The time has stopped on the Moscow´s Golden Brains


(by Marina Hofmanova)

The iconic tower clock hands on the building of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow has stopped shortly after the invasion of Ukraine began. It was because the watchmakers from Vyškov, Czech Republic, who remotely operates the clock, thus told themselves that they did not agree with the Russian military aggression.

On Thursday, February 24, also cultural and technological times stopped in Russia due to unjustifiable aggression against the neighboring country, Russian scientists and scientific journalists told their government in the Open Letter. Among other things, they drew attention to the enormous human losses and responsibility of Russia for the unleashing of the senseless war in Europe, which put the country in isolation.
Scientific work is not possible without international cooperation as well as all technology platforms are based on transnational principles. And it is also the case of the tower clock on the building of the Russian Academy of Sciences, nicknamed the Golden Brains which exact time system is operated by a small company from Vyškov via the virtual private company network. The idea to close the Russians' access to the network appeared soon after workers learned of the invasion of Ukraine. "We had unique opportunity to send this symbolic signal of stopped time. The clock should show ten minutes before four o'clock - the time President Putin declared a military operation over Ukraine." Perhaps many people will notice that time on the iconic clock on Lenin Prospect has stopped. And some of them may think about a context why it happened, believes the company's director. "We suppose nobody is able to get those hours up and running so far."

Russian scientists and science journalists have called on their country’s officials to stop military operations immediately and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty. They were certainly aware of the possible personal consequences of the regime, but the consequences of the war are and will be far worse.

The Russian academics headquarters lacking timekeeping is a symbolic gesture. “It will not hurt the Russians and will not help the Ukrainians, but it is important”, said the Vyškov company director, adding: “We respect trade agreements and value partnerships, but human lives and freedom take precedence over any business.”

Let´s believe the pressure from democratic countries as well as scientists’ appeal would have enough weight to stop the war and restore time both on the Golden Brains of Moscow and across the country.

About Jens Degett

President of EUSJA, and also working on a science media platform called ScienceStoriesDK See website: https://www.sciencestories.dk/da Former chair of the Danish Science Journalists, former director of Communication and Information at ESF and one of the founding fathers of WFSJ and ESOF. Worked 30+ years in printed and electronic media, but also as communication officer in large international organisations. Here is an article about my early career: https://www.science.org/content/article/careers-science-broadcasting-biblical-origins-and-superstrings-radio