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The Case of Boris Sokolov

I was emailed the other day by La Russophobe, whose disagreements with this blog are robust, asking to bring attention to the case of the Russian literature professor Boris Sokolov, who appears to have lost both his position at the university as well as his columnist arrangement with Gazeta for having written a column about Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili. Sokolov had also previously been criticized for questioning a 9/11 conspiracy film being heavily shown on Russian state television. Sokolov’s firing appears to me to be a frightening barometer of the current level of intolerance in Russia for outsider opinions on the Georgia situation.

LR has translations of both coverage of the Sokolov case as well as his original column about Saakashvili that cost him his job:

Soon after the column was published, Sokolov says, the newspaper’s editor in chief Pyotr Fadeyev was fired and the text was removed from its website. The paper then informed Sokolov that it was no longer interested in carrying his work. “My colleagues all said that this occurred after the paper received a telephone call from the offices of the presidential administration.”When Sokolov did not tender his resignation, he says, on September 17th he was fired by RSSU, where he was a professor of social anthropology. “The Dean of my faculty made no attempt to hide the fact that the decision to terminate my employment was made by RSSU’s rector after several phone conversations with presidential administrative staff,” Solokov says. RSSU denies there was any political motivation behind the termination; according to Dina Tanatova, Acting Dean of the Factulty of Sociology, Sokolov voluntarily resigned because he preferred to engage in professional rather than academic work. “I very much regret his resignation,” said Tanatova.