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Ally of Putin stripped of University of Edinburgh Degree

Russian MP Vyacheslav Nikonov has had his honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh formally revoked.

Nikonov has been stripped of the degree as a result of his endorsement of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

He is on both the UK and US lists of official sanctions as an active member of Putin‘s United Russia party.

Mr Nikonov was given the degree in 2012 having directed a donation of £241,949 to the University’s Princess Dashkova Russian Centre in his role as Chairman of the Russkiy Mir Foundation.

The University of Edinburgh published the following statement on its website: “In line with others in the sector, we have been reviewing our relationships with Russia.

“We have formally confirmed withdrawal of the honorary degree awarded to the head of the Ruskiy Mir Foundation, Vyacheslav Nikonov.”

Vyacheslav Nikonov is the grandson of Vyacheslav Molotov, a foreign minister of the Soviet Union under Stalin, a member of the Russian State Duma and a strong proponent of Putin.

He also hosts a political television show.

Demands for a review of Nikonov’s degree initially surfaced in 2018 amid the double poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

At the time, the University denied any need to withdraw the degree, but told The Herald that it would “continue to monitor events closely.”

Nikonov visited the University of Edinburgh in 2010 when he opened the then new Princess Dashkova Russian Centre and delivered a ceremonial lecture.

Two years later, he was granted the degree Doctor honoris causa

Degrees of such nature are issued in recognition of “outstanding personal contributions to the work and development of the University” according to the University of Edinburgh’s website. 

Most recently, the University acknowledged on their website that:

“These appalling events are the actions of the Russian Government and not the Russian people and we remain committed to the free exchange of ideas between universities and between academics, regardless of nationality or location, while recognising the importance of managing the risks associated with international collaboration. 

“We do not have any institutional partnerships with Russian universities or organisations, so our current links are limited to individual academic projects and exchange programmes.”

File:Vyacheslav Nikonov IF MOW 09-2011.jpg” by A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace) is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.