While different measures are being taken in the world to isolate Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine, an Italian university made a controversial decision that sparked widespread rejection from cultural, intellectual and political figures.
The Bicocca University, of the city of Milanwanted to ban the teaching of texts by the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky as a supposed retaliation against Moscow, but had to go back with the decision due to the criticism he received from political leaders and cultural personalities.
“Prohibit studying Dostoevsky as an act against Putin it means to be crazy“, the ex-premier and current official senator Matteo Renzi said through Instagram, after Professor Paolo Nori’s complaint that the Milanese house of studies canceled his course on the author of “The Brothers Karamazov”, among other jewels of literature.
“At this time we need to study more, not less: in the University teachers are needed, not bureaucrats incapable”, added Renzi this Wednesday, hours before the house of studies finally rectified its position in the face of the criticism received.
Along the same lines, the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, director of the oldest cultural magazine in Italy, La Civiltà Cattolica, told Télam that “today, just today, it is absolutely necessary to return to Dostoevsky.”
The priest asked to return to the figure of the Russian writer “and his Russian soul to fill with humanity the barbarity of war that disfigures the beautiful face of the people.”
The pro-government deputy Marianna Madia, meanwhile, pointed out through Twitter that “the enemy is not Russian culture.”
Portrait of Russian writer Fedor Dostoyevsky. EFE photo.
“Now is the time to study more, not to censor,” added the former Minister of Public Administration.
This Wednesday, Nori announced that he was canceling a course on the Russian writer out of obligation at Bicocca University and stated that “censorship is ridiculous.”
“Not only to be a living Russian, today it is a foul, in Italy, also to be a dead Russian,” Nori denounced.
Hours later, faced with the wave of criticism of politics and culture, the University issued a statement in which confirmed that he would hold Nori’s course.