Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

“The new stage… the stage of totalitarianism”

Shutting down an entire university due to breaches of fire regulations would sound a little harsh at the best of times.

When the university in question is St Petersburg’s European University, however, suspicions are naturally raised – not least thanks to numerous EU-funded courses, including one on election monitoring. We are, lest we forget, just a few short weeks before Russia’s controversial presidential elections.

Little wonder, then, that some among Russia’s isolated opposition are digging out the colourful rhetoric:

Maxim Reznik, the head of the St. Petersburg branch of Russia’s liberal Yabloko faction, said the real reason for the order was an election monitoring course funded by the European Union.

“No doubt, it’s about politics,” Reznik said. “Fire inspections is just an excuse. It’s another example that the authoritarian regime is going to the new stage, to the stage of totalitarianism.”

The suspension of the university’s activities comes amid tensions between Moscow and the West over Russia’s March 2 presidential elections. An election monitoring arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has refused to send observers to the vote because of restrictions on their activities — an announcement likely to strengthen Western concerns about democracy in Russia.

When the university’s closure comes the very same day that Moscow announces it will maintain favourable gas prices for the pro-Russian dictatorship in Belarus while threatening to cut off supplies to the EU-leaning Ukraine, it’s very hard not to see the university’s closure as part of a coordinated campaign designed to tell Ukraine to look east, not west if it knows what’s good for it…

Update: Ahem… BBC News – Russia in Ukraine missile threat

3 Comments

  1. Russia is becoming fast the newest victim of the oil curse

    through the windfall of high gas and oil prices russia is swimming in money, this reduces the pressure on actual reforms and greatly supports authoritarian leaders who retain strict control of the oilwealth

    russia is once more heading into selfdestruction, russian economy might be growing in real terms but if you exclude the oilbusiness and those who profit indirectly from the oilwealthy (luxury goods etc) you can see that russian business is deteriorating

    one only has to look at russian exports for this to become clear

    It pains me to see russia like this once more, the russian peole deserve better.

    I liken russia to an exjunkie who has found a new drug , he is feeling awesome and he says its different this time. The withdrawal will come again at some point and it wont be pretty.

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