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15 February 2008 @ 11:53 pm
Артемий Магун высказал свою точку зрения на ситуацию вокруг ЕУСПб  

Из письма коллегам (в том числе западным):
Dear friends,
Many of you have been asking me of what's going on with the European
University at Saint-Petersburg.
I decided to write to all of you in English, and explain the
present situation.
As you know, the University is under an attack analogous to the
one launched by Lukashenko in 2004 against the European Humanities
University in Minsk. The "fire guards" closed the building for three
months - a scheme typical of the "raids" of property capture in the
post-Soviet Russia. In our case, this raid comes after months of legal
claims against the University, because of a project of the electoral
monitoring that was paid by the European Union, and run by our University.
This move is a part of an anti-Western offensive of Putain's
administration (along with the closing of the British Council).
Our current rulers are convinced that all the Western support is
self-interested, and all Western-paid people are agents of Western
influence. However, they do not close the collaboration with the West in
business and technology. They know this would be suicidal for their
capitalist oligarchy. However, they are ready to close the collaboration
in social science and culture. They took the line towards the further
marginalization and destruction of intelligentsia, the further national
isolation of the state-run academia (where the quoting of international
literature and international publishing is by now minimal), and the
imposition of a nationalist (but American in its style) mass culture, at
the expense of all other cultural forms.
This is a policy entirely new for Russia historically, and if it
succeeds, it will have disastrous results for the future of its people.
The are negotiations about the destiny of the University now under
way, and the chances to save the University still exist. This is why we
have not been leading a full scale campaign, so far. The things should
be more certain on Monday, when a new court decision will be announced.
However, we do ask all of you, already now, for public support,
mainly of a "positive" character (underlining the professional
strength of the University, its social role, etc.).
At this moment, the irony is that a political support from Europe
and US, if not a threat of economic sanctions ( :-) ),
would rather harm us, because the ground of attack is precisely the fact
that we are an agent of Western influence. (This does not
mean that we ask the Western colleagues to abstain from support, we just
warn them of the probable futility of it). The only measure of support
that could help at this moment would be calm letters underlining the
academic importance of the EU SPb. No mention of politics should be made
in though. This recommendation would change, of course, if the situation
becomes more definitely negative.
In truth, the University is indeed an agent of Western influence,
and it is true that the Western influence in Russia is far from being
always disinterested, but:
- Russia needs some Western influence if it wants to successfully
compete with Western countries in economy, culture, and influence
- The character of support of the Western charity funds for an
educational institution is not direct influence; in fact,
it creates an academic autonomy larger than in any institution in a home
country (USA or Russia).
- As such an enclave, the University is a unique space of intellectual
creativity which freely combines Western and Russian perspectives.
This said, I think the situation shows that an uncritical
liberal, or even neo-liberal, stance of many of my colleagues (who
think that social science is "objective", who practice a normalizing
social research of the everyday life, and who mainly orient the
university to business which is, in their view, the main modernizing
agent of Russia) proves inadequate. If even such politically conformist,
albeit liberal, universities as the EU are ultimately closed, social and
human scientists should take a more firm political, democratic stance,
elaborate a critical theory that would aim at both the Western and the
Russian socio-political systems, and help educate politically active
subjects, capable of solidarity.
We know that in countries like France, and other European countries,
universities come under pressure, too - for
other reasons (need to earn money) but with the same effect of losing
the academic autonomy and replacing universalistic thought
by ideology.
Against this, we should not only defend the existing
institutions, but think how to create new, better ones.
I'll keep you posted,
My very best wishes,
Artemy Magun

(Anonymous) on February 16th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
Ты мне прямо скажи: чё те надо, чё те надо? Может дам, может дам, чё ты хош...