Futures Studies in the European Ex-socialist Countries



Futures studies in the USSR/Russia leave by roots inthe precocious futurology of the end 19th and beginning 20th centuries, when some outstanding European, American and Russian scientists - D. Mendeleev, I. Metc.hnikov, K. Ziolkowsky and others in Russia - have acted in their works with reflections about the future. In 20s some books and many articles on this theme were published, including that of V. Bazarov-Rudnev in 1924-28 with a statement of the concept of the problems-goals approach to the future, which is now basis of modern technological forecasting. But it was not to understand for contemporaries, was forgotten for decades and was entered into futures studies literature in 80th only. Since the end of 20s and till the middle of 50s the Stalin’s political regime has liquidated all studies in social sciences, including the sphere of the future. There was only imitation of “scientific prediction” in dogmas of “scientific communism”.

  1. Forecasting Boom in the USSR of 60s

In the middle of 50sthe thawing of Krushchev’s reforms has resulted in some revival of social sciences and during the first half of 60s some books and articles “about the future in general” were published, but not yet supported with any special studies (I. Lada: If World Disarms, 1961; G. Dobrov and A. Golian-Nicolsky: Century of Great Hopes, 1964; I. Lada and O.Pisarzhevsky: Profiles of the Future, 1965, and others). But such publications were permitted only by way of the comments to the new political program of the Soviet communist party therefore it was necessary to state the forecasts by the language of Esope.

The situation was changed in 1966 only, when the thirdperestroyka , i.e. Kossyguin’s liberal reforms, was begun (the first was Lenin’snew economic policy of 1921-29, and the second - thethaw of Krushchev’s liberal reforms of 1956-64). During all threeperestroykas attempts were made to revive an realised utopia ofbarracks socialism by some liberalisation of the political regime, including loosing of repression and censorship. But then the ruling circles curtailed reforms, which threatened their autocracy.

In 1966 on the XXIII Congress of the Soviet communist party was decided to expand the problematic of economic planning by adding of social aspects and resting on “scientific base”. Unexpected for ruling circles was reaction to this decision as a movement of scientists and students under slogan of “scientific and technical forecasting”, i.e. forecasting in the sphere of science and industries only, not of society in general, no confrontation against “scientific communism” (please, not to confuse withtechnological forecasting !). After three years of fierce ideological struggle with Marxist dogmatics, there was appeared in the USSR by the end of 60s around a thousand (!) of sectors and departments in research institutes, big plants, government establishments, which were engaged in technological forecasting not only in the sphere of science and industries.

Spontaneously there were appeared some non-government associations with own magazines beginning to organise almost annual congresses “on forecasting” with more then a thousand participants everyone. Almost each month in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Novosibirsk and others USSR university centres there passed conferences, symposiums, colloquiums, seminars on this problematic with dozens and hundreds participants everyone. In this movement, according its leaders was involved not less than 4000 active participants (more than 800 in Moscow only) and ten times as much of students and other auditory. Every year left on this problematic up to a dozen books, some dozens articles, some hundreds papers. There was published even an independent non-government (strictly forbidden in the USSR!) monthly review “Voprosy prognozirovania” (‘Problems of Forecasting”): 14 issues before repression.

In 1966-91 there was published in the USSR over 500 of “scientific monographs on forecasting” only, not considering thousands reports on futures studies and publicistications. As a matter of fact it was as much as continuation offorecasting boom of 60s in the West, but with the Soviet specificity. Two third of all these departments and publications were that of forecasting in science and engineering (mostly the last), near a quarter - in economics, near one tenth - in sphere of town-planning. Other branches of forecasting - concerning environment and health, sociology and politology, population and culture, psychology and law, space and war, etc. - made shares of one percent everyone. A special cluster of forecasting was that in natural sciences: agro-, hydro-, weather forecasts, in geology and mineralogy, in physics and chemistry, in medicine and biology, in cosmology etc.

Incompatibility in principle of forecasting in general and technological forecasting in particular with anyone authoritarian and the more so totalitarian regime at once was coming to light. At authoritarianism/totalitarianism the statement of any problem includes simultaneously also way of its decision, for which has responsibility an appropriate functionary, who is to be punished if decision has no success. It is clear, that here no problem-forecast is possible.  At once a typical Russian/Soviet problem appears: who is guilty and what to do and where authorities look? It is well known that any forecast usually reveals a challenge, on which authorities do not have an appropriate answer and which therefore is perceived as “the anti-Soviet propagation” with immediate repressive reaction. It is clear, that at such perception almost any forecast automatically turned in the category of “secret information” and accordingly was simulated so that not to cause discontent of any authorities.

