Sept. 19, 2011 avtonom.org
We call on concerned academics around the world to sign the petition to Administration of Tyumen State University and Russian higher education authorities.
Andrey Kutuzov is a Russian anarchist academic who has been teaching linguistics at Tyumen State University (Western Siberia). He is also an activist and participant in grassroots movements. 7 September 2011 Andrey was dismissed by Gennady Chebotarev, the rector of the University. We believe that Andrey was dismissed because of pressure from the local authorities on the university administration. The official reason for the dismissal was declared “committing an immoral deed” referring to the recent case of repression for his political activities.
In the last few years the local Centre of counteraction to extremism (in fact political police) was paying close attention to the activities of local social movements. The first attempt to frame Andrey and his comrades with “extremism” in 2009 failed. But several months ago Andrey Kutuzov was found guilty in “spreading extremist leaflets” and convicted to 2 years suspended, even though it was obvious that the case was forged by Federal Security Service (ex-KGB). During the trial substantial proof was provided that the leaflets were falsified. The whole case abounds in terrible violations of law and logic. They are reported in great detail in Russian here: http://golosa.info/kutuzov.
The case is also described in the book “The Thought Police: Authorities, Experts and Anti-Extremism Campaign in Contemporary Russia”, as an another example of political repression (co-authored by Alek D. Epstein and Oleg Vasiliev (Moscow, 2011), pp. 87-104).
But even under the pressure of state agencies the court did not prohibit Andrey to teach as was demanded by the prosecutor. Perhaps, it was because of strong support from his colleagues and academic community in general. In March 2011, scholars and students from the Department of translation studies (where Andrey worked) signed a public letter (in Russian: http://golosa.info/node/4887), in which they questioned the impartiality and independence of the court. They described Andrey as a prominent scholar and a talented lecturer. According to them, Andrey never imposed his views on anybody or used his academic status for non-professional purposes. The local academic community does not think Andrey is guilty and believes that the case has been forged because of his political activities.
We demand to reinstate Andrey because we believe this dismissal to be illegal and to severely violate principles of academic freedom.