Coimbra university
Coimbra university. Image: LEOPATRIZI

Coimbra university sacks Russian studies professor

Decisions follows complaints by Ukrainians denouncing him for Russian propaganda 

The University of Coimbra has dismissed professor and director of the Centre for Russian Studies, Vladimir Pliassov, after verifying that activities of the centre “would be going beyond” the scope of teaching, reports Lusa.

“Upon verifying that the teaching activities of the Centre for Russian Studies would be going beyond that scope (exclusive teaching of Russian language and literature), the dean determined the immediate termination of the link with Professor Vladimir Pliassov,” said the University of Coimbra (UC), in a statement.

Confirmation of the dismissal was broken by the Rádio Renascença station, following accusations made by the Ukrainians Olga Filipova and Viacheslav Medvediev, who live in Coimbra, in an opinion article published in Journal de Proença, and then picked up by national dailies after SIC’s Russian expert José Milhazes referred to the story in the bi-weekly “Guerra Fria” slot that he shares with commentator and political analyst Nuno Rogeiro.

The two authors accused Vladimir Pliassov of “being the main representative in Portugal of the Russkiy Mir foundation (an institution created by Vladimir Putin and supported by the Russian government).

The two women alluded to his use of symbols associated with the invasion of Ukrainian territory – such as the ribbon of St George (a symbol banned in several countries in Eastern Europe) – as well as making available at the study centre a series of photographs making Ukraine out to be a divided country.

According to the University, the institution cut links with the Russkiy Mir foundation, “which until December 2021 supported the teaching of Russian language and culture at the Centre for Russian Studies at the Faculty of Arts” when Russia invaded Ukraine.

“In respect for the people and culture of Russia, after the cutting of that contractual link, the Centre for Russian Studies was kept in operation, with UC’s own resources, for the exclusive teaching of Russian language and literature,” it clarified.

In the same note sent to Lusa news agency, the University of Coimbra stressed that it is an “institution deeply committed to European values and in total solidarity with Ukraine in the context of Russian aggression“.

“The UC has condemned and unequivocally condemns the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. And since 24 February 2022 it has associated itself with initiatives to collect financial donations to support displaced persons and refugees from the war, made the University Stadium and its resources available to support civil society in welcoming those who arrived in Coimbra, integrated refugee students into its community to whom it gave a Portuguese language course, and strengthened ties of cooperation with the University of Lviv,” the statement continued.

This far, Lusa has not managed any kind of statement from Vladimir Pliassov.

Source material: LUSA