Seven full-time academic staff in the University of London, all with unimpeachable scholarly credentials in the study of eastern Europe and Russia, are being threatened with "voluntary", ie compulsory, retirement.
The proximate cause cited for the abolition of these posts is a financial crisis in the institute which houses them, the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. No matter what low-paid, piece-work terms may be offered under the terms of a "buy-back", one should be under no illusion that the proposal does involve the abolition of permanent posts.
The loss of so much scholarship and expertise at a turning point for European integration is too high a price to pay for a short-term remedy for the financial problems of the institution. Once these posts are abolished, our important field of study will be damaged permanently.
F .L. Carsten Masaryk chair of Central European history Norman Davies, Polish history
C. L. Drage, Russian Richard Freeborn Russian literature
M. Samilov Comparative Slavonic philology Emeritus professors SSEES, University of London