The Soros Charity has been the subject of a book-burning campaign in Russia this week after the government cited the foundation as a threat to national security in late November 2015.
The book burning took place in the Komi Republic, after university libraries were searched in December to uncover any works written by Soros or published by his foundations. More than 470 books were confiscated and either shredded or burned by local authorities. Held at the Vorkuta Mining and Economics College, the burning was apparently ordered by local educational authorities, with The Telegraph reporting that another local institution, the Ukhtinsky State Technical University, had been asked to remove books published by the George Soros Foundation from its library.
According to CNBC, both the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute were classed as “undesirable” entities in Russia late last year, with a press release from the Russian government describing the groups as representing “a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and the security of the state”. The two groups are now unable to operate in the country as NGOs.
Soros has engaged in significant work in Ukraine since the EuroMaidan conflict began. In October of last year, Soros published an editorial in the New York Review of Books in which he argued that the sanctions against Russian on behalf of the West were “necessary but not sufficient” and argued for providing significant financial support to Ukraine and that democratic reforms in the country would be seen as a threat by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Soros has recently remarked that the recent global economic downturn is reminiscent of the large market crash in 2008, noting that the crash in Chinese markets could start to significantly affect other world economies and could hinder the ability of Europe to emerge from their own issues with debt after the Greek Eurozone crisis.
It is unknown whether or not similar burnings of works published by George Soros or his foundations have or will be held across Russia. The Russian Minister of Culture, Vladimir Medinsky, has promised to investigate the incident in the Komi Republic, stating that book burning is “completely unacceptable”.