Saint Petersburg Branch of the Russian Humanist Society
Cruel Tellers of Tales

Vecherniy Novosibirsk.

Swindlers posing as scientists continue to deceive not only the common man but also the powers that be, extracting millions for certain "research".

In recent years the name of Academician Ehduard Kruglyakov, Deputy Director of the Institute of Nuclear Research of the Siberian Branch of the RAN [Russian Academy of Sciences], is often mentioned in connection with his public activity: in November 1998 the RAN Presidium approved him as chairman of the Commission to Combat Pseudoscience and the Falsification of Scientific Research. Since that time the life of a scientist who is not indifferent to the fate of real science has changed significantly in any event. Now his third book, which contains all new facts of the "work" of charlatans in science and those who, covering themselves with imaginary scientific achievements, create their hardly unselfish business, is already being prepared for publication in the Nauka Publishing House.

- Ehduard Pavlovich, from the time you and your colleagues from the Commission to Combat Pseudoscience began to especially actively (because this was also done earlier) expose various sorts of people who engage in dubious activity, and especially after your second book, "Swindlers Posing as Scientists" was published, has something changed in our society in favor of common sense? Or is the decay, as they say, picking up strength?

- Something is changing for the better. One thing is completely evident: if the work of charlatans is ignored they will become bold to the extreme. They have well-travelled paths to leaders at all levels. Crooks in the toga of scientists who make deals are trying to get money for projects that do not withstand criticism with the support of high-ranking officials. And, alas, life shows that such things are possible!

To be specific, then nevertheless a certain objective improvement in the psychological situation in the country is occurring. There is no longer the former hysteria either in the leadership or in politics. Completely objective articles of a popular science nature have begun to appear in the mass media, although it's true that all the same there is more mystic "eyewash" used to dupe people. There is still one more symptom of recovery – the appearance of the rudiments of expert evaluation of projects which the state plans to finance.

It is difficult right now to imagine the situation which occurred in 1991 at Akademgorodok in Novosibirsk when, during a visit to the Institute of Nuclear Physics President, Yeltsin suddenly asked me, "But can you get energy from a stone?" I replied that a release of energy is possible when heavy nuclei are split (atomic weapons and atomic energy are based on this principle). A second possibility is the synthesis (fusion) of light elements (hydrogen bombs are based on this principle and thermonuclear energy will be). The middle of Mendeleyev's [Periodic] Table is stable and no miracles are foreseen here. And here the President said, "This is what you think, but they've been reporting to me that it is possible!". "This means that charlatans have been reporting to you", I objected. After the awkward silence one of our wits defused the situation: "But a stone is all the same inexhaustible, just like an atom!" Everyone burst out laughing and the incident was over. Later I found out that 120 million rubles had been allocated to this "research". Judge for yourselves who was right. Almost 14 years have passed. The money disappeared without a trace. But has anyone heard about genius scientists who got energy from a stone?

Alas, this is not the only case when highly-placed people, unburdened with an encyclopedic education, directly or indirectly supported charlatans.

For example, Sergey Shoygu, the head of the MChS [Ministry for Emergency Situations] knew very well that his service enlists psychics to search for missing people. But he had to go through a powerful earthquake on Sakhalin and the crash of a passenger plane near Khabarovsk for Shoygu to see and understand what psychics are worth.

Academician Ye. Velikhov recently said about the troubled 1990s: "Unfortunately, in this transitional period out of the best intentions our government headed by Chernomyrdin supported complete nonsense and anti-science like torsion fields. A great deal of time and money went nowhere".

The figure of one Grigoriy Grabovoy appeared in the 1990s. After graduating the mechanical mathematics department of Tashkent University he engaged in psychic predictions of the condition of the aircraft of the new Republic of Uzbekistan. Just a little later he began to diagnose the aircraft of the President of Uzbekistan. Soon Grigoriy Petrovich moved to Moscow where, judging by everything, with the support of like-minded people he also gained access to the security service of the President of Russia.

As in Uzbekistan he mentally "saw" potential defects in the presidential aircraft, as he himself said, "from the point of view of molecular structures". All this smacked of a new era of Rasputin but facts are facts and in certain circles Grabovoy's reputation grew. He began to lecture at the MChS and became an advisor to the Security Council. The diversity of his activity can only be surprising. For example, he managed to take part in tests of underground nuclear explosions at Semipalatinsk. Moreover, he created an instrument called a "crystal module" with the aid of which he supposedly cut the power of the nuclear explosion in half. I won't continue the biography of this "scientist". Close study of his "creativity" indicates that it was all built on complete deception and fraud.

Recently Grabovoy changed his line of business. He declared that his next stage of incarnation had come and he was now playing the role of a messiah. After the Beslan tragedy his pupils and followers offered the parents of the dead children nothing more or less than…their resurrection for several tens of thousands of rubles. Naturally no one returned "from there". An explanation was found: we resurrected him, he said, but it was good for him there and he refused to return. There are more florid explanations: "We resurrected him but he might be located at any point on Earth. We need additional money to search for him. Well, what is this if not cynicism multiplied into evil? By the way, Grigoriy Petrovich has plans to become president in 2008…

- Two years ago I saw an interesting topic on television about A. Buzinov, an employee of a classified institute of a military agency, who predicted airplane crashes, the loss of the "Kursk", etc. How did he manage this?