It is enough to tell, that from mentioned above 500 Soviet books “on forecasting” left in the USSR in 1966-91 almost all were devoted to questionshow to forecast and only few -what is predicted and that in publicise only so that to avoid a question on efficiency of existing regime. We could remind, that one of three or four such books containing not common consideration “on the future”, but more or less concrete forecasts, though in very “conformist”, “non-problem” phrases (I. Bestuzhev-Lada: The World of Our Tomorrow, 1986) has sustained in several European countries up to ten editions, including two in FRG, two in GDR and on one in the French, Danish, Polish, Bulgarian, and Slovak languages. So great was the interest to “mysterious Soviet Futurology”. And in Russian this book has appeared only some years after the numerous foreign publications 1984-85 and publication practically all of its chapters in many Soviet magazines 1982-85.

In fact there was only one way to publish concrete forecasts: to present it under a cap of “criticism on the bourgeois futurology”. The mountain of such literature quickly has grown - dozens and dozens books out of five hundreds mentioned above, hundreds and hundreds articles. There were two preliminary conditions for such publications: all forecasts were not to compromise the future of the USSR and “socialist camp” on the whole and were to present the agony of capitalism and non-competence of “bourgeois futurologists”. These conditions were actual even for books and articles translated into Russian. Therefore a Soviet reader could be familiar with works of Western theorists and methodologists of forecasting could read books about general prospects of mankind, but books with concrete forecasts, especially touching the USSR, were inaccessible to him. Let’s tell, works of E. Jantsch, J. Martino, J. Tinbergen, A. Peccei were translated, but that of J. Forrester and Medows did appeared in Russian in 90s only, and G. Kahn’s “The Year 2000”and Toffler’s “The Future Shock” were published in Russian as top secret documents for top Soviet authorities only.

However such a “mimicry” does not helped to Soviet futurists. Since 1969 Soviet authorities frightened by “The Prague Spring” have begun curtailing the thirdperestroyka and in 1970-71 have smashed once more all social sciences. Hundreds of scientists protesting against invasion in Czechoslovakia were dismissed, have several forms of defamation with prohibition to publish anything, to make lectures for students or contacts with colleagues in other cities and countries. Some of my colleagues had such kind of “home arrest” up to 20 years - till 1991 (I personally - only one and a half year). The Vice-President of USSR Academy of Sciences Prof. A. Roumiantsev, who “has opened the road” to forecasting, to “concrete social research” (i.e. not dogmatic Marxist), to mathematics in economic research, to sociology and politology strictly forbidden before, - was removed from his post. Some ideological leaders of “technological forecasting movement” (B. Tardov, I. Bestuzhev-Lada and others) did get “home arrest” mentioned above.

  1. Quasi-forecasting in 70s - 80s

The USSR has entered in period of stagnation (“zastoy ”), has gone through 4th and 5th dead born*“perestroykas* ” (that of Brezhnev in 1979 and of Andropov in 1982) to the 6th of Gorbatchev in 1985-91, brought to crash of political regime, disintegration of the USSR and disappearance of “world socialist system” and at the end to the 7th “perestroyka” of Eltsin in 1991-2000 (in 2000 Eltsin wasretired after two terms of an elected Russian President according Russian Constitution). Already to the beginning of 70s it has become clear for the ruling circles in Kremlin that the USSR has lost arms race, i.e. a matter of fact has lost the Third World War under pseudonym “Cold War”. Has lost race with an enemy, who was four times stronger economically and quality stronger technologically. Therefore Kremlin near 20 years - till Gorbatchev capitulation to NATO in 1989 - tried to compensate the techno-economic weakness by offensive activities in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and to compensate the fictitiousness of “socialist planning” by “scientific grounding”.

