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Top Economist Quits University

A renowned economist is following in the footsteps of self-exiled former rector Sergei Guriev by leaving the New Economic School in Moscow.

Amid differences with the leadership that has taken the helm of the New Economic School since Guriev abruptly resigned in May, Konstantin Sonin, vice rector and director for undergraduate studies, has accepted a position with Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

Sonin, who announced his departure from the New Economic School on his LiveJournal blog late Tuesday, did not explain his decision but said it was “in no way connected with politics.”

Contacted Wednesday, he said simply that he had accepted a new job.

“I am moving to another university in Moscow,” he said by e-mail, without elaborating.

Guriev, Sonin’s former boss, fled to France under pressure from the authorities in May over the findings of an expert report on the Yukos case, in which he had participated.

He had helped the New Economic School become one of the country’s top universities offering graduate programs in economics.

Following Guriev’s exit, an open competition to find his replacement was announced, with Sonin being one of the most obvious candidates.

Sonin and Guriev, both known for their opposition-leaning views, represent a new generation of economists who conduct much of their research abroad. 

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