Gennadiy N. Lepeshkin: Our organization was just starting up. There were about ten or fifteen genuine professionals, really good ones. And they managed to create an atmosphere in their teams where there was no discord or friction whatsoever.
David Franz: Do you think it was helpful that you were not so close to Moscow?
Slava Paperno (interpreting): Do you think that being so far from Moscow had anything to do with that?
Lepeshkin: Oh yes, by all means.
Franz: Far from the flagpole.
Lepeshkin:The further from Moscow you were, the more freedom there was.
Franz: In my experience, I've been very free to say whatever I want to say, throughout my career.
Lepeshkin: Well, we had certain constraints placed on us. Let's say you had contact with a foreign national. You were supposed to report it, you know, I went to such-and-such a place, I spoke with so-and-so, and did such-and-such. That was during Soviet times.
Paperno: Did you have to obtain permission, or simply report?
Lepeshkin: You had to obtain permission.
Paperno: Was that because you were the director of the facility, or was it...
Lepeshkin: Not only that. Any employee who went somewhere was supposed to notify the appropriate people and have it approved.
Franz: Right. What about international travel?
Paperno (interpreting): What about foreign travel and contacts with foreigners?
Lepeshkin: Everything had to be approved. Everything required approval, and you had to receive a special directive, allowing you to make a trip to whatever country it was. And now, at the present time, it's still that way. For example, when I was the general director of the National Biotechnology Center, I had to have the Minister's approval in order to travel... abroad as head of delegation or whatever. Absent that, I couldn't go anywhere.