- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Russia Lists Russian Historian Andrey Zubov Lecturing in Brno as Agent
Andrey Zubov, a renowned Russian historian and expert in European philosophy, religion, and Russia, has been listed as a foreign agent by the Russian Justice Ministry. Zubov, who took up a post as a guest lecturer at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, has been targeted under a new law that allows the Russian authorities to label individuals as foreign agents if they are believed to be under “foreign influence.” The law does not require any proof of financial support from abroad, making it a powerful tool to target critics of the Russian government.
Zubov has been a vocal critic of the Russian government’s policies towards Ukraine, which led to the annexation of Crimea in 2014. He was forced to leave his position at the State Institute of International Relations in Moscow in the same year, following his criticism of the Russian government’s actions. In 2019, Masaryk University offered Zubov an honorary doctorate and a position as a guest lecturer, but he declined, stating that he wished to continue working in Russia.
Zubov only accepted the position at Masaryk University last year, citing concerns for his safety in Russia. He has now been listed as a foreign agent by the Russian authorities, who accuse him of spreading false information about Russian authorities and materials of other foreign agents. The listing subjects Zubov to strict control by the Russian government.
Zubov has responded to the listing by calling it an “absurd decision of criminal gangs” and stating that he has a full right and even a duty as a Russian citizen and politician to criticize and condemn the individuals who have seized power in his country. He also asserts that he has a full right to work at any university in the world to which he was invited and that is willing to listen to his lectures, especially after the authorities in his homeland stripped him of this opportunity in 2014.
Zubov plans to file a criminal complaint against the Russian Justice Ministry through his trusted lawyer Mikhail Biryukov in response to being listed as a foreign agent. The case highlights the Russian government’s increasing use of laws that stifle dissent and criticism, not only within the country but also abroad. It also underscores the importance of protecting academic freedom and the ability of scholars to engage in research and teaching without fear of reprisals or censorship. The international community should condemn this and other similar actions by the Russian government, which undermine democratic values and human rights.
Article by Prague Forum