Thursday, April 20, 2023

Siberian Activists Plan Free University to Be Named for Author of ‘Siberia as a Colony’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 17 – In Novosibirsk, there is already a private college which doesn’t follow the hurrah patriotic requirements of the Russian government. Now, its director, Sergey Chernyshov plans to take the next step and open an independent university and to name it after Nikolay Yadrintsev, the 19th century oblastnik and author of Siberia as a Colony.

            In an interview with the Groza news agency, Chernyshov says he expects to get a license and begin operating by the fall, saying that official objections may arise but that in Russia, “the severity of laws is usually compensated for by the fact that they aren’t consistently enforced” (

            Chernyshov, who has headed the private Novosibirsk college for four years, says his new undertaking “will be the Siberian University of Free Arts and Sciences” and as such will be “the first in Russia,” an institution that will look to the future of Siberia and its people rather than to any time in the past.

            He says he plans to use both live and online lecturers and will cooperate with free universities in Eastern Europe and even further afield so as to provide what he expects to be the first contingent of 50 Siberians the best possible training for the future, one in which Siberia will be linked to a broader world.

            Whether he and the free university will succeed, of course, is very much an open question; but the fact that Chernyshov thinks he has a chance and has come up with detailed plans for such an institution suggests that more is going on below the surface beyond the ring road than many observers are inclined to credit.


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