Sergey Kirienko has expanded the list of lecturers of the Knowledge Society
A few days after he was approved as chairman of the supervisory board of the Russian society “Knowledge”, Sergei Kiriyenko held, in fact, its repeated presentation, opening the online marathon “New Knowledge”. Among the announced lecturers are not only Russian, but also foreign: the program includes performances by Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak. This did not stop Russian astrophysicist Boris Stern from criticizing the list of lecturers. The organizers said that already on the first day of the marathon, which takes place at venues in eight Russian cities and is fully broadcast, more than 5 million people have become spectators.
The Knowledge Society in our country was established twice: in April 1947, the corresponding decree of the Soviet government was signed by its chairman Joseph Stalin, and in December 2015, a decree on the creation of a public and state educational organization was issued by Vladimir Putin. For the first time, “Knowledge” was created with the aim of “disseminating political and scientific knowledge”, among the founders were not only scientists headed by the President of the Academy of Sciences Sergei Vavilov, but also the writer Konstantin Simonov with the ballerina Galina Ulanova. The society acted on a Soviet scale, performing not only educational, but also propaganda functions; The Znaniye publishing house, founded in 1951, printed 200 million educational brochures a year; by the end of the 1980s, the society consisted of 2,000 academicians and 25,000 doctors of sciences and professors.
The decree on the recreation of “Knowledge” in 2015 stated that this was being done “in order to further develop civil society, spiritual and moral education of citizens of the Russian Federation and to increase the effectiveness of educational and educational work.”
Efficiency has clearly increased after the supervisory board of the organization was chaired by the first deputy head of the presidential administration Sergey Kiriyenko on May 12, 2021: on Thursday he opened the three-day marathon “New Knowledge”, which takes place, in addition to Moscow, in St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Sochi, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk and Kaliningrad.
Opening the marathon, Mr. Kiriyenko did not avoid a historical parallel, in some ways even risky: according to him, the leadership of the USSR created Knowledge, realizing in the post-war devastation that there is nothing more important than knowledge. “Great scientists, people who in reality changed the world by creating space projects or the Soviet atomic project, found time to pass on knowledge to a new generation, because they believed that the success of a new country and how the world was changing depends on it,” he said. Mr. Kirienko. And he listed those who educate young people and change the world in our time:
“During these three days, Sergei Lavrov, Dmitry Peskov, German Gref, Sergei Sobyanin, Apple founder Steve Wozniak, Oleg Tinkov, Mikhail Kovalchuk, Valery Gergiev, Elon Musk will perform before us.”
The speech of the CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk is really in the lecture program on May 21. Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov should speak just before him with a lecture on “Fake news vs Pure knowledge”, and after that – Sergei Lavrov, who will teach the audience “Lessons of International Relations”. Among the lecturers are TV presenter Vladimir Soloviev, actor Vladimir Mashkov, rector of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet Nikolai Tsiskaridze, presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, defense minister Sergei Shoigu, master of the game “What? Where? When?” Victor Sidnev, pianist Denis Matsuev, head of the Talent and Success Foundation Elena Shmeleva, science journalist Vyacheslav Avdeev, director of the Kurchatov Institute Alexander Blagov, creator of the Sputnik V vaccine Denis Logunov and others. On Saturday, at the Sochi site, athletes will also be admitted to educational activities – in particular, MMA fighter Alexander Shlemenko and Honored Master of Sports in Greco-Roman wrestling Alexei Mishin. According to Mr. Kiriyenko, the lecturers invited to the marathon will continue to perform in different Russian cities after it ends.
The first lecture day was opened by Presidential Aide Andrei Fursenko and film director Timur Bekmambetov, as well as State Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy and journalist Vladimir Pozner.
The list of lecturers provoked claims of the Russian astrophysicist, editor-in-chief of the scientific newspaper Troitsky Variant Boris Stern: he wrote on Facebook that he did not hesitate to reject Znanie's proposal to participate in the work on a popular science film, “having seen the composition of the speakers of the resuscitation event.”
Mr. Stern believes that the list of speakers does not include “not a single author of a decent book, not a single well-known lecturer or just a good scientist”, and the marathon is being held while “they are trying to stifle the living educational movement with the new law.”
Mr. Stern was not available for comment. As Kommersant previously reported, a bill on state regulation of educational activities was submitted to the State Duma in November 2020. The document was criticized by public figures, representatives of science and culture; the full complement of the RAS Presidium demanded that the bill be withdrawn; a similar petition was signed by more than 240 thousand people. Critics argued that this initiative creates the preconditions for “repressive and censoring regulation.” The bill was passed by the State Duma and signed by the President in April. At the same time, the Ministry of Education published for discussion a by-law that seriously restricts the possibilities of educational activities for NGOs from the register of foreign agents and complicates lecturing for ordinary citizens. As a result of the discussion, the ministry sent the project for revision.
On the first day of the marathon, the lecturers of the Knowledge Society did not face any difficulties; the organizers claim that the number of views of the online broadcast exceeded 5 million. Some of the listeners attended the lectures in person. To entertain them, a game console with the popular cruel fighting game Mortal Kombat worked in front of the Moscow lecture hall, and at times it was seen that some of the marathon participants were torn between their thirst for knowledge and the desire to fight each other in a virtual format.
Andrey Vinokurov, Alexander Chernykh