This article was originally submitted on the 25th March
Edinburgh University’s Russian Society has reached out to its members regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine to offer them help, advice, and pastoral support.
In a Facebook post on March 6, the society advised Russian students in Edinburgh to withdraw money from their Russian bank accounts in cash, in preparation for Mastercard and Visa ceasing operations in Russia.
In an Instagram post on the same day, the society signposted students affected by the crisis to mental health, pastoral care, and immigration help resources, alongside contact information for the Russian and Ukrainian consulates in Edinburgh.
Further, the society requested that harassment against committee members and society members ceased.
The society announced its position on the invasion in a social media statement on March 1, saying:
“Edinburgh University Russian Society stands in solidarity with all those affected by the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine.
“We stand against war and unnecessary loss of human lives and are all in extreme distress regarding the whole situation.”
When contacted by The Student, the society said they were unable to comment on grounds of personal safety, due to a new law in Russia regarding public discussion of the war.
The legislation allows the government to imprison people spreading information that it determines to be “inaccurate” about the war, leading to a significant chilling of speech.
On the matter of the society’s opinion on the war, the society redirected The Student back to their March 1 social media statement.
The University of Edinburgh has published financial, immigration, and counseling resources on their website for Ukrainian and Russian staff and students.
The support includes a prioritisation of hardship funding requests from Ukrainian and Russian students, as well as support resources for students unable to pay tuition payments on time due to the crisis.
In an emailed statement to students, the university also announced a scholarship fund for students displaced by the conflict and those who are now seeking asylum.
In addition, the university has announced plans to divest from Russian firms it directly invests in, and to encourage mixed funds it is a part of to also divest.
Image credit: Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, via Flickr. Taken in 2014.