Open Letter from Russian-Speaking Academic Diaspora

The ongo­ing Russian inva­sion of Ukraine has led to a major human­i­tar­i­an cri­sis. At the time of this writ­ing, March 19, 2022, more than 3 mil­lion Ukrainians, includ­ing 1 mil­lion chil­dren, have fled to neigh­bor­ing coun­tries to escape the war. The Ukrainian peo­ple are under direct attack, and they need our imme­di­ate support!

Russian cit­i­zens who oppose the war are sub­ject to arrest and per­se­cu­tion; over two hun­dred thou­sand of them are esti­mat­ed to have already left their coun­try. At the same time, many cit­i­zens of Belarus have left their own coun­try for sim­i­lar reasons.

The war has inflict­ed immea­sur­able pain on the schol­ar­ly com­mu­ni­ty in Ukraine and dev­as­ta­tion on the Russian and Belarusian academia.

Support dis­placed Ukrainian stu­dents and scholars

In addi­tion to offer­ing moral sup­port to our Ukrainian col­leagues, we strive to pro­vide them with access to lab­o­ra­to­ries and research cen­ters across the globe. Some mem­bers of the inter­na­tion­al aca­d­e­m­ic com­mu­ni­ty have pledged their sup­port by offer­ing to host Ukrainian col­leagues in their research facil­i­ties across North America and in oth­er coun­tries. The Russian aca­d­e­m­ic dias­po­ra has joined this effort, but more should be done. By sup­port­ing the careers of dis­placed stu­dents and schol­ars, we can take a tan­gi­ble part in pro­mot­ing the rapid rebuild­ing of post-war Ukraine and mit­i­gat­ing the socio-eco­nom­ic impli­ca­tions of this war.

Emergency fund­ing is need­ed to enable par­tic­i­pat­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries and research cen­ters across the EU, US, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and oth­er coun­tries to pro­vide on-site and remote train­ing and job oppor­tu­ni­ties for dis­placed stu­dents and schol­ars from Ukraine. Some have been dis­placed, togeth­er with their depen­dents and close rel­a­tives, young and old, and we need imme­di­ate solu­tions to keep their fam­i­lies togeth­er. Concerted efforts should be made with­out delay to cre­ate short and long-term fel­low­ships and to pro­vide visa sup­port, rapid immi­gra­tion pro­ce­dures, and trav­el assistance.

Support Russian and Belarusian stu­dents and scholars

We need to dis­tin­guish between the sanc­tions on the Russian gov­ern­ment and how we treat Russian stu­dents and schol­ars who oppose the war. The war in Ukraine is Putin’s war, not theirs. People in the sci­ences and the human­i­ties have con­sis­tent­ly opposed Putin’s regime in mul­ti­ple ways since long before the cur­rent events and have tak­en a brave stance against the war. Anti-war pro­test­ers in Russia, most­ly young pro­fes­sion­als, are being arrest­ed and can be impris­oned for up to 15 years under a recent­ly enact­ed Russian law.

With the grow­ing sup­pres­sion of free speech by the Russian gov­ern­ment, on the one hand, and the neg­a­tive impact of Western sanc­tions, on the oth­er, the anti-war Russian stu­dents and schol­ars are in dou­ble jeop­ardy. They are at risk of inter­na­tion­al iso­la­tion and increased state per­se­cu­tion, espe­cial­ly in face of mas­sive inter­net shut­downs and the tight­en­ing stran­gle­hold on infor­ma­tion. The same applies to Belarusian schol­ars suf­fer­ing under the Lukashenko regime.

Some of these schol­ars remain in their coun­tries; oth­ers have cho­sen to flee. We strong­ly encour­age all our col­leagues to keep their indi­vid­ual con­nec­tions and sup­port Russian and Belarusian pro­fes­sion­als who oppose the war but can­not leave the coun­try for var­i­ous rea­sons. As for those flee­ing Russia and Belarus in fear of state per­se­cu­tion, they qual­i­fy for refugee sta­tus and need sup­port from acad­eme and governments.

We call on the inter­na­tion­al aca­d­e­m­ic com­mu­ni­ty to com­mit our time and effort to sup­port Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarussian schol­ars affect­ed by this war. Together we must help those in need to con­tin­ue their work and edu­ca­tion and ulti­mate­ly build a bet­ter future for their coun­tries and humankind.

