Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 105

An article in an economic weekly raised a corner of the curtain on the sensitive subject of nuclear technology transfer from Russia. The author, A. Yurevich, heads the social psychology unit at the Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Natural History and Technology. (Ekonomika i zhizn, no. 21)

The author notes that much of the brain drain now takes place without the scientists leaving Russia. He clams that 8,000 Russian scientists are doing work directly for the US Energy Department or the Pentagon. He cites the case of a scientist at the Dubna nuclear research center solving problems on a case-by-case basis by e-mail for US$300-500 per item … for the Iranian Academy of Sciences. All told there are 150,000 scientists still working in defense industry research facilities, 2,000 of whom are monitored by the Russian security services. The author refers to a 1992 incident where 36 missile scientists were stopped boarding a plane for North Korea. Eight of them later made their way there, and worked for three months before being recalled.

Apart from the worrying security implications, the author complains that Russian scientists are grossly underpaid for their expertise. He also notes the weak state of copyright protection–with four different organizations trying to sell a new pilot ejection system to the US.