The Russian government cleared Dr. Yuri Pivovarov of involvement at a fire at his institute. Immediately, as that case was dismissed for lack of evidence, he was again placed under investigation for financial improprieties at the same institute. CCS has written the Russian government requesting, along with over a hundred other prominent Russian intellectuals – including members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, that harassment of Dr. Pivovarov cease and that the series of criminal investigations be stopped.
April 18, 2017
Mr. Vladimir Putin
President of the Russian Federation
23, Ilyinka Street
Dear President Putin:
We are writing on behalf of the Committee of Concerned Scientists, an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars, devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write with great concern for Dr. Yuri Pivovarov, a 66-year old Director of the Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences in Moscow; and, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Pivovarov has been the subject of unsubstantiated criminal investigations for a period of two years, brought against him solely for his open criticism of the policies of the Russian government, including the demeaning attitude of the government towards the Academy of Sciences, Russian research institutions, museums and libraries.
The government had, initially, accused Academician Pivovarov of causing a suspicious fire at his institute in 2015. After a two-year investigation produced no evidence of his involvement, the case was dropped. However, another investigation of alleged financial improprieties involving Dr. Pivovarov was immediately started with no evidence whatsoever supporting these accusations. For two years now government officials have continuously harassed Dr. Pivovarov with unsubstantiated accusations. His apartment, and the apartments of his relatives, have been frequently searched and his foreign passport has been confiscated.
Dr. Yuri Pivovarov is a highly respected academic both in Russia and abroad. His harassment by the government has contributed to a significant deterioration of his health. Recently, over one hundred prominent Russian intellectuals, including members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, have signed an open letter in defense of Dr. Pivovarov. They are convinced that criminal investigations against him have the sole purpose to break the man of high principles and suppress his voice. They assert that the life of Dr. Pivovarov is in danger and demand an end of his harassment by the government.
The Committee of Concerned Scientists joins our Russian colleagues in demanding that criminal investigations of Dr. Pivovarov be stopped. He must be allowed to freely express his ideas about social reforms needed to maintain the cultural heritage of Russia and be granted the respect he deserves by his public service, and by his contributions to scientific enterprise.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists