Publish and Perish: Russian History Professor Tests Dictatorship Theory On Himself . . . Putin Proves Him Correct

220px-A-ZubovIt is not unknown for medical researchers in history to make themselves a test subject to avoid endangering others in their experimental treatments or medicines. Russian history professor Andrei Zubov took the same approach recently with his own field. As with many intellectuals in Russia, Zubov was convinced that Vladimir Putin has long worked to reestablish a dictatorship in Russia. He decided to put this theory to the test by writing an article comparing Putin to Hitler. The experiment was successful in a curious way. Zubov was immediately fired for the “immoral act” to criticizing the supreme leader.

Zubov wrote about an analogy discussed on this blog: Putin’s annexation of Crimea and the annexation of Sudetenland by Adolph Hitler. His op-ed entitled “This Has Already Happened,” had a subheadline stating “We are on the verge of complete destruction of the system of international treaties, economic chaos and political dictatorship.”

Zubov reminds all of us in teaching of the honor and the obligation that comes with our positions as academics. He is an inspiration to those committed to seeking and telling the truth as they see it. Conversely, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations has proven itself to be an outcast in the academic world with this action.

Zubov was promptly summoned to the university’s personnel office at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, where he was fired without a word of explanation from the administrators. He just received a letter saying that his op-ed was immoral. Zubov, 62, is now out of a job but his theory was proven correct.

The letter cited Point 8, Article 81 of the state labor code that prohibits the “commission of immoral act(s) incompatible with the continuation of work.” This regulation usually serves to justify dismissals for substance abuse or sexual harassment.

In Zubov’s case, Point 8 , Article 81 was applied to his writing of an op-ed piece which had been published in Vedomosti, Russia’s most respected daily paper, March 1.

225px-Vladimir_Putin_official_portrait230px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-S33882,_Adolf_Hitler_retouchedThe piece was actually quite balanced with a recognition of the wishes of the people of Crimea but warned that Russia will have lost the people of Ukraine forever. They will never forgive Russia for the annexation.
He called on his fellow Russian to put an end “to this insane and . . . completely unnecessary aggression.”

The university called the article “irresponsible criticism on the actions of the state, thus causing damage to the teaching and educational process.” Of course, the first individuals targeted by the Nazi regime were intellectuals who were thrown off faculties and institutes in Germany. Putin’s people seem to miss that particularly irony in their response to this article.

Here is my question for fellow academics. It seems to me that there should be a counterpart to the diplomatic ban on certain government officials for academic officials engaging in this type of abuse. Why shouldn’t the faculty and administrators responsible for this abuse be publicly named and universities agree to ban them from visits or academic conferences. They are not being banned for their ideas but their actions to censor or silence intellectuals. They are denying the most basic commitment to academia and should be treated as outcasts. In the meantime, someone needs to give Zubov a job.

Source: Guardian

29 thoughts on “Publish and Perish: Russian History Professor Tests Dictatorship Theory On Himself . . . Putin Proves Him Correct

  1. Dictators are very weak people. They only surround themselves with sycophants and lackeys. Putin is no exception.

    Although I do not agree that this action makes Putin comparable to Hitler, I cannot see how expressing and arguing this position is immoral.

    The world’s powerful are truly some of the most pusillanimous humankind has endured. No wonder everything is SNAFU.

  2. While I think the comparison with Hitler is more than a little overblown, at first blush I would have to agree that his firing is unwarranted. Unfortunately, I did not read his op-ed article so I cannot judge it or the subsequent actions.

    We had a similar situation in the US with Ward Churchill. I think that he was properly fired, not for his opinion about 9/11, but for his academic fraud, and misconduct in his papers, and misrepresentations about his own background. I was flying out of DEN at the time, and I informed my chief pilot, the FAA, and TSA that if I saw him trying to board my aircraft, I would not allow him on the aircraft because of his writings on 9/11 since he constituted a security threat. In that case I DID read his work, and he called the terrorists HEROES with great courage to do the right thing. That constitutes a clear security threat in my judgment.

