U of M defends professor taking pro-Russian stance on Ukraine invasion


The Université de Montréal is defending a professor in its history department following a Radio-Canada report on the professor’s social media comments that Russian troops are freeing Ukraine from the “fascists” and “Ukrainian nazis.”

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Université de Montréal is defending a professor in its history department following a Radio-Canada report on the professor’s social media comments that Russian troops are freeing Ukraine from the “fascists” and “Ukrainian Nazis.”

Michael Jabara Carley, who specializes in the history of Russia and the Soviet Union and relations between Russia and the West, has posted a steady stream of comments on his Twitter account defending Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a battle against “a rotten fascist government in Ukraine” and “Ukrainian Nazis.”

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“These fascists have infiltrated into every level of Ukr gvt & armed forces & have org’d powerful militias which have demonstrated their strength in the present conflict,” began one of his messages, posted on Twitter on March 10.

“Mr. Carley is entitled, like any citizen, to freedom of expression,” university spokesperson Geneviève O’Meara said on Wednesday. “So he can express his opinion of him on social media, although that opinion clashes with the words of other experts on the same subject.”

Carley, who is active on social media, has been openly pro-Kremlin since the Russian invasion began a month ago. Some of his messages from him are re-posts of messages by pro-Russian organizations, such as a retweet of a message posted by the Russian embassy in Canada on March 21 that claimed to show video of the Ukrainian army “using the abandoned shopping mall as arms and resupply depot.”

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#ukraine still looks to provoke, at a minimum, a European war to save itself & destroy #russia,” another tweet, on March 8., began. “Apart from that, I don’t see the point. Russian antiaircraft forces shot down a Ukrainian fighter, apparently from 150 km away. They own the UK sky. Logically, the objective is WWIII.”

On his personal Facebook account, I posted an image with the letter Za symbol of support for the Russian military.

Carley’s biography says he is a member of his university’s Center d’études et de recherches internationales (CÉRIUM). However, his name did not appear in the CÉRIUM directory of researchers on Wednesday. The Radio-Canada report said his name was removed. The report also quoted anonymous colleagues saying Carley is advancing pro-Putin and anti-Ukraine propaganda and using academic freedom as a cover to say things that are false.

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“The persons who spoke anonymously should contact me … reveal their identities,” Carley wrote in an email response to the Montreal Gazette. He also said he found out from the Radio-Canada report that his name has been removed from the CÉRIUM directory.

“I have been blacklisted,” he wrote. He added that he is on sabbatical this year. Other professors in the United States and United Kingdom are being “attacked” like him, he wrote.

Carley has been a professor of history at the university since 2007 and was director of the history department from 2007 to 2014. He is still employed at the university, but is not teaching a class this semester, O’Meara said. She added that Carley “can go with his opinion of him on his Twitter account like you and me.”

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