MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) – Prominent economist Konstantin Sonin has announced he is quitting Russia’s New Economic School just two months after the institution’s influential rector Sergei Guriev fled to Paris fearing he could be imprisoned.
Sonin, 41, said Wednesday his decision to resign was linked to disagreements with the management of NES, which is currently looking for a permanent replacement for Guriev.
“It is clear that the direction of NES’ development is changing, and I think that I am not a part of the vision of those who are in charge,” Sonin said.
NES, a private graduate economics university, was set up in 1992 and is governed by a board of directors that includes Russian billionaire Peter Aven, the chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Erik Berglof, and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.
In a blog post, Sonin stressed his departure was not a political decision, and said he will honor all his remaining teaching commitments. “There is no anger, there is no bitterness,” Sonin wrote late Tuesday. “It’s not at all linked with politics.”
Sonin, who has worked at NES for 12 years, was also a vice rector at the university and had been tipped as one of the likely candidates to succeed Guriev, with whom he shared some research interests. Sonin has said that he does not plan to move abroad and is likely to take up another position at a Russian university, according to media reports.
Guriev fled to Paris and resigned as rector of the NES at the end of May. His decision followed his questioning by investigators looking into a case against Yukos, the now-defunct oil company founded by former billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky who has been imprisoned for almost a decade. Supporters insist his trials were politically motivated, but the Russian government insists they were legally justified.
In 2011, Guriev contributed an expert statement to a Presidential Civil Society and Human Rights Council report on the legality of the second Yukos case, maintaining Khodorkovsky was not guilty.