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Moscow’s top university to ban political speech for students and staff

EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV
Russian police officers stand guard at the city's landmark Red Square during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, near the Kremlin during the national celebrations of the 'Defender of the Fatherland Day' in Moscow, Russia, 23 February 2017. Defender of the Fatherland Day is observed in most of Russia and former Soviet republics to commemorate the people serving in the Russian Armed Forces.

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One of Russia’s elite universities, Moscow’s Institute of Higher Economics, is considering banning its students and staff from performing political speech.
“The new version of internal regulations clarifies the obligation not to make political statements or stances not only on behalf of the entire university, but also on behalf of a range of students and HSE employees”, the university said on its website.
The move is seen as one of the university’s many free speech-related scandals. The institute was involved in similar controversies in the past, with the cancellation of its student talk show after it invited an opposition activist and with the revoking of a student newspaper’s status over a critical article.
Russia’s government has constantly been criticised by human rights activists for its attempts to silence the opposition. However, the head of president Vladimir Putin’s human rights commission, Valery Fadeyev, said the changes “don’t limit freedom of speech”: “A university is a professional corporation. Any corporation has its own rules”, Fadeyev said.

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