How to save the burnt of the Institute: a unique Institute is recovering from a terrible fire

Institute of scientific information on social Sciences (INION) of the RAS celebrated recently its 50th anniversary. In the Presidential hall of the Russian Academy of Sciences with a Banquet for a hundred people! Despite the festive day, in conversations with staff and acting Director, we could not but stories not to touch the threads of hard struggle of the Institute for existence after a fire destroyed in January 2015 its own building on Nakhimovsky Prospekt.

Как спасали сгоревший ИНИОН: уникальный институт восстанавливают после страшного пожара

As a scientific Institute the Institute was created in 1969 on the basis of the Fundamental library of public Sciences of the USSR. The prosperity of the world’s largest information centre came in 1972-1998 years when it was headed by academician Vladimir Vinogradov. After that, until 2015, academician Yuri Pivovarov.

Deputy Director of Informatics mark Schneiderman was one of the founders of the team to build an automated system of the social Sciences in the 80-ies.

— Our Institute was then in first place on IT-technologies in the country, says mark Miller. — Pick up the phone and the wire from Bulgaria or Cuba! All information about new scientific works in Economics, political science, sociology took place only through us. We have supplied it whole government, the whole of the Central Committee.

— So you are in the 80-ies were replaced all over the Internet?

You could say that (smiles). The information flowed to us by mail, at excellent telephone communication, direct communication between computers. At that time it was not even hard drives, not to mention flash drives or email.

Everything around us is spinning. Now through the Internet we communicate with colleagues from abroad is much faster, but the significance of our work is not reduced by this. Yes, the Internet today everyone can find himself anything. But can you imagine how much information about published articles, books, collections need to digest to, for example, the political scientist writing about the current state of Affairs of Africa or the United States to find the most sensible! We need to highlight from the stream really need.

— What is the average percentage of selected material?

— For example, philosophy, history, our specialists take for processing of 25-30% the most important, in their opinion, articles in journals, entering the Institute.

Why the USSR collapsed

The now 90-year-old veteran of the Institute Yuri Borko, currently working at the Institute of Europe ran, in the 70-ies was the head of a new research and information Department of Europe, USA and Canada.

— This was no easy task during the “cold war” with the West to really give an objective assessment of the articles out there, — says Yuri Antonovich. — My staff sometimes sinned by trying to essays to embarrass ideology. I absolutely return such papers, sometimes 2-3 times altered.

For example, in France in the 60-70-ies worked veteran political commentator Michelle the Thief. It appears the article is clearly anti-Soviet. “If you please, I say to his subordinates, — make an analysis of what is written in it, nothing adding from itself”. My Department and, perhaps, also the Department of scientific communism (!) was, in my opinion, the most objective at the time.

— From intelligence to you, there was no claim for such objectivity?

— Let’s just say to criminal cases is not reached, the maximum that we are threatened, — oral edification. Our Director, academician Vinogradov was a brilliant Manager and in such cases, was protecting his own.

— Yuri Antonovich, that you as a man who kept abreast of all socio-political research of the USA and Europe in the 70s, tell me why you think the Soviet Union collapsed?

— Due to the fact that we have not reformed their economies. Although the opportunity for this was. In 1960-e years, we have received $ 200 billion for the sold oil, which then rose sharply at a certain time. We could use these funds to modernize the Soviet economy, becoming a model socialist countries “with a human face”. But instead we engaged in a new arms race, which we were provoked by the Americans. And then the price of oil fell sharply. Not upgrading and not updating technologically, the economy, having fertile fields of the Ukraine, the Kuban, is still far behind the USA and Western Europe annually, and were forced to buy 30 million tonnes of wheat in the West.

— It turns out, our politicians have been deceived?

— They were stupid.

“Money for the construction of an Institute dedicated address”

Alas, based on the situation that has developed today around the Russian science, with its monstrous underfunding, it’s that some modern politicians wised up considerably since Soviet times. No, in words, of course, is much. To hear them tell the country due to the outbreak of a few years ago the scientific and technological revolution has long should not be disadvantaged, the disease of the century must withdraw, we are not Americans, due to 2024 going to land on the moon, etc. But this dream, because the revolution in the Russian scientific-technical sphere and does not smell. In the 80s in the Union at least listened to the experts working in the field of social Sciences, the leadership sought to bring people truthful, objective picture of the world. Now in this case, apparently, the need disappeared. Otherwise, why the Institute still has not built a building to replace the burned? I promise to make it only to 2022 (!) year.