  1. Natalia Berloff, math­e­mati­cian, University of Cambridge, UK
  2. Alexandra Boltasseva, elec­tri­cal engi­neer, Purdue University, USA
  3. Mark Borodovsky, com­pu­ta­tion­al biol­o­gist, Georgia Tech, USA
  4. Tatiana Bronich, chemist, Northeastern University, USA
  5. Dmitry Bykov, writer, Cornell University, USA
  6. Maria Chekhova, physi­cist, Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Germany
  7. Leonid Chernomordik, biol­o­gist, National Institutes of Health, USA
  8. Alexander Dizhoor, neu­ro­sci­en­tist, Salus University, USA
  9. Irina Dubinina, Slavic schol­ar, Brandeis University, USA
  10. Igor Efimov, bio­physi­cist, George Washington University, USA
  11. Sergei Erofeev, soci­ol­o­gist, Rutgers University, USA, Polish Institute of Advanced Studies, Poland
  12. Pavel Etingof, math­e­mati­cian, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  13. Alexander Etkind, his­to­ri­an, European University, Italy
  14. Mikhail Epstein, cul­tur­al schol­ar, Emory University, USA
  15. Valery Fokin, chemist, University of Southern California
  16. Andre Geim, physi­cist, University of Manchester, UK
  17. Vadim Gladyshev, bio­chemist, Harvard University, USA
  18. Yury Gogotsi, mate­ri­als sci­en­tist, Drexel University, USA
  19. Dmitry Gordenin, geneti­cist, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH
  20. Andrei Gudkov, oncol­o­gy researcher, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, USA
  21. Sergei Guriev, econ­o­mist, Sciences Po, Paris, France
  22. Olga Gursky, bio­physi­cist, Boston University School of Medicine, USA
  23. Oleg Itskhoki, econ­o­mist, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  24. Misha Ivanov, physi­cist, Max-Born Institute and Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
  25. Alexander Kabanov, chemist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  26. Mikhail Kats, applied physi­cist, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
  27. Mikhail Katsnelson, physi­cist, Radboud University, Netherlands
  28. Eugene Koonin, biol­o­gist, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, USA
  29. Dmitry Korkin, com­pu­ta­tion­al biol­o­gist, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA
  30. Igor Kramnik, immu­nol­o­gist, Boston University, USA
  31. Alex Krasnok, physi­cist, Florida International University, USA
  32. Anna Krichevsky, neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gist, Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, USA
  33. Andrei Linde, physi­cist, Stanford University, USA
  34. Mark Lipovetsky, philol­o­gist, Columbia University, USA
  35. Natalia Litchinitser, physi­cist, Duke University, USA
  36. Olga Matich, philol­o­gist, University of California Berkeley, USA
  37. Ruslan Medzhitov, immu­nol­o­gist, Yale University, USA
  38. Igor Mel’čuk, lin­guist, Universite Quebec a Montreal, Canada
  39. Slava Mukhanov, physi­cist, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany
  40. Dmitry Murzin, chem­i­cal engi­neer, Abo Akademi University, Finland
  41. Mikhail Nikiforov, mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gist, Duke University, USA
  42. Konstantin Novoselov, physi­cist, National University of Singapore, USA
  43. Dmitri Orlov, aero­space engi­neer, University of California San Diego, USA
  44. Vadim Paperny, artist, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  45. Alexej Pashkin, physi­cist, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany
  46. Pavel Pevzner, com­pu­ta­tion­al biol­o­gist, University of California, San Diego, USA
  47. Maria Polinsky, lin­guist, University of Maryland, USA
  48. Irina Rish, com­put­er sci­en­tist, University of Montreal, and Mila – Quebec AI Institute, Canada
  49. Alexander Rudensky, immu­nol­o­gist, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, USA
  50. Roald Sagdeev, physi­cist, University of Maryland, USA
  51. Irina Sekerina, cog­ni­tive sci­en­tist, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA
  52. Denis Seletskiy, physi­cist, Polytechnique Montréal, Canada
  53. Vladimir Shalaev, physi­cist, Purdue University, USA
  54. Dmitri N. Shalin, soci­ol­o­gist, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA
  55. Stanislav Shvabrin, slav­ist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  56. Olga Smirnova, physi­cist, Max-Born Institute and Technical University, Berlin, Germany
  57. Konstantin Sonin, econ­o­mist, University of Chicago, USA
  58. Svetlana Sukhishvili, mate­ri­als sci­en­tist, Texas A&M University, USA
  59. Shamil Sunyaev, geneti­cist, Harvard University, USA
  60. Tatiana Tatarinova, com­pu­ta­tion­al biol­o­gist, University of La Verne, USA
  61. Vasily Temnov, physi­cist, CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique, France
  62. Dmitry Turchinovich, physi­cist, Bielefeld University, Germany
  63. Lyubov Titova, physi­cist, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA
  64. Alexander Tropsha, com­pu­ta­tion­al chemist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  65. Vitaly Vanchurin, physi­cist, National Institutes of Health, USA
  66. Efim Zelmanov, math­e­mati­cian, University of California, San Diego, USA
  67. Ariel Zhitnitsky, physi­cist, University of British Columbia, Canada
  68. Alexander Zholkovsky, philol­o­gist, University of Southern California, USA
  69. Andrei Zorin, Cultural Historian, University of Oxford, UK

All sig­na­to­ries signed as pri­vate individuals

A par­tial list of pri­or state­ments of Russian-speak­ing schol­ars against the war in Ukraine

● An open let­ter of Russian sci­en­tists and sci­ence jour­nal­ists against the war in Ukraine (pub­lished 02/​24/​2022, over 8000 signatories)


● Stop the war! A dec­la­ra­tion of the Russian-speak­ing aca­d­e­m­ic dias­po­ra (pub­lished 02/​25/​2022, over 500 sig­na­to­ries) docs.google.com/document/d/16kHjs3nwWM4Qb_c0OAZbNb6cH74cwaWDvuOzi7gzwXs/mobilebasic

● Community of the Moscow State University against the war (over 7000 alum­ni, stu­dents & fac­ul­ty sig­na­to­ries, names now hid­den because of retal­i­a­tion) msualumniagainstwar.notion.site/0378ab0a0719486181781e8e2b360180

● An open let­ter from stu­dents-mem­bers of the list “Talents of Russia” of the Presidential Fund “Talent and Success” to the President of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1kH4Z9KhsGSax1Xa8IQ2rB5uqCrp_h7t63W1_ZwLoKUc/mobilebasic

● Health Scientists From the Former USSR Working in the United Stated Call to Stop Russia’s Criminal War Against Ukraine sciprotest.com