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A Study for Sovietologists, Not Scientists

The Communist Party and Soviet Science. Steven Fortesque. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1987. 234 pp. $28.50. Now when Gorbachev's perestroyha (restructuring) is presented to the public as a necessity brought upon the Soviet Union by scientific and technological progress outside the country, it is natural to ask why Soviet science, which has the world's largest infrastructure and personnel, performed so poorly that it became nearly irrelevant, particularly in many highly sophist

Zhores Medvedev
The Communist Party and Soviet Science. Steven Fortesque. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1987. 234 pp. $28.50.


Now when Gorbachev's perestroyha (restructuring) is presented to the public as a necessity brought upon the Soviet Union by scientific and technological progress outside the country, it is natural to ask why Soviet science, which has the world's largest infrastructure and personnel, performed so poorly that it became nearly irrelevant, particularly in many highly sophisticated fields like computers or genetic engineering.

One may expect from the title of this book that it answers the question, or at least tries to find the explanation. Unfortunately, it does not. This is not a book about Soviet science written for Western scientists. This is a rather academic analysis of the interaction between party organizations at different levels and scientific networks (with special attention to the functions of party bureaus and committees inside Soviet research and...

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