Venäjän kommunistien arvostelua Putinia kohtaan

Tätä aina kysytään, kun kommunistit ovat hyvin pitkälle olleet samaa mieltä ulkopolitiikasta Putinin kanssa.

Venäjän kommunistien Putin-kritikkiä, kansanedustaja Zhores Alfjorov, (toiseksi eniten ääniä Duuman vaaleissa 2007), Venäjän akateemikko ja fysiikan nobelisti puolijohdetutkimuksista vuodelta 2000:
– kirkko ja uskonto ulos kouluista ja yliopistoista!
– valemarkkinasysteemi (quasi-market system) tuhoaa tieteen!

Tämä on muutaman vuoden takaa, mutta ei ole menettänyt ajankohtaisuuttaan.

Zhores Alferov.jpg

Valemarkkinamekanismi tuhoaa tieteen:
”In a recent speech, the text of which opens this book, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in general terms the importance of education and the need for reform. In their introductory article, Sadovnichii and Zhores Alferov, who won the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics, consider in detail how such reform can be brought to education. They object to ”attempts to impose quasi-market mechanisms” on the education system, and to the commercialization of high-school and university education.
Vladimir Arnold calls the proposed reforms a ”preparation for a new Cultural Revo- lution” reminiscent of the crushing of Chinese culture and education by the communist government of Mao Tse-tung. He is concerned that the damage to Russia´s higher education and culture would be long term and difficult to correct.”
Mahtaako olla ainoa paikka Venäjä, missä moinen vaara uhkaa…
Obrazovaniye, Kotoroye My Mozhem Poteryat
(The Education That We May Lose) editor-in-chief V. A. Sadovnichii
Moscow State University Press/Institute for Computer Research: 2002. 288 pp. 300 roubles
Valery N. Soyfer
The Russian Ministry of Education plans to lengthen high-school education from 11 to 12 years and to replace university entrance exams with a unified examination system.
The students’ grades in these final highschool examinations will determine the level of funding that their universities will subsequently receive from the state. In September last year, the balance of subjects taught in high schools changed, with less time spent on mathematics and natural sciences, and more on the social sciences, information technology, local geography and ecology, physical education and, more worryingly, patriotic education and military training.
Most education specialists are opposed to these changes. A group of leading mathematicians, headed by Victor A. Sadovnichii, president of Lomonosov Moscow State University, has openly taken a stance against the reforms by publishing this book.
In a recent speech, the text of which opens this book, Russian President Vladimir
Putin stated in general terms the importance of education and the need for reform. In their introductory article, Sadovnichii and
Zhores Alferov, who won the 2000 Nobel
Prize in Physics, consider in detail how such reform can be brought to education. They object to “attempts to impose quasi-market mechanisms” on the education system, and to the commercialization of high-school and university education.
Vladimir Arnold calls the proposed reforms a “preparation for a new Cultural Revolution” reminiscent of the crushing of Chinese culture and education by the communist government of Mao Tse-tung. He is concerned that the damage to Russia’s higher education and culture would be long term and difficult to correct.
Of course, these reforms are not the first to have been attempted in the past hundred years. During the 75 years of communist rule there were several attempts to change the high level of education that existed in Russia under the tsars, but nevertheless, until recently, the traditions of one of the best secondary-education systems in the world were maintained. Sadovnichii, in a central article, points out that education traditionally “distinguished Russia in Tsarist times, the Soviet period, and today… The virtues of the Russian higher school, which the entire world spoke about with real respect, have always depended first of all on fundamental science, and on the scientific schools.”
Examining the history of educational reforms in Russia in detail, Lev D. Kudryavtsev concludes that the innovations proposed — particularly the reduction in the level of teaching in mathematics and the natural sciences — may have disastrous effects on the country’s future. He also expresses concern about the linking of university funding to the grades obtained by students in uniform state exams, given “the level of corruption that exists in our modern society”.
The book is given emotional impetus by the transcript of a television interview given by Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who worked for many years as a high-school teacher. He was concerned that the lack of state funding has led to the delapidation of many schools, particularly in rural areas.
This, coupled with the high mortality rate in these areas, may mean that by 2010 “the number of school-aged children will have decreased by 30 percent… This means that the smaller rural schools will close. In the expanses of Russia the hearths of education will cease to glow.”
Another former high-school teacher, Igor
F. Sharygin, argues that mathematics should become a cornerstone of Russian education.
He says that people who are mathematically literate and who understand what proof means cannot easily be manipulated: “Mathematics and state authority are two incompatible things, but rational sovereigns often run to mathematicians to resolve the most varied problems in difficult moments.”
To substantiate their arguments, the editors have included a full translation of a report from the US National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching (the
John Glenn Commission), along with the text of a programme of educational reforms proposed by US President George W. Bush.
According to these documents, which take up nearly 100 pages, the US leadership is determined to counter the decline in the standard of mathematics and science teaching in US secondary schools. The editors of this book point out that while the United
States is trying to improve its standard of teaching, the Russian government is taking measures in the opposite direction.
The publication of this book strikes me as an unusual step. Sadovnichii, the book’s editor-in-chief, is one of Russia’s best academic administrators, and the fact that he has taken to open and dispassionate conflict with the ministry of education is symbolic of a genuine civil society developing in
Russia. It also provides evidence that the interests of society are being taken up by the most important leaders, rather than being concealed within the offices of the bosses, as happened in the Soviet period. Sadovnichii and his co-authors are to be applauded for their civil and open position.
Valery N. Soyfer is at George Mason University,
Fairfax, Virginia 22030, USA. book reviews
NATURE | VOL 421 | 13 FEBRUARY 2003 | 693
Testing time for Russian lessons
Mathematicians say Russia’s education reforms are a formula for disaster.
A word in your ear: Victor Sadovnichii (right) urges President Vladimir Putin to rethink on education.
P © 2003 Nature Publishing Group
Akateemikkojen vetoomus Putinille uksontojen vaikutuksen lisäämistä (klerikalisaatiota) vastaan yhteiskunnassa:

