Scientific isolation of Russia could last for years to come
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, international journals have rejected for “political reasons” 15 per cent of the articles from Siberian scientists, said Vadim Stepanov, head of the Tomsk National Research Medical Center.
According to professor Stepanov, who spoke at a meeting of the Presidium of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences on March 25, the number of rejected articles includes studies that have already been accepted for publication.
And Siberian science will continue experiencing the impact of the war for years to come. “I predict that isolation [of Russia] will continue for many years, not three months,” said Nikolai Kolchanov, academic advisor at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics.
Although the actions of the Russian army in Ukraine and the international sanctions that followed them were not the central topic of the meeting, Valentin Parmon, chairman of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, often raised them.
In particular, after the presentation on the organization and evolution of mammalian chromosomes and genomes made by Alexander Grafodatsky from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, the following dialogue took place:
Parmon: But these genes of hostility can accumulate in a population of people?
Grafodatsky: They even showed it on foxes, and in people, it’s one hundred percent.
Parmon: So, the aggressiveness of Muslims can be connected with this [gene accumulation]?
Grafodatsky: It is definitely connected with this.
Parmon: I beg your pardon, this is a political issue, but is there also more aggressiveness among the southern Slavs than among the eastern or northern ones?
Grafodatsky: Yes, northern people are calm.
Most likely, professor Parmon alluded to the people of Ukraine, opposing them to the “eastern and northern” Russians.
After this exchange, Nikolai Kolchanov took the floor, urging his colleagues not to explain everything with genes only. The environment and individual development also influence people, he said. Also, according to professor Kolchanov, “there is no evidence that the southern Slavs are more aggressive.”
Valentin Parmon again turned to the war topic after the presentation on genetic identification by Vadim Stepanov. “I was approached with proposals to start a program for the identification of victims of genocide during, well, the war,” Parmon said.
After that, professor Parmon asked: “These biological labs in Ukraine that collected data on the genetics of the Slavs — are they real?”
“There is no scientific basis for creating a genetic weapon using data on the human genome,” Vadim Stepanov replied. “We will not be able to distinguish between Russians and Ukrainians genetically.”
Elia Kabanov is a science writer covering the past, present and future of technology (@metkere)