My contribution to Perestroika

Y. B. Karasik,
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.
e-mail:karasik@sympatico.ca

In April of 1988 the influential Soviet "Literary Gazette" (Literaturnaya Gazeta) published an article by Prof. X on what suffocates research in the Soviet Union. As the main thing that kills research the article singled out the absence of the flexible working hours for researchers and scientists. Apparently, the author either did not realize the real causes or was afraid of telling them. That is why I took courage to tell the truth.

I sent to the Gazette my response to the article where I listed the real causes of the backwardness of the Soviet Science: its not democratic nature and absence of the mobility rights (i.e. absence of the liberty to reside in, and work in any part of the country). I also suggested introduction of market reforms into research and evaluating its results by the market value it creates.

Here is the page from the "Literary Gazette" that contains my response (at the bottom):

Surprisingly, my short article was noticed by the editorial board and published. After that some co-workers and acquaintances seriously suggested me skipping the city for the fear of arrest (that seemed inevitable to them). The director of the Computation Center where I worked also summoned me for explanations. The article was signed as "Yevgeny Karasik, team lead, Computation Center of the State Planning Committee".

- I got calls inquiring whether the State Planning Committee is planning introduction of market reforms into research, - the director begun severely, - What should I answer them ? ... My superiors from the Committee inquired about you too ...

Some time later I was already out of work at the Computation Center and on the way to emigration.

It ought to be said that even though the Soviet Union collapsed since then, the citizens of Russia still do not enjoy the full mobility rights to this day: any visitor to Moscow (or any other major city) has to register with police and get permission to reside and/or work in it.