Among the privileges granted by the Soviet regime to the nomenklatura, there was an institution that enjoyed the unreserved support of the state and immense prestige within society, prestige that was all the greater because it was in open rivalry with the United States and matched the Americans' achievements in many fields: the scientific establishment. The ideological rationale is well Known: in the former Soviet Union, science was declared to be at once a capital asset of the nation, a public service and a productive force. Similarly, the translation of ideology into action provided a model of organisation and support: Marxism invoked social theory and practice in making the state the unquestioned patron of science and science the obedient servant of the state. In reality, the more that basic research contributed to the defence effort, which was allocated the bulk of the investment in R&D, the more power, prestige and privileges were given to researchers.
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