    I have also run into similar censorship on the Huffington Post where I disagreed with comparing Putin with Hitler and the denunciations of Putin’s actions. The writers or their minions decided that my post was not supporting their opinion and therefore should be deleted. While it is not as bad as losing ones position, it still shows that the “dictators” are not only on one side. In my travels around eastern Europe in 1984 and other years, and now with events in the Ukrainian coup that violently overthrew the government, I have a very poor opinion of the so called “democratic” forces. They are as bad and in some cases worse than the old regime. The extreme right is on the rise from historical reasons of old fascists which ran those countries before WWII, and in reaction to the old Stalinist regime.

  3. I would like to add that this professor did show great courage. We need many more academics like him in the US.

  4. Hitler – Putin. A huge stretch! Post WW1 Germany – Pre WW2 USSR, a stretch, too. We need to stop casting our bad guys and start looking in the mirror. Zubov’s experiment produced an interesting but predictable result. That’s about it.

  5. I think the comparison of Putin’s claim that he had to invade Crimea to protect the Russaun speakers there is very similar if not exactly the same as the one Hitler used to in vase the Sudetenland. Hitler then proceed to insist on changes in the governments of various countries to protect the German Speakers therein. Just read that Putin is insisting on changes to the Ukrainain government. I would say there is a lot of Hitler in Putin, nothing overblown about it.

  6. So many good reasons to criticize Putin, but these are not those. I worked with a number Ukrainian immigrants in the ’90s and if any of them liked Russia, they did a very good job of hiding it. In fact, it was almost the only thing they had in common with the local third and fourth generation Ukrainians in Minneapolis, who also hated Russia. (The two groups were not homogenous — the first wave had fled the Soviets and included Nazi collaborators, the more recent group was mostly Jewish.)

    This blog seems very quick to offer opinions on foreign policy that are not well informed or well thought out. Only an American could be so ahistorical as to not see how deeply offensive it is to compare a Russian leader with Hitler after over 20,000,000 Russians died fighting Hitler (making the Allied victory possible). Putin fired someone who called him Hitler? Please point to an American government official who has gone on record calling Obama Hitler and then kept his or her job.

    Again, many good reasons to criticize Putin. Maybe if you actually studied that part of the world instead of getting your opinions from Sunday morning talk shows, you’d be able to criticize Putin more effectively.

  7. I correspond once in every 4-6 months with a columnist in Russia who writes about Russian politics. From his emails and his opinion pieces, I get the feeling Putin is rather well liked by the average Russian.

    Russia appears to be a very religious country and Putin is tapping into that by supporting the church.

  8. Byron, I never got the chance to do that, but I DID inform the relevant authorities that I would if he tried to board.

  9. I am putting a link here because in the US, we tend not to have much access to news which contradicts the party line on Russia: “WikiLeaks, Ukraine & NATO

    Dispatches From The Edge

    Mar. 10, 2014

    Is the Russian occupation of the Crimea a case of aggressive expansionism by Moscow or aimed at at blocking a scheme by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to roll right up to the Russia’s western border? WikiLeaks has revealed a secret cable describing a meeting between French and American diplomats that suggests the latter, a plan that has been in the works since at least 2009.”
    https://dispatchesfromtheedgeblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/wikileaks-ukraine-nato/

    In no way should this be seen as an endorsement of what was done to the professor. That is indefensible and reprehensible.

  10. O.K. trying for the third time just to post some information that most of us probably know very little about:

    Is the Russian occupation of the Crimea a case of aggressive expansionism by Moscow or aimed at at blocking a scheme by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to roll right up to the Russia’s western border? WikiLeaks has revealed a secret cable describing a meeting between French and American diplomats that suggests the latter, a plan that has been in the works since at least 2009.

  11. Now I have tried 4 times to post an excerpt from the link above. It is information this govt. would rather we do not know. Please try the link because I can’t post even a small excerpt.

