Book on plants in the Murmansk region (Russia) scores 4/19 correct insect identifications

A recently published book on some aspects of the ecology of woody introducents in the Murmansk oblast of Russia provides the information on 19 species of plant-damaging insects out of which only 4 species are identified correctly. Dr Mikhail V. Kozlov from the University of Turku provides correct identifications for the insects, illustrated in the book, in his paper, published in the open-access journal Arctic Environmental Research in order to prevent the spread of erroneous information across future publications and databases.

Insect fauna of the Murmansk region is relatively well-studied and that’s why any new faunistic records from this region immediately attract the attention of entomologists. Those findings are especially exciting when they extend the distribution range of certain species by 1,000 to 2,000 km towards the North Pole.

The published misidentifications of insect species can lead to a cascading effect of mistakes, because entomologists commonly use faunistic data published by colleagues decades and even centuries ago. That’s why it is very important to keep a track of such cases and provide correct identifications if possible, remarks the author.

“In particular, three moth species (Archips crataegana, A. podanaand Erannis defoliaria) reported in this book to occur around Kirovsk have not yet been found either in the Murmansk oblast or in the more southern Karelia. In neighbouring Finland, the northernmost records of these species are from locations some 1,000 km to the south of Kirovsk”,

Dr Kozlov shares his concerns.

The most striking examples of misidentification in the book are at the order level: a syrphid fly (Diptera) identified as a leafcutter bee (Hymenoptera), and a sawfly (Hymenoptera) identified as a psyllid (Hemiptera).

Leaf beetle Chrysomela lapponica, erroneously mentioned in the criticized book as a pest of bird cherry, shadbush and chokeberry, feeds in the Murmansk oblast only on willows.
Credit: Vitali Zverev
License: CC-BY 4.0

In conclusion, Dr Kozlov’s revision found that 15 out of the 19 species illustrated were incorrectly identified. Thus, the leaf damage associated with certain insect species, considered in the book, also becomes very questionable.

“The misidentification of pest species can easily result in incorrect pest management and face unnecessary costs, while publication of incorrect data distorts our knowledge of the distribution and biology of insects. Therefore, insect identification for scientific, educational or pest management purposes should always be performed by professionals or by volunteers and students who have specific training for this

concludes Dr Mikhail V. Kozlov.


Original source:
Kozlov MV (2019) Insects identified by unqualified scientists: multiple “new” records from the Murmansk oblast of Russia are dismissed as false. Arctic Environmental Research 19(4): 153-158. 

Russia’s nuclear industry set to fight the climate crisis by exporting education

Challenges and perspectives for Russia’s nuclear industry on its way to assuming a key role in the fight against the climate crisis on a global level, while also ensuring future growth and building on 65 years of prodigious legacy, dating back to the launch of the world’s first nuclear power plant in Obninsk in 1954, are brought together in a paper recently published in the open-access journal Nuclear Energy and Technology.

The authors are three prominent nuclear physicists and key figures at Russia’s National Research Nuclear University MEPhI: Prof. Mikhail N. Strikhanov (Rector of MEPhI), Dr. Alexandr V. Putilov (Dean of the Faculty of Business Informatics and Integrated Systems Management), and Dr. Georgy V. Tikhomirov (Deputy Director of the Institute of Nuclear Physics and Engineering MEPhI). MEPhI is also the basic university of the Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) and alone provides education to 25,000 students from over fifty countries.

In their article, the team pays special attention to the urgent need for a new “educational paradigm” to secure the smooth transfer of Russia’s nuclear industry and knowledge to a global digital economy where industries blend together in new and even unexpected alliances with the ultimate promise of joining knowledge and skills for the common good of humanity. The approach is described as “front-line education” that encompasses training personnel for the specificity of the novel digital economy along the entire “front”: from youth yet to enter university to production personnel.

To do so, the Consortium, supported by 18 specialised universities and led by ROSATOM, is to not only provide first-class educational formats, material and technical resources in addition to the high professionalism of the teaching staff to on-site domestic students, but also export nuclear education on a large scale, in order to pave the way for a subsequent international technological expansion by preparing “personnel of a new type, using a kind of symbiosis of engineering, information and economic training”. According to the scientists behind the paper, students should persist throughout their whole education in their mission “to master new opportunities arising from end-to-end digital technologies, search for and create new technological solutions or production schemes, and develop fundamentally new product lines and business models for implementing new manufacturing technologies.”

An excellent exemplary training format of the new age is the Multy-D system: a 3D digital model of the future nuclear power plants and additional dimensions in the format of terms, resources, etc. Developed over the last few years by MEPhI and Atomstroyexport, it allows for foreign specialists to acquire Russian-born competence. However, latest technological advances, including the transition to a closed nuclear fuel cycle with fast neutron reactors, requires changes in modelling systems.

This is an electronic simulator of a nuclear power plant for education.
Photo by Anastasia Barei / Country of Rosatom.

All of these efforts and transitions are of top priority, given the urgent global need for affordable, environmentally friendly electricity on the background of depleting fossil resources and worrying levels of greenhouse gas emissions, point out the scientists. Meanwhile, the nuclear power industry has claimed its own ecological niche by providing the necessary amount of energy without leaving behind any carbon footprint.

“The improvement of existing and the development of new innovative technologies is a prerequisite for the development of a nuclear energy system that meets the principles of safety and sustainable development,” conclude the authors. “All solutions to these problems are in the hands of the young people who are being trained throughout the country.”

Today, the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation is developing more than 30 projects of new nuclear power plants (NPP) in Russia and 12 other countries.

Original source:

Putilov AV, Strikhanov MN, Tikhomirov GV (2019) Personnel training for the developing nuclear power industry. Nuclear Energy and Technology 5(3): 201-206.

