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Our history

Our history

From research and development to production and business.

Our history from 1989 till now.

North-West Science, Production and Tourist Center Socium – development stages from Razum to Socium:

1989 – establishment of Razum, a Murmansk branch of Leningrad science and research center of sociology under Soviet sociology association within the USSR Academy of Sciences.

1990 – reorganized into Murmansk independent science and research center of sociology Razum.

2001 – reorganized into North-West science and research center of sociology Socium.

2013 – reorganized into North-West science, production and tourist center Socium.

North-West science and research center of sociology Socium is the only private science and research center of sociology in Russia, which had been successfully working for 25 years (since 1989) during Russian “perestroika”, various reforms, consolidation of power, etc.

A Murmansk branch of Leningrad science and research center of sociology under Soviet sociology association within the USSR Academy of Sciences Razum was established in 1989, and then reorganized into Murmansk independent science and research center of sociology Razum in 1990, and again reorganized into North-West science and research center of sociology Socium in 2001.

From 1997 until 2000 the Center worked as an information and analytical center under the plenipotentiary of the President of the Russian Federation in Murmansk region. During all these years the activity if NW SRCS Socium was focused on development of applied sociology in Murmansk region, training of sociologists, psychologists and development if information technologies in applied sociology, education, human resources management, development of educational computer programs.

In 1990 regional department of the Soviet sociology association within the USSR Academy of Sciences nominated and elected Valery F. Mararitsa, the Director of the Center, the deputy of Murmansk regional Soviet of People’s Deputies.

In 1990-1993 the team of the Center held opinion polls by each session of the regional Soviet. Such polls allowed regional administration to take considered decisions taking into account the opinion of our northern population. The joint activity of the Center and the Commission for Glasnost, Information and Opinion Polls intensified the development of public organizations of sociologists and psychologists in the region.

During the presidential election campaign in 1991 the Center developed recommendations for the regional headquarters on the basis of its studies and forecast of the public opinion of the northern population. This provided Boris N. Yeltsin, the then President of the Russian Federation, with the biggest number of votes compared to other candidates.

During the events of August 1991 the Center and the Deputy Commission held a solid position to support the first President of the Russian Federation, and within the first hours of putsch they studied and published the public opinion of the northern population, which had response from the population and local administration. These affirmative actions of deputies and sociologists helped stabilize the situation in the region and prevented its escalation.

The team of Socium developed and successfully implemented the system of monitoring and forecast of public opinion of the northern population. In 2007-2009 alone the Center held 15 public opinion studies for the governor of Murmansk region and other officials. The results of their study in the field of corruption in Murmansk region (April – August, 2007) became the basis of the counter-corruption policy of Murmansk region administration for the next five years.

On the eve of presidential and governor elections in 1996, under harsh social and economic conditions of Murmansk region, the experts of Socium carried out a big research on the development of organizational, methodical and scientific aspects for the regional system of social and political monitoring and forecast. The recommendations, worked out by the Center on the basis of opinion polls and forecasts, contributed to the outcome of the election campaign. The work of the Center within the regional presidential election headquarters was highly estimated by President Yeltsin.

The Center’s leadership firm position on the problem of considering public opinion in the work of government bodies of the Kola Peninsula, North-West region and a number of other regions of the Russian Federation allowed to accumulate human resources that are able to resolve any social problems of development of the regions of the Russian Federation.

During the presidential election campaign in 2000 Valery F. Mararitsa, the Director of the Center, was the head of Vladimir Putin’s election headquarters in Murmansk region, and the specialists of the center managed its main divisions. All the forecasts of the outcome of presidential and governor elections were fulfilled. The work of the headquarters was highly estimated by the President of the Russian Federation.

The team of NW SRCS Socium carried out a number of opinion research and forecasts of the outcome of elections to Murmansk region Duma (2001), Murmansk Mayor elections (2003), to the State Duma (December, 2003), elections of the President of the Russian Federation and the governor of Murmansk region (March, 2004). By the end of the elections all the ratings and forecasts for the outcome of the elections of the Mayor of Murmansk, the President of the Russian Federation, the Governor of Murmansk region, and the Mayor of Apatity turned out to be the most objective.

