Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure

Greg Yudin
June 16, 2015
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As many of you already know, the management of Gorky Park has banned political scientist Irina Soboleva’s lecture, “Should We Expect Any More Mass Protests in Russia?” which was to be held as part of a series of public lectures in our Master’s in Political Philosophy program at the Shaninka (Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences).

We tried to negotiate, but the talks were very strange. First, we have reason to believe the decision was not made by the directors of the park. Second, we immediately said we would not engage in political campaigning; our purpose was to share knowledge with people. But they are so scared there they demand we not use the words “politics” and “democracy.”

This does not suit us, of course. We are engaged in political thought and researching political life, and are going to pursue this work in the future. If Gorky Park is going to decide for its visitors what they should and should not learn, we are not going to help them. We will not permit our ideas to be censored.

As for Irina Soboleva’s lecture, first we thought of holding it at the Shaninka. But as interest in the lecture is quite great, the Shaninka is now concerned about finding a place that would accommodate everyone. So the lecture has been postponed to Friday. Once we find a venue, then we will immediately inform you.

Please forward this message.

640px-RIAN_archive_510373_Pond_in_Gorky_ParkGorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure, 1982

Gorky Park refuses to hold a lecture about the possibility of protests in Russia
June 15, 2015
BBC Russian Service

Gorky Park management has refused to allow a lecture by political scientist Irina Soboleva, “Should We Expect Any More Mass Protests in Russia?” to be held on its premises.

“After further exploring the content of the planned lecture, the decision was made that the park is not the place for holding lectures with a political subtext,” Marina Lee, the park’s PR director told the BBC Russian Service. “It is clear the lecture’s title is fairly blatant and provocative. But a park is not a place for provocations.”

According to Lee, the decision was made by park management.

“And in future, lectures with a political bias, with a political emphasis, will not be held in the park,” she added.

According to the lecturer, Irina Soboleva, her lecture was educational, not political.

“[The notification that the lecture had been banned] was made three days before the lecture was to be held, and we have had to change the time and the venue of the lecture very quickly,” Soboleva told the BBC Russian Service.

“I should stress the lecture is part of the series ‘Open Environment,’ which has been held at Gorky Park. The Shaninka [Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences] has already held several lectures as part of the project, and as far as I understand, no such problems had arisen with any of them. This is my first lecture in which issues of political science, rather than sociology, are addressed. Apparently, that is why this problem arose,” said the political scientist.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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