I don't know if it is true but it sounds very usual for Russia.
1. Russian Academy of Sciences. What's that?
Most of scientific research in Russia is conducted within a HUGE organisation: Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS).
It has 50 000 of researchs staff and just as many of other people working there. That is among 1500 Russians (babies included) there is 1 person working there.
Two notes about differences between English and Russian usage and cultures:
- "Наука" (Science) in Russian means not only "hard sciences" and "natural sciences" but also history, philology, sociology, linguistics...even Literary criticism. Any field thatdevelops humanity's knowlege.
- When in the West much of science is done in universities, in Russia universities mostly teach students. There is some research in universities as well, but most of it is done within research institutions.
- Most of research institutions (espectially those involved in "fundamental" rather than "applied" science), in turn, belong to RAS.
This organisation has many research institutions (hundreds?) but also it has infrastructure (up to small towns:)) and land.
It used to be independed on Russian government. It receives funding form the state but it (and money distribution within it) is governed by scientists elected as "academiсians".