Georgia & Ukraine launch ‘remarkable’ assault on tutorial freedom after Russian invited by Irish professor to speak about… Russia


A professor from Ireland’s Dublin City University has lambasted a “remarkable attempt to undermine academic freedom” from the embassies of Georgia and Ukraine after they complained a couple of course he teaches on the establishment.

Donnacha Ó Beacháin is an internationally-respected professor with intensive expertise instructing college students about politics within the nations that when shaped the Soviet Union. He was focused by two diplomats who claimed that his program, named ‘Russia and the post-Soviet space’, was spreading “disinformation and Russian propaganda narratives.”

Georgia and Ukraine, who each have strained relationships with Moscow, are coated within the course.

In specific, Ó Beacháin was accused of inviting a “well-known Russian propagandist” to talk. In truth, the particular person in query was Sergey Markedonov, a visiting fellow on the Washington-based suppose tank CSIS, which receives funding from the US authorities. Ó Beacháin described him as “probably the leading authority in Russia on conflicts in the Caucasus.”

As effectively as inviting Markedonov, the professor additionally identified that the course has had a visitor speaker from Ukraine, and he even requested the present Georgian ambassador to handle the scholars.

“The module is called ‘Russia and the Former Soviet Space,’ but if the Georgia/Ukraine diplomats had their way, the only view we wouldn’t get is from Russia,” Ó Beacháin wrote on Twitter.

In a letter to the embassies, the college’s president, Dáire Keogh, harassed the significance of “academic freedom” and famous that the professor had “invited guests from different backgrounds to expose students to their points of view.”

“Those invited to contribute to the module include speakers from Georgian and Ukrainian backgrounds, including former officials,” the letter stated.

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Speaking to Ireland’s state broadcaster, RTE, Ó Beacháin’s colleague John Doyle blasted the complaints as “absolutely unprecedented,” noting that there has by no means been one other concern when an embassy not solely complained to a college professor, but in addition contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs – presumably making an attempt to create a diplomatic incident.

“There are other ways to do it but to seek to intervene with the president of the university to get them to change how a course is taught and what questions students are asked to address goes well beyond the limits of the role of an ambassador in a democratic society,” he stated.

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