CEURUS resumes its public lecture series by hosting Lyubov Sobol

On 16 February, Centre for Eurasian and Russian Studies of the University of Tartu (CEURUS) has resumed its public lecture series by hosting a prominent Russian politician, Lyubov Sobol.

Lyubov Sobol, a close associate of Alexey Navalny, is an investigative lawyer and an independent politician. She was the first lawyer of the public project RosPil and the Anti-Corruption Foundation. Sobol gained wide prominence in 2019, when she went on hunger strike in protest against Moscow authorities’ refusal to register her as a candidate for the City Duma elections. In the same year, she was included in the BBC’s list of most influential and inspirational women. Lyubov Sobol has been under constant pressure from the Russian authorities, with four criminal cases filed against her in 2021 alone. She has now been forced to leave Russia, but continues to fight Putin’s corruption and participate in Russian politics.

The meeting at the University of Tartu was attended by university students, staff members and guests. The speaker did not offer any introductory speech, going instead straight to addressing questions from the floor. The discussion evolved around such themes as Alexey Navalny’s platform, including economic issues, the situation in North Caucasus and foreign policy. Lybov Sobol also shared her experience of trying to promote political change while being in exile and the prospects for the political mobilization of the Russian diaspora. She highlighted that Navalny’s position has always rejected political violence, and that the most desirable way of political change is by holding free and fair elections.

Viacheslav Morozov, Professor of EU-Russia Studies and the Academic Director of CEURUS, said that students and staff benefited from the event: “Meeting with independent politicians like Sobol enables us to learn first-hand from the speakers about their viewpoints and experience, and thus better understand Russian political developments”.

As a follow-up to the event, check out this episode of CEURUS Podcasts.