UERA’s protest note against the Appeal of the Russian Council of Rectors

While Russian troops continue their barbaric aggression against Ukraine, Russian educational institutions support Putin's murderous regime and justify his criminal actions in every possible way.

Since 1st March, special lessons have been held in Russian schools in which Russian schoolchildren are taught about the Russian-Ukrainian "special operation" and the events that led to it in the Kremlin's official hypocritical interpretation. Meanwhile, Russian invaders have already destroyed more than 200 Ukrainian schools and its number is constantly growing. Moreover, in violation of the Geneva Convention and the laws of warfare, Russian-terrorist troops are destroying our cities, striking residential buildings, schools, hospitals, maternity hospitals and other civilian facilities, shelling civilians and blocking the evacuation of civilians with green corridors.

We would also like to inform you that on 4th March an open Appeal of the Council of Rectors of Russia in support of Putin's course was published.

In this appeal, the rectors of Russian universities cynically explain current events as "Russia's decision... to demilitarise and denationalise Ukraine and thereby insulate itself from growing military threats".

The rectors do not cynically justify unprovoked aggression against a peaceful independent country, they also call for support for the Russian government in its current war against Ukraine:

"In these days it is important to support our country, our army, which defends our security, to support our president, who has perhaps made the hardest, hard-won but necessary decision of his life".

The following quote is an excellent example of a completely warped understanding of the role of universities in the poisoned minds of an authoritarian society:

"Universities have always been the backbone of the state. Our priority is to serve Russia and develop its intellectual potential. Now more than ever, we must demonstrate confidence and resilience in the face of economic and information attacks, effectively rallying around our President by our example, fostering an optimistic spirit and faith in the power of the mind among young people, inspiring hope for a sooner peace".

In a free world, the very idea of the University is based on freedom of thought, critical thinking, creativity and an impartial scientific approach, free from the pressures of power.

In Russia, being the clearest reflection of a totalitarian world, universities and the entire educational system are merely obedient tools of the authoritarian regime and its propaganda.

The appeal of the Russian Council of Rectors ends with the words: "Together we are a great power!"

These words reflect their way of thinking, which puts the law of force above the force of law, which means that power is only fear and attempts to intimidate everyone.

But we are not afraid. Neither should you be afraid. At the same time, we must stand together against the aggressive evil that is now destroying Ukraine, killing our people and threatening the entire civilized world.

What the international community can do:

- Spread the truth about Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its crimes against humanity (https://war.ukraine.ua

- Lobby for action to support Ukraine in all dimensions - economic, humanitarian, political and military;

- Lobby for further international sanctions against the Russian Federation and Belarus;

- Call on other governments to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine; inaction could lead to Putin's nuclear blackmail of the entire world.

We rely on your firm stance and impartial vision of the situation that threatens humanity. Do not wait until it is too late.

The letter