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Siberian financial whizz-kid appointed to lead Russian science

By The Siberian Times reporter
25 October 2013

Deputy finance minister Mikhail Kotyukov, 36, given key job amid 'crisis' over science reforms.

The organisation Mikhail Kotyukov (third from right) now heads is part of the reform process and is described as 'an all-embracing structure without precedent in the history of Russian science'. Picture: Kansk administration

High-flying Kotyukov has been appointed  head of the Russian Federal Agency of Scientific Organisations in a decree signed by prime minister Dmitry Medvedev. His move to become Russia's Mr Science comes amid protests - especially from his Siberian homeland - about government reforms to the organisation of science, and claims of lack of funding. The organisation he now heads is part of the reform process and is described as 'an all-embracing structure without precedent in the history of Russian science'.

'I've heard this name, but there were no consultations yet,' said the head of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Fortov. 'I don't know this man, I know he is a talented financier... Of course I am ready to work with him.'

Kotyukov was born 1976 in Krasnoyarsk. In 1999 he graduated in 'Finances and Credit' from Krasnoyarsk State University. During a rapid career rise, he served in the financial department of the Krasnoyarsk regional government before becoming deputy rector of the Siberian Federal University.

Later he became deputy governor of Krasnoyarsk region and Finance Minister of Krasnoyarsk region. In 2010 he moved to Moscow as he began working in Russian Ministry of Finance. He became Deputy Finance Minister in June 2012.

He also served on the supervisory board for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. 

He faces dire warnings over the future of science from senior figures yet the government has been adamant that its reform are in the country's long term interests, and is determined to challenge what it sees as vested interests.

Academic Sergey Stishov - a top name in high pressure physics and geophysics - warned that the purposes of the science shake-up  are unclear. 

'It would be fantastic to hear who needs this reform. Russian science is just about balancing on the edge; a little kick - and it will collapse,' he claimed. 

'We've got no young scientists, the science is nearly over, and just on time we are beginning the perestroika (restructuring).'

In a statement showing the strength of feeling that Kotyukov faces, he said: 'An agency that will be ruling agriculture, medicine and all of science in Russia is a lunatic asylum. What kind of genius will it be that will be appointed as a head of the agency? I'd like to see him'.

Comments (1)

aged 36 and in charge of all Russian science????? he must be a wonder kid, and - if he survives it, you wonder if a future president:)?
Ieva , Lithuania
29/10/2013 23:50
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