  12. Is the Russian occupation of the Crimea a case of aggressive expansionism by Moscow or aimed at at blocking a scheme by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to roll right up to the Russia’s western border? WikiLeaks has revealed a secret cable describing a meeting between French and American diplomats that suggests the latter, a plan that has been in the works since at least 2009.

  13. Jill,
    I found a few of your comments in the spam filter so I released the one with the link. I don’t know why you drew the lucky straw this morning.

  14. rafflaw, Glad to see that you think the US in the McCarthy era was a dictatorship. Welcome to the club. Thousands of Profs were fired for simply suspicion that they had deviant ideas. The US government also IMPRISONED hundreds of members of the CPUSA as well, and in some cases had them MURDERED! If one even raised one head against this, you were not allowed to leave the US and Linus Pauling had his passport revoked for wishing to stop the nuclear arms race. Thankfully, he was a prof at a private university and was too important to fire since he won the Nobel Prize, not once but twice.

  15. rafflaw, I see the other comments, the ones without the link say they are awaiting moderation. Those can just be erased if you want to. It’s the same info. I tried it w/o the link in hopes it would get it.

    Thanks again for getting the original comment.

  16. Great points Jill. I wrote at length during the postings after all the trouble began. Anyone with a passing interest in history saw all of this coming. No one in history has dominated the world like the US. Although, we don’t call it that–we use more “gentle, politically correct” terms. Russia, outside of ICBMs, is a shadow of the former Soviet Union, and any head of state with half a brain would hear the alarm bells go off when the world dominating empire just rolled the leadership right next door. Yeah, so what Putin looks like a dictator, or whatever. We’ve been arguing the same analysis on our head of states for quite a while here. While Putin has his problems, all he has to do is look back at other leaders who have tried to “play ball” with the US. They didn’t make out very well in the end, and you have to know Putin knows this. I think he will deal with us, but he has made it clear that he will not roll over on his back, and he appears to be very popular at home right now for it. I don’t know much about this new Ukranian henchman–he doesn’t seem to be such a great guy either, but I’m sure he’ll do our bidding… and kept around as long as he is useful, then he’ll get the usual Saddam, Gaddafi, Mubarak, Noriega treatment,– along with whoever else the bus has room for. People outside of the this country and media reach seem to understand this. And it doesn’t help the situation to pick a circumstance and draw the “way easy” Hitler comparison. Especially for a country that paid so heavily for it. That’s a grade-school, made-for-tv cop out.

    I especially like this comment, “I would like to add that this professor did show great courage. We need many more academics like him in the US.”

    Other than that I liked the article. Where’s the rest of our educated elite in the battle for the democratic republic.

  17. Perhaps it’s time to bring Professor Zubov to the USA!! We can always stand more enlightened and courageous professors who are not afraid to question, test issues, stand up for their beliefs.

  18. Just read all the shit here given to our professor when he blasts our King. If many folks here were chancellors of GWU, they would shitcan him.

  19. nick spinelli

    The same would occur in the US if a professor did the same about King Obama.
    ==============
    Any president has and would can a cabinet member or White House staff for this, but not if a neoCon right wing or left wing professor did it.

    Bush II was always called Commander In Chief by his cronies, Obama is called The President.

    Neither of them was or is a king.

    That is a bit puffy wuffy.

  20. Dredd, I’m talking college professors, not cabinet members. The college hierarchy are modeled after the Soviet, no dissent policies. Putin is hardcore KGB Soviet. The speech codes, PC limitations on speech @ college universities are exactly like the Soviet mindset.

  21. I completely agree with the idea (at the end of the article) of ostracizing faculty and students from this so called university. I am going to look into the history of the Nuremburg Trials to see if we prosecuted Germans for such acts during the Nazi heyday. It might come under the category of The Judges Trials.
    While we are at it, lets ask our readers if they know of any American college or university which has punished a student or faculty member for opposing our invasion of Afghanistan.

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