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‘Academic Freedom’: The fight over political activism inside Moscow's Higher School of Economics

39 minutes
‘Academic Freedom’: The fight over political activism inside Moscow's Higher School of Economics

In mid-January, administrators at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE, perhaps the best university in Russia, shared a proposal to impose greater restrictions on political activism within the university that would have prohibited individuals affiliated with HSE from mentioning this connection when discussing political issues or taking part in what school officials described as “socially divisive” activities. The university also announced that HSE is stripping all student media groups of their official status, apparently in response to the actions of a single student outlet called Doxa.

About a week later, on January 24, HSE’s Academic Council held a 10-hour meeting. Among many issues, the council discussed the proposed amendments to the school’s internal rules, ultimately watering down many of the most draconian suggestions. To find out more about this situation and understand how it compares to political freedoms on U.S. campuses, “The Naked Pravda” spoke to a handful of scholars in Russia and America.

In this episode:

  • (1:53) Greg Yudin, a senior research fellow and associate professor of sociology at the Higher School of Economics, says HSE's administration listened to students and reached a reasonable compromise.
  • (4:28) Armen Aramyan, an editor at Doxa and a graduate student at the Higher School of Economics, says the amended rules adopted by HSE's Academic Council are still too vague and restrictive.
  • (7:42) Andrey Lavrov, HSE’s public relations director, addresses the compromise reached between the administration and disgruntled students.
  • (22:15) Kris Olds and Mark Johnson, two scholars at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, describe restrictions on political activism on U.S. college campuses.

“The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays. Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at [email protected] with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”

Producer, sound editing, and mixing — Kevin Rothrock

Executive producer — Alexandr Sadikov

Music — Victor Davydov

Dubbing and transcription — Sean Guillory and Anastasia Beskrovnaya

Send any questions or comments to [email protected]

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