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Russia Sentences Ex-Education Deputy Minister Rakova, University Head Zuyev for Fraud

Marina Rakova. Vasily Kuzmichenok / Moskva News Agency

A Russian court has sentenced former Deputy Education Minister Marina Rakova and former university rector Sergei Zuyev to real and suspended prison terms for fraud.

Rakova was detained in October 2021 on accusations of misappropriating 50 million rubles ($540,000) of Education Ministry funds for a state educational program.

Zuyev, then the head of the prestigious Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, also known as Shaninka, was arrested that same month.

Although both had pleaded guilty and paid damages, critics viewed the case as part of the Kremlin’s tightening grip on higher education and restrictions on academic freedom.

Moscow’s Nikulinsky District Court on Tuesday found Rakova and Zuyev guilty of major fraud, according to the court’s press center.

A judge sentenced Rakova to five years at a medium-security prison, while Zuyev received a four-year suspended sentence.

Five other defendants in the same case received suspended sentences ranging from three to four years.

Prosecutors had requested an eight-year prison term for Rakova and a 6.5-year prison sentence for Zuyev.

Vladimir Mau, the former head of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Publication Administration (RANEPA), was detained as part of the same embezzlement case in June 2022.

Authorities lifted the charges against Mau in October 2022, but he stepped down from RANEPA in January 2023 for “health reasons.”

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