Yury Kobaladze, deputy dean of the International Journalism Faculty of MGIMO, was dismissed from the university after he invited TV presenter Ivan Urgant, who opposed the war with Ukraine, to give a lecture. Telegram channels “Ostorozhno, Moscow” and “Abzats” reported this with reference to sources, including students.
Kobaladze’s dismissal was not officially announced, but as “Meduza” noticed, his name disappeared from the list of teachers at MGIMO, and on his personal page on the university’s website it is stated that he “from 2014 to 2023” held the position of deputy dean and professor of the department of international journalism.
“Careful, Moscow” claims that Kobaladze informed the students of his dismissal on November 14, but did not say the reasons for it. The professor told Abzats that he would not comment on reports of his dismissal. “Ostrozhno, Moscow” writes that the students are going to write a collective letter with a request to return the teacher, but at the same time they are afraid of expulsion.
In early October, pro-war bloggers and pro-Kremlin mass media reported that Ivan Urgant spoke at Kobaladze’s lecture on Social Networking, devoted to establishing personal connections in the media space. Urgant did not talk about the war in the published video of the lecture. The university management stated that they had nothing to do with the organization of the lecture. According to “Ostrozhno, Moscow”, the management of the university began to demand that Kobaladze invite the so-called military recruits to his lectures. It is not clear from the messages whether Kobaladze was fired or wrote the application “of his own free will”.
- Yury Kobaladze is a former employee of the First Main Directorate of the KGB of the USSR (foreign intelligence, he was a correspondent of the USSR Hospital Radio in Great Britain, in the post-Soviet years he was the head of the press office of the Foreign Intelligence Service, he holds the rank of major general.
- On the very first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, actor and TV presenter Ivan Urgant spoke out against the war, writing on his Instagram: “Fear and pain. NO WAR.” His author’s program “Evening Urgant” on Channel One was canceled, as well as his concerts in Russia.