- Aleksandr Sergeyevich Buzinov discovered a genuinely goldmine. As you know, astrologers predict a person's fate from the positions of the planets at the moment of his birth. But any military equipment also has a "date of birth". So Buzinov is simply a military astrologer and fooled generals (they recently avoided him) just like ordinary astrologers fool ordinary citizens.

- Possibly this is only a trait of Russians, to believe in utter nonsense?

- No, stupidity is international. I know many instances of when the "works" of crooks were paid out of the budgets of the US, France, and Germany. But here's a recent story. A certain Russian "scientist", Potapov, created a device through which, after running water through a closed loop with an additional turn at a right angle to the direction of the flow, obtained an efficiency rating of more than 100 percent. A certain Ukrainian academician, Sorochinsky, and several supporters seized upon this idea to sell it in Bulgaria. The government allocated money for the transition of Bulgarian thermal energy to vortex thermal generators in stages. The president of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences turned to us with a request for help: this stupidity needed to be stopped somehow! The Bulgarians translated and published my book very quickly. Fragments from it were published in newspapers. This helped the Bulgarians to better size up the situation: on what work had the Russian "scientists" based the vortex thermal generator, which smelled strongly like a perpetual motion device. It turned out that it gets the surplus energy from a vacuum thanks to…torsion fields. Academician Yevgeniy Aleksandrov and I published an article in the Bulgarian newspaper "Duma". It was clear by that time that the boss of the firm, "academician" Sorochinsky, had no connection with the National Academy of Ukraine, which I reported to the readers. A scandal began and work on the "central heating" of Bulgaria was immediately killed. The brazenness of these swindlers is shocking. They cleverly discussed saving energy and reducing expenses when test results showed that the efficiency rating was 0.85. I have the test protocol of the Russian wonder generator. The result is almost the same, 0.83.

But meanwhile our swindlers continue to palm off these generators to poorly educated buyers.

- Ehduard Pavlovich, I read your second book and am now somewhat informed about your struggle with the supporters of the theory of torsion fields. But when I searched through the Internet I was surprised at the abundance of publications not only refuting this "global scientific discovery" but also researching it. What is wrong here?

- Probably many people would like to believe that science can literally be without any limitations whatsoever. I admit that some very insignificant portion of scientists are genuinely mistaken. This is especially true of those cases when some of them, even very respected people, try to conduct research in fields of science in which they are untrained. I won't cite specific examples, including our own countrymen. But how much harm open charlatans and crooks inflict on the public. They act purely in their selfish interests, put their hands in the state pocket, and deceive or fleece unsuspecting people.

The biggest scam, which reached the national level in 1987, was connected with the so-called torsion fields. The "father" of this scam is A. Akimov and the "chief theoretician" is G. Shipov. Science knows four types of interactions: electromagnetic, strong, weak, and gravitational. Debates began back in the 1920s about the possibility of the existence of a fifth type of interaction associated with the twisting (in English, torsion) of space and, accordingly, with the possibility of fields of torsion or torsion fields. The debates continued in science until very precise experiments were discussed which would have permitted these fields to be observed. Physics understand very well that this is about very weak effects. For the time being, all this was beyond the bounds of possibility of a modern experiment. But in 1987 a miracle occurred: a top secret note landed on the desk of the Prime Minister of the USSR describing the surprising properties of torsion fields as a new superweapon capable of turning an enemy army into a demoralized, completely unmanageable mob. The note reported the possibility of the covert transmission of signals without scattering, without attenuation, and in any medium – air, underground, [or] underwater. The authors of the new fable about the naked king promised many other wonders and the Premier faltered: suddenly the Americans would create a new weapon before us…and Nikolay Ryzhkov allocated half a billion rubles for this "research" (these were enormous sums at that time). Only at the beginning of 1991 did this swindle become known to the USSR Academy of Sciences. There was an investigation, a referral to the USSR Supreme Soviet, and a decree of the Supreme Soviet about the impermissibility of financing pseudoscientific projects with state resources. The "gang" created under Akimov was closed down but state financing for this scam continued for five or six more years. At the same time Mr. Akimov moved the torsion scam to peaceful technologies. In 1996 he declared "The first flying saucer should soon be tested in NPO [Scientific Industrial Association] Ehnergiya. The principle of its propulsion is completely new – there is no use of jet thrust. In the event of successful tests there exists a real prospect of a revolution in all transportation (SIC, in Akimov's text - Eh. K.), automobiles, trains, etc. to a new basis, without the use of internal combustion engines". Almost 10 years have passed. Somehow the "revolution in transportation" according to Akimov is not evident.

Here's a clear example for you of unsinkable swindlers who loiter near the corridors of power. Alas, this did not begin today. In all times, from the most ancient to the present, all sorts of dubious persons from prophets to healers have mingled around the government. The question is only whether the government tolerates these people or not.

