Science and Culture of Russia

By | April 28, 2022

According to topschoolsintheusa, the origin and formation in Russia of modern forms of scientific activity and education are largely connected with the entire complex of transformations of the Petrine and post-Petrine eras. Characteristic of the 18th – early 19th centuries. the process of building the institutions of science (academies, universities, expeditions, libraries, collections, observatories, clinics, scientific periodicals, etc.) and public education was of enduring importance for Russian history, thought and culture. Since the 18th century, Russia has become the owner of a continuous and conscious scientific tradition. This tradition was originally characterized by a culture of intensive international contacts.

A significant internal obstacle to the development of the scientific and educational sphere in Russia (USSR), which had long-term grave consequences for the whole society, was the system of excessive ideologization and bureaucratization of the entire sphere of intellectual relations in the country. The consequence of these phenomena was a fierce persecution of advanced areas of scientific thought that did not fit into the dogma of Marxism-Leninism (on genetics, cybernetics, the theory of relativity, the theory of populations, psychoanalysis, empirical sociology, structural analysis of texts, etc.). The system of forced mass indoctrination (“political enlightenment”), which applied to scientists and teachers, did not contribute to the development of a subtle and critical scientific outlook. However, the strong traditions of Russian culture, the resilience and sacrifice of the Russian intelligentsia, the high status of scientific knowledge in the spiritual life of post-revolutionary Russia, the numerical growth of scientific personnel – all this led to the enormous success of scientific knowledge in Russia (USSR) in many areas of fundamental and applied research. Such were the successes in the following areas: high-energy research, physical cosmology, mathematics, organic chemistry, military and space technologies (in 1957 – the launch of the world’s first artificial satellite into near-Earth orbit, in 1961 – the first manned flight into space), the creation of theoretical prerequisites informatics, as well as in those areas of humanitarian thought that were built on the margins of official ideological dogma and gradually prepared Russian culture and society for the transition from mobilization to innovative forms of thought and community (the works of A.F. Losev, L.S. Vygotsky, N. I. Konrad, Yu.M. Lotman, V.N. Toporova, V.V. Ivanova, S.S. Averintseva and others). Many works of Russian scientists of the post-October period, especially in the field of physical sciences, have gained worldwide fame and recognition. The Nobel Prize was awarded to P.L. Kapitsa (works on high energy physics), L.D. Landau (Fundamentals of Theoretical Physics), N.N. Semyonov (fundamentals of chemical physics and quantitative theory of chain reactions), Zh.I. Alferov (physics of semiconductors), etc.

The collapse of the Soviet system and the processes of the formation of a new, post-Soviet system of Russian statehood and social relations were accompanied by a rapid reduction in the total number of Russian scientists, their mass emigration and diasporization, the outflow of a significant part of gifted scientific youth from research and university spheres to management and business, and the material impoverishment of a significant part of institutions of education and science. At the same time, the modern intellectual life of Russia is characterized by a number of new and promising, although not yet seriously comprehended, trends that are associated with the structural and substantive reshaping of the entire complex of knowledge, scientific and educational activities in the country. Such phenomena include the abolition of the former ideological control over thought; computerization and informatization of research and educational processes; development of state, corporate and private patronage (including grant systems); thematic enrichment of scientific research, due to the new experience of global and Russian hostel; growth of scientific activity in a number of Russian regions; computer-based expansion of ties between Russian scientists and teachers with world scientific thought and the growth of informal scientific contacts among scientists in Russia itself, as well as contacts between Russian scientists and colleagues from the CIS and Baltic countries; more free access to archives; the formation, along with state education systems, of a large number of private and confessional educational institutions, some of which have acquired state accreditation; the slow process of establishing research structures within private corporations. Expenditure on education at all levels amounted to 315 billion rubles, or 2.9% of GDP and 11.7% of consolidated federal spending (2002). The number of general education institutions in 2001 was 66.9 thousand, of which 0.7 thousand are non-state. The number of students in daytime general education institutions is 19.43 million people, in evening and shift institutions – 0.5 million people. (2001, estimate). The number of universities in Russia is 621 state and 387 non-state. The total number of students is 5.43 million people. Financing of science (excluding R&D in the space industry) – 23.023 billion rubles, or 0.25% of GDP.

