Russia's scientific community has suffered a long period of decline that's getting even worse by the country's current political and economic situation, according to a report discussed in Nature News.
Although the Soviet Union was a scientific powerhouse, Russia's output of published studies has barely budged since 1996: It's only a small fraction of what is published by the European Union, the United States and even China, according to an article in Nature News. While Russians still lead in math and certain areas of physics, they trail in many others, especially the life sciences.
Roughly 30,000 scientists have left the country in the last quarter century, and few have returned, according to Nature News. Despite the brain drain, the Russian scientific community is fiercely divided—even among expatriates—between loyalists of President Vladimir Putin who think Russia can go it alone, and those who fear Moscow's actions at home and abroad will scare away talent and make things worse.
To combat the decline, the government allocated 12 billion rubles to attract foreign talent. While that amount was worth $428 million when the grant was announced in 2010, the decline of Russia's currency has more than halved its value since to roughly $180 million today.