‘We are Doxa, too’ Students and alumni pen open letter to top Russian universities in support of student journal
On the morning of April 14, police officers searched the newsroom of the student journal “Doxa,” as well as the homes of its editors Armen Aramyan, Alla Gutnikova, Vladimir Metelkin, and Natalya Tyshkevich. After the raids, the journalists were interrogated by state investigators and a court banned them from using the Internet and leaving their homes. More than 250 academics from around the world have signed a solidarity statement in support of Doxa. In addition, Russian university students, postgraduates, and alumni are urging the leadership of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) — where students and alumni founded Doxa in 2017 — and other Russian universities to show support for the editors, who are now facing criminal charges. Meduza is sharing a full translation of their open letter, which has 400 signatures at the time of this writing. The signature drive is set to continue until May 1.
In the early morning of April 14, searches were conducted in the apartments of the editors of the student outlet Doxa. Members of the editorial board were detained and sent to court for the selection of temporary preventive measures.
Our colleagues and friends were charged under Russian Criminal Code article 151.2, part 2 — on the involvement of minors in the commission of acts that pose a danger to the minor’s life — on the basis of a video (deleted at the request of Roskomnadzor), in which Doxa’s journalists asserted the inadmissibility and illegality of the intimidation of the student community on the eve of the rallies in support of opposition politician Alexey Navalny. This video didn’t contain any incitement to illegal actions. Roskomnadzor’s order to remove it is currently being appealed in court.
Under the aforementioned article, these folks face a fine of up to 100,000 rubles [$1,300] or in the amount of wages or other income for a period of up to one year, or community service for up to 440 hours, or corrective labor for up to two years, or forced labor for up to three years with or without the loss of the right to hold certain posts or engage in certain activities for up to five years, or imprisonment for up to three years with or with the loss of the right to hold certain posts or engage in certain activities for up to five years.
As follows from the statements of eyewitnesses, all procedural measures were carried out in flagrant violation of the rules of criminal procedure: lawyers weren’t provided, the reason for the search wasn’t given, the officers exerted psychological pressure on residents, in particular, on children. The chosen preventive measure, although it’s called a “ban on certain activities,” is in fact house arrest.
Police pressure on educational institutions and the student community is becoming a regular thing, we can’t help but worry. A university, a space for thought and critical thinking, can’t stand aside while its students and alumni are persecuted in an openly fabricated case that aims to intimidate, instill fear, and destroy student solidarity.
We, alumni and students of the Higher School of Economics and other Russian universities, express our solidarity with the staff of the Doxa journal and the accused: Natasha Tyshkevich, Armen Aramyan, Alla Gutnikova, and Vladimir Metelkin. We demand the immediate closure of this politically motivated case, the return of confiscated items, and a stop to police pressure on the university and the student body.
We demand from the leadership of HSE, represented by rector [Yaroslav] I. Kuzminov, an official statement of support for the accused, posted on the main page of the university’s website and on all of the university’s social media. We are awaiting the official support of the rectors of Moscow State University (V. A. Sadovnichy), Russian State University for the Humanities (A.B. Bezborodov), MGIMO University (A.V. Torkunov), Moscow State Pedagogical University (A.V. Lubkov), and representatives of the leadership of other universities.
Please sign the letter and offer Doxa whatever assistance is possible: disseminate information about the case using the hashtag #мытожеDOXA; follow @doxa_journal on Instagram, Twitter, and Telegram; if you can, make a donation to Doxa journal.
You can add your signature to the open letter via this link.
Translated by Eilish Hart