or, sometimes, Director):[21][22]

Nobel Prize laureates affiliated with the Academy

See also

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  1. ^ Newly elected president of Russia’s Academy of Sciences to carry out radical reform
  2. ^ a b c General information about the Academy (in Russian)
  3. ^ Academy membership (in Russian)
  4. ^ Academy structure (in Russian)
  5. ^ RAS Siberian Branch general information
  6. ^ RAS Far Eastern Division Scientific Centers and Institutes
  7. ^ Regional Divisions of the RAS (in Russian)
  8. ^ Именные премии и медали
  9. ^ Sagdeyev, R. Z.; Shtern, M. I. "The Conquest of Outer Space in the USSR 1974". NASA. NASA Technical Reports Server. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Papers of Nevil Maskelyne: Certificate and seal from Catherine the Great, Russia". Cambridge Digital Library. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  11. ^ Academics' Case, accessed July 13, 2008
  12. ^ Hirsch, Francine. 2005. "Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union." Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press ISBN 0-8014-4273-7
  13. ^ Ashby, Eric. 1947. "Scientist in Russia". Pelican books
  14. ^ Anti-brain storm by Nikolai Petrov
  15. ^ Operation "Successor" by Felshtinsky and Pribylovsky
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ A very negative experience of such a selection made by Government officials was demonstrated last fall during monitoring of the educational institutions in Russia. Many popular and highly reputed universities have been declared "ineffective" according to the rules that in fact have little to do with assessing real scientific level.
  18. ^ Russian roulette. Reforms without consultation will destroy the Russian Academy of Sciences, Nature (Journal) editorial
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Президенты Российской академии наук за всю историю Presidents of the Russian Academy of Sciences throughout its history Invalid language code. - at the Academy's official site
  22. ^ Алексей Торгашев Академия наук, которой не было ("The Academy which wasn't") Invalid language code.
  23. ^ a b edited by Robert E. Bradley, Ed Sandifer (2007). Leonhard Euler: Life, Work and Legacy. Elsevier. pp. 83–84. ISBN 0080471293. 
  24. ^ Орлов Владимир Григорьевич
  25. ^ Douglas, Alfred (1971). How to Consult the I Ching, the Oracle of Change. Springer. p. 129. ISBN 3764375396. 
  26. ^ ДОМАШНЕВ Сергей Герасимович
  27. ^ ДАШКОВА Екатерина Романовна

External links

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