How Not to Network a Nation. The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet

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142 Chapter 4

research on the methodology of economic analysis and organization of new opera-
tional systems, are replaced by work on economic projects, a much less innovative
and more conventional activity.^61

In the same years, Fedorenko’s CEMI had drifted from the OGAS Project
and grew to nearly forty times the size of Nemchinov’s original laboratory.
At the beginning of the 1960s, the average age of its full-time faculty was
about twenty-six years old; ten years later in 1973, when the institute sur-
passed one thousand employees, the average age tallied in at thirty-four.^62
According to Gavrilets, a lifelong faculty member at CEMI, the institute
began as a lively and energetic place for critical and enthusiastic young
economic researchers.^63 Although an increase of eight years in the aver-
age age of staff members over a decade probably reflects natural aging,
CEMI’s workforce was still relatively young and energetic and conditioned
to believe they had the support to do anything. As a result, CEMI was not
constrained by any formal agreements, as OGAS campaigners might have
sometimes wished, to pursue OGAS and its associated network projects.
It might be that CEMI’s eventual abandonment of the OGAS Project
contributed to the failure of the USSR to reform its economic situation.

Figure 4.15
Central Economic Mathematical Institute in Moscow, with Mobius strip statue, 2008.

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