A Russian government agency has cited “Russophobic attitudes” in the wake of the poisoning of an ex-spy in its call for students to return home to complete their studies.
With diplomatic ties between Russia and the West at a low ebb after the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury, the federal agency Rossotrudnichestvo has launched a new marketing campaign calling on expatriate students to move back to Russia.
The state agency, which is tasked with overseeing the well-being of Russians living outside the country, unveiled its new marketing campaign on 19 April with the title “Highly Likely Welcome Back”, reported Radio Free Europe.
The name references the statement made by the UK’s prime minister Theresa May, who has said that it was “highly likely” that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of Mr and Ms Skripal.
“As we know, the domestic politics in a host of countries, and in Europe in particular, have increasingly taken on a harshly expressed anti-Russian character,” one unnamed Rossotrudnichestvo official was quoted by the RIA-Novosti news agency as saying.
“We are obligated to highlight the negative influence of Russophobic attitudes on the activity of our compatriots, which purposely narrow their opportunities for self-realisation,” the official added.
About 60,000 Russians studied outside the country in 2014, according to the education and science ministry.
Genri Sardarian, dean of the department of management and politics at Moscow’s MGIMO-University, one of Russia’s premier universities, said that his school and others around Russia are ready to accept scores of Russians to continue their studies at home.