…and I could not stop myself form leaving an extended comment there, which barely fits into 3000 characters limit.
As a person who spent 10 years (1990-2000) working in the Russian Academy (moreover, exactly in the Pushchino Research Center) and another 10 years (2001-2011) in US universities, I am supposed to have a balanced view on the situation. At the same time, every person can only give a subjective opinion by definition, so please forgive me for a naturally expected bias towards my own personal story. Briefly, the key to the answer is in the "official rank order of values" in a particular society. Let's talk about the Value of Knowledge in particular. In USSR (no matter what we think about communists etc., I do not care about politics), this particular value was very highly ranked. Have you personally seen another society where an average family subscribed to up to a half-dozen of magazines promoting (no, not gossips about the life of celebrities) science and technology knowledge? Can you imagine that the popular "Science and Life" magazine was printed in about 3,000,000 copies in USSR back in 80s?
Relative affordability of books was another factor silently setting the stage for elevated general level of education (I remember saving my pocket ice-cream money to buy popular science books when I was 10-12 yo). Size of the home library added more to that intangible phenomenon of family "prestige" than the size of the home itself in the soviet society. As a person of a "crazy scientist type" since the early childhood, I was spoiled by this atmosphere and thought that support of my own values (getting more and deeper knowledge!!!) by the society is something natural and always given. The Society paid for my airline tickets when sending me to represent my republic in Russian / USSR – level chemistry and biology Olympiads among high school and then college students. Yes, I was spoiled early thinking that the Society values what I value personally.
Then the "perestroyka" happened. Leaving aside it's political nature (irrelevant here), its effect on the rank order of values in the society was dramatic. The value of Pure Knowledge dropped from the close-to-the-top position to virtually the very bottom of the society's rank list. It took me several years to realize that this is not a joke, not a temporary glitch but an irreversible process. The society that used to value knowledge, culture and other subtle matters – that society no longer existed in Russia. Bandits with primitive animal-level mindsets came to power and started to set new rules and pushed down all noble values that interfered with their criminal prosperity. So, Pure Knowledge became their enemy and they silently started to eradicate it by eradicating the people devoted to it. I wrote in one of Russian newspapers in 1996 that 'stupidization of the society' is the aim of the current government.
Nothing seems to have changed in 15 years… And nothing will be changed without deep restructuring of the values of the society. However, that area is beyond science per se.
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