With this purpose in 1972 there was created some kind of forecasting state service under pseudonym “Complex Program of Scientific-Technical Progress”. By 1976 it was developed to a special state system under the USSR Academy of Sciences, ministries of planning and of building (“Gosplan” and “Gosstroy ”) with more than half-hundred commissions on all branches in its structure: from industries and international relations to education and culture. Each commission was in fact a committee of 30-70 presidents, directors, heads and other top bureaucrats. Each commission member had behind him dozens and hundreds subordinated who did drafts of documents under supervising of a hierarchy of editors-slave-drivers. Thus into system were involved summa summary as much as 20000-30000 quasi-futurists who had no idea about forecasting and especially of technological forecasting. This great army did prepare during first two years of every 5-years planning period*(* “piatiletka ”) in 1972-74, 1976-78, 1982-84 and 1986-88 top-secret documents with demands to give more money for appropriate branch on 20 years prospect. It was supposed, that these quasi-forecasts would be developed inGosplan into 10-years programs and at the end into 5-years plans of a national economic development.

But in fact bureaucrats inGosplan did ignore all quasi-forecasts and elaborate their quasi-programs and quasi-plans “from achieved”, i.e. put in their documents only data, which “look good” in politics and propagation. And top bureaucrats at Kremlin in turn did ignore all these quasi-plans accepting secret voluntary decisions quite independently of any forecasts, programs, and plans. So for example according plans the USSR spent (as if!) 20-30 billions roubles for arms race against 200-300 billions dollars in the USA and none the less got the parity of arms. In fact it was 16 cents of each dollar of national income in the USA and 88 kopecks of each rouble in the USSR with doubling the charges on race of arms each five years. It is easy to imagine a real forecast of such a race and to understand why in the USSR all real forecasts were considered as secret documents. And why Soviet futurists were simply frightened to elaborate and to try to publish such forecasts!

Later, in 80s, some departments of the gigantic Central Economic-Mathematical Institute were reorganised as a special Institute of economic forecasting with some hundreds fellows and a special magazine to summarise non-secret materials of commissions mentioned above. The Institute and all commissions formally exist till nowadays, but what forecasts under past and present conditions? As results there were and are two institutes-twins instead of one before, that’s all.

It is necessary to notice that told concerns not only to the USSR. In German Democratic Republic and in Bulgaria since 1968 till 1991 there were state forecasting services much stronger, than in the USSR. They included commissions on forecasting at Politbureau of ruling party and at premier-minister (that it was not possible to make in Moscow, despite of many attempts during 1967-70), departments of forecasting almost in each ministry and in each district, and also at the largest enterprises, chairs of forecasting at many universities etc. Not so total, but similar establishments were also in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania. And what? They everywhere did “function” as though in themselves, the planning went in itself, and voluntary decision-making - in itself. Anything another under totalitarianism is impossible in principle.

Thus, we see in the USSR in 1966-91 as though three levels of approaches to problems of the future.

On the first, lowermost level we see hundreds departments of various establishments elaborating secret technological forecasts “for confidential using only”. According some expert evaluations there were prepared during these 25 years dozens of thousands such forecasts - an ocean of the secret future information. However it is necessary to take into account, that such forecasts were always “corrected” by several instances of the heads, which always were influenced first of all by fear before higher instances and consequently in every possible way did try to avoid anyproblematic and the more soheuristics, innovations in a statement. And a forecaster himself usually was guided by the same reasons, so any concrete evaluations and data sunk in habitual (till now) idle talk, froth.

On the second, intermediate level there were discussions of the done work at the working meetings mentioned above. There still it was possible to meet concrete evaluations and data in essences, but they also sank in froth, because many opponents-dogmatic always may be denunciators, and authorities strictly stopped any attempts to take “liberties” with forecasts.

Finally, on the third, top level we see hundreds of books and thousands of papers with the same “how to predict” or with very common evaluations of general perspective of that and that phenomenon.

  1. Six case studies - one example of hundreds

We shall refer as an example - one of hundreds possible - to works of the Sector of social forecasting in Institute of Sociology, USSR/Russia Academy of Sciences - a unique body of this profile in this country (periodically such sectors arose in Moscow, Leningrad, Novosibirsk, but all quickly disappeared, because forecasting in sociology, for the clear reasons, is much more risky, than in the sphere of scientific and technical progress, economics or town-planning).

In 1969-91 the sector has fulfilled 6 full-scale futures research projects with some pre-prints on intermediate reports and with final monograph in Russian on every project (the same title for a project and a appropriate monograph) and with confidential report in Department of science, USSR Communist Party Central Committee on every project.