Open letter to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir V. Putin from the Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Dear Mr. President:

We have watched with deepening concern the increasing clericalization of Russian society, the Church’s infiltration of all areas of public life. The Constitution of the Russian Federation declares our country to be secular and separates the Church from the public education system. We address this letter to you as the holder of the highest office in this country and guarantor of the Constitution’s basic principles.

In March of this year, the 9th World Russian National Council was held in Moscow. One of its resolutions caught our attention: “On the development of a national system of religious education and science.” It is a peculiar title. If religious education is an internal affair of the Russian Orthodox Church, then why should the Church concern itself with science? And would science be well served by such concern? The text of the resolution is unequivocal. The resolution calls for an appeal to the Russian federal government to “include theology in the list of scholarly disciplines recognized by the State Commission for Academic Degrees and Titles and to preserve theology as an independent scholarly field.”

The Church’s attempts to introduce theology to the list of government-recognized scholarly disciplines have a long history. Previously, however, the pressure exerted on the Academic Degrees and Titles Commission remained hidden from the public eye. Since the Council in March, the pressure is out in the open. But why is it that theology — an assemblage of religious dogmas—should occupy a place among scientific disciplines? Scientific disciplines deal with facts, logic, and proofs, but not faith.

The Catholic Church, it should be noted, has almost completely renounced interfering with science (in 1992 the Church even recognized its fault in the Galileo affair and cleared his name). In conversation with V. I. Arnold (March 1998), Pope John Paul II recognized that science alone is able to determine the truth, whereas religion, in the words of the pontificate, sees itself as better suited to evaluate the possible uses of new discoveries. The Russian Orthodox Church holds a different view:

“We need a dialogue between the government and society at large in order to end the monopoly of the materialist worldview that was created in the Soviet era.” (From the resolution of the Council.)

All the achievements of science worldwide are based on a materialist view of the world. Modern science is simply not concerned with any other views. Steven Weinberg, the American physicist and Nobel Prize winner, put it aptly:

““The experience of being a scientist makes religion seem fairly irrelevant. Most scientists I know simply don’t think about it very much. They don’t think about religion enough to qualify as practicing atheists.” (New York Times, August 23, 2005)

So what are we being offered to replace the “monopoly of a materialist worldview”?

