After Russia began its large-scale invasion of Ukraine, not only independent journalists and young people fleeing mobilization have begun to leave Russia, but scientists as well.
The publication Project established the names of 28 prominent scientists and professors from leading universities who left Russia after the war began. Among them are specialists of world renown, winners of numerous awards: academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), president of the Moscow Mathematical Society Victor Vasilyev, corresponding member of RAS, astrophysicist Yuri Kovalyov, professors of RAS astrophysicist Sergey Popov and biologist Alexander Markov.
The total number of scientists who left is much larger. Only the organization Scholars at Risk took 200 people out of Russia, and 62 more scientists were helped to leave by the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. And there are now more than six thousand people in Telegram chats for scientists in need of relocation, Project notes.
“Entire scientific fields have stopped; research simply isn’t happening. We’ve been set back years,” RAS professor Sergei Popov told the publication. In February 2022, he signed an open letter against the war, and a few months later he left Russia.
According to The Project, no one persuaded scientists to stay; on the contrary, scientific and educational organizations were squeezing out highly qualified specialists themselves, including through informants and spy mania.
For example, historian Konstantin Pakhalyuk, who made no secret of his anti-war stance, was forced to resign as deputy director of the Science Department of the Russian Military Historical Society (RVIO). In mid-March, he was summoned to the presidential administration, where he was accused of having ties to Israeli intelligence, the newspaper said, citing Pakhalyuk himself.
The Project established the names of 20 professors from leading universities who spoke out against the war and were fired.
At the same time, former Higher School of Economics professor Konstantin Sonin estimated that at least 150 teachers had left the university. The Institute for Humanitarian Historical and Theoretical Research, a division of the Higher School of Economics alone, saw 60 percent of its staff resign.
Often universities not only dismiss teachers but also reduce the entire departments and university programs, and editors of scientific journals remove the authorship of scientists who left in the published articles, the publication notes.