The originality of the cultural image of Russia and its peoples is largely due to the specifics and interaction on the territory of the country of dissimilar and changing ethno-cultural, linguistic and religious flows. The process of continuous and intense interaction of the Slavic, Finno-Ugric, Turkic and other peoples who inhabited the spaces of Russia with the West, the Eurasian steppe, Byzantium, the Caucasus, the Islamic world has been one of the defining features of the cultural development of Russia over the centuries. Russia’s choice of Christianity according to the Byzantine rite (988) became a powerful stimulus for cultural self-determination and integration for the country. The Orthodox cultural dominant determined the spiritual and stylistic appearance of the entire cultural complex of medieval Russia (temple building, calligraphy, icon painting, which had as its peak the legacy of Theophan the Greek, Andrei Rublev and Dionysius, church singing, poetry, annals). This cultural dominant allowed Russia to survive during the periods of the Horde yoke, internal disturbances and external interventions of the 16th-17th centuries. However, the last one and a half centuries of Muscovite Rus marked a crisis of medieval cultural forms, the intensification of ties with the countries of Europe, and partly with the East (with the Ottoman Empire and Iran), the growth of elements of secularization in the culture of both the upper strata of Russian society and the lower classes (primarily the townspeople). Clear manifestations of this deep socio-cultural crisis of the pre-Petrine era were the church schism and a string of uprisings of the 1950s and 1990s. 17th century.

The transformative processes of the 18th and early 19th centuries, initiated by the reforms of Peter I, determined the formation of the self-consciousness of Russia as a European power and continuous attempts to transplant onto Russian soil not only European institutions, technical, military and managerial skills, but also the forms of organization of life that had developed in the West, ideas, artistic styles. All this undoubtedly served to strengthen the Russian statehood and culture, spiritual enrichment of society. At the same time, this laid the foundation for deep internal contradictions in Russian life: European forms of thought, legal consciousness, self-consciousness could not but conflict with the traditionalism of the masses, with the authoritarian-serf forms of the political, social and legal organization of Russian society. These contradictions became especially evident after the victory in the Napoleonic wars, the leading representatives of the Russian intelligentsia tried to find ways to overcome them. The experience and comprehension of these contradictions served as a huge creative stimulus for the development of Russian culture in the 19th – early 20th centuries: the mastery of European cultural values and ideas was accompanied by an in-depth search for the identity of the Great Russian people and other peoples of Russia, the search for ways to expand the socio-historical and spiritual problems of the era, ties and harmonization of European, actually Russian and Eastern cultural and historical principles in the Russian creative experience. Tragic in itself, this internal spiritual conflict contributed to the emergence of Russia from its former peripheral state to the forefront of European and world culture.

The contradictions between the Eastern and European principles of Russian life, the state and the individual, power and culture determined the most important range of themes of Russian consciousness and creativity in the 19th and 20th centuries. Poetry by A. S. Pushkin, M. Yu. Lermontov, F. I. Tyutchev and others, prose by N. V. Gogol, I. S. Turgenev, L. N. Tolstoy, F. M. Dostoevsky, A. P. Chekhov, I. A. Bunin, the dramaturgy of A. N. Ostrovsky and A. P. Chekhov received all-Russian and world recognition. Music by M. I. Glinka, P. I. Tchaikovsky, M. P. Mussorgsky, N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov, A. N. Skryabin, S. V. Rachmaninov with its wide range of Russian and foreign melodic themes and associations, with its richness of musical meanings, rhythms and harmonies has become an integral part of world musical culture. Russian experiments in painting (from the academic canon of the 1st half of the 19th c. through the social realism of the “Wanderers” to the subsequent formation of the Russian artistic avant-garde), deeply rooted in the traditions of Russian literature and theater, the direction of K. S. Stanislavsky and Vs. E. Meyerhold, the innovation of Russian ballet – all this is part of the world process of the formation of artistic languages ​​of the 20th century. The dramatic, but creative collision of European rationalism and the spiritual traditions of Russia determined the undoubted Christian dominant of Russian philosophical culture, which to a large extent contributed to the formation of existential and personalistic trends in the philosophical culture of the West (V. S. Solovyov, N. A. Berdyaev, L. I. Shestov). At the same time, left-radical trends in Russian philosophical thought (N. G. Chernyshevsky, P. L. Lavrov, N. K. Mikhailovsky, V. I. Lenin, and partly G. V.

