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Soviet Group to Force Some to Retire at 65

March 11, 1987|WILLIAM J. EATON | Times Staff Writer

MOSCOW — The Soviet Academy of Sciences has adopted a plan that calls for compulsory retirement at age 65 for directors of its research institutes, a Soviet source said Tuesday.

The plan fits in with reforms announced by Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and could be the forerunner of a move to force aging Communist Party officials into retirement.

Although Soviet law provides for the pensioning off of men at age 60 and of women at 55, many political officials and scientists have continued to work well into their 70s, some into their 80s.

After Gorbachev took over the Soviet leadership two years ago, Premier Nikolai A. Tikhonov, 80, was retired along with two other octogenarian members of the Politburo, Vasily V. Kuznetsov and Boris N. Ponomarev.

With Own Generation

For the most part, Gorbachev, who is 56, has chosen members of his generation to serve in the ruling body.

The academy's new plan specifies that while directors of institutes will step down at 65, full members of the academy may continue to work until age 75. Corresponding members will leave at 70.

Even after retirement, though, the academicians will continue to be members, and they will retain the privileges that go with membership, the source said. By retiring, they will make room for the election of younger members, people who have been limited in their careers by the lack of room for them in the academy.

Gorbachev and his aides have complained frequently about scientific research centers that he says have contributed too little to the solution of pressing national problems.

Yet the academy, with its tradition of lifetime membership and secret-ballot election of members, has retained a measure of independence.

For example, dissident physicist Andrei D. Sakharov lost his state prizes and was sent off to exile in Gorky for opposing Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and championing human rights. But he never lost his membership in the academy.

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