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russian crack down on social science research

Our friend Jenn Lena draws my attention to a serious issue in Russia – the state is attacking the Levada Center, an independent organization of social scientists who conduct polls. I quote from Jenn’s post:

The Center has been (with other non-profit organizations) asked by its government to identify itself as a “foreign agent” because it receives money from outside Russia and engages in political activity. As this NY Times article on the crack-down on Levada makes clear, approximately 3% of the Center’s funding comes from abroad, namely, grants from MacArthur, Ford, and the Open Society Institute. The Center provides us with the only social scientific polling data on Russians I’m aware of that isn’t generated by the state. The Center’s origins actually lie in conflict with the state over political attitudes:

The center’s founder, Yuri Levada, incurred Mr. Putin’s wrath a decade ago by publishing polls that showed waning approval of the United Russia party and the Chechen wars. When Kremlin officials tried to assert control over his organization by appointing a new board of directors in 2003, Mr. Levada resigned and formed a private company, the Levada Center. His employees followed him.

Consequently, the Levada Center staff went about their business, sorting out what Russians really think about their country.

In other words, independent scholarship is being attacked. Here is a petition, asking state officials to relent.

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Written by fabiorojas

May 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm

One Response

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  1. also see this article about an economist who had to flee Russia:

    http://cheaptalk.org/2013/05/29/sergei-guriev-leaves-the-new-economic-school/

    Like

    anon

    May 30, 2013 at 6:34 pm


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