In 2001 the Center published a book “Basic Sociology. Theory and Applied Studies” co-authored with the patriarch of Russian sociology Vladimir A. Yadov. The book describes the Center’s experience of work under real conditions of reformation of the Russian society.

In 1996-1997 on demand of the President Administration the Center developed a computer human resources complex KoBa, which was approved in the framework of the Presidential program for retraining of young managers and allowed to carry out all kinds of work with the personnel.

In 1992-2000 the Center developed and implemented the systems of psychological, diagnostic and educational computer media for educational institutions (CTC Aristotle, CPDC School Psychologist, CTC Pythagoras, etc.).

Owing to high professional skills of its specialists, in 1996-1998 the Center, together with three universities (Oxford, Cambridge and Duke), made a study of social, political and economic situation in 46 entities of the Russian Federation. The proceedings of the study have become a mutual possession of all sociologists interested in Russian studies.

The social activity of the center, their active cooperation with artists, youth and veteran organizations in the framework of the project “Russia, Be Clever!” helped to save and enhance the collection of the Museum of the Air Forces of the Northern Fleet, to organize personal exhibitions of the artists of Murmansk, to hold jazz festivals “Arcticjazz”, to publish a lot of books for the youth. In May, 1997 the team was decorated with a government award. A.I. Huttunen, a member of the Russian Union of Artists and one of the members of Socium’s team, received the title of “The Honoured Man of Culture”.

In 2008 Socium organized a pilot apiary “Polyarnoye Siyaniye” in Tersky district of Murmansk region, bred a northern bee and built a scientific center of trans-polar bee-farming in the settlement of Umba.

NW SRCS Socium has developed and realized a project “The Flying Memory of Victory”. In the framework of the project they have restored a historical aircraft Po-2, the remnants of which were found on the Kola Peninsula near Kandalaksha. They also proposed a start of collection of flying rarities under the patronage of the President of the Russian Federation. The proposal was approved by Vladimir Putin in May, 2006. The aircraft took part in an aviation festival in Monino in 2006 and in MAKS-2007 in Zhukovsky. In October, 2007 the aircraft Po-2 became the first item of the collection of flying rarities under the patronage of the President of the Russian Federation.

 NW SRCS Socium has published a number of books in humanities: “Five Hundred Steps Towards Right Thinking” (1997), “Practical Instructions on Developing Logical Thinking” (1999), “How to Become an Aristotle” (1999), “Society and Social Interests” (1999), “Basic Sociology. Theory and Applied Studies” (2001), “Analytics – Capital” (2004), and others.

Through the whole period of its activity the Center has accumulated human resources that can resolve any social projects in the North-West region. Organization and scientific experience of the work of the system of social and political monitoring and forecast, which has been developed and introduced on the Kola Peninsula, has become wide-spread not only on the North-West of the Russian Federation but in other regions as well. The results of scientific and organization activity of the Center let us speak about Murmansk school of applied sociology. The team of the Center has developed a unique computer sociological complex “Socium”, which has been approved in many regions of the Russian Federation.

In the recent six years the team of  NW SRCS Socium has been successfully working on the problems of public relations in the field of radiation and nuclear safety of the region. This work is being done at the request of the Governor of Murmansk region Yu.A Yevdokimov. Valery F. Mararitsa, the director of Socium, was the head of the working group in the field of human aspects of radiation and nuclear safety of the Kola Peninsula. On behalf of the Administration of Murmansk region he was also in charge of the contracts with Sweden on Andreev Bay, with France on Gremikha Bay and with the European Union on the information project TACIS. In 2007 the specialists of the Center participated in training on crisis management within the program of international cooperation in the field of nuclear energy (Stockholm) and in 2003-2009 studied the working experience in public relations in the field of radiation and nuclear safety in Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and Stockholm. Socium was one of initiators of the regional Administration instruction to renovate some facilities of the building of regional Duma and allocate there an information center for radiation and nuclear safety under the patronage of the Governor of Murmansk region.

The teaching activity of the head of the Center and of its other employees in Murmansk State University, as well as other educational institutions of the region have made a good contribution in training sociologists and psychologists of the region.

