Moscow DMZ: The Story of the International Effort to Convert Russian Weapons Science to Peaceful Purposes

By Glenn E. Schweitzer | Go to book overview

Chapter 9

American Organizations Seek
Out Russian Researchers

What is national is no longer science.
Anton Chekov


Help for Russia, or Is It Cooperation?

Since the beginning of glasnost and perestroika in 1985, Western governments and private organizations have greatly expanded their cooperative activities with R&D institutions in Russia.

Initially, most of the motivation in the West for this increased interest was a belief that significant technical benefits could be derived by drawing on past Soviet achievements in science and technology. Foreign commercial firms were looking for technologies that could be incorporated into new processes or products or that could cut the costs of existing ones for both the international and Soviet civilian markets. Also, at least in some areas, Western entrepreneurs knew that the effective use of low-cost but highly skilled Russian manpower could lead to economic payoffs. 1

The international scientific community emphasized the importance of past contributions of Soviet specialists in expanding the frontiers of knowledge. Foreign researchers sought broader contacts to learn about the latest scientific achievements in the USSR.

At the same time, the U.S., European, and Japanese governments wanted to engage Soviet institutions in projects that were of international importance outside the USSR. This included cooperation in fields such as environmental protection, prevention of nuclear accidents, detection and control of communicable diseases, improved communication and transportation systems, and development of energy resources.

When an independent Russia became a reality, new interests in

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