Open Letter from Russian-Speaking Academic Diaspora

The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a major humanitarian crisis. At the time of this writing, March 19, 2022, more than 3 million Ukrainians, including 1 million children, have fled to neighboring countries to escape the war. The remaining population of about 40 million is under direct attack. They need our immediate support!

Russian citizens who oppose the war are subject to arrest and persecution; over two hundred thousand are estimated to have already left their country. Many citizens of Belarus have left their own country for similar reasons.

The war has inflicted immeasurable pain on the scholarly community in Ukraine and devastation on Russian and Belarusian academics.

Support displaced Ukrainian students and scholars

In addition to offering moral support to our Ukrainian colleagues, we strive to provide them with access to laboratories and research centers across the globe. Some members of the international academic community have offered to host Ukrainian colleagues in their research facilities. The Russian academic diaspora has joined this effort, but more should be done. By supporting the careers of displaced students and scholars, we can take a tangible part in promoting the rapid rebuilding of post-war Ukraine and mitigating the socio-economic impacts of this war.

Emergency funding is needed to enable participating laboratories and research centers across the EU, US, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and other countries to provide on-site and remote training and job opportunities for displaced students and scholars from Ukraine. Some have been displaced, together with their dependents and close relatives, young and old, and we need immediate solutions to keep their families together. Concerted efforts should be made without delay to create short and long-term fellowships and to provide visa support, rapid immigration procedures, and travel assistance.

Support Russian and Belarusian students and scholars

We need to distinguish between the sanctions on the Russian government and how we treat Russian students and scholars who oppose the war. The war in Ukraine is Putin’s war, not theirs. People in the sciences and the humanities have consistently opposed Putin’s repressive regime in multiple ways since long before the current events and many have taken a brave stance against the war. Anti-war protesters in Russia, mostly young professionals, are being arrested and can be imprisoned for up to 15 years under a recently enacted Russian law.

With the growing suppression of free speech in Russia and the impact of Western sanctions, anti-war Russian students and scholars are in double jeopardy. The same applies to Belarusian scholars suffering under the Lukashenko regime.

Some of these scholars remain in their countries; others have chosen to flee. We strongly encourage all our colleagues to keep their individual connections to Russian and Belarusian professionals who oppose the war but cannot leave the country for various reasons. As for those fleeing Russia and Belarus in fear of state persecution, they qualify for refugee status and need support from academe and governments.

We call on the international academic community to commit our time and effort to support Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarussian scholars affected by this war. Together we must help those in need to continue their work and education and ultimately build a better future for their countries and humankind.

If you want to support the call made on behalf of the Russian-speaking academic diaspora, even if you do not speak Russian, you can add your signature using the google form: https://forms.gle/Bo2Ppa9Lgrr96sQf8.

  1. Natalia Berloff, mathematician, University of Cambridge, UK

  2. Michail Bezrodnyj, philologist, University of Heidelberg, Germany

  3. Alexandra Boltasseva, electrical engineer, Purdue University, USA

  4. Mark Borodovsky, computational biologist, Georgia Tech, USA

  5. Tatiana Bronich, chemist, Northeastern University, USA

  6. Dmitry Bykov, writer, Cornell University, USA

  7. Maria Chekhova, physicist, Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Germany

  8. Leonid Chernomordik, biologist, National Institutes of Health, USA

  9. Yury Chernoff, biologist, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

  10. Konstantin Chumakov, Director, Global Virus Network Center of Excellence, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, USA

