Italian university cancels Dostoevsky course over Ukraine crisis
The Western sanctions on Russia are not even exempting the dead, as Italy has canceled a Dostoevsky course in light of rising tensions over Ukraine.
The University of Milan Bicocca canceled lectures on Russian novelist and cultural icon Fyodor Dostoevsky for "political reasons" in light of the Ukraine crisis and rising tensions between the West and Moscow.
Italian media reported that Paolo Nori, a writer, was supposed to give a course on Dostoevsky, though the university canceled it.
"Dear Professor, this morning the Provost for Academic Affairs informed me of the Provost’s decision to postpone your course. The goal is to avoid any form of disagreement, especially internal ones, as this is a moment of great tension," an email from the university said.
The professor said on his Instagram page, "Today in Italy, not only being a living Russian is already a reason to be guilty," a nod to the Western sanctions whose goal is to impede Russia's economy.
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"Now it is dangerous to be even a dead Russian writer. I can’t believe that Italian universities ban a course on an author like Dostoevsky," he underscored.
Nori, who is prominent in Russia due to his translation of Russian literature into Italian, such as Mikhail Lermontov's "Hero of Our Time," and several works from Daniil Kharms, was set to teach a course about Dostoevsky.
The cancellation has been met with mounting criticism from intellectuals and officials in Italy, such as Pierre Bersani, a former minister of economic development, transports, and navigation, and minister of industry, commerce and craftsmanship, who underlined the "ridiculousness" of the situation.
"They cancel the Dostoevsky course because of the 'delicacy' of the moment? What is this, a joke?" he said.
Another writer voiced his opposition to censorship. He underlined that it affected a novelist who has been dead for over a century and a half and another who was still alive.
"Censoring a writer who is 150 years dead and censoring a living writer who tells us about him is an incredible shame that will forever remain in the history of the university," he said.
The European Union has taken on a very staunch anti-Russia stance, adopting a propagandist narrative against Moscow in light of the fiasco with NATO over Russia's security concerns with regards to the alliance's eastward expansion.