Russian authorities investigating European University at St. Petersburg for ‘extremism’
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the country’s federal education watchdog, Rosobrnadzor, have launched an unscheduled investigation into the European University at St. Petersburg as part of the government’s ongoing “measures to prevent extremism and terrorism,” BBC News Russia reported Wednesday, citing sources from the university and others with links to the school.
Among other things, the authorities are reviewing academic papers written by university professors to ensure they don’t contain “extremist” material, the sources said. Additionally, inspectors have requested personnel files for graduate students in at least four departments (anthropology, history, sociology, and political science) as well as the students’ individual academic plans and dissertation topics.
According to the sources, after the start of Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine, the European University severed ties with foreign professors and faculty who moved abroad. The current investigation focuses on several dozen current professors and several hundreds graduate students.
The sources speculated that the audit could lead to the closure of the entire university or specific programs within it.
When asked to comment, university rector Vadim Volkov told journalists that he “can’t talk, especially with the BBC.”
Founded in 1994, the European University at St. Petersburg was initially funded by grants from American and European NGOs. In 2016, the institution lost its education license after an inspection from the Prosecutor General’s Office and Rosobrnadzor. Since 2016, the university has been audited by the authorities 13 times, including three Rosobrnadzor inspections.