Five U.S. academics were ordered to be deported on Thursday after a Russian court has found they were giving a lecture at a university on a tourist visa, Meduza reports.
A government order issued this year advised state-affiliated scientists to avoid contacts with foreign colleagues. Russia’s Education Ministry later backtracked on the advisory, while the Kremlin said that Russia must be vigilant in protecting its industrial secrets against foreign intelligence.
The Sovetsky district court in the city of Ryazan, 200 kilometers south of Moscow, fined and ordered to deport five professors and executives from the University at Buffalo within five days, local media said.
“The Americans were charged with teaching activities that don’t correspond to their status in the country,” the outlet reported. “They were taken to a temporary detention center for foreign citizens, then put on trial.”
A student and a professor at the Ryazan branch of Moscow’s Polytechnic University reportedly told the court that the academics had given a lecture there.
The Ryazan-based business support group that organized the American academics’ visit had billed last Friday’s talk by Molly Anderson, head of the University at Buffalo’s leadership and organizational effectiveness center, and Charles Lindsey, its school of management’s marketing professor, as a lecture.
Anderson and Lindsey, as well as UB school of management instructors Mary Ann Rogers and Courtney Walsh and sports medicine executive Maria Gambino, “met with the students of Ryazan’s universities,” the Delovaya Rossiya business group said afterward.
Delovaya Rossiya did not mention the deportation order in a statement canceling Monday’s talks with Ryazan’s business community, writing only that “the delegation was forced to leave Russia.”