  11. Alexander Dizhoor, neuroscientist, Salus University, USA

  12. Irina Dubinina, slavic scholar, Brandeis University, USA

  13. Igor Efimov, biophysicist, George Washington University, USA

  14. Grigori Enikolopov, neurobiologist, Stony Brook University, USA

  15. Sergei Erofeev, sociologist, Rutgers University, USA, Polish Institute of Advanced Studies, Poland

  16. Pavel Etingof, mathematician, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

  17. Alexander Etkind, historian, European University, Italy

  18. Mikhail Epstein, cultural scholar, Emory University, USA

  19. Valery Fokin, chemist, University of Southern California, USA

  20. Andre Geim, physicist, University of Manchester, UK

  21. Vadim Gladyshev, biochemist, Harvard University, USA

  22. Yury Gogotsi, materials scientist, Drexel University, USA

  23. Dmitry Gordenin, geneticist, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

  24. Andrei Gudkov, oncology researcher, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, USA

  25. Sergei Guriev, economist, Sciences Po, Paris, France

  26. Olga Gursky, biophysicist, Boston University School of Medicine, USA

  27. Oleg Itskhoki, economist, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

  28. Misha Ivanov, physicist, Max-Born Institute and Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

  29. Alexander Kabanov, chemist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

  30. Mikhail Kats, applied physicist, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

  31. Mikhail Katsnelson, physicist, Radboud University, Netherlands

  32. Eugene Koonin, biologist, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, USA

  33. Dmitry Korkin, computational biologist, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA

  34. Yury Korolev, mathematician, University of Cambridge, UK

  35. Igor Kramnik, immunologist, Boston University, USA

  36. Alex Krasnok, physicist, Florida International University, USA

  37. Anna Krichevsky, neurobiologist, Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, USA

  38. Andrei Linde, physicist, Stanford University, USA

  39. Mark Lipovetsky, philologist, Columbia University, USA

  40. Natalia Litchinitser, physicist, Duke University, USA

  41. Sergei Maslov, computational and systems biologist, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

  42. Olga Matich, philologist, University of California Berkeley, USA

  43. Ruslan Medzhitov, immunologist, Yale University, USA

  44. Igor Mel’čuk, linguist, Universite Quebec a Montreal, Canada

  45. Slava Mukhanov, physicist, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany

  46. Dmitry Murzin, chemical engineer, Abo Akademi University, Finland

  47. Mikhail Nikiforov, molecular biologist, Duke University, USA

  48. Konstantin Novoselov, physicist, National University of Singapore, USA

  49. Dmitri Orlov, aerospace engineer, University of California San Diego, USA

  50. Vadim Paperny, artist, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

  51. Alexej Pashkin, physicist, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany

  52. Pavel Pevzner, computational biologist, University of California, San Diego, USA

  53. Maria Polinsky, linguist, University of Maryland, USA

  54. Natalia Rapoport, chemist, University of Utah, USA

  55. Irina Rish, computer scientist, University of Montreal, and Mila – Quebec AI Institute, Canada

  56. Alexander Rudensky, immunologist, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, USA

  57. Roald Sagdeev, physicist, University of Maryland, USA

  58. Irina Sekerina, cognitive scientist, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA

  59. Denis Seletskiy, physicist, Polytechnique Montréal, Canada

  60. Vladimir Shalaev, physicist, Purdue University, USA

  61. Dmitri N. Shalin, sociologist, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA

  62. Stanislav Shvabrin, slavist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

  63. Olga Smirnova, physicist, Max-Born Institute and Technical University, Berlin, Germany

  64. Konstantin Sonin, economist, University of Chicago, USA

  65. Svetlana Sukhishvili, materials scientist, Texas A&M University, USA

  66. Shamil Sunyaev, geneticist, Harvard University, USA

  67. Tatiana Tatarinova, computational biologist, University of La Verne, USA

  68. Vasily Temnov, physicist, CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique, France

  69. Dmitry Turchinovich, physicist, Bielefeld University, Germany

  70. Lyubov Titova, physicist, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA

  71. Alexander Tropsha, computational chemist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

  72. Vitaly Vanchurin, physicist, National Institutes of Health, USA

  73. Peter Vorobieff, mechanical engineer, applied mathematician, University of New Mexico, USA

  74. Tatiana Yankelevich Bonner, former director, Sakharov Program on Human Rights, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, USA

  75. Efim Zelmanov, mathematician, University of California, San Diego, USA

  76. Ariel Zhitnitsky, physicist, University of British Columbia, Canada

  77. Alexander Zholkovsky, philologist, University of Southern California, USA

  78. Andrei Zorin, Cultural Historian, University of Oxford, UK

All signatories signed as private individuals

A partial list of prior statements of Russian-speaking scholars against the war in Ukraine

● An open letter of Russian scientists and science journalists against the war in Ukraine (published 02/24/2022, over 8000 signatories)

https://t-invariant.org/2022/02/we-are-against-war/

● Stop the war! A declaration of the Russian-speaking academic diaspora (published 02/25/2022, over 500 signatories) https://docs.google.com/document/d/16kHjs3nwWM4Qb_c0OAZbNb6cH74cwaWDvuOzi7gzwXs/mobilebasic

● Community of the Moscow State University against the war (over 7000 alumni, students & faculty signatories, names now hidden because of retaliation) https://msualumniagainstwar.notion.site/0378ab0a0719486181781e8e2b360180

● An open letter from students-members of the list “Talents of Russia” of the Presidential Fund “Talent and Success” to the President of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1kH4Z9KhsGSax1Xa8IQ2rB5uqCrp_h7t63W1_ZwLoKUc/mobilebasic

● Health Scientists From the Former USSR Working in the United Stated Call to Stop Russia’s Criminal War Against Ukraine https://sciprotest.com/