Report by Andrey Kolesnikov about the meeting of Vladimir Putin with Viktor Sadovnichy

Report by Andrey Kolesnikov about the meeting of Vladimir Putin with Viktor Sadovnichy


On April 3, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the rector of Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov Viktor Sadovnichy and announced that he had awarded him the title of Hero of Labor. At the same time, Kommersant special correspondent Andrey Kolesnikov considers some of the president’s words at this meeting to be simply unprecedented.

Viktor Sadovnichy turned 85 years old. About five years ago I saw him climbing the long stairs in the building of the St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Geographical Society. He walked across the step – and he himself hardly suspected that someone was watching him, otherwise he would probably have been more gradual (that is, not only more sedate, but also gradual.— A.K.).

Now, maybe he won’t do that anymore, but it’s clear that a person is fine even at 85, even though he’s a mathematician.

“And I want to inform you that I have signed a decree awarding you the title of Hero of Labor of the Russian Federation,” the president added.

The rector looked grateful in every way.

“But we will do the ceremony itself, please, in a solemn atmosphere, as it usually should,” Mr. Putin added when he presented flowers to the hero of the day (the ceremony is expected soon in the Catherine Hall of the Kremlin.— A.K.).

“Vladimir Vladimirovich, I can say words of gratitude to you,” the rector of Moscow State University put his hand to his heart. “I want to thank you for a great, vitally important matter for me!” But, Vladimir Vladimirovich, everything that the higher school has achieved is thanks to you and your support!

That is, the title of Hero of Labor and flowers was actually deserved by Vladimir Putin, who, as it turned out, did not need someone else’s (bouquet):

— This is thanks to the rector’s corps, thanks to leaders like you!

The exchange of pleasantries in itself seemed unprecedented. Mr. Putin usually does not respond to such confessions.

“In the most difficult times, Moscow State University, under your leadership, not only survived, but also developed—I repeat, even in the most difficult times—it stood confidently on its feet,” the president added.

There’s no arguing with that. And anything, but it wasn’t easy.

— The managerial, rector’s job is to ensure that people understand it and that the one who leads them understands it. There is harmony here,” assured Viktor Sadovnichy. “The people of Moscow University understand that we need to be together, to make our system the best in the world.” Indeed, we are striving for this.

It’s interesting that the rector’s main idea, no matter what he says, is that MSU should be the best in the world. Moreover, within the country, especially for some time now, there is no one to compete with. And the bar, which cannot be higher, allows you to stay on the level.

“We had a mathematical conference yesterday and the day before yesterday, called “Mathematics in the Constellation of Sciences,” said the rector.

Indeed, a mathematician is a mathematician. Well, what else could he talk about on a day like this?

— A thousand participants from all regions of Russia, from seven foreign countries: China, the United States, France, Kazakhstan, and so on… This conference summed up the work of our mathematical school, which I am currently heading… .- admitted Viktor Sadovnichy.

And not “as if,” but he leads, and that’s all.

“I brought you a book about this conference and a list of works, a thousand works in mathematics – this is the result of the work of our mathematical school, my group,” said the rector.

Maybe he started to sum it up early.

And then he heard something that Vladimir Putin had never said in this office.

— Viktor Antonovich, what orders? – asked the president.

And it wasn’t that much of a joke. The president’s attitude towards the rector was exactly what this joke was – with a grain of just a joke.

— What needs to be done to support MSU? – Mr. Putin asked again. – And in general, you know about all our plans… Maybe there are some proposals, ideas?

And then Vladimir Putin received an unexpectedly extremely substantive answer. Even, one might say, simply exhaustive:

— Vladimir Vladimirovich, I, as the rector of Moscow University, of course, would very much like to receive support. Our campus is underdeveloped! Behind Lomonosovsky there are about 50 hectares… We have plans, we have projects, we want to enter the program of world-class campuses and get a little support!

It is unlikely that this support should be small. The project is huge, and it began many years ago. And the investments were expected to be unprecedented. And there should have been a university garden city here. And so far only one building has been introduced, which Vladimir Putin opened together with the mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin.

Apparently, the money has run out and construction has stopped.

Viktor Sadovnichy’s argument was unkillable; there was nothing to oppose to this.

“If we develop that territory, there will be no such university in the world!” – he told the president. – And so we succeeded then (in 2005.- “Kommersant”) build a library, double the area of ​​the university, but there is still a vacant lot there (that is, they doubled it, but at the expense of the vacant lot.— A.K.)! Please, perhaps support the board of trustees (its head, in fact, is Vladimir Putin.— A.K.), support graduation from the MSU campus! This will truly be an unprecedented campus!

That is, you have to start almost from the beginning.

“We’ll definitely discuss it with our colleagues,” the president promised. “I think we’ll find an opportunity to support MSU…

Well, yes, if you support everything at all.


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