Independent Levada Centre branded "foreign agent"
Eurozine partner Osteuropa is spearheading an appeal for solidarity with the Levada Centre, led by sociologist and Eurozine contributor Lev Gudkov. The Moscow-based centre, an independent opinion research agency, has received a warning from Savelov Interdistrict Prosecutor's Office claiming that the publication of sociological survey results represents a form of political, rather than scientific activity.
Gudkov states that the Russian authorities' attempt to defame the Levada Centre as a "foreign agent", owing to its receipt of "funding from abroad", puts the centre "in an extremely difficult situation, basically forcing it to stop its work as an independent sociological research organization conducting regular public opinion polls in Russia."
"This attack on the Levada Centre marks the start of a new phase in the political efforts to intimidate and to destroy those forces of Russian civil society that the state finds unacceptable. Since March 2013, around 600 non-governmental organizations have been subjected to reviews by the prosecutor's office. Their stigmatization as 'foreign agents' is a form of propaganda that is rooted in Stalinism and that the Soviet secret police used against human rights activists and dissidents."
Eurozine has signed the online petition protesting this attack on academic freedom. For details of how to sign, along with a statement from Lev Gudkov and the prosecutor's warning in full, please see the Osteuropa website.
Sign the petition!
Original in English