Academic fired from St. Petersburg university after supporting jailed artist in court

Svetlana Drugoveyko-Dolzhanskaya, a philologist who provided expert testimony supporting Sasha Skochilenko, a jailed artist who is currently under investigation for replacing supermarket price tags with anti-war statements, has been fired from her teaching position at St. Petersburg State University.

The news, which was first announced by Municipal Deputy Boris Vishnevsky, was later confirmed to independent media outlet Mediazona by Drugoveyko-Dolzhanskaya herself, who also revealed that she had been fired for “committing an amoral act” and said she would challenge the decision in court despite not expecting a verdict in her favour.

Sasha Skochilenko was arrested last March and charged with “spreading knowingly false information about the Russian military” after she replaced price tags with anti-war messages at a St. Petersburg supermarket.

Linguist Anastasia Grishanina and political scientist Olga Safonova were asked by the prosecution to analyse the messages on the price tags for the court. Safonova said that Skochilenko’s price tags constituted “deliberately false information” because “all information about the special military operation that does not come from the Ministry of Defence is a lie.”

Providing expert testimony for Skochilenko’s defence, Drugoveyko-Dolzhanskaya criticised the findings of her colleagues, suggesting that they were “below the Russian language school curriculum”.

Yury Penov, the university’s vice chancellor, later lodged a complaint against Drugoveyko-Dolzhanskaya, claiming that she had “sarcastically commented on the competence of her co-workers” and made statements “questioning the university’s reputation as an expert organisation” during Skochilenko’s trial.

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