War in Ukraine: Vladimir Putin ally Vyacheslav Nikonov to be stripped of Edinburgh University degree

A Russian MP with strong links to Russian president Vladimir Putin will be stripped of his honorary degree by the University of Edinburgh.

Vyacheslav Nikonov, who also works as a TV presenter, was given the award in 2012 for his role in a Russian state-backed cultural foundation which has a base at the university.

But Mr Nikonov, who is on a UK government travel ban and asset freeze list for his support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, will have the honour withdrawn after a university review.

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A member of the Russian State Duma and Putin's United Russia party, the politician's honorary degree came after the Russkiy Mir Foundation contributed £241,949 to fund the Princess Dashkova Russian Centre at the University of Edinburgh.

Russian MP Vyacheslav Nikonov, left, is an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, right. Getty Images
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In a statement, the University of Edinburgh said: “In line with others in the sector, we have been reviewing our relationships with Russia. We have instructed our investment managers to divest of all our Russian investment holdings at the earliest opportunity.

“We have formally confirmed withdrawal of the honorary degree awarded to the Head of the Ruskiy Mir Foundation, Vyacheslav Nikonov.

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“We do not have any institutional partnerships with Russian universities or organisations, so our current links are limited to individual academic projects and exchange programmes.

“These appalling events are the actions of the Russian Government and not the Russian people and we remain committed to the free exchange of ideas between universities and between academics, regardless of nationality or location, while recognising the importance of managing the risks associated with international collaboration.”

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