Russian political scientist to discuss Putin opposition with MSPs

Ekaterina Schulmann is unable to return to Russia due to the government’s designation of her.

Russian political scientist to discuss Vladimir Putin opposition with MSPs Getty Images

A Russian political scientist labelled a “foreign agent” by the Kremlin will speak to MSPs about the state of public opposition to Vladimir Putin’s government.

Ekaterina Schulmann, a prominent lecturer and commentator, is unable to return to Russia due to the government’s designation of her.

On Wednesday, she will deliver a presentation to MSPs and staff about the state of political opposition in Russia and take questions.

Prof Schulmann is also an associate fellow at Chatham House and hosts a YouTube channel discussing Russian affairs.

Her visit is part of a “Russian dissidents event” hosted by Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and comes after the death of Putin opponent Alexei Navalny.

Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “I am delighted that Ekaterina will be joining us in parliament this week.

“She represents the many brave men and women of Russia, both at home and overseas, who stand in defiance of Putin, who do not recognise his legitimacy and in whose name he does not act.

“As we remember the life and murder of a great man, Alexei Navalny, we must reflect on the ways that we, in Scotland, can stand up against Putin’s regime.”

He added: “For years, the SNP’s naivety about Russian influence has run rampant.

“Disgraced former first minister Alex Salmond has helped legitimise Putin by hosting a chat show on his propaganda channel and refusing to address the jailing of Navalny.

“As it stands, the opaque land ownership system in Scotland also allows oligarchs to disguise their vast fortunes.

“We may already be in the early days of a new cold war: we must do everything in our power to support free-thinking Russians and close off Putin’s interests and influence in Scotland.”

SNP MP Stewart McDonald said: “Ekaterina Schulman’s visit to Scotland is most welcome and will give us a better understanding of the Kremlin’s influence operations abroad as well as the current domestic situation in Russia.

“Whilst we have done much to sanction Putin’s interests, there is always much more that can be done, particularly in Scotland when it comes to hostile disinformation and Scottish Limited Partnerships.

“No politician in Scotland has been a more vocal critic of the Putin regime, or indeed Mr Salmond’s TV show – something he should never live down – than I, so rather than seek to politicise Ms Schulman’s visit, Mr Cole-Hamilton would do well to put this issue above electioneering and be part of a cross-political consensus that our open society must be defended from authoritarian influence, whether that’s from Russia or from China.”

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