One of the articles in the book “Entrepreneurs of Murman at the Turn of the Century” (2002) shows that the activity of NW SRCS Socium has been highly appreciated by the public. The author of the book, the Governor of the region and the head of the regional department of the chamber of commerce says: “… many of them have overcome a lot of ordeals at the beginning of the age of economic, political and social reforms and succeeded in settling themselves in the northern lands, keeping the best traditions of Russian entrepreneurship.” The article about the head and the founder of NW SRCS Socium says that he “… owing to his position, professional and personal authority, influences our life and bears responsibility for the more or less broad circle of the population of the region.”

Since 1989 the team of NW SRCS Socium has been cooperating with Murmansk State Technical University (MSTU). MSTU employees and students have many times taken part in opinion polls and just helped to carry out some research. The fund of the Center keeps many works that have become the basis for many scientific works of the University’s scientists. By the 25th anniversary of Socium the team presented MSTU library with its works that include books, reports, researches, some issues of the Center’s journal “Vestnik Sociuma”, and other works dedicated to various aspects of the region’s life. There is even a book about philosophical ideas of the Kola Peninsula among them. All in all, the library was presented with 163 issues.

All the materials given to MSTU library represent Socium’s scientific and applied research, which characterize a significant period of the Murmansk region development. It is a part of the history of Kola land, which reflects social life of northern population during one of the most difficult periods of post-Soviet formation of Russia. There is no doubt that these materials will be interesting not only to those, who study retrospective sociology, but also to people, who want to analyze the contemporary society and to envisage the tendencies of its development. As Sergey Agarkov, MSTU rector, made a good point: “There is no wonder that people say, that those, who do not know or have forgotten their past, have no future.”

 The Center has always worked in one team… But time has passed, we are growing older, retire, leave the Kola Peninsula to join our children and grandchildren. The social and political situation in the region has changed as well; there is a new team in Murmansk region administration (headed by the former Governor Dmitrienko), and this team is no longer interested in public opinion.

At the same time, the employees of the Center have always been striving to use their achievements in humanities, such as sociology, psychology and philosophy, to resolve urgent social, political and economic issues in Murmansk and other regions of the Russian Federation, to train professional sociologists for the region. That is why, when under new conditions we faced the necessity to search for new options to use our knowledge and experience and to reorganize the Center, we also had to change its name.

The new name of our minor enterprise North-West Science, Production and Tourist Center Socium comes from the understanding that implementation of innovations in such complex social spheres as, for example, nuclear industry is not only a problem of science and production, but also a social issue of organizational activity. We believe that in the Russian society this issue has to be dealt with by means of serious efforts, no less serious than science and production.

This idea was also supported by scientists from Kola Science Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences (KSC RAS), who proposed (academician V.T. Kalinnikov)  NW SPTC Socium to take part in realization of the concept of Kola Chemical and Technological Cluster (KCTC) developed by KSC RAS. Having studied their proposal, we decided to reorganize NW SRCS Socium into NW SPTC Socium and to organize a working group (see WG membership), which consists of scientists from KSC RAS nanocenter (Apatity), Northwest Center SevRAO (Murmansk) and Saint-Petersburg State University. The working group was organized because, after all unsuccessful efforts to draw the attention of officials and deputies to the problem, it was necessary to carry out a real experiment on titanium sorbents that would prove their effectiveness.

That is why since 2013 private enterprise NW SPTC Socium (Murmansk) has been trying to realize one of the concepts of Kola chemical and technological cluster through the private funds of its cofounders. It is a revolutionary innovation in the field of liquid radioactive waste utilization based on the unique qualities of the minerals of the Khibiny Mountains.

There have been many questions about the word “tourism” in the name of the Center. It shows our work on organizing scientific tourism to the trans-polar apiary in Tersky district of Murmansk region, which was organized by the Center to promote bee farming on the Kola Peninsula. In 2008 Socium organized a pilot apiary “Polyarnoye Siyaniye” in Tersky district of Murmansk region, bred a northern bee and built a scientific center of trans-polar bee-farming in the settlement of Umba.