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Interview Transcript

Sergei Kapitsa   (cont)
Interviewer:  Yeah.  

Mr.  K:  Take science and the future of science.  Our technical university with which I was concerned with for thirty-five years, now is going to the dogs.  Imagine MIT in America going to the dogs, literally.  You see, these things.  I had much more support on Russian Soviet television than I do have today.  That owner thinks about ridiculous advertisements or publicizing this very low-grade culture that overruns all our things.  How can you carry on with these things?  These are very important issues because this forms the sort of ideas and such.  A couple of years ago, my grandson, Sergei, I think you haven't seen him...oh, you've seen him, he came back from his holiday--when he was asked, "Now, Sergei, what sort of books do you read?" "I don't read books; I want to be a millionaire."  Now he's playing the flute, you see, but still, I think that was the babes telling the truth.  Is that the truth that we want?

Interviewer:  What's happening to the schooling?

Mr.  K:  The school is in good state, but still it has very difficult times, you see.  Some people have this absolutely wrong idea that democracy must be all private, but when the country is destitute in terms of money, how can you do that?  In modern society, I think that happened to the French Revolution or whatever revolution it was, it was that this society has to guarantee the rights to education.  In fact, I think in terms of human rights, this has led to a much greater degradation of human rights than we had in Soviet times by the way.  That's never discussed, as I was saying, in quite open terms.  The right to education, the right to health, the right to work.  These major human rights are now not -- although they're guaranteed in the constitution, they always were--but they were carried out in the former system but they're not carried out today.  You can talk about anything, but what does that matter, you see.  It matters for a few very small intellectuals that have nothing to say.  In fact, that was the peculiar thing; when they were not allowed to say it, they said they had something to say.  But now when they can say something, there's no message.  So the matters of this human rights issue is negative.  Maybe the greatest advantage is that you can travel.  That certainly has diffused many difficulties, and I'm very happy that people now see that the world was not exactly like in that story about propaganda like what it really turned out to be.

Interviewer:  It's going to be crucial to keep pushing on.

Mr.  K:  You do have to push on.  And, in fact, many of these problems, I think, are common not to--they're common to the world, not only to Russia.  Maybe in Russia they are amplified and exasperated in a certain way, but that's sort of part of the--many of these processes happen in Russia to much stronger scale than in other parts of the world.

Interviewer:  It's been speculated that when you run in the time of Kerensky, if that was one of these turning points where perhaps ...

Mr.  K:  Yeah.  You know, Kerensky and Lenin went to the same school.  They were classmates.  Kerensky and Lenin.  But then his brother was killed.

Interviewer:  But today, if there were a setback, with a highly authoritarian leader, if a really powerful, then he wouldn't be able to push on?

Mr.  K:  Well, again I say, history has no alternatives.  So it wasn't then a thought between Stalin and Trotsky, but I'm sure after reading Trotsky's diaries and autobiography, I'm sure that Trotsky would be just as bad as Stalin--maybe worse, if you can be worse; although he's still emulated by so many.

END of interview 


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RAO > Catalgoues > Transcripts > TRAC > Sergei Kapitsa p.16


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