ASEEES Statement concerning the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Published July 20, 2018

 

The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) expresses its support for the members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and protests the recent proposals to subject the majority of that organization’s funding to political oversight. On June 13, 2018, it was announced that 70% of the Academy’s budget would be shifted to the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, which would then be responsible for allocating funds based on its politically established priorities, instead of the independently set objectives of the Academy itself. Scholarly freedom is essential to the pursuit of knowledge, and political interference in professional research constitutes a profound threat to democracy. In a letter of June 17, 2018, the Presidium of the Academy unanimously voted to denounce this threat to its autonomy, and ASEEES fully endorses the arguments contained in that protest. Contrary to the many attacks on the professoriate in state-affiliated Hungarian media, the members of the Academy have a long history of making pathbreaking contributions to the scientific and cultural foundations of Hungary, Europe, and the world. Political manipulation of research agendas can only lead to a loss of prestige for Hungarian scholarship and a further weakening of the country’s reputation. Our many respected colleagues in Hungary, and the Hungarian people more broadly, deserve better.

 

ASEEES Executive Committee & ASEEES Committee on Academic Freedom and Advocacy