Democracy in Russia

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, we learn that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government has shut down a university that offers “politically sensitive” courses.

A Russian court has ordered a university that receives support from Western organizations and had offered courses in election monitoring to shut down immediately, in what professors said was the first time an entire university had been closed for political reasons under President Vladimir V. Putin.

The ruling, issued by a court in St. Petersburg on Friday, shut down the European University of St. Petersburg just as a new semester was about to start and after many of the 170 students who were scheduled to attend had arrived in the city.

Mr. Putin had criticized the university last fall, accusing it of meddling in Russian politics, according to news reports, and a highly placed government official raised similar concerns in late December, a professor told The Chronicle.

What a terrible offense!  Meddling in Russian politics!  The nerve! We in the West take for granted far too often the nature of the liberties we enjoy.  We in the academic world, in particular, are often unaware of the great dangers that academics in many parts of the world face in trying to perform tasks and research that to us in the West seem mundane.  To increase awareness about the lack of academic freedom in many parts of the world, a group of like-minded individuals has created the Scholars at Risk Network.