On May 19, 2023, police raided a student residence at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur State Technical University, injuring around 100 Tajik students. Fifteen students reportedly received serious injuries.
According to the students, the Russian riot police, Special Purpose Police Unit (OMON), and the Federal Forces Service (FSB), entered a dormitory at the university without warning and without questioning. The forces then interrogated and reportedly used force against over 100 Tajik students in the dorm, seriously injuring 15 of them. Russian authorities later explained that the security forces had entered the dorm to address an alleged conflict between the students and immigration authorities. On May 23, university president, Eduard Dmitriyev, called the raid an “immigration inspection” that was related to a member of the university community who had been accused of financing a terrorist group.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of arbitrary violence and interrogation by state security forces of students for unknown reasons. Both state and university authorities have an obligation to employ transparent, fair processes when engaging in disciplinary action and to refrain from intimidatory actions that may chill the exercise of academic freedom and freedom of association. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, such use of violence undermines academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)