SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: February 21, 2014

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Institution(s):Institute of Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Region & Country:Europe | Russia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

Dr. Victor Vasyliev, chief researcher of the Institute of Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, president of the Moscow Mathematical Society, and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences was arrested on February 21, 2014, at a non-violent protest in support of the convicted defendants in the Bolotnaya Square case (in which some 400 protesters were detained, dozens of whom were charged with causing mass disorder, physically assaulting police officers and disobeying police instructions).
On March 5, a criminal court in Moscow convicted Professor Vasyliev of shouting slogans and resisting arrest, imposing a fine of 10,000 rubles.  Professor Vasyliev has denied both charges; several eyewitnesses confirmed that the charges against him were false. 

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the detention and prosecution of a scholar in apparent retaliation for nonviolent, expressive activity. State authorities have a responsibility not to interfere with scholars’ expressive activity, so long as that activity is undertaken peacefully and responsibly. Detention and prosecution aimed at limiting such expressive activity undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.