1.Forecasting in Sociological Research (1969-78). The theory of forecasting of changes in needs of the personality and of the society, in social structure, in structure of time of society (social time), in spatial organisation of life activities of society (social space) is developed, are given key evaluations on each direction of research. But in the monograph, as well as in all subsequent, the censorship has left only most general trends characteristics, as though “by itself understood”.

2.Forecasting Social Needs of Youth (1969-78). The attempt of interrogation with the purposes of forecasting not of the experts, but of usual respondents is made. The restrictions of such approach and ways of overcoming them are revealed with the help of psychological tests. The youth was chosen as object of research not only because non-trivial estimations were expected, but also because some fellows’ rates were paid by Central Committee of Youth Union. However, all rates were stolen by Institute’s administration (usual in the USSR) and quite other people did realise the project. The expectations, that the youth could give more non-trivial estimations about future things as the aged people do, has appeared vain because ofpresentism of common consciousness of people of any age, i.e. likening past and future to the present. Near all concrete forecasts and even simple youth estimations about the future have not got in the monograph, have sunk in archives of the Youth Union.

3.Social Indicators of the Soviet Society Way of Life (1976-80). There was developed the theory of indication - ordering of parameters set in initial (base) model of a forecasting object on an example of such complex objects in social forecasting as changes in the society way of life. But forecasts were remained only in some confidential reports from the monograph it was deleted all up to one.

4.Exploratory Social Forecasting : perspective problems of society. Essay of systematisation (1981-84). The author’s concept of exploratory forecast specificity is developed as well as a system of modern global problems in context ofglobalisation as a special field of futures studies. Concerning the USSR are made exploratory forecasts of expected changes in social structure (with some corrections of estimations in the first project), in the system of needs, in the system of social organisation and control, in structures of social time and space, in spheres of labour, family life, education and culture. Clearly, in the final monograph there were only most common phrases.

5.Normative Social Forecasting : perspective goals of society. Essay of systematisation (1984-87). The author’s concept of normative forecast specificity in its correlation with such a form of social control concretisation as goal-setting is developed. If to remove an inevitable that times in this area the umbrella of “scientific communism”, so you can see forecasts of desired changes in decision-making of modern global problems, and concerning the USSR in spheres of labour and family life, health, education and culture, environment, social organisation and control. Of course, all these things were castrated in the final monograph, but a very important step was made to another field of futures studies, toalternativistics , developed in the monograph “Alternative Civilisation” (1991, published in Russian 1998, to be published in English by Publ. HouseNova Science in New York, USA).

6.Forecasting Founding of Social Innovations (1987-90, the monograph was published in Russian in 1993). The theory of innovations in the social sphere is developed, as well as forecasts of radical changes in labour, division of powers, stabilisation of family, modernisation of school, social organisation of science, culture and health, optimisation of city building, salvation of nature, reduction of crime, desalcoholisation of Russian society. A special chapter was devoted toalternativistics. The publication of the monograph after years and years was gave by the price of refusal from the most radical innovations.

I am sure that among hundreds of such sectors dozens and dozens have realised similar projects but many without publications - secret reports for archives only.

  1. Non-government forecasting organisation

It would be a mistake to say, that Soviet futurists reconciled with such situation. No, reaction this time was the same as in 60s: non-government movement expanding parallel with state forecasting service mentioned above, but no contacts between though there and there mostly there were the same people.

First, approximately since 1974 there were “half-underground” (a special Soviet term: it is no permission, but no prohibition) seminars on a loft of one building of Moscow Air Institute with a hundred and more participants. In 1976 it was possible to create on this base a Commission of Technological Forecasting in system of the USSR Council (later: Union) of scientists and engineers societies. In 1979 the Commission was unwrapped in Committee of some ten commissions, beginning from that of theory, methodology, organisation of forecasting and ending that of social, economic, ecological, global problems of technological forecasting (Chairman of the Committee was S. Sarkisian, then V. Leontiev).

The Committee in 80s has restored scales of non-government organisations in the sphere of technological forecasting at 60-s: almost annually congresses with a thousand and more participants in university centres of near all 15 USSR republics, almost monthly (in Leningrad even - be-weekly) conferences and seminars with dozens and hundreds participants, a mountain of books and publications. However all this system could function only when publications and trips to meetings were paid by state budget. In 1988-90 all this system was disorganised and in 1991 paralysed, though much is formal existing till now (according the same principle: no permission and no prohibition).

