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: November 24, 2017

Attack Types: Travel Restrictions

Institution(s):Institute of National Remembrance

Region & Country:Europe | Russia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 24, 2017, Dr. Henryk Glebocki, a historian from Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), who was in Russia on a research trip, was briefly detained and deported after giving a lecture that challenged the official narrative regarding Russian-Polish relations during the World War Two era.

The IPN’s focus includes preserving historical memory of losses suffered by Poland during World War Two and after. Dr. Glebocki had travelled to Russia to conduct archival research on Russian-Polish relations. According to reports, he gave a lecture in St. Petersburg University on the impact of the Stalinist purges in Poland of 1937 and 1938, and one day later, was taken into custody by Russian Federal Security Service (the FSB), held for 24 hours, and deported without a clear explanation.

It is also alleged that, prior to Dr.Glebocki’s deportation, he was denied entry into the Russian archives – access that he previously had in order to research Polish – Russian relations during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by the deportation of a scholar, in apparent retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of the right to free expression and academic freedom — conduct which is protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, to which Russia is a signatory. State authorities have a responsibility to protect academic freedom and freedom of expression and to refrain from imposing arbitrary restrictions on movement intended to limit these freedoms.