MOSCOW—Russian authorities on Monday branded the Dynasty Foundation, one of the country’s most important science foundations, a “foreign agent.” Dmitry Zimin, the telecom tycoon who established Dynasty, has vowed to shut it down.
Last year, Dynasty, based here in Moscow, spent about $10 million on 20 projects supporting young researchers (mainly mathematicians and physicists), competitions for school science teachers, science festivals, and public lectures by world-class researchers. Rumors that the Ministry of Justice would label the foundation a foreign entity had been circulating for weeks. Now that it has happened, scientists are devastated. “The main thing that we have lost is hope,” says Valery Rubakov, a physicist at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ (RAS’s) Institute for Nuclear Research in Moscow.
Dynasty was set up in 2002 by Zimin, a co-founder of VimpelCom, one of three nationwide cellular communications networks. According to Zimin, each year since then he has transferred about $10 million of his fortune to Dynasty. The foundation’s 2013 financial report also lists small donations from other sources such as the Royal Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and private donors.