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Diplomatic University Reverses Firing of Professor

A top Moscow university has had to backtrack on its decision to fire one of its professors over an article he wrote comparing Russia's annexation of Crimea with the 1938 Anschluss between Nazi Germany and Austria.

A federal law on electoral rights prevents Moscow State Institute of International Relations, or MGIMO, from firing professor Andrei Zubov because he holds a position on the electoral commission for Moscow's Khamovniki district, the university said Friday in a statement on its website.

However, the statement said that MGIMO's management had not changed its assessment of Zubov's actions, which it said were in violation of the university's code of conduct.

Zubov was fired in late March over an op-ed he wrote about Crimea titled "This Has Already Happened," which was published by Vedomosti.

The article's content was viewed as being incompatible with the internal politics of the university, which is affiliated with the Foreign Ministry.

His sacking led observers to draw comparisons with Soviet times, when writers were regularly persecuted for not sticking to the official party line.

Zubov's contract with MGIMO expires at the end of June, Novaya Gazeta reported Friday.

Earlier last week, the Kremlin's human rights council denounced Zubov's dismissal as illegal. The council argued in a statement that his actions did not constitute a violation of the university's code of conduct.

It also argued in its evaluation that the firing violated the Constitution, the labor code and a law on education.

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