Oct 18, 2020
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Moscow Prosecutor’s Office will check the Russian Academy of Civil Service and its students for extremism

The Nikulinskaya prosecutor's office in Moscow demanded that the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) provide information on cooperation with foreign NGOs and on countering extremism within the framework of "checking the implementation of legislation by scientific and educational organizations." The order, signed by the rector Vladimir Mau, is published on the website of the University Solidarity trade union.

The prosecutor's office, in particular, requested information on how the university counteracts extremism. According to the document, the RANEPA should provide information on activities aimed at "inciting ethnic separatism in the border regions of Russia and national republics", "interference in electoral processes (training election observers, using teachers, student students for election campaigning, monitoring elections)" , "discrediting the country's leadership and its domestic and foreign policy", "shaping public opinion about the need to change the government in Russia and creating conditions for destabilizing the socio-political situation, escalating protest moods in society", "ideological indoctrination of Russians, especially young people , and the creation in this environment of pro-American groups of influence that can be used by foreign international non-governmental organizations "," interference in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation "," the acquisition of positions of influence in government bodies in order to change the fed eral and regional legislation "," falsification of world and Russian history to achieve the geopolitical interests of anti-Russian forces "and" destruction of traditional Russian spiritual and moral values. "

In addition, the prosecutor's office demanded that the university report on students who participated in the protests, as well as those who took part in programs for further education in other countries or work outside Russia. Among the information that the university must provide, there is also information about its participation in the implementation of NGO programs "which represent (may pose) a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation", about the activities of organizations recognized as "undesirable" in Russia and about what sources foreign funding, the university sends the money. According to the document, the verification period lasts from 2018 to the first half of 2020, the prosecutor's office expects data "with the attachment of completed copies of documents confirming the relevant conclusions."

Pavel Kudyukin, co-chairman of University Solidarity, told Novaya Gazeta that it is not yet known whether the prosecutor's office is conducting checks in other higher educational institutions. “Of course, good work of competent lawyers is needed to point out the illegality of a significant part of the questions asked, and the political will, courage of the university administration, if any, appears,” he said. The RANEPA press service did not respond to Novaya Gazeta's request.

It is possible that the prosecutor's office became interested in the political sympathies of the students after the case of the HSE student Yegor Zhukov, who was one of the defendants in the notorious "Moscow case". On August 30, Zhukov said that he was expelled from the master's program at the HSE School of Design immediately after entering the "Art of Cinema: Directing and Drama" profile, although he managed not only to sign a training contract, but also to pay for it. He entered the course with the highest score. However, an hour and a half after receiving the letter about the conclusion of the contract, a new letter came to Zhukov's mail, in which it was reported about the termination of the contract.

Soon he received a telegram from a woman who introduced herself as an employee of the selection committee, but wished to remain anonymous, fearing dismissal. She said that Zhukov's contract was "disposed of by orders from above." Having contacted his own source in the HSE leadership, the activist learned that the leadership "was unpleasantly surprised" upon learning about his enrollment in the master's program.

According to Zhukov, immediately after his verdict in the "Moscow case," the HSE curators "either from the Presidential Administration or the FSB" demanded not to take him to the magistracy, "otherwise there will be consequences." As a result, HSE simply closed the Art of Cinema profile. "This forced decision of the university is due to the fact that the creative team of teachers, which we counted on as the core of the profile, will not be able to join the team of the School of Design due to circumstances beyond the university's control," the university's website says.

In particular, director Vladimir Mirzoev abruptly left the post of the course curator. In correspondence with Zhukov's press secretary, Mirzoyev said that "force majeure circumstances" intervened in the story and expressed regret that he would not be able to work with the activist. Subsequently, Zhukov received a call from the Higher School of Economics and was offered to either take the money or pass a new interview for another profile. As a result, the activist decided to return the money.

The head of the School of Design Arseny Meshcheryakov said that Zhukov's publication about his expulsion "does not correspond to reality." "After the disbandment of the specialization, which Zhukov was applying for on a commercial basis, he, like the other nine applicants who had passed the selection, were offered to move to other specializations. Zhukov refused the offer from the School of Design and preferred to pick up the documents," Meshcheryakov said.

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