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 27, 2019

Attack Types: Travel Restrictions

Institution(s):École des hautes études en sciences sociales

Region & Country:Europe | Russia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 27, 2019, Russian authorities denied entry to and deported French sociologist Carine Clément, who was scheduled to participate in an academic conference on protest movements.

Clément resided in Russia from 1996 to 2016 and was a researcher with the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute of Sociology. She is currently a researcher at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) in France.

Russia’s Federal Security Services (FSB) denied Clément entry into Russia upon her arrival at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport on November 27. Sources indicate that after escorting her to a separate room, FSB officers informed her of a ten-year travel ban issued on national security-related grounds. FSB officers deported Clément shortly thereafter.

Clément had arrived in Russia upon invitation to speak at the Voznessensky Center on her research conducted in France regarding the Gilets Jaunes (“Yellow Vests”) movement. Clément’s research had sought to juxtapose the Gilets Jaunes movement with other protest movements in Russia. In the months leading up to the conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin had publicly opposed the emergence of Gilets Jaunes-inspired protests in the country.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the deportation of and a travel ban issued against a scholar in an apparent effort to restrict the nonviolent exercise of the right to academic freedom — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Russia is a party. State authorities have a responsibility to protect academic freedom and not to interfere with scholar’s research, teaching, publication, and other expressive activity, so long as that activity is undertaken peacefully and responsibly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, restrictions on mobility intended to restrict academic activity undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.