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Russian Academy of Sciences elects prominent physicist as new head

MOSCOW, May 31 (UPI) -- Vladimir Fortov, a prominent Russian physicist, has been elected by his fellow scientists as the new head of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the academy says.

Fortov, the director of the Institute of Thermal Physics of Extreme States whose research into high-density plasma has won international acclaim, received 766 out of 1,313 votes in a secret ballot at the general meeting of academy members in Moscow, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

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His candidacy was supported by the RAS presidium and the majority of RAS branches, giving him a large margin over the 658 votes needed to be elected.

President Vladimir Putin must now approve his election.

Fortov said that if approved his key goal as RAS president would be to turn the academy into a generator of ideas for the advancement of Russia.

"The academy has good potential ... and must take a more active, I would even say slightly aggressive, position [in generating ideas]," he said.

Responding to persistent criticism the RAS had become ineffective and should be disbanded, he said bureaucracy in scientific institutions was to blame and he intended to curb that.

"We are choked by bureaucracy, with the number of [regulatory] documents, reports and senseless notes exceeding all logical limits," Fortov said.

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