INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER OF FUNDS
The international transfer of funds—in the past primarily from the United States to Russia—to support project activities has sometimes been complicated. There may be tax issues, delivery issues, and privacy issues. Of course, the best situation is for each side to cover its own expenses, avoiding the necessity of international fund transfers. However, there may be financial, programmatic, or other reasons for not following this general rule.
As previously noted, the ISTC has been an important mechanism in avoiding problems with fund transfers to Russia. CRDF has also been important in this regard. However, some organizations have not used these services—relying on commercial channels or other approaches. They have at times encountered difficulties ranging from (a) lack of preparedness of Russian institutions to accept such transfers in an acceptable manner to (b) misuse of funds due to lack of financial transparency and inadequate accountability.
Looking forward, collaborating institutions are increasingly arranging for fund transfers, when necessary, through normal banking channels. This approach will surely help develop U.S.-Russian relationships that are consistent with international practice.
SECRECY, CLOSED FACILITIES, AND SENSITIVE INFORMATION
In the 1990s, the launching of bilateral programs, particularly those motivated by concerns over proliferation of sensitive expertise or dangerous materials, often encountered difficulties with attempts to (a) open closed facilities to foreign visitors to discuss joint projects and (b) discuss details of projects linked to security issues. These problems gradually declined, although they never completely disappeared. Indeed, for security reasons, some facilities in both countries remain closed to outside visitors. And some topics are simply off limits for serious discussion.
The situation in the field of biology and biotechnology was particularly difficult during the 1990s, given the history of mistrust during early efforts (the trilateral visits involving Russia, the United States, and England designed to resolve concerns over compliance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention) to verify that prohibited activities had come to an end. Then as facilities began to open, mutual trust slowly evolved, although access was often denied to certain areas of facilities that had been heralded as open to international visitors. Nevertheless, the degree of openness is quite extraordinary in view of the contentious history of the relationship in this field. The cooperative projects set forth in Appendixes C.2, C.3, and C.4 are impressive evidence of the international transparency that has developed at sensitive Russian research centers working with U.S. centers.
Also, dissemination of information concerning specific project activities has