After putsch in August, 1991 the Soviet censorship was disappeared, but on its place did appear the well known in Western countries “censorship of the market”: published, “televisioned”, and “radioned” all what is profitable for anyone who can pay therefore having mercenary interest. You can add to this an old paradox of any forecast known asOedipus Effect - so-called self-fulfilling or self-destroying forecasts where prediction is annihilated by decision (action on decision).

  1. Forecasting and decision-making

It is well known that decisions all over the world are accepted either in a voluntary way when a decision-maker acts intuitively or after preparing a decision in decision-maker’s staff, and the chief only expounds it. In both cases intervention of a futurist warning about possible undesirable consequences of planned and the more so already accepted decision is perceived as an attempt on authority of the chief or, at least, on his staff. Also is rejected from a threshold. Basically problem is easily decided by connection of a futurist to process of decision-making at the earliest stage, when nobody’s authority is not touched yet. But in practice it all over the world occurs rather seldom - mainly when it is necessary to accept an especially complex and risky decision.

So is going even in situation of market mechanisms and democratic regimes. What to tell about authoritarian and the more so totalitarian regimes? We have already mentioned, that forecasting and totalitarianism are incompatible basically. As a matter of fact there here is possible only amimicry - imitation and profanation of forecasting.

The authoritarian regime - and it is completely kept not only in Russia, but also in other republics of the former USSR - opens, in comparison with totalitarianism, some practical opportunities of the valid, not fictitious forecasting. But these opportunities are not used anywhere by virtue of a number of psychological features of a typical authoritarian decision-maker.

First, such personality, as a rule, has not a high level of political and any other culture (people of high culture at an authoritarian regime either think scorn of politicians or, anyway, almost never make the way to top positions). Therefore such people always before hand is sure in correctness of their intuitive or prepared by the staff decision-making. To such people in general is alien any reflection concerning all conceived and made - especially concerning future things.

Secondly, such personality is always afraid, that any problem information, especially forecasts, can expose him in adverse light before authorities, contenders and enemies. Therefore it rejectedpriory .

At last, thirdly, when general background of forecasting is obviously inauspicious (and in Russia today any optimistic forecast from a threshold is perceived only ironically), the reference to such information is fraught with danger of further demoralisation for a leader and his subordinated. Therefore any reference to future - especially to long-term forecasts - is usually avoided.

However, in mass consciousness of the people the desire is incredible “to glance into the future”, to foresee, who will win next elections, what rate of dollar will be, what terrorists can undertake in following times, etc. Therefore in Russia of 90s, as mushrooms after a rain, appear dozens “centres of analysis and prognosis”, which earn much money by attempts of such divination - almost always, as in a roulette, unsuccessful. They are not embarrassed of such attempts failure in 60-80s: nobody of futurists in the world that times did foresee the USSR disintegration and disappearance of “world socialist system”, though there were enough of anti-Soviet theories (non forecasts!) like number less opuses of Brzesinski. And that many technological forecasts revealed gathering in the USSR and in “socialist camp” at the whole a very serious problem situation (more serious then all modern global problems!) developing in critical and further in catastrophic one was of no interest for politicians and men in the street. Was perceived in the best case for some futurists (including personally the author of this article) only as illustrations for something like “legal”, non-dissident anti-Marxism. Equally as there was of no interest also normative forecasts of eventual normalisation of this problem situation.

Indeed, today the mass reader, TV spectator, radio listener not only in Russia, but in the world has too no interest for exploratory forecasts of development the global problem situation in critical and catastrophic one during the first half - may be, even first quarter - of next century. Equally as no interest for normative forecasts of eventual transition to an alternative civilisation capable to overcome such problems: it seems too abstract and too old-fashioned like Club of Rome some 30 years ago. But it is a tragic mistake!

Certainly, a forecast-divination, say, of the data of beginning the next world war with sub-sequent wreck of Euro-American civilisation (including Russia and all the Eastern Europe) like that of Ancient Rome Empire and by the same reasons could shock world public opinion like some first reports to Club of Rome 30 years ago. But this time such quasi-forecasts will be only a kind of imposture (not war - it is ripping and ripping with predetermined results, but attempts to foresee something unforeseeable in principle). And nevertheless, in the foreground of forecasting in Russia today, as well as all over the world, were and are attempts of divination.

