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Russian Ministry's Controversial Order Restricting Scholars' Contacts With Foreigners Rescinded

Russian Education and Science Minister Valery Falkov made the announcement on February 10.
Russian Education and Science Minister Valery Falkov made the announcement on February 10.

MOSCOW -- A controversial order by Russia's Ministry of Education and Science that restricted interaction between Russian scholars and their foreign counterparts last year has been rescinded.

Education and Science Minister Valery Falkov told reporters in Moscow on February 10 that the ministry "is interested in cooperation [with foreign scientists] that will develop on the principles of open science," adding that the order in question is no longer valid.

He gave no further explanation as to why the order was annulled.

Media reports in August last year published excerpts of a document signed months earlier by then Science and Higher Education Minister Mikhail Kotyukov that ordered Russian scientists and scholars to give five days' advance notice to ministry officials anytime they planbed on meeting a foreign colleague.

After such encounters, scientists were ordered to submit a report and a list of participants in the meetings.

Other rules implemented included a stipulation that if a meeting took place at a Russian scientific organization, at least two Russian scientists should be present, while foreigners, when visiting Russian scientific organizations, could only copy or record information under rules of international treaties.

The order sparked protests from Russian scholars, who said the move would further isolate the country in a key area of study and development.

The Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) called it "ridiculous," saying it ran contrary to the objectives of the national projects of science and education.

With reporting by Vedomosti and RIA Novosti

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