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The ex-FSB agent who teaches Moscow State University students that the Salisbury attack was invented to embarrass Russia jokes about hosting the suspected attackers at an academic conference

Update: Spokespeople for Moscow State University's Political Science Department later clarified that Andrey Manoilo was only joking about inviting Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin to the “First Skripal Readings” conference.
Update 2: Moscow State University Political Science Department chair Andrey Shutov denies reports that the school is hosting an academic conference called “First Skripal Readings.” On Monday, he told the news agency Interfax that there is no such event planned on the department's academic calendar.

Moscow State University might host an academic conference devoted in part to “the experience of Western intelligence agencies in the organization of information and psychological intervention on Russian territory.” Titled “First Skripal Readings,” the event will supposedly address the anniversary of the nerve-agent attack in Salisbury, England, that nearly killed Sergey and Yulia Skripal, and later resulted in the death of a British woman named Dawn Sturgess.

Speaking to the radio station Govorit Moskva, Professor Andrey Manoilo, a former Federal Security Service agent and a current member of the Russian Security Council’s Scientific Council, said he has invited “Alexander Petrov” and “Ruslan Boshirov” (the supposed false identities of Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, the two suspected military intelligence agents who allegedly carried out the attack on March 4, 2018).

“We sent the invitations by courier directly to their addresses. They have physical addresses and they have office addresses, which they declared. In their interview with [RT chief editor Margarita] Simonyan, they provided complete information about what they do and where they work,” Manoilo explained, saying he and conference organizers hope to hear from them “about information war technologies.”

Manoilo did not indicate when the conference is supposed to take place, and there is no information about the event on Moscow State University’s website. Manoilo stated that future “First Skripal Readings” might take place at the Salisbury Cathedral, whose large church spire is what Chepiga and Mishkin say brought them to the city.

Last November, the independent television network RTVI reported that Professor Andrey Manoilo teaches an elective course on “information war” where he tells his students that Western intelligence agencies falsified news about the attempted assassination of Sergey Skripal and his daughter in order to embarrass the Kremlin and erode international trust in Russia. Moscow State University students told RTVI that the course provides them with “new information, not propaganda,” insisting that they “verify everything on the Internet.” Manoilo told the TV network that his course differs little from a class offered at Cambridge University, where students supposedly study “the Panama Papers scandal.”

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