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Russian Sociologist Detained Pending Trial

Photo courtesy AFP

Amidst the prolonged Russian invasion of Ukraine, now entering its eighteenth month and leading to an escalating death toll, there is growing concern over the suppression of dissenting voices within Russia. On July 27, 2023, Endangered Scholars received distressing news that Boris Kagarlitsky, a prominent Kremlin critic and internationally renowned Marxist sociologist, was apprehended by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) on suspicion of "justifying terrorism" under a new, draconian article of the Criminal Code. These charges are based on Kagarlitsky's social media activity following the Crimean Kerch Bridge attack in October 2022.

Boris Kagarlitsky has a distinguished career as a professor of sociology at the Moscow Higher School of Economics and has directed the Moscow-based think tank, the Institute for Globalization Studies and Social Movements, which was unjustly labeled a 'foreign agent' by the Ministry of Justice in 2018. Refuting the charges that could result in up to seven years of imprisonment, the 65-year-old academic denies any support or justification for terrorism. As stated by his lawyer, Sergei Yerokhov, Kagarlitsky's scholarly research and political activism have always aimed to shed light on the genuine issues faced by the Russian state.

Throughout his career, Kagarlitsky has been a political dissident, enduring the status of a political prisoner in the Soviet Union from 1982 to 1983., The Russian government branded him as an agent of foreign powers in 2022. However, despite facing these accusations, Kagarlitsky has chosen to remain in Russia, continuing his research and political activities. He steadfastly advocates for peaceful and deliberative means of resistance. Nevertheless, he is currently expected to remain in detention until September 24.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide (ESW) strongly condemns the arrest and mistreatment of Boris Kagarlitsky and other academics, journalists, and civilians who have been detained for merely expressing their opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the multiple crimes against humanity committed by Russian forces. ESW urgently calls upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and individuals dedicated to the promotion and defense of human rights to protest Kagarlitsky's detention and impending sentencing. Our collective solidarity is essential in safeguarding the principles of freedom of expression and ensuring the protection of human rights.

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