CORRESPONDENCE

Russia: scientists petition to end political persecution

We are among more than 900 academics who signed an open letter (see go.nature.com/2ovm) in February calling for an end to escalating violence against the political opposition in Russia, and for authorities to restore open dialogue with the public. Two Nobel laureates and members of national academies around the world have signed.

The letter voices grave concerns: police brutality; court rulings targeting political opposition; and the apparent use of chemical weapons, which violates international law. It calls for cessation of the persecution of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his supporters, and for an investigation into his alleged poisoning. It demands international cooperation to jointly confront global threats, and an end to the use of force against peaceful demonstrators.

Russian nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov began his Nobel lecture after winning the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize by declaring: “Peace, progress, human rights — these three goals are insolubly linked.” One signatory to the letter, Natalia Berloff, a mathematics professor at the University of Cambridge, UK, has said that, when faced with injustice, “being silent means being an accomplice”.

We call on members of the global scientific community to support colleagues in Russia.

Nature 591, 202 (2021)

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