Education and the Cold War: How Free Is Soviet Science?
NOW that the initial reaction to the Sputniks has worn off, it may be worthwhile taking a glance at Soviet scientific and technological achieve- ment in the longer perspective.
Most of the discussion in the West has so far centered on the achievements of Soviet science and education, rather than on the prospects of space exploration. Fear of the military threat implicit in these achievements is balanced by hope that the increased prestige of science in Soviet society will make for greater rationality and perhaps even undermine the totalitarian structure of the dictatorship. Figures concerning the number of scientists and engineers turned out yearly by Soviet schools and universities have suddenly become a subject of general interest and concern, resulting in all sorts of wild comparisons. While previously Soviet technological progress was ignored, the Sputniks have by now generated fear, so that even some of the more ridiculous claims of Soviet propaganda have gained currency.
About the Author