Naukograd

Naukograd

A naukograd (Russian: наукогра́д), meaning "science city", is a formal term for towns with high concentration of research and development facilities in Russia and the Soviet Union, some specifically built by the Soviet Union for these purposes. Some of the towns were secret, and were part of a larger system of closed cities in the USSR, many built by forced labor from the Soviet Gulag. In the Russian Federation in post Soviet times, the term is used generally for about seventy towns that have concentrations of scientific research and production, and specifically, refers to a small number of towns that have been recognised for their scientific capabilities and hence get special privileges.

Of the more general naukograds, about thirty are located in Moscow Oblast and the rest mainly in the Volga, Urals, and Siberian regions. Few are now "closed"— there are only ten closed nuclear towns where Russia's nuclear military work is still carried out. Some still have military connections, like Fryazino that develops advanced radio and electronics devices, but most are now focusing on civilian work with the help of Western aid funds. Some naukograds are operated by the Russian Academy of Sciences, among them: Pushchino, a biological sciences center and Chernogolovka, a center for physics and chemistry. Zelenograd (a city and an administrative district of Moscow located forty kilometres from the city centre), is the Russian center for research, education and production in the electronics area.

The first town to be officially made a "Naukograd" in 2000 was Obninsk, a town with many nuclear and other special materials, meteorology and medical research facilities. Three others quickly followed: Dubna, an international nuclear research centre; Korolyov, where many space research facilities are located; and Koltsovo, near Akademgorodok, originally the home of the biowarfare center Vector but now a center for pharmaceutical and medical research. Shortly thereafter (December 2003), Reutov and Fryazino were also granted the status of naukograd.

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