The following is a staff translation (not from our experts, corrections welcome!) of two items from the Russian press which detail the horrific neo-Soviet persecution that is now underway against those who dare to challenge the KGB regime of Vladimir Putin.
A Professor is Fired for Writing about Saakashvili
by Olga Gorelik
September 26, 2008
Over the past month, the historian Boris Sokolov has lost his job not once but twice.
First, he was suspended from his position as an op-ed columnist for the Gazeta newspaper. Then his resignation was demanded from his other employer, the Russian State Social University (“RSSU”). Both incidents were the result of a column Sokolov wrote for Gazeta in August entitled “Did Saakashvili Win or Lose?” in which he questioned the Kremlin’s version of the events in South Ossetia.
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.
Gazeta told a similar story. “Solokov probably misunderstood me,” claimed Dmitry Balburov, a newspaper spokesman. He asserts that the Professor has simply not submitted any publication-worthy material since the piece about Georgia appeared, and that he never said the relationship had ended. Further, he claimed that the disappearance of the Georgia text from the newspaper’s website was attributable to “technical reasons” and denied that the editor-in-chief had been terminated against his will. Anonymous sources at Gazeta confirmed Solokov’s version, however.
LR: The following is the text of Sokolov’s article (after that is the Russian original). It was obtained from a comment to an article on the same topic which appeared on the Grani.ru website, authored by dissident Valeria Novodvorskaya — an article we published in English shortly after it appeared and which has now collected nearly 1,500 comments on the orginal Russian page):