Staunton, October 1 – In yet another indication of the way in which Vladimir Putin is imposing an intellectual straightjacket on the Russian population, a professor from the Yugra State University in Khanty-Mansiisk who specializes on Indian religions appears to have lost his job because he took part in an academic conference on religious issues in Ukraine.
Globalsib.com reported today that Nikolay Karpitsky learned that the university rectorate had reversed its earlier decision to extend his contract and had ended its relationship with him. Karpitsky himself says that he considers what has taken place to be a clear case of discrimination (globalsib.com/20524/).
In response to his inquiry, the university administration did not provide any reason for his dismissal, but he said one of the deputy rectors had told him that his participation alone – and not anything else that he had said or done -- in the Ukrainian conference “cast doubt” on his further role as a professor at Yugra State University.
Karpitsky says that what has happened to him represents an attack not only on his person but on all the instructors of the university because it interferes with their scholarly work which includes “scientific contacts with colleagues from Ukraine.” As a result, he has called on the rectorate to reverse itself or at least explain what other reasons could be involved.
The scholar first attracted public attention three years ago when he testified against an official effort to declare the Bhagavadgita an extremist book and when he sought to organize his fellow scholars in Tomsk in defense of this Indian classic.