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A man who stood at the origins of Russia’s transformation into an energy superpower has passed away

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The rector of St. Petersburg Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the former USSR Minister of Geology Evgeny Kozlovsky, who died at the age of 93.

On Monday, February 21, it became known that the 4th Minister of Geology of the USSR (from 1975 to 1989) and Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor Evgeny Kozlovsky died after a long illness in Moscow. Largely thanks to this man our country today has a unique mineral resource base, which has no analogues anywhere in the world.

He has always been distinguished by a remarkable combination of high personal and professional qualities. Energetic, goal-oriented and charismatic, he understood perfectly well that in order for the mining industry to develop steadily, it is necessary to add one and a half tons of extraction for each ton of resources extracted from the subsurface. This ideology, which, thanks to Evgeny Alexandrovich, formed the basis of the mineral policy of the USSR, allowed the leadership of our country to sharply increase export revenues and raise the level of well-being of citizens.

For at least a decade and a half after the collapse of the Soviet Union, no exploration was carried out in Russia at all and the reserves of natural resources were not replenished. Thus, the foundation of economic growth, which became possible after the transition of oil and gas companies under state control, was the resource base, created in the 70's and 80's.

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"All those fourteen years that Evgeny Aleksandrovich Kozlovsky was at the head of the ministry, numerous teams of geologists, drillers, geophysicists were engaged in the study of the subsoil and the discovery of new deposits. They did their best to increase the reserves of natural resources for future generations. Because they knew that without their replication, the country's economy, one of the pillars of which is raw materials; would face inevitable stagnation and decline," recalls Rector Vladimir Litvinenko.

For the Mining University Professor Kozlovsky has always been as unquestionable authority as the great graduates of Russia's first higher technical educational institution, the world-famous geologists Alexander Karpinsky, Pavel Preobrazhensky, Vladimir Obruchev, Dmitry Nalivkin, the founder of the theory of oil Ivan Gubkin and many others. The university and the Russian Minister had many years of cooperation.

His last visit to the Mining University was in October 2013. Then, the Academic Council discussed the work "The Russian Geological Encyclopedia" in 3 volumes, which was carried out under the leadership of Evgeny Alexandrovich. This work has been submitted for the Russian Federation Government Award in Science and Technology. The Council unanimously decided that it was worthy of such a high award.

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"Until the last days of his life Evgeny Alexandrovich remained a true enthusiast of his work. And, as a matter of personal tragedy, he perceived the current situation in the geological industry as a serious concern. Namely, the lack of motivation in public resource companies to engage in geological study of subsurface resources to the same extent as it was in the Soviet times," says Vladimir Litvinenko.

Indeed, the statistical growth today is mainly provided by additional exploration of the flanks and adjacent to the deposits of promising land. Almost no one remembers the former principles of reproduction of the resource base, when for every ton of mined minerals it was considered necessary to increase one and a half tons of minerals. Almost no one is searching for new large deposits because it, on the one hand, requires huge investments and, on the other hand, is an extremely risky venture.

Professional companies in our country, unlike in Canada, do not have the right, even in case of success, to automatically get a license for the next stage of subsoil use: They have to participate in the tender procedure on general grounds; in other words, there are no mechanisms to guarantee profit from exploration activities or at least compensation for the money spent.

"Evgeny Alexandrovich has repeatedly said that the raw materials economy is not a curse, but a gift from above. But in order for our children and grandchildren to say "thank you" to us in the future, it is necessary to use this gift for a breakthrough, for technological improvement. At the same time, he witnessed that this is not the case at all, and that the potential of the country's mineral resources complex is not used to the fullest extent. Furthermore, the destruction of the geological service of the country - the main core of the strategic exploration of subsoil resources - is taking place. Instead of regulating the market and controlling the process of subsoil use, the state itself is engaged in geological exploration, which is a very dangerous and doomed experiment a priori," explains Vladimir Litvinenko.

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In February 2011, Dmitry Medvedev, who was then president of the Russian Federation, awarded Evgeny Kozlovsky an honorary diploma "for services in the field of education and many years of fruitful work. Upon learning of this, the former Soviet minister refused to accept it. He motivated his decision by the fact that the country's leadership was not fulfilling its task of replenishing the resource base and creating on its basis the prerequisites for accelerating the socio-economic progress of our state.

"We should not wait, but work, no one will feed us and protect us. And without science there is nothing to do in the mining industry. I know this from my own experience. I earn not for myself, but in order to help develop science, through science develop my country - Russia, my home, my countrymen and our Mining University," said Evgeny Kozlovsky in 2013, during his last visit to the St. Petersburg university.

He sincerely regretted that the government agencies responsible for the development of domestic geological exploration are not guided in their activities by this postulate. And he dreamed of living until the day when the situation in the industry would radically change.

Eternal memory to the true enthusiast of his work! A man who made a great contribution to the growth of the national economy and, without exaggeration, to the preservation of our statehood.