Yale’s Connections to Russian Oligarchs Spark Controversy

A number of alarming ties exist

Yale University
Some connections at Yale have alarmed observers.
Emilie Foyer, CC BY-SA 3.0

In 2015, The Guardian published an article by Mark Rice-Oxley discussing Skolkovo, described as a Moscow district with ambitions of becoming a Russian equivalent of Silicon Valley. The nation’s larger geopolitics put that at risk, however. “Every bullet that’s fired in Ukraine is another shot across the bows of the international venture capitalists that were supposed to breathe life, and capital, into Skolkovo,” Rice-Oxley wrote — words that have an uneasy resonance seven years later.

Now, Russia is again at war with Ukraine — and Skolkovo is once again sparking international concern.

As Clara Molot reports at Air Mail, Yale University’s ties to the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo are now under closer scrutiny, as are the Ivy League’s ties to various Russian oligarchs. Molot notes that the names of two oligarchs who up until recently held seats on the Yale’s President’s Council on International Activities are no longer present there — though their terms weren’t set to expire for another few months.

Connections between the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo and Yale have taken many forms over the years, from a formal partnership to — more recently — the former’s presence on the Global Network for Advanced Management, which Yale was involved with setting up.

As Air Mail’s article points out, several members of Yale’s faculty are upset by their employer’s connection to an organization with several close ties to the Russian government. Whether effort from faculty and students alike will result in changes remains to be seen — but the array of connections detailed therein is unsettling.

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