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Russian University Fires Opposition Activist Galyamina Over 'Foreign Agent' Status

Yulia Galyamina. Alexander Kazakov / Kommersant

A leading Russian university has fired prominent opposition activist Yulia Galyamina over her “foreign agent” status, less than a day after she was reinstated at the same university by court order following a previous dismissal.

Former Moscow city councilor Galyamina said in December that she had been fired from the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) in compliance with a tightened law on “foreign agents.”

Russia expanded its law in December 2022, barring individuals with the “foreign agents” status from teaching at state universities.

Galyamina subsequently sued RANEPA over her dismissal, and last month a court sided in her favor, ordering the university to reinstate the politician and academic and compensate her 115,000 rubles ($1,175) for violating formal procedures. 

At the time, however, Galyamina said that she would likely be dismissed once more from RANEPA, only this time in line with formal rules.  

“Not even a day passed between my reinstatement and [new] dismissal,” she said on the Telegram messaging app on Tuesday.

Galyamina, a former Moscow City Duma deputy for the liberal Yabloko party, spearheaded a campaign against President Vladimir Putin's controversial 2020 changes to the Constitution that enable him to stay in power until 2036. 

A Moscow court that year handed Galyamina a two-year suspended sentence for repeated violations of rules on public gatherings. 

Galyamina served 30 days in jail in March 2022 for participating in anti-war protests. She is among the few opposition politicians and activists who have remained in Russia after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and its subsequent crackdown on dissent.

Russia’s Justice Ministry added Galyamina to its list of “foreign agents” in September 2022. She challenged the designation in court, which ultimately sided with the authorities.

Galyamina is among the 28 educators and organizations being persecuted in Russia, according to a tally by Russia’s media outlet T-invariant and the Center for Independent Sociological Research (CISR) non-government institute.

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