December 2, 2022

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How does science distance itself from Russia?

The Russian attack on Ukraine is also having an increasing impact on science. Several projects in which Russian researchers are currently involved have been suspended.

BILD provides an overview.

Already on February 25, a day after the attack, the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States stopped its cooperation with the Skolkovo Institute of Technology and Science in Moscow. The main goal was to support startups.

In early March, the European Union Commission excluded Russia from the Horizon Europe research programme. The project worked to promote research and innovation.

Many projects have been suspended

Then it happened in quick succession! As a result, German research organizations suspended their joint projects with Russia. These include the German Research Foundation (DFG), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and the Max Planck Society. Result: Data, samples, and devices are no longer exchanged. Martin Stratmann, President of the Max Planck Society wrote: “Unfortunately, the current situation leaves us with no choice. Therefore, Germany will also impose sanctions in the field of research in response to the current aggression of the Russian regime.

The German Space Agency (DLR) of NASA said: “Cooperation with Russian institutions on ongoing or planned projects will cease. There will be no new projects or initiatives with institutions in Russia.”

CERN Research is going its own way. The Center for Particle Physics wants to abolish Russia’s observer status. Currently, more than a thousand Russian physicists participating in CERN projects can continue.

Space travel is the most affected

In the field of space travel, cooperation has already stopped at the European level. The European Space Agency has already halted the Exo-Mars project: the Rosalind Franklin Mars rover was supposed to be brought to Mars this year with Russian assistance. Nothing will come of it now (BILD reported).


After all, Mark Vande Hai should be back with his feet on the ground with the Russians. So it will be the American astronaut who has spent the most time in spacePhoto: Kayla Barron/Associated Press

Only cooperation between the West and Russia on the International Space Station has continued unhindered, despite Russian warnings. NASA recently announced that US astronaut Mark Vande Hee will return to Earth from the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz capsule as scheduled in late March. It will land in Kazakhstan near the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Russia.


Head of Science Mujib Latif claims to stay away from the Russians, says we shouldn’t be open to blackmailPhoto: Ulrich Berry / M

The world-famous climate researcher, Mujib Latif (University of Kiel), president of the German Society Club in Rome and president of the Hamburg Academy of Sciences, also has a clear opinion on the matter. Latif tells BILD: “I think we should not sacrifice everything for the sake of the economy only, not only with respect to Russia, but also with regard to other dictatorships like China. People like Putin or Xi Jinping do not believe in freedom, democracy and human rights. They should. We eventually realize it, otherwise we put our freedom at risk and become open to blackmail.”

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