Kremlin purges Russia’s ‘Presidential Academy’ after major crackdown on dissent

A prestigious Kremlin-funded university that trains Russia’s top civil servants is set to lay off all of its employees living abroad, according to current and former employees, in what appears to be Moscow’s latest wartime bid to ensure a vice around a possible dissidence.

According to a report by Agentsvo, or The Agency. Sources told the outlet that “the order came from above,” without elaborating further.

The shooting follows a series of crackdowns on liberal elements at the university. Yulia Galyamina, a former professor in the Department of Theory and Practice of Media Communications at RANEPA, has been fired in recent months after calling for protests against the war last year. Russia alleged that she was a foreign agent. The school’s former rector, economist Vladimir Mau, left the university after being accused of embezzlement and interrogated for several days.

Although he signed a letter of support for the war from Russia, he reportedly stopped trying to fit in with the system, Meduza reported. Instead, he had tried to reform the system from within, according to the Financial Times.

Authorities also recently raided the homes of Mau and Maxim Dulinova, the director of RANEPA’s Federal Educational Development Institute.

The move comes as the Kremlin looks for other ways to quell any semblance of disintegrating support for the war in Ukraine. According to a new intelligence assessment released this week, the Kremlin likely bars senior officials from leaving their posts — an apparent effort to save face as Russian forces fail to make any significant gains in the war.

“The Russian state is likely to ban senior officials from resigning from their posts while the ‘special military operation’ continues,” a British government intelligence update said on Thursday. “As well as being concerned about the capability gaps that resigning would leave, authorities are likely also trying to prevent any impression of defeatism and build a sense of collective responsibility for the war.”

News of Moscow’s apparent crackdown on possible dissent coincides with the stalling of Russian progress in the war. In recent months, Russia has only made gains in three small territories. In April alone, Russia made fewer territorial gains than in the previous three months, according to a recent assessment by US intelligence.

Ukraine announced on Thursday that it was making progress in Bakhmut, which Russian forces have been trying unsuccessfully to capture for months now, according to Ukraine’s Third Assault Brigade. The brigade claimed the advances would help them gain a foothold for a planned counteroffensive against Russian forces. Ukraine is also said to have made gains on the outskirts of the city in recent days.

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