Carleton University: Students from international studies program could face prosecution in Russia, school says

Russia has deemed Carleton University’s international affairs program as an “undesirable organization,” potentially subjecting students and staff to criminal prosecution in the country, according to the university.

A statement by the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) says anyone affiliated with the school on Russian territory could be subject to “criminal punishment,” including a possible prison sentence.

“We strongly advise anyone with a NPSIA affiliation (faculty, students, staff, and alumni) to avoid travelling to Russia or Belarus and to curtail research and other partnerships with anyone based in Russia or Belarus at this time,” the school said in a statement on March 20.

The school joins a growing list of individuals and organizations the Kremlin has deemed as undesirable in response to Canada imposing sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Canada recently imposed new sanctions on the Kremlin following the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny last month.

According to Radio Free Europe, the “undesirable organization” law adopted in 2015 imposes regulations on NGO’s that receive funding from foreign sources. The label has been applied to dozens of NGO’s in Canada, including the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

Russia’s foreign ministry imposed sanctions on hundreds of Canadian officials and public figures, including Governor General Mary Simon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly.

According to the ministry, there are now almost 1,600 people on the list of Canadians who have been banned from entering Russia.

Global Affairs Canada has recommended that Canadians avoid all travel to Russia due to the impact of armed conflict with Ukraine and the risk of terrorism following an attack at a concert hall in Moscow that killed at least 133 people on Friday.

“If you are in Russia, you should leave while commercial means are still available. If you remain in Russia, maintain a low profile. Canadians holding Russian citizenship may be subject to call-up for mandatory military service,” Global Affairs Canada says.

With files from

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