Denis Skopin, professor of Russia at the State University of St. Petersburg, described how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is affecting Russia’s education system.
“I think the Russian research and education system has collapsed,” Skopin recently told the BBC. “And, as far as I know, in some of the good universities of St. Petersburg and Moscow, there are lots of vacant teaching, now only what people have left.”
Skopin was fired from the university on October 26, due to the invasion of Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. A fellow professor who taught philosophy in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, he also protested against Russia’s “partial reconciliation” that sent 30,000 conscripts to fight in Ukraine.
The professor was also arrested and detained for 10 days for participating in an attempted coup against the Kremlin, which was reported by the Russian leader in late September.
After his arrest, he received an order of dismissal from the university, which said that “the act of the employee is disgraceful and he cannot carry out the functions of education and the continuation of this work.” However, his progress was praised by his students on the last day of work, according to the BBC.
Skopin told the news that the decision was “quite unusual and unheard of” for professors and academic staff to leave Russia “because it used to be very difficult to get a teaching in Russia.”
“It’s already very different and, as far as I know, in some universities, they want MA students to teach instead of professors,” he added. “You can imagine how the Russian education system is falling, the Russian university system. It’s a catastrophe.”
Skopin continued: “Russia is now losing the best people. The most educated, ready, critical-thinking people are leaving the country. It’s easy to understand what kind of effect it has on the Russian economy, on Russian education, on Russian culture.”
According to the professor, the most famous international science country has no future, adding that “Russian science died after February 24”, which is the time when the country invaded Ukraine in what Putin called a “special military operation”.
Russia’s Crackdown on the Opposition
The Russian authorities have cracked down on their opposition in different ways since the war in Ukraine began. In August, authorities blocked the social media account of the Russian human rights group OVD-Inf because of its media coverage of the war. It is a watchdog group that monitors and reports on political persecution in the country.
“We do not know the exact materials that the Russian authorities have questioned,” Maria Kuznetsova, a spokeswoman for OVD-Info, told Newsweek time. “As a matter of policy, we have stated our anti-war stance from the beginning, so any of our provinces can be considered “unfavorable” to the Russian military.
In a separate case, television journalist Marina Ovsyannikova was placed under house arrest in August for two months after she solicited global attention for attacking the war on live radio.
His house arrest followed his actions during a protest in July in which he held up an anti-Putin poster and placed dolls on the ground that were meant to represent dead Ukrainian children.
Newsweek A comment was reached at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia.