Recently at a special press conference in Simferopol director of the Research Department attached to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of Ukraine Oleksandr Yakimenko said that the process of joining the Research Institute of the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory to the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University as a structural unit is still in progress (you can read more about the situation with the CrAO in previous publications of The Day). “We had a meeting with the staff and another meeting is planned for tomorrow. From what I know, Taras Shevchenko University does not have any intention for staff curtailment. Everything will remain the way it is now and everyone will keep their jobs. Today, a representative of the Observatory will work on the new staff schedule, which will then be submitted for approval to the university,” said Yakimenko. At the same time, Deputy Director for Scientific Research of the Institute Kyrylo Antoniuk avoided a direct answer to the question about whether the workers of the institute are satisfied with such reorganization. “Now we are obliged to comply with the orders of the Cabinet of Ministers, regardless of whether it suits us or not. First, the work collective took the decision to join the Academy of Sciences, then there appeared the order of the Cabinet of Ministers about the reorganization and the inclusion of the Crimean Observatory to the Kyiv University,” said Antoniuk. Later, he said that “if the Prime Minister reconsiders his decision and the resolution on liquidation and reorganization is canceled, things will go differently.” He insists that any restructuring should not result in losses of funding, personnel, and work for the Research Institute. He also noted that no one gives such guarantees for real even though everybody gives promises that no one would be fired or that funding will be reduced.
Serhii NAZAROV, head of the original labor union organization of the CrAO:
“Unfortunately, a lot has been said at this press conference, but it all was not related to the main problem that caused the conflict. The thing is that with the liquidation of the legal entity Institute CrAO, the owner of the plot of land of 100 hectares disappears. This is the territory where all the equipment of the observatory is located. There have been several attempts already to take this land away from us and begin construction work there. Now, if the institute is eventually reorganized, there will be such an opportunity for those so willing to build something on this land. This threat is quite real and the proof of that is the fact that in the seaside village of Katsiveli on a plot of land in the immediate vicinity of the radio telescope RT-22, which is involved in the global monitoring of radio observation and measurements taking, there has been installed a big construction crane, which hinders the work of the radio telescope. Later there will be a new object built there, which will hinder the work of this radio telescope. That’s why recently we held a meeting of the Academic Council of the CrAO Institute, where we discussed the situation in detail. The Council adopted a resolution ‘to follow the previously adopted resolutions regarding the transition of the Observatory to the Ukraine’s Academy of Sciences,’ because it is planned to transfer the Institute to the university as a ‘subdivision’ and we still strive to enter the National Academy of Sciences as a separate scientific organization with its legal entity. The staff of the Institute are outraged that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of Ukraine actually deployed a public campaign of dissemination of misleading information and defrauds the people of Ukraine. In two interviews to the newspaper 2000 and on the website of the Ministry the director of the Research Department Oleksandr Yakimenko provides false information about the CrAO team and does not mention the real problems which became the reason why the institute staff, its academic council, and trade union organization protest against the transfer of the institute to the university and insist on joining the Ukraine’s Academy of Sciences. We believe that all organizations embroiled in the conflict against their will, should switch to business tone and take into account the legitimate demands of the institute staff and compelling arguments in defense of the observatory. I think that in this case we all will come to a unanimous decision that the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers on the elimination of the CrAO Research Institute should be reversed.”