Yakov Kedmi, public figure, Israel: All these ratings… The Americans, at the beginning of the 20th century, trying to understand the world, began to come up with different programs. They made up political science back then. Without the slightest understanding of history, they made something up to explain everything. But they never learned history. All these ratings and data have nothing to do with reality. When I see this rating, I’m supposed to be happy. Israel turns out to be in 8th place in the world. In addition to the three, we have only the UK, France, Germany, and Japan ahead. Nonsense. Total nonsense. I have nothing to be happy about because this is rubbish. With all due love and respect, my country isnt in 8th place. So there’s no use paying attention to these ratings. This is an attempt by the Americans, with the help of primitive techniques, to understand something which requires deep knowledge. But they have none. This country is younger than the Bolshoi Theater. They have no deep knowledge, no deep understanding of history, no deep understanding of the world around them. So they try to replace it with arithmetic. 1+1=2, 2+2=4, that means they are the brightest. These ratings do not matter at all.
But the development of Russia does matter. It’s plain to see. Someone said Russia can’t be measured. You shouldn’t even try. Russia had a higher pace of development. What happened in this country from 1921 to 1941? It soared. What level would it have reached if not for the war? What would’ve happened next? Russia hasn’t reached this pace. What a shame. You could have. You had potential. You had it all. Karen compared it to the USSR. I lived in the USSR. Longer than any of you. Now a lot of things are better. But at what cost? How many invaluable things you lost. If you don’t restore them, you won’t be able to develop any further. Russia has huge human potential. But you use it with the steam engine-like efficiency. No more than that. And it’s not even a bad thing, 20 years ago you were on the edge of the abyss. And it’s clear it was a miracle you made your way out. Only in 2007, Russia returned to international politics.
If we look not into the past but into the future, you have the best chance of developing and becoming one of the richest and most developed countries in the world. But it’s all up to you. The Russian economy today is underdeveloped in the sense that you need to restore the main areas of economic development. You haven’t restored them in 20 years. And again — 20 years back, they had to build everything from scratch. You didn’t. So you could do this and can do this. But, as you said, looking for approval from somebody else… Why do you need this? Do they understand what Russia is? Can they assess you? Or do you care so much about their opinion? Why should you care? You can assess yourself. And you shouldn’t compare yourself with other countries, but compare with what you have, what you had, and what you’re capable of. Russia should compete with its own self. With its capabilities and its potential. Not with the assessment of a US or French magazine gives you. What does it have to do with this? Even if they look at you objectively, which is impossible. And you know your problems better and deeper than they do. You’re worse than they are. And you don’t know your merits.
Try to develop your potential. Soviet physics was and is the best in the world. Bring it back to the level where it used to be. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, all international conferences on physics spoke Russian, including physicists from the Netherlands, Germany, and even from the United States.
– The international language of mathematics has always been French. Physicists spoke German first and then English.
– I don’t mean the official language of mathematics. The best mathematicians in the world came from Russia. That’s what the Americans say. They say: “We got the kinds of mathematicians from the USSR we never had.” They lifted our math to its feet. They say: “We know what we’ve got. The Soviet Union doesn’t know what it’s lost.” You had that. You created all of it. And you can do it again. Develop and restore the areas that you had and that were destroyed.
The first and main thing you need is education, education and education again. So that your children begin to receive the kind of education that I received as a child in a Soviet school. Then you will have a future without borders.
– Firstly, it should be noted that Stalin had crazy growth rates until 1953 when the transition took place. So this is not about the transition but about the price we had to pay. There’s a price. You can’t use the methods that existed at that time. You can’t live at the expense of the giant army of prisoners and their labor. You can’t do it now. And we understand this well enough.
– I was speaking about the time before 1941.
– Even before 1941.
– Before 1941, development was under normal conditions. And there was a famine. From 1945 to 1953, they were restoring what had been destroyed.
– In this sense, there’s a thing I can’t argue with. At some point, we were deceived. We traded housekeeping for “economics.” This is where it went wrong. But this is not our thing. This is nonsense. If we are talking about the social state and the characteristics of Russia, then, based on economic considerations, everyone should live near Sochi.
– You didn’t start doing economics, you started counting money.
– This is what economics is.
Karen, I should give you the floor, and then we can go home.
Karen Shakhnazarov: I can only repeat myself. If we’re considered ambitious, we should become ambitious. We need to take first place. First place in all areas. We should strive for this and set such goals. I think this is quite possible. It’s possible, and, first of all, Yakov was right, we need to solve the education issue. Educated, healthy people will win the competition.