While the world condemns Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is abandoning a collaboration with Russia that began more than a decade ago with the establishment of a research institution in Moscow.
Skoltech, or the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, was formed in October 2011 as a collaboration between MIT and Russia.
The school’s affiliation with Skoltech is ending, according to MIT President L. Rafael Reif, due to “the unacceptable military actions against Ukraine by the Russian government.”
“This step is a rejection of the actions of the Russian government in Ukraine,” the statement on the MIT Skoltech Program’s website read. “We take it with deep regret because of our great respect for the Russian people and our profound appreciation for the contributions of the many extraordinary Russian colleagues we have worked with.”
The school’s ties with Russia has long been a source of controversy. U.S. intelligence authorities raised worry last autumn when they learned that MIT had renewed its collaboration with Skoltech for 2019.
They also mentioned the Skolkovo Foundation’s leader, Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg, who was sanctioned in 2018. Following the announcement of the fines, MIT removed Vekselberg from its board of trustees.
The critique came as part of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center’s identification of new technologies that must be safeguarded against China and Russia if the United States is to maintain its status as a global powerhouse.