March 31 General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation labeled Free University as an «undesirable» organisation. According to the official statement, published on the website of the General Prosecutor’s Office, the prosecutor’s investigation proved that the University popularizes the «activity of the organisations branded extremist by the Russian state» and its professors prepare and use distinctively anti-Russian educational resources.
The representatives of the General Prosecutor’s Office consider that «the academic activity of the Free University nurtures the visceral hatred to the Russian Federation and simultaneously imposes the ultraliberal model of European democracy».
Immediately after the information about the adding of the Free University to the list of the «undesirable organisations» was published, the faculty of the University announced that it would like to suspend its activities in the former forms, but to continue to struggle for free, uncensored education. «It is truly weird that the normal European education is criminalized, while the state higher education is turned into a factory producing loyal citizens, who must not ask too many questions or think independently and have no right for the free discussion even in the University space. We will protect the right to speak freely with our students», one of the co-founders of Free University Mr. Kirill Martynov states.
However, April 2 faculty of the Free University made a decision to stop the educational activity in Russia and «to develop Free University outside of jurisdiction of the Russian Federation, concentrating on support of students and faculty, as well as on keeping up the academic connections and independent academic schools».
Free University was founded in 2020 by the group of the dismissed professors of HSE University (Moscow) as an independent academic project. On the words of its founders, the main task of the project is to create the University of a new type, where the professors will be free from any kind of administrative dictate and censorship on the part of the Russian authorities.
Pictured is Mr. Kirill Martynov, co-founder of the Free University. Photo: https://www.lsm.lv/