Staunton, June 20 – Valery Solovey’s dramatic announcement that he was resigning from MGIMO before he might be fired is not an isolated case but rather part of a new Kremlin drive to impose tighter controls over the expert community, many of whose members work for higher educational institutions full or part time.
Because of his prominence as a commentator, Solovey’s declaration yesterday has attracted enormous attention. “Today,” he wrote on his blog, “I have submitted a declaration about withdrawing on my own initiative from MGIMO where I had been working for 11 years” (echo.msk.ru/blog/vsolovej/2448415-echo/).
“For political reasons,” he continued, “the institute no longer wants to have a relationship with me. I understand this attitude. And I will be grateful,” the scholar-commentator said, “if in the future no one will associate me with MGIMO.”
Solovey indicated that he plans to write a book and will not be returning to teaching. “Russia is entering a period of major changes, and I intend to take a most active part in them. Stay tuned,” he concluded.
Solovey is only the most prominent of political analysts to lose a position because of his views. Earlier this month, several political scientists at the Higher School of Economics lost their employment when their positions were made redundant by the folding in of that department into a larger section of the university.
Many people have been angered by this extension of ideological control, another way the powers that be have of imposing their views besides control of access to the media and censorship of electronic and print media (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/06/beyond-censorship-kremlin-using-another.html).
But as Aleksey Chesnakov, director of the Center for Political Conjunction, notes, fundamental weaknesses in the organization of the social sciences in general and political science in particular make it easy for the powers that be to take these steps, often in ways that do not attract attention and resistance (actualcomment.ru/ekspert-vs-analitik-1906181501.html