However, the period of the late 19th – early 20th centuries. marked a special intensity of philosophical and artistic searches, the realization of the immutable value and irreducibility of the spheres of spiritual and artistic creativity, the renewal of the languages ​​of poetry, painting, music. This period was marked by a closer, than in previous decades, and sympathetic interest in the religious sphere, in the centuries-old achievements of world and domestic philosophical and artistic culture, and at the same time in the search for the Western artistic avant-garde. For the creativity of thinkers and artists of these trends (for example, S. N. Bulgakov and P. A. Florensky – in philosophy and theology, A. A. Blok and V. V. Khlebnikov – in poetry, K. S. Petrov-Vodkin – in painting, early S. S. Prokofiev – in music) is characterized by a special interest in the knowledge of the spiritual specifics of Russia, its place in the past, present and future destinies of the world. This short pre-October period in the history of Russian culture is usually called the Silver Age (in contrast to the Golden Age of noble culture). The post-October period predetermined new tragic dynamics, new ups and downs, new contradictions in the cultural experience of the country. Revolutionary shifts and transformations caused, on the one hand, the expansion of the social and historical horizons of cultural creativity, and on the other hand, the dominance of tendencies of nihilistic (“class”) doctrinairism, intolerance, and bureaucratic terror in culture. The period of the late 1910s – the first half of the 1950s. was overshadowed by the development of a system of petty ideological control, judicial and extrajudicial reprisals against hundreds of thousands of representatives of the clergy, artistic, scientific and technical intelligentsia,

During the period of Soviet power, emigration (“Russian abroad”) became, as it were, the second channel for the development of Russian culture, although explicit, and for the most part implicit interactions of both directions continued until the perestroika of the 2nd floor. 1980s, when the principle of censorship and ideological diktat was rejected in the USSR and the principle of spiritual and historical unity of national culture was recognized. The post-revolutionary decades, including the period after the Great Patriotic War, were characterized by the renewal of creative themes and artistic language. This renewal was connected with the need to identify and artistically comprehend the connection between the unprecedented world-historical shifts of the 20th century. and internal dynamics of the human spirit (prose by A.M. Gorky, A.N. Tolstoy, A.P. Platonov, M.A. Sholokhov, V.S. Grossman, B.L. Pasternak, A.I. Solzhenitsyn, V P. Astafieva and others; poetry V.V. Mayakovsky, S.A. Yesenin, B L. Pasternak, M.I. Tsvetaeva, O.E. Mandelstam, A.A. Akhmatova, A.T. Tvardovsky, Ars. A. Tarkovsky and others; music by S.S. Prokofiev, D.D. Shostakovich, A.G. Schnittke and others; painting by K.S. Petrova-Vodkina, P.N. Filonov, R.R. Falk and others).

From the 60s. despite all the explicit or implicit repressions of the authorities, a special dissident culture began to develop in the country, which did a lot for the modernization and renewal of the country in the field of legal awareness and cultural creativity, philosophical and historical views. The official ideological principles of the service function of culture, dogmatic atheism and collectivism were opposed by the principles of human dignity, appeal to cultural tradition, and inner freedom. Among the few, but historically significant figures of this opposition culture, the names of the physicist and human rights activist A.D. Sakharov, writer A.I. Solzhenitsyn, Orthodox theologian A.V. Me, the poet I.A. Brodsky. Technological shifts and discoveries of the 20th century powerfully invaded the world of artistic culture, not only transforming its content and language, but also giving rise to new developed forms of artistic creativity: cinema (S.M. Eisenstein, A.P. Dovzhenko, I.A. Pyryev, Andrey Tarkovsky, etc.), art and documentary photography, jazz, radio composition, design, television, and at the end of the 20th century. – a variety of computer forms of artistic creativity.

The image of the Russian culture of the post-Soviet years is associated with the most complex socio-political changes and ever-accelerating technological innovations. The commercialization of Russian culture, the expansion of its international ties, postmodern experiments in all types and genres of creativity – from lyric poetry to show business – these are clear and purely external indicators of cultural changes in modern Russia. However, this image is not yet settled, it is rapidly evolving and is associated with new experience, with the continuous process of understanding the history of the world, Russia and its regions, with new technical and informational capabilities, with new philosophical ideas that have not yet been comprehended.

Education of Russia