Certainly, here and there in Russia as if on inertia there are elaborated technological forecasts too - but of no interest for government and society as years and years before. No more in hundreds, but in some - may be, in some dozens - futures research centres till this year (1999) having no regular contacts, very few people except, between them and with colleagues in the world.

  1. Three case studies of 90s

By way of an illustration besides we should again refer to an example, the only well familiar because on personal experience (no information in this country of other activities at all!). That of Sector of social forecasting, Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences.

In 1991-95 the sector has realised the 7th futures research project “Perspectives of Russia Transformation: an expertise future scenario building monitoring”. Practically it was an annually questionnaire (three times) for some 60 top experts - equal groups of the economists, sociologists, politologists, and representatives of other disciplines - and construction a set of future scenarios on this base: inertial, evolutionary, revolutionary, catastrophic, ideal, optimal etc. By the way our experts did well predict in January-February 1991 the putsch in August 1991 (even the month!), in January-February 1992 the inevitable fall of the monetarist policy of Gaidar government to the end of this year (Gaidar was dismissed in December), in January-February 1993 the civil war between Eltsin administration and Russian communist parliament after summer this year (the fusillade and dispersal of the parliament was in October this year) etc. But all this was not a main task of research. The final monograph under the same title was published in Russian in Publ. House of Moscow University in 1998. The methodological part of this monograph was published in Italian by Publ. House of Istituto di Sociologia Internationale, Gorizia, Italia in 1997. The publicistic version of the same problems was published in Russian in the book “Russia on the eve of XX1 century: 1904-2004 - from a colossus to a collapse and back” (to be published in English by Publ. HouseNova Science in New York, USA). But limited circulation of all three books and the total collapse of the Russian books, magazines and newspapers market (with exception of detective and similar literature, “yellow press” etc.) resulted in that as these futures studies like all others remained unknown even for majority of Russian colleagues, let alone the foreign colleagues and wider reader’s audience. And of course no attention of Russian government, politicians, scientists.

In 1996-2000 on the same monitoring technology the sector realises the 8th futures research project “Forecasting of expected and desired changes in Russian Education System” (Including sub-systems of parents and pre-school education, elementary, middle, and high school, universities, training and retraining of employee, general self-education of adults, complementary education in clubs of interest). There was published some intermediate reports and the final monograph. But there is no doubt, that all this is waited the destiny of the previous project. Anyway, there is no doubt, that it will not be used by any bodies of Russian national education management, which have today only one care: no changes because of fear not to deteriorate existing - very bad - situation. So this project is of no interest not only for government, but even for Russian academy of education, in spite of a fact, that director of this project is one of Academy’s top managers.

Parallel, in 1993-1997 in framework of Department for education and culture, Russian academy of education was realised a special futures research project “Social forecasting and perspectives of culture” (final monograph in Russian in 1997). In fact there are forecasts of expected and desired changes in all twelve types of culture establishments: books-magazines-newspapers business, TV and radio, cinema and theatre, club and museum, public library, city and national park, sports, with the same destiny concerning practical results as mentioned above.

Indeed, similar examples can be continued, but all reminded unknown behind frameworks of that or other research group till creation of Russian and International futures research academies in 1997-99 (see below thereabout). Before creation of these bodies there was in Russia nearly ten years long (1988-97) no body, no bulletin, no any information exchange between Russian futurists.

  1. Towards Russian Futures Studies Academy

It is necessary to tell, that Russian futurists during these ten years undertook and continue to undertake some attempts to leave from a situation of the tightened information paralyses.

Since the end of 80s, when the Soviet repressive-censorial system began to collapse, some new non-government organisations in the sphere of forecasting like that in 60s and 70s were spontaneously arisen: “Association for the Future in Co-Operation with World Futures Studies Federation” (President - I. Bestuzhev-Lada), Association “Forecasts and Cycles”(President - J. Yakovez), Association of Financial Analysts and Futurists (President - J. Sidelnikov). In 1997, after some years of negotiations, these organisations, together with “Kondratiev Foundation”, research centres “Applied Prognostics”, “Strategy”, Centre of Human Values did form the Russian Futures Studies Academy (Akademia prognozirovania) structuring in many branch and regional departments (President - I. Bestuzhev-Lada). The Academy has begun realisation of several research projects (some of it see below), publication of “Bulletin”, “Magazine”and “Yearbook”. But without a well-developed marketing in national and international scale this work is doomed on inevitable attenuation. That’s why the Academy in 1999 was coming to International Futures Research Academy as a confederation of national academies of the same profile with a common task: to create a civilised forecasts market including governmental section and also such international organisations as UNO, UNESCO etc., in co-operation with World Future Society, World Futures Studies Federation, Futuribles International and other futurists organisations (Secretary General of the Academy Organizing Committee - A. Gasparini, Italy).