But let us come back to the Academic Degrees and Titles Commission. The incorporation of the Church into a government body is an obvious breach of the Constitution. The Church has already infiltrated the army and now the media broadcast the blessings of new military equipment (battleships and submarines are now required to be blessed — which, alas! does not always help). Religious ceremonies attended by high government officials are also widely covered. These are all examples of the clericalization of this country.

The Council’s abovementioned resolution contains another urgent call “for the recognition of the cultural significance of Orthodox culture and ethics education in all schools and for the inclusion of this subject in the standard federal curriculum.”

Church officials are calling on the government to make Introduction to Orthodox Culture a mandatory subject in all Russia’s schools. The idea has been in the works for some time. In Circular #5925, dated December 9th, 1999, addressed to “all eparchial officials,” Alexis II states that “the task of spiritual and moral education will not be fulfilled if we fail to pay attention to the system of public education.” The conclusion of the same document reads:

“In case difficulties should arise teaching ‘Introduction to Orthodox Beliefs,’ the subject should be called ‘Introduction to Orthodox Culture,’ which the teachers and school principals raised in atheism will find more acceptable.”

It follows from the quoted text that under the guise of “Introduction to Orthodox Culture,” we are going to have (in breach of the Constitution, once again) religious education.

Even if we assume that the course is truly about “Orthodox culture,” such a subject would still — as has been said so many times — be unacceptable in an ethnically and religiously diverse country. Nevertheless, the Council considers this subject necessary in our country, where Orthodox Christians, so they say, constitute an absolute majority. If you count all ethnically Russian atheists as Orthodox Christians, then they would indeed make up a majority. Without the atheists, alas, Orthodox Christians are in the minority. But that is not the point. Can we treat other religions with such disrespect? Is this not a form of Orthodox chauvinism? Church functionaries ought to take the time to consider whether such a policy will ultimately unite the country or lead to division.

In the European Union, where religious intolerance has already shown its colors, it has been recognized after much discussion that schools should teach a course in the history of the main monotheist religions. The main argument for such a course would be that teaching history and cultural heritage of other religions would promote understanding between members of different ethnic and religious groups. No one even thought of demanding the teaching of an “Introduction to Catholic Culture.” At last year’s Christmas Readings, Education Minister Andrey A. Fursenko announced the publication of the history of world religions textbook. The Orthodox lobby gave the announcement a hostile reception. Meanwhile the textbook, written by scholars of the History Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (the title is Religions of the World, to be used in grades 10 and 11), is a well-balanced account packed with information that any educated person should know.

And what do we have instead? A year ago, a St. Petersburg high-school student Masha and her dad went to court to demand that the high-school biology curriculum of “outdated and erroneous” Darwinism be replaced by the theory that man was created by a Divine force (creationism). It’s an absurd situation: for some reason the courts must now decide whether the theory of evolution, which states that life emerged on Earth three billion years ago, is true, or whether the truth lies rather in the theory of creation, which, unlike the theory of evolution, does not present a single fact but states that life on Earth has existed for a few thousand years. It seems to be a question exclusively within the competence of science. Yet Masha and her dad received support from the Patriarch Alexis II who declared at the Christmas Educational Readings:

“There is no harm in knowing the Bible’s account of the origin of the world. If someone wants to think that they descend from apes, let them keep their view, but without imposing it on others.”

But what will happen if school education gets deprived of elementary proofs, of basic logic, if the last remnants of critical thinking are eviscerated, and instead dogmas are learnt by rote — would that do no harm either? By the way, to be precise, neither Darwin nor his successors have ever stated that man descended from the ape. They only stated that apes and humans have common ancestors. But it is not only Darwinism that the Church has problems with. For instance, how does the Bible’s account of the origin of the world relate to the facts demonstrated by modern cosmology and astrophysics? What should be taught in school: these facts or the Bible’s account of the world created in seven days?

To believe in God or not is a matter of each individual’s conscience and convictions. We respect the feelings of religious people and our goal is not to fight religion. But we can not stand by when attempts are made to cast doubt on scientific knowledge, to extirpate the “materialist worldview,” to substitute the knowledge accumulated by science with faith. We shouldn’t forget that the government’s policy of innovative development can only be realized if schools and universities equip young people with the knowledge acquired by modern science. To this knowledge there is no alternative.

Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences