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No smoke without fire? Court shuts St Petersburg university

The management of the European University in St Petersburg (EUSP) was ordered to suspend its activities, admittedly because of fire safety violations. During a routine annual check on January 18, inspectors found 52 violations of fire safety rules in the premises and prompted a rapid court ruling to suspend the institution’s activities. Having corrected more than 20 of the violations the university filed an appeal asking for permission to resume teaching, but the court ruled against the university. “We often see cases where standards are interpreted one way today, and another way tomorrow, so in this situation, especially in the case of fire inspectorates, the operation of any institution can be suspended for perfectly lawful and formally correct reasons, but the true reasons do not become clear for some time”, formulated Nikolai Vakhtin, the Rector of the EUSP at the official press conference following the suspension, and continued by stating “It evidently suits someone for a scandal to break out in St. Petersburg during the election campaign, and this kind of scandal in particular”.
The European University in Saint Petersburg is a non-state post-graduate educational institution. The university was founded in 1994 with the support of the Mayor of St. Petersburg, Anatoly Sobchak, and other city authorities. The university recently accepted a three-year EU grant to run a project on monitoring Russian elections and advising political parties how to ensure fair election process.

On February 22nd EUSP signed a contract by which the Institute of Economics and Finance will provide the EUSP with the space necessary to conduct classes until July 1 of this year. These premises meet all state fire and medical-epidemiological standards.

EUSP Press Conference