Today, the Institute’s fifth acting Director and former Deputy Director of the Institute of world economy and international relations, corresponding member of RAS Alexey Kuznetsov.

Why the leaders of change and not being approved in the office — a separate issue requiring, perhaps, the talent of a soothsayer. Employees have only one version — the rapid annual rotation of the acting Directors is unwilling to bend to the authorities, which, in their opinion, leads to the strongest the Institute has ceased to exist.

But he in spite of everything lives. Despite the difficult working conditions, employees huddling in on loan after the fire the building of the former Academy of agricultural Sciences on the street Krzhizhanovskogo, ensure successful implementation of the state tasks in the field of scientific research and through the work of the library (readers have access to more than 3 million books, magazines, Newspapers, in the halls constantly running 18 branches of the Institute in the academic scientific research institutes). In such a situation it would be logical to imagine that officials strongly support the Institute’s work profile in the Ministry of science emboss privileges on payment of utilities, in General, cares and nurtures the poor sufferers…

In reality, everything is exactly the opposite. In 2018 inanova not something that is not helping, they interfere with my work: trying to move from temporary shelter, forcing him to move to the other end of Moscow and sat down with the all-Russian Institute of scientific and technical information Russian Academy of Sciences, located in the metro area “Falcon”. Social activists do not want to “merge” with the “techies” for a number of reasons: first, the new building is far from most of their branches, which are now within walking distance, secondly, the move itself would require millions of rubles, which the Institute has no third, the building itself VINITI — emergency, scientists propose to take the 11-12 th floor, but here’s the thing: the elevators don’t work there. And finally, fourth, all the employees plagued by vague doubts about whether I wanted them under the guise of temporary merge merge with VINITI really there on the Falcon, in the end, and leave and re-built building on Nakhimovsky Prospekt to build another shopping center? If, after the reform of the RAS FANO, and after the Ministry was not engaged in “mergers and acquisitions” many other institutions, perhaps such thoughts had not, and it does make me wonder… That’s why, for example, the new Director of Kuznetsov in the spring of persistently inclined to believe that he gave the available to the Institute the right developer for the burned building on Nakhimovsky?

— These rights somehow guarantees us that the building has been renovated and will return to us, — the Director of the Kuznetsov. And we are not going to part with them. For example, now we heard rumors that the first floor of our new building for the Institute to be redeveloped as restaurants and reading area will begin with the third. These restaurants I really have not seen the plans for the building. I’d love to have these rumors have not been confirmed.

— Your rights as a developer have an expiration date?

— They are indefinite. The building permit issued until 2022.

— And if the construction will be delayed?

— Builders promise that they will do in time. But not everything depends on us: the money for the construction in the hands of Ministerial disinformation. I believe that the Minister Mikhail Kotyukov, which has allocated 6 billion rubles for the construction of the Institute will consider this problem as a priority. Money to build a dedicated address, on many levels of government understand that the Institute is a brand which must be preserved. Moreover, the staff of the Institute, recovering from the fire, intensified work, we are trying to introduce modern technology in the library has dramatically updated its web site. Lecturing and speaking constantly with reports, we can see that the request is processed analytically, the flow of information re-emerged in society, especially among young people.

An unexpected discovery after the fire

— By the way, in the construction plan of the Institute is mentioned?

— Yes, it says that the building will be two functions: research Institute and the library with reading rooms for 300 people. The total building area will increase to 38.5 thousand square meters. In a new building with usable space will be more due to the fact that builders do lower the ceiling of the third floor and residential will be the fourth, a technical floor. There will be a Museum of rare books, where we put half a million rare, are not affected by the fire books.

— Where are they stored?

— You won’t believe they were lying unprotected in a hangar in the courtyard of the Institute. It would be interesting to understand why for many years has not been found for them a more suitable storage location.

— What is this book?

Is trophy books XVII–XIX centuries, Newspapers of the early XX century. Now we sent them to our warehouse on the Kantemirovskaya street, where books are stored and saved after the fire. By the way, where we are now disposing of temporary and part of the 5 thousand we have received after the fire of foreign books (the collection is constantly updated).