First joint research project of the Academy “A country and the world in 2001-2010: problems and decisions” is oriented on the market mentioned above. First potential participants are around two dozens countries all over the world. Time of the project realisation is: January 1 - June 30, 2000. There will be exploratory and normative forecasts on ten aspects of expected and desired changes in each appropriate country:

Environment: minimisation of “ecological disaster zones”;

Population: overcoming depopulation trends;

Settlement: crisis of cities and degradation of villages;

Economics, finances, and employment in process of total computerisation;

Tourism as one of leading industries of 21st century;

Transportation, communication, computerisation;

Education and culture versus anti-culture;

Physiology and psychology of a human being in process of cyborgization of a personality;

State security: disasters of nature, criminality, terrorism, war;

Geopolitics: a country in the world.

Certainly, in the Russian book market always there are a lot of books “about the future of Russia and World”. And in 2000 under millennium hysteria them will be ever more. Here you often can meet the word “forecast” but really there are the same “reflections on the future” as hundred years ago. There is no research on which base a book or an article is written. And almost all authors do not suspect about existing of technological forecasting with its forty years history.

May be, will remind thereabout an “Anthology of Technological Forecasting Classics: 1952-1999”, which is published by Russian Futures Studies Academy and which includes the key chapters from the basic works of R. Jungk, T. Gordon, O. Helmer, B. de Jouvenel, D. Bell, E. Jantsch, H. Kahn, J. Mchale, F. Polak, E. Cornish, J. Galtung, O. Flechtheim, A. Toffler, A. Peccei, D&D Meadows and others authors of reports to the Club of Rome, H. Henderson, J. Naisbitt and others, alternated by reports of concrete forecasts and brilliant illustrations concerning next century.

  1. Participation in International Futurists Associations

In this connection pertinently to remind a drama history of the USSR participation in international futurists associations. Since 1967 and till 90s there appeared in all international futures research directories only one-two Soviet names out of hundreds in reality, and always the same. The reasons were that Soviet “official science” was in principle against any interdisciplinary studies like cybernetics or futures studies, and there was no permission for any participation in such things, and “top bureaucrats” in science who could get such permission were afraid because of their career, and others simply had no real possibilities to take part. It is enough to tell that it was only one Soviet Club of Rome member and only because he was husband of Soviet Prime Minister daughter.

In 1967 one Soviet futurist have allowed to publish his works in futures studies under his real surname. Before since 1951 he had no opportunity for publications at all (only letters to Stalin and others Soviet leaders with no reaction of course), and since 1961 he has published some books and articles under a pseudonym. Becoming “legal” he began negotiations with R. Jungk and B. de Jouvenel about creation a World Federation of existing to that time futurists associations, and therefore all three were elected later as honorary members of the Federation. But not of associations, simply of some hundreds individual and some dozens institutional members only, because the Soviet participant of negotiations was to that time repressed and has no possibility to help in negotiations between existing futurists associations. When he was at last got free of his more then a year and half “home arrest”, he as all his Soviet colleagues had no permission to take part in activities of any associations or federations of “bourgeois futurology”. And only the status of an Honorary member for what there was necessary no permission did give him since 1984 such a possibility. But in 1996 this status was abolished in principle, and another problem arisen. Very few people in the West understand the difference of living standards in the 1st, 2d, and 3d worlds in the world. As a matter of fact ten dollars of a month per capita income in the 3d world are quite the same typical (mass, middle etc.) case as hundred dollars in the 2d (including Russia) and thousand in the 1st. So for example a $40 or 300 fee, a $50 dinner, a $100 hotel, a $1000 air-ticket etc. are for a Russian participant with his typical salary quite the same thing as $ 400 or 3000 fee, $500 dinner, $1000 hotel, $10000 air-ticket for an American or West European. And if he is not of “New Russians” (2% of Russians) or has no access to the Western system of sponsorship (very few have) so no possibilities to take part at all.

