Rejected from a London university for being Russian

UnHerd’s Florence Read meets Elena Ledneva.

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Elena Ledneva, a woman living with her husband and young child in the UK, applied for a Master’s course in hospitality at the University of West London. Elena had years of experience in running events, including welcoming international delegates to the Sochi Winter Olympics, so on paper, she would seem to be the ideal candidate. But last week she was rejected due to ‘the situation in Ukraine’. Was she really rejected for being Russian?

Elena joined Florence Read to share her story.

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00:00 – 01:01 – Introduction
01:01 – 02:20 – Elena’s first thoughts upon receiving the email
02:20 – 03:12 – What did she do next?
03:12 – 05:38 – Reading the university’s policy. Was it challenged? If so, what response did she receive?
05:38 – 08:14 – A statement from the university itself. Are they telling the truth?
08:14 – 09:24 – Does Elena support the invasion of Ukraine?
09:24 – 11:07 – University of West London’s statement as the war broke out
11:07 – 12:28 – Is it right to ask for political proclamations from people before joining a university?
12:28 – 12:47 – Would Elena take the course if she was offered it now?
12:47 – 13:30 – What advise does Elena have for the university?
13:30 – 13:48 – Conclusion

#UnHerd #russophobia #russia

Written by UnHerd


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  1. Until the Russian people stand up against their government, these things are going to continue. The idea is to get the Russian people to act, and so far, they are not. They appear to be terrified against their government or in support of it.

  2. During WW2 people didn't have a good attitude towards Germans, so it is not surprising that the University might be cautious about a potential spying or just simply to avoid future problems, We are on the brink of a major war

  3. Unfortunately, in a time of war, all bets are off, and this kind of thing can be expected to happen frequently. Think of how citizens from enemy countries were treated in past wars. It will not take much for the situation in Ukraine to transition from a proxy war between Russia and USA/NATO to World War 3. This young woman seems very naïve, and, sadly, her plans have been impacted, but she is far from the only one. She should not be surprised to be looked upon with suspicion in the UK; that is human nature.

  4. While literally millions of Ukrainians have fled their homes, there are people here in this comment thread wringing their hands because a London university has declined to accept an applicant because she is Russian. While thousands of Ukrainians have died and thousands more are under daily bombardment, some people here are shocked at academic discrimination against an applicant because of where she is from. Meanwhile, symphonies are discriminating against Russian musicians by no longer allowing them to play with them. Ballet companies are barring Russian dancers. Sports federations are barring Russian athletes. International companies are leaving or have left their businesses behind in Russia. These highly discriminatory actions are of course an injustice to Russians who are sickened by what their armed forces are doing. But they are going to continue. The days of Russian academics gaining admission to Western academic institutions are disappearing or are already gone and they will not return for many, many years. There will be new alignments. The talents and contributions of Russians, which are massive, will go to other places. They will create new alliances in China, India, some parts of Latin America and elsewhere. They will not remain integrated in the social fabric of the West.

  5. I mean, being a Ukrainian, I totally agree with the decision. I wish that no one goes through a similar hell as we do now, it is unbearable, to say the very least. Escaping death, students cannot stand to hear any russian word ever again. Why should each and every soul here in Ukraine struggle while the representatives of the enemy culture, the nation of ruthless murderers, rapists and killers greatly enjoys their time? They need to be sanctioned in all possible areas of life, as they destroy the lives of our children right at this very moment.

  6. As we saw during the covid19 madness, we are living on clown planet, where the most absurd restrictions, sanctions and mandates are being presented as reasonable when actually they are senseless. I think the Russian ballet in London was cancelled as well. All pretty mind boggling all the more so coming from supposedly educated university administrators.

  7. This is appalling. Why are ordinary Russians being made to pay for Putin's aggression ? Do they believe that ordinary people can have any effect on Russia's stance? It's bizarre.

  8. The democratically elected government of Ukraine was overthrown in a coup in 2014. The Ukraine regime then reneged on the two Minsk agreements that they signed brokered by Germany and France.

    This reminds me of Germany breaking the Munich agreements in 1938.

  9. I actually knew a lot of Russian escorts who were at university 2019, extra job 500quid, Also there are Chinese girls at the imperial doing some good times as well I had two students other days lol

  10. Why Russians abroad should be allowed in ANY foreign university? No way! Your government started aggressive war, therefore you should be effectively BANNED from international community. Sanctions start working then:) Great job the West London University! Firstly all Russians, also these rich and affluent and living in London, have to start acting and stop pretending that Russia's war is not THEIR war, start protesting against their bloody government. Then the sanctions would be lifted. Sanctions are right, directed against ALL Russian citizens who elected their aggressive gov't killing innocent civilians in Ukraine. Young Russians are wise guys, many of them. They want Western education but do not care to OPENLY condemn Kremlin mafia and protest when Russia kills innocent children and civilians. They just care about themselves and their money in Western banks, which mostly come from corruption and theft from inside Russia.

  11. Mob mentality is the Black Plague of today.

    On a lighter note, I love the host's thicker eyebrows She's very pretty. I wish more females would understand how they're natrually way more pretty than when they highly alter their physical looks.

  12. what a bunch of xenophobic and ignorant comments. i’m sure you all discriminate against american civilians as well for atrocities that american government has committed across the world for the past few decades as well. bunch of direct and proxy wars for resources and geopolitical influence, but it comes with the label of “democracy” and is mostly done to brown people in lands far far away, so who cares, right? 🤣

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  14. I had an Iraqi colleague (in England) whose bank account and wages were frozen at the time of the Second Gulf War, so these things are not unusual. I've just finished reading a book by a Russian author, BTW.

  15. Why people should be asked about their views regarding the Ukraine war. I never heard when Britain and USA were bombing other nations no one asked the people if they support their government aggression . No one was discriminating against them. Ludicrous

  16. Russians have learnt, without any doubt, who their real enemies are. The more they are attacked, the more determined they become, and the harder they fight.

  17. I listened until you asked her and she actually turned her back on her own country. Traitorous. Typical right (meaning right not wrong)fighting leftist nonsense. Her agreement with your question, shows she would flip to any damn side that will achieve her goals. F*ck her, she is a damn traitor for liberal causes

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