— It turns out that new items will be temporarily hidden from the readers?

— Not all. About 2.5 thousand we were able to distribute to our branches, where they were able to adopt them.

— And the warehouse in good condition?

Not quite. Recently we received a requirement from the MOE. We install fire and security alarms, to change part of the wiring, shut off part of the roof, to repair the elevators (the building is 5-storey). But it is, unlike buildings on Krzhizhanovskogo, where everything worked, for some reason not considered an emergency. The warehouse is not adapted initially for book storage, especially storage of rare Fund, despite the measures we have taken on release of the building from third parties and clean up. We must ensure safety and work with the Fund. Building the necessary gas suppression system and ventilation. The Fund should be prepared for transportation to the new building, this Fund must undergo a special treatment, which means not isolated. After MOE regulations, we have allocated 15 million rubles for the elimination of defects, but the money is not enough. Also, don’t forget that we still have frozen books stored in Kotelniki. Now for storing them we are paying out of their money, more than a million a year (before it was even more, because the current version is the cheapest). The Ministry is ready to take the payment for themselves, if we can accurately calculate the number of units. But this is impossible, because often the books are a single, molded a big lump mass. And why subordinated to the line Ministry of the organization has still not developed a proper system of restoration of the damaged books?

— What are the real flaws in the building on Krzhizhanovsky? Why is there still not decided the same MISINFORMATION that the building must meet?

— Building managed by another of the Ministry’s subordinate organization, Federal state unitary enterprise “Management office buildings” (HSS). There mostly had to hold the fire alarm. They could do themselves without relocation of employees. But instead of upgrading the staff of HSS do not understand why ripped on all floors parquet. And show now all the pictures with the parsed flooring as the main evidence of accidents. Well, we thought, we will stand to the end, still we move nowhere, and instead put flooring… linoleum. Our office now looks very “stylish”: meets you a great new marble staircase, and immediately after linoleum.

— You are not trying to do something with a fire alarm?

— Trying. When we were given money to repair the warehouse, I asked the Ministry for permission to allocate from this amount, 3 million on our current home. But we were denied in the operational management of the building on Krzhizhanovskogo.

— In the end still insist on moving to VINITI?

— It turns out that way. Rather, we get to learn about the liberated areas in the South-West of Moscow, but we are told that they are not for us. We already got ourselves a room close metro station “Kaluzhskaya”. But they have to pay rent for 15 million a year. “You yourself will not be able to do this — tell us — you have no money”. And I answer: “Maybe it would have been if we annually did not reduce allocations without explanation, with 30 million rubles”. We are talking about the allocation of funding within the framework of the given assignment.

You did not explain why the cuts?

“Not officially.” Rumor has it that this is the punishment for our unwillingness to move to a “Falcon”. And this despite the fact that the Institute is among the 20 best public research institutions in the country in the number of grants of RF and RFBR, produces 30 articles in journals indexed by Web of Science and Scopus. Yes, we carried a second category of institutions, but what do you want from research organizations from the burnt building? However, our employees continue to work. 30 publications per year (in addition to the thousands of Russian-speaking articles and reviews) by 115 researchers for the Institute for the Humanities is a very good result.

— Let me ask you, and at whose expense you spent the jubilee Banquet?

Buffet is organized on extra-budgetary funds. We finally managed to obtain the first funds from the sale of access to our bibliographic databases.

— What salary at you at the Institute?

— Until the sixth month I only have a bare salary — 61 thousand rubles. I’m not that troubled, in science I took. But for part-time lecturing at MGIMO paying me much more!

— You have a company car?

— What are you! We have, of course, the old 10-year-old car “Audi”, remaining from the time of Yuri Sergeyevich (Pivovarova. — Ed.). But money for its maintenance, gasoline, insurance — no. Not to mention the driver, it’s for the money — wages of two research staff!

— Construction of the new Institute is already underway, you monitor the progress of the works?

— Yes, even from the hill, and especially from the upper floors of neighboring buildings shows that are already largely built book Depository. It will be located on the minus first and zero floors. I think in time builders need to meet.

I would like to hope for it and us. Despite the fact that science sometimes takes actions that are discouraged in his intention to support the Russian science.


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