In order to conclude the discussion of torsion fields I want to say that this contagion crept throughout the entire country. In Novosibirsk there is an Institute of Space Anthropoecology headed by Mr. Trofimov. Among the multitude of quite dubious research in it is work to study the influence of a non-existent radiation on a "living substance". And in Barnaul Dr. Dvornikov makes, he says, a simply magical treatment irradiated with a torsion generator invented by Mr. Dvornikov himself from a medicine called Malavit.

- Evidently, people become especially credulous when it's a matter of health. About 25 years ago at the editors of Komsomol'skaya Pravda I had occasion to be present at a meeting with Dzhuna [Davitashvili] whom, I recall, a journalist who was inclined to these sort of sensations had brought in. Dzhuna was a totally suspicious personality, although there were rumors that she treated Baybakov himself, the head of USSR Gosplan. But after her performance everyone saw a film about the then-fashionable Philippine surgeons who operated without anesthesia and scalpels. I have been sad when crooks beat a path to materialists…Why do people believe in such miracles?

- Because they very much want to. The attraction to the mystical is built into a person's psyche. Critical thinking, which is today being intensively uprooted, serves as an antidote. Faith remains, but faith and science are in different planes. I want to direct attention to the fact that Dzhuna is a product of journalists. Tales about how a rose bloomed at a wave of her hand went into print, but I read nothing about her failures when being tested by scientists.

One more physician, a certain Markov, a former senior researcher of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, lives in Akademgorodok. In recent years Markov has been "treating" with neutrino streams. There actually is such a particle with enormous penetrating ability. Originating in the center of the Sun, it can go to the surface and it can very easily pass through the Earth. Physicists "catch" them with the aid of enormous neutrino telescopes.

Markov built a neutrino generator by himself. Markov's "know-how" was that physicists (and even schoolchildren know) that an acoustic wave does not pass through a vacuum. Markov has one, as he said; it does not simply go through a vacuum but a neutrino is generated there. Well, with the aid of these neutrinos Gennadiy Aleksandrovich supposedly treated cancers at any stage. Judging from everything, the tumor ought to disappear after three or four treatments for, in his words, after the first treatment the tumor is reduced by 30%. The advertisement of this gentleman was very well done. People spend their last money to be cured of cancer. Relatively recently Markov treated the famous actor Viktor Avilov. He died here in Novosibirsk. Evidently, in serious situations the vestiges of critical thinking are turned off…

Several years ago in St. Petersburg there appeared four healers who received licenses in the governor's administration to…correct a biofield, naturally, with a medical purpose. We wrote an open letter to Vice-Governor Kagan, who issued the license. After lengthy red tape and legal investigation the Ministry of Justice Directorate for St. Petersburg Oblast' declared the issuance of licenses for the correction of a biofield illegal and demanded the withdrawal of the licenses. By this time 64 healers had already plowed the nonexistent biofield…Rampant fraud and charlatanism were present, but seemingly with a vital interest of the bureaucrats in their continuation.

A year and a half ago the only joint meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in history was held in Moscow. After a fruitless conversation with Shevchenko, the former Minister of Health, I spoke before the participants of the meeting and demonstrated with 10 senseless instruments advertised in the country which promise to cure (depending on the brazenness of the authors of the "instruments") from 80 to 350 various diseases, and suggested turning to the State Duma with a request to develop a special law "On the Responsibility for Unscrupulous Medical Advertising". The suggestion was supported by the leadership of the Academies and the participants of the general meeting. Now the matter is up to the deputies.

- You get on the Internet and see a multitude of selections of materials signed by academicians of various academies, including Ivan Yuzvishin, the President of the International Academy of Informatics. How is an uninitiated person supposed to make sense of all this – who is a real academician and who is an imposter?

- It is not so difficult. The names of real scientists are always associated with some specific matters and programs. Serious scientific literature and authoritative scientific journals exist where not one article is published without review, and so you don't see the publications of these "academicians" in such journals. Finally, there is a list of members of the Russian Academy of Sciences. But you are right that representatives of pseudoscience are acting quite aggressively and brazenly. Back in the 1990s the same supporters of the late Yuzvishin organized a busy trade in diplomas of candidates and doctors of sciences and even persistently solicited official recognition from the government.

- But is it possible that the age of new information technologies has actually engendered a demand for a new structure?

- That's interesting. Why could 200 "academies" (that's about how many we have today) be needed? And it's better that I do not talk about the quality, or the ignorance, of the majority of them. The academies have mainly been created to indulge the vanity of half-educated people. Well, what do you say about an "academician" with an 8th-grade education? In the 1960s and 1970s the New York Academy of Sciences enjoyed respectable notice. The impression is being created that today it is in the hands of swindlers who will "elect" anyone, even people far from science, for $100-150. In the world of science they know their real value, but it is really difficult for an insufficiently-educated person to investigate this witches' brew of academies. But if you read the documents carefully then you will notice much that is interesting. For example, the sphere of activity of the "International Academy of Informatics" includes, besides other things, astrology, UFOlogy, bioenergyinformatics, etc. Pseudoscience is trying with all its might to get legalized in society. Then they will begin to rule us with the aid of the Kashpirovskys, Chumaks, and blind old prophets.

Aleksey Nadtochiy