On Saturday, 1 March 2014 Andrei Borisovich Zubov, a Professor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) linked to the diplomatic service, wrote a column in the respected Vedomosti newspaper on Saturday comparing Putin’s potential annexation of Crimea with the Anschluss of Austria and Nazi Germany in 1938. The following Tuesday, he said the university had fired him for the comparison.
It seems to me that Prof. Zubov was too effective at this experiment in free speech and democracy, having accused the Russian government of fascism, and then being sacked indirectly by the Kremlin for the comment, thereby proving the de facto dictatorship of Putin: Having lost his chair he stated that he felt sympathy for MGIMO’s management because many staff probably agreed with his assessments in the article. “These are very smart and understanding people. But they have received instructions from the authorities … their situation is worse than mine”. He was also reported by the Russian New Times as saying “I am afraid, but there are situations in which you have to act, regardless of your own fear”. (Source of quote)
The events of the last few weeks, Russia’s war by stealth, the propaganda and the consequences of stirring up national fervour in Russia have brought the professor’s words into perspective. Zubov deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.