Citizens against Making Putin Doctor Honoris Causa of Veliko Turnovo University

Letters to the Editor | February 17, 2009, Tuesday // 00:00

Initiative Committee Citizen Action for Veliko Tarnovo is Against Making the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Doctor Honoris Causa of the Veliko Tarnovo University.

An Initiative Committee of over 1300 members stands against awarding the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with the Doctor Honoris Causa title by the Veliko Tarnovo University in Bulgaria.

The Committee's arguments, stated in a special declaration and announced at a big press-conference, are that the University's democratic foundations and authority are being undermined, as well as that the award decision has been taken in contradiction with the institution's own academic rules and under external pressure.

The reasons for the awarding also have nothing to do with the nomination.
- The title is awarded for contribution to legal sciences and Mr. Putin has a PhD in mine geology.
- The title is awarded for contribution to peace-keeping - the Russian Prime Minister is the last person that can be praised for contributions to preserving that great value of our society.
- The title is awarded for contribution to the friendship between Bulgaria and Russia at the beginning of the 21st century. This reason makes the Initiative Committee remember the years of the Soviet empire and not the new, democratic 21st century.
- The link between Vladimir Putin and the Tarnovo Constitution, claimed by the University, is a purely political speculation. There can be no parallel between Alexander II's reign, when the first Bulgarian Constitution was created, and Vladimir Putin's personality and governance.

The Initiative Committee also recalls that there have been a number of assassinations of journalists and well-known public figures in Russia, that the country has lead many bloody wars with civilian casualties under the leadership of Mr. Putin as President and Prime Minister and Russia has anything else but democratic rule. The government is intermingled with oligarchy, there are still political prisoners, and the freedom of speech is practically non-existing.

The Initiative Committee believes that the title must be awarded for honourable reasons (honoris causa), and Vladimir Putin's personality and contributions cannot be defined as such. A note of protest will be sent to the Russian Embassy in Sofia and to all the institutions, responsible for the current situation.

Bogomil Shopov

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