In a joint statement on 4 March, the rectors wrote that Russia has decided “to finally end the eight-year confrontation between Ukraine and the Donbas, achieve Ukraine demilitarisation and denazification and in doing so protect itself from increasing military threats”.
According to the rectors it is vital to support “perhaps the most difficult decision in our president’s life”. They see it as their fundamental duty “to teach young people to be patriotic”.
With Russia suffering from “economic and information attacks”, the rectors stated that universities must “stand by our president more than ever, provide our youth with an example of optimism and faith in the power of reason, and instil hope there will soon be peace”. It is also important to note that the rectors also refer to universities as “a pillar on which the state rests”, emphasising the fact that universities in Russia are not independent.
The University World News platform pointed out that the rectors are now choosing a much harder line than in their previous statement on 2 March. In that statement, they mainly emphasised that Russian universities should not sever their international connections. According to the rectors, Russian students abroad and international students in Russia deserve special attention.