Russian government to overhaul country's Academy of Sciences

June 27, 2013 at 2:59 PM

MOSCOW, June 27 (UPI) -- The Russian government says it will overhaul the country's Academy of Sciences, stripping it of the right to manage its property.

The announcement comes amid apparent impatience with the state of the organization, with the government saying a new government agency will manage the academy's property, which includes sprawling real estate inherited from the Soviet era.

"It's important to allow the scholars to focus on science and research and spare them of the irrelevant function of managing real estate and communal utilities," Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday.

The academy, founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1724, will be merged with state academies for agriculture and medicine, while three other state academies -- for architecture, education and fine arts -- will be stripped of their autonomy and become directly state-run. RIA Novosti reported.

Recent government criticism of the academy has focused on its alleged ineffectiveness, with Education and Science Minister Dmitry Livanov describing it as "unsustainable and with no future."

The academy was not consulted by the reform's authors, a source at the academy told RIA Novosti.

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