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: December 27, 2022

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

Region & Country:Europe | Russia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On December 27, 2022, the Institute of Social Sciences at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) fired Yulia Galyamina, an activist, politician, and professor in the Department of the Theory and Practice of Media Communications. Her firing was apparently motivated by Galyamina’s designation as a “foreign agent.”

After Galyamina challenged her dismissal, the Koptevsky District Court of Moscow ruled in August 2023 that she be reinstated at RANEPA, as well as receive 115,000 rubles in compensation for the illegal dismissal. The day after her reinstatement, RANEPA fired Galyamina again citing her status as a “foreign agent.”

The Russian government originally declared Galyamina a “foreign agent” in early September 2022, apparently because she had violated a law on public events by attempting to organize an anti-war protest—an action for which she had earlier served 30 days in jail in March 2022.

A new foreign agent law that bans “foreign agents from carrying out educational or pedagogical activities in state organization,” was signed into effect on December 1, 2022, prompting Galyamina’s firing.

Prior to taking a position at RANEPA, Galyamina was a municipal deputy of the Timiryazevsky district in Moscow for the Yabloko party, a liberal opposition party, between 2017 and 2021. She was terminated from her position as municipal deputy for her political organizing, including her organization of the all-Russian “No” campaign in January 2020, which protested the vote on amendments to the Constitution.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the dismissal of a professor based on political considerations and about the denial of due process in that dismissal. Higher education institutions should respect and safeguard academic freedom and institutional autonomy, including by refraining from appointments or disciplinary actions based on political or ideological considerations. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, a politically-motivated dismissal of a scholar undermines academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.