In 1970, before his “home arrest”, the same Soviet futurist on the 7th Congress of International Sociological Association in Varna, Bulgaria did initiate creation of a research committee on futurology (later - ISA RC-07 Futures Research). He was elected as President of the Committee, but having no chancery for telecommunications and being in situation of “iron curtain”, especially concerning the “bourgeois futurology” he asked his personal friend Bertrand de Jouvenel to help as co-president (also elected). After the death of de Jouvenel he was replaced on the same post by his another personal friend Eleonora Masini. And both together as two co-presidents did their charge till 1996, because there was no practical alternative for this co-presidency. At the end after some attempts in 1996 new Presidium of the Committee was elected. And the founder of the Committee has received an invitation letter to take part in Committee activities as if he was a tyro in this case. His name was deleted from a history of the Committee.

So in practice worked the “iron curtain” in the sphere of futures studies.

Let us hope, that now, with creation of the International Futures Research Academy as a kind of daughter organisation of World Future Society, World Futures Studies Federation, Futuribles International and other futurists associations (you see here the idea of the “federation of associations” mentioned above), as a confederation of some dozens national futures studies academies this type (to the end of 1999 there were around two dozens of institutional members of the International academy), as a network of joint futures research projects - let us hope that now Russia and other republics of the former USSR will begin to leave from isolation in the sphere of futures studies in the world.

  1. Teaching young futurists

It is necessary to tell some words about a quality of the futures research next generation, i.e. about relation to the future of today students in Russia.

In principle it is quite the same as of all population: curiosity quickly passing in indifference. The curiosity, because always is interesting to find out something “about the future”. Indifference, because the study of the future, as well as of the past, does not give any practical results for the present, and will not be claimed attention by a society. Besides has an effect thepresentism of ordinary consciousness mentioned above. It is also important the discredit of forecasting focused on divination because of nearly always appeared insolvent. And during last ten years to all this is added in Russia the total demoralisation of population in general and of the youth in particular. For the prospects without any forecasts open most gloomy.

That is why attempts to adjust the teaching of technological forecasting as a special educational subject at university from the end of 60-s till nowadays invariable suffered failure. Sometimes at that or other university it was possible on any time to create even chairs of forecasting (such chairs were available in Moscow, Leningrad, Novosibirsk, Kiev, Sverdlovsk, Alma-Ata), but it earlier or later should be closed, as there was a insoluble problem of students specialisation and then employment. It was said, that futures studies are interdisciplinary on the character, but Soviet science and teaching are strictly mono disciplinary in principle. Some enthusiasts managed by years to read lectures and lead seminars on forecasting at several faculties of several universities (at the Moscow university, for example, such lectures and seminars are taken place since 1969 till now), but it is of course not obligatory courses, facultative for wishing only. As the manuals there are used till now some text books of 70-80s and “Handbook on Forecasting”(1982).

The similar situation has developed with PhD (candidate of science in Russia) and DSc dissertations. There are in Russian central libraries some hundreds, if not thousands dissertations “on forecasting” 1967-99. But as well as in monographs you will vainly search here even for one concrete forecast. Even a dissertation “on forecasting methodology” is a desperately courageous step connected to raise risk not to receive the necessary majority votes of the scientific council members. Thus nearly each tenth DSc dissertation “on forecasting” was declined by dogmatic in such councils. And to try to give concrete forecast in your dissertation means obviously to go on scandal and failure. And for what? From nearly a hundred and half of my formal or informal post-graduate students only two young ladies (now not so young) continue to be engaged in forecasting, and that only as university professors, one of two later even as dean and rector. Others have found to themselves more profitable employment, claimed by the state and society.

This sad situation is beginning gradually to be improved only since the middle of 90s, when nearly annually “Summer schools for young futurists” has taken place with some dozens students, post-graduates and young fellows of several universities. Since 1997 in new created Russian Futures Studies Academy a special section for young futurist improvers is organised, though really functioning only in Northwest department of the Academy (St. Petersburg). Here we see a good perspective for summer and winter schools of young futurists on the more regular base.

On something greater in the foreseeable future hardly it is possible to expect.