The letter by 10 academicians or Academicians' letter (short names of "Open letter from the Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences to the President"; Russian: Открытое письмо десяти академиков РАН президенту Российской Федерации В.В. Путину) is an open letter to the President of the Russian Federation in which ten notable scientists express their concern about rapid clericalization of Russian society. It was published on July 22, 2007.
The letter was intended to warn both the society and the government about the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church and its expansion into many fields of social life, particularly into the state education system, which is strictly prohibited under the Russian Constitution.
Theology in VAK list
The letter addresses the inadmissibility of "theology" being added to the science fields list of Higher Attestation Commission. Such an idea was proposed in the resolution of the 11th Russian national synod (Russian: XI Всемирный русский национальный собор).
Religion in schools
The Russian orthodox church tried to introduce the basics of religious education into the public education system. Church leaders proposed to include a corresponding discipline into school curriculum. The Eleventh Russian national assembly took a resolution, expressing a hope that the basics of Christian teaching would be obligatory in schools.
Authors mention an order (letter) by Patriarch Alexey the Second in which he states "if we have difficulty introducing 'Basics of Russian Orthodox Faith', we can simply call it 'Basics of Russian Orthodox Culture'. In this case the course certainly won't meet any objections from teachers and principals, raised under atheistic rule."
The letter lead to a nationwide discussion on church and state interaction. Previously, corresponding issues drew little public attention.
Official response of the Church
The Russian Orthodox Church stated that it "always appreciated science and continues to appreciate and respect science nowadays". The Patriarch, commenting on the letter said that "the church strictly abides to the Constitution. Neither the Church interferes into the state matters, nor the state interferes with religious affairs". Both the letter and its signatories were criticised by various orthodox activists. The religious movement "Natsyonalny Sobor" (Russian: Национальный собор) accused Vitaly Ginzburg of hate speech.
- Eugeniy Aleksandrov (Russian: Евгений Александров),
- Zhores Alferov (Russian: Жорес Алфёров),
- Garry Abelev (Russian: Гарри Абелев),
- Lev Barkov (Russian: Лев Барков),
- Andrey Vorobyev (Russian: Андрей Воробьёв),
- Vitaly Ginzburg (Russian: Виталий Гинзбург),
- Sergey Inge-Vechtomov (Russian: Сергей Инге-Вечтомов),
- Eduard Kruglyakov (Russian: Эдуард Кругляков),
- Mikhail Vissarionovich Sadovsky (Russian: Михаил Садовский),
- Anatoliy Cherepaschuk (Russian: Анатолий Черепащук)
- "Open letter to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir V. Putin from the Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences". From Article. Retrieved 2007-07-23.
- http://razumru.ru/atheism/rpc/direct.htm циркуляр Алексия 2 от 9 декабря 1999 «Если встретятся трудности с преподаванием „Основ православного вероучения“, назвать курс „Основы православной культуры“, это не вызовет возражений у педагогов и директоров светских учебных заведений, воспитанных на атеистической основе»."
- В Московской Патриархии отвергают обвинения, выдвинутые против Церкви академиками РАН (in Russian). 24 July 2007. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- После Глазычева православная общественность взялась за академика Гинзбурга (in Russian). July 24, 2007. Retrieved April 2, 2010.