Soros school labeled ‘undesirable’ in Russia
The office of Russia’s prosecutor-general on Monday designated as unwelcome the Central European University (CEU), an Austrian-based entity founded by the Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros.
The CEU’s official goals are to promote the values of “open society and democracy” in the countries of central and eastern Europe – as well as in the republics of the former Soviet Union – but its efforts are currently focused on “discrediting” the Russian political leadership and the military operation in Ukraine, the Prosecutor-General’s Office said.
The “so-called educational international non-governmental organization” conducts a number of programs that “deliberately devalue and distort the history of the Russian state, downplay the merits of prominent Russian scientists, writers, and cultural figures, and promote pseudo-scientific claims that Russia is to blame for all the world cataclysms, which is clearly not true.”
These CEU programs are designed with an emphasis on Russia’s alleged “war crimes” in Ukraine and “Russian propaganda,” the prosecutors added, and endeavor to create “an anti-Russian agenda in the global media, imbued with hatred of Russia and its multinational people.”
Founded by Soros in 1991 and financed by his network of NGOs, the CEU was originally located in Budapest and offered US-accredited degrees. In October 2018, the school announced it would be relocating to Vienna, after the Hungarian authorities refused to extend its accreditation. Earlier that year, Soros’s Open Society Foundations ended their operations in Hungary, citing an “increasingly repressive political and legal environment.”
For an organization to be declared undesirable in Russia amounts to a ban on its activities. Any offices it may have in the country must shut down, while doing business with it is punishable with a fine – or jail, in the case of repeat offenders. The first organization to be so labeled was the US Congress-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), in 2015.