Attack on Scientific Freedom
Solidarity with the Levada Centre
The Russian Ministry of Justice declared the independent Levada Centre for Public Opinion Research a “foreign agent” on 5 September. The Ministry claims that the Centre receives “funding from abroad” and is engaged in “political activity” through its opinion polls. This decision represents a continuation of the 2013 measures taken by the Russian authorities against the Levada Centre.
We decidedly condemn the stigmatisation of the Levada Centre under the leadership of its director, Lev Gudkov, as a „foreign agent“. This action essentially prevents the Centre from functioning. Russia’s government is vilifying international scientific cooperation. It is thereby contradicting its own claim to be an equal partner in international research efforts. The Levada Centre enjoys worldwide renown. Whoever wishes to receive a precise picture of Russian society depends on the transparent work of the Centre. Not only is the Levada Centre threatened, but along with it any form of independent empirical research in the social sciences. The Russian authorities are attacking scientific freedom as well as the freedom of expression. This constitutes a violation of the Russian Constitution and of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Levada Centre is the 141st non-governmental organisation in Russia to be classified as a “foreign agent”. The foundation for this practice is the “Law on non-commercial organisations”, amended in 2012. It aims to intimidate and destroy those forces of civil society considered undesirable. Their defamation as “foreign agents” is a propaganda method which has its roots in Stalinism and was applied by the Soviet secret service against human rights activists and dissidents.
- We call on the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation to retract the classification of the Levada Centre as a “foreign agent” and to end its stigmatisation.
- We call on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to pass a resolution which condemns the stigmatisation of Russian NGOs as “foreign agents”.
- We call on scientists and scholars worldwide, on those affiliated with the media and on all those for whom scientific freedom, the freedom of expression, and civil society are important, to demonstrate solidarity with the Levada Centre by attaching their signatures to this petition.
What to do?
Sign the petition yourself on change.org:
Disseminate the petition and the material you find there as widely as possible.
Send declarations of solidarity to the Levada Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org
Responsible: Dr. Manfred Sapper, Osteuropa, Schaperstr. 30, 10719 Berlin, 030-30104581 email@example.com