Bohdan Klid: Moscow professor fired for criticizing Putin’s military action in Ukraine
Andrei Zubov, a Russian historian and political scientist, was fired from his post as professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Affairs following the publication of his article “We have seen this before” (Ėto uzhe bylo) in the daily Vedomosti.ru on March 1. In his article, Zubov compares Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to occupy the Crimea to Hitler’s decisions to annex Austria, Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland, and Lithuania’s Memel in 1938–39. Addressing his fellow countrymen, Zubov warns: “We are on the brink of the complete destruction of the system of international treaties, economic chaos, and political dictatorship.” Further, he appeals: “Friends! We need to come to our senses and stop. Our politicians are dragging our people into a terrible, horrifying misadventure. Historical experience tells us that nothing good will come of this. We should not act as the Germans did in their day, lured by the promises of Goebbels and Hitler.”
Turning to the Crimean Tatars, who make up a sizable minority on the peninsula, Zubov reminds Russians that they were forcibly deported in 1944 and not allowed to return to the Crimea until 1988. He asks rhetorically: what if the Tatars, who are also Muslims and ethnically close to the Turks, should ask for Turkish protection, or if hotheads among them were to take up arms? This could attract support from Muslim radicals worldwide, first and foremost from Russia itself, especially from the Caucasus or the Volga region.
Andrei Zubov, a leading scholar in Oriental studies and a specialist in the history of religion, also heads the Department of the History of Religions at the Russian Orthodox University of St. John the Divine. He is the author of five monographs and about 150 other publications. The article “We have seen this before” can be accessed at http://www.vedomosti.ru/opinion/news/23467291/andrej-zubov-eto-uzhe-bylo. On March 3, Zubov gave an interview to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, stating that his aim in publishing the piece was “to tell the truth and bring Russians to their senses.” He also said that he wanted “to show Ukrainians that not everyone in Russia shares Putin’s opinions; that there is also another Russia.” The text of the interview can be accessed at http://www.rferl.org/content/interview-in-crimea-putin-has-lost-his-mind/25284114.html.
Dr. Bohdan Klid, Assistant Director
Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies
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