Deborah Avant, ISA President; Mark Boyer, ISA Executive Director; Omar McDoom, ISA Academic Freedom Committee Chair posted on April 29, 2022 09:10
The International Studies Association (ISA) expresses alarm over the implications of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. Our worry extends to the physical safety of academic colleagues inside of Ukraine, as well as restrictions on scholarly expression regarding the war experienced by academic colleagues inside Russia.
We are deeply concerned that the war has forced many college and university faculty, staff, and students to flee Ukraine and also that institutions of higher learning have been targeted in an increasingly indiscriminate military campaign. For example, on March 2, 2022, Russian forces fired a missile that hit V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University’s Faculty of Economics, destroying the building.1 On March 6, 2022, Russian soldiers attacked the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology leaving an unspecified number of people wounded and causing significant damage to buildings.2
We are also disturbed by the chilling effect that the significant media restrictions and new criminal laws limiting freedom of opinion and association inside Russia may have on scholarly expression and activity in relation to the military invasion.3 We note the report highlighting the dismissal of colleagues who have expressed views critical of the war at the Saratov State Law Academy, the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions, the St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University, the Ural State Pedagogical University, the Adyghe State University, and the National Research University Higher School of Economics.4
ISA is the largest and most respected scholarly association in the field, counting over 7,000 members across about 120 countries. We stand in solidarity with our academic colleagues in Ukraine and Russia. On behalf of its membership, we call upon the Russian government to end its military assault on Ukrainian schools and universities and to allow our academic colleagues inside Russia to express freely their scholarly views in relation to the war. For further information about ISA’s deliberative processes on academic freedom concerns and the committee’s mandate from the Governing Council, please see: https://www.isanet.org/ISA/Governance/Committees/Academic-Freedom.
Deborah Avant, President, ISA
Mark A. Boyer, Executive Director, ISA
Omar McDoom, Chair, ISA Academic Freedom Committee
1 See the Scholars at Risk academic freedom monitoring project database. https://www.scholarsatrisk.org/report/2022-03-02-v-n-karazin-kharkiv-national-university/.
2 Idem. https://www.scholarsatrisk.org/report/2022-03-06-kharkiv-institute-of-physics-and-technology/.
3 See Amnesty International Public Statement, Russian Federation: End Censorship on Voices against the War, March 14 2022.
4 See the report of the Russian Interregional Trade Union of Higher Education Workers (in Russian) https://unisolidarity.ru/?p=8903.