CO2 emissions in Russia go up in line with economic growth up until a certain point

This is the first detailed study to test whether the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis holds true for the Russian Federation

Pollution in Russia increases along with economic growth, but only until it reaches a certain threshold, from where it starts to decrease, demonstrates a recent study conducted by Prof. Natalya Ketenci, Yeditepe University, Turkey.

The validity of the phenomenon, recognized as the environmental Kuznets curve, demonstrates a promising progress for the environmental policies and practices in the Russian Federation. Published in the open-access Russian Journal of Economics, the study also seeks to identify the relationships and causality between pollution, quantified by carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and the main factors which affect them.

To do so, the author employs annual data on energy consumption, real income, international trade, level of education and level of urbanization for the period 1991-2016, available from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators database. As a result, the research paper provides recommendations to policy makers in Russia responsible for the environmental quality on national level.

According to the data, Russia remains the fourth largest contributor in terms of CO2 emissions in the world after China, the USA and India in terms of total kilotons, but is ahead of the US when Gross domestic product (GDP) is taken into account. While the US contributes with 0.33 kg of CO2 emissions per 2010 dollars of GDP, Russia accounts for 0.99 kg. Furthermore, despite the global tendency of decreasing annual amounts of CO2 emissions, Russia continues to increase its own.

Interestingly, while Russia has increased its overall CO2 emissions by 14% since 1998 (8% since 2009), its quantity turns out to have actually declined by 45.6% (7.3% since 2009) when the GDP is considered. In agreement with the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis, this is due to the gradual deployment of more environmentally-friendly equipment in a growing economy.

When studying the key factors for pollution, Prof. Natalya Ketenci concludes that energy consumption, real income, education and urbanization levels are all significant determinants, and open trade has no impact.

In conclusion, the researcher suggests that policy-makers in Russia need to continue with the implementation of policies meant to sustain economic development, thereby favoring cleaner technologies.

Efforts in raising environmental awareness among the population is also a priority. Interestingly, while education in Russia is linked to better access to advanced, yet energy-intensive technology, it is through education that people can be motivated to improve environmental quality and thus persuaded into practices such as recycling and giving up on non-renewable products.

Quite an ambiguous effect on environmental pollution is found in the case of urbanization as well. While generally linked to increased CO2 emissions as a result of greater and denser population, improved recycling organization and hygiene provisions in urban areas work in favor of environmental quality. Therefore, the author recommends that the focus for urban areas needs to be placed on maintaining current policies and decreasing energy intensity, while in rural areas, it is important to implement new efficient environmental policies.


Original source:

Ketenci N (2018) The environmental Kuznets curve in the case of Russia. Russian Journal of Economics 4(3): 249-265.


Russian Journal of Economics is one of the journals hosted on ARPHA through the platform’s white-label publishing solution.

Physical and human capital rather than military spending key for economic growth in Russia

Calculations based on government expenditure data gathered between 2002 and 2016 suggest a budget maneuver could increase Russia’s GDP with 25-35% in a single generation

Investment in education, healthcare, sports, road infrastructure and transportation, rather than national defense and, to a lesser extent, national security and law enforcement, is what drives economic growth rates and GDP level upwards in Russia, suggests a recent analysis of government expenditure data gathered between 2002 and 2016.

The empirical study, conducted by Dr Alexey Kudrin of St. Petersburg State UniversityGaidar Institute for Economic Policy and the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, and Dr Alexander Knobel, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy and the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, was published in the open-access journal Russian Journal of Economics.

In their analysis, the economists apply the Structural vector autoregression (SVAR) methodology: a modification to the traditional Vector autoregression (VAR), which allows for identification of interdependencies between data series coming from various points in time, while allowing for variables. Thus, the researchers analyzed the efficiency of Russia’s government spending and how the distribution of resources impacts the national economic development, with the Gross domestic product (GDP) set as a structural variable.

In particular, Drs Kudrin and Knobel looked into expenditure on national security and law enforcement, national defense, education, healthcare and sports, road infrastructure in order to estimate how resource distribution in these areas affect national economic growth and GDP. They used data from the Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) for the period from 2002 to 2016, while also taking into account multiple international studies on the topic.

As a result, they found that government spending on “power” items such as national defense, national security and law enforcement (areas also recognised as non-productive expenditure), mostly translates to extensive consumption of resources. Meanwhile, investment in physical and human capital, including education, healthcare and sports, road infrastructure and transportation (productive expenditure) is associated with both short- and long-term economic growth.

The data from Rosstat confirm the researchers’ conclusions by demonstrating a drop in Russia’s economic growth rates in recent years, which corresponds to the shift in the general government budget spending towards “power” items. On the other hand, Drs Kudrin and Knobel present evidence that a maneuver in favor of human and physical capital is capable of increasing Russia’s GDP with 25-35% in a single generation (25-30 years).

The researchers conclude:

“Against the background of a deteriorating foreign economic situation, lowering budget spending may have a stabilizing effect, but, from a growth effect point of view, it is best to initially reduce non-productive expenditures while increasing or, at least, maintaining the current level of productive expenditures.”

“Of course, ensuring security against internal and external threats, including through funding ‘power’ items, is an essential condition for the state’s stable functioning and for maintaining social and economic stability. However, one should exercise prudence when determining the requisite amount of non-productive expenditures, realizing the cost to be paid by the society for this or that budget spending composition.”


Original source:

Kudrin A, Knobel A (2018) Russian budget structure efficiency: Empirical study. Russian Journal of Economics 4(3): 197-214.


Russian Journal of Economics is one of the journals hosted on ARPHA through the platform’s white-label publishing solution.