BELGRADE – More than 150 intellectuals sent an open letter protesting a plan by Serbia’s Government to limit the Belgrade Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory (IFDT) scientific freedom, the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported.
Intellectuals, among whom are Jürgen Habermas, Noam Chomsky, Thomas Piketty, Yanis Varoufakis and Nancy Fraser, supported the “Call for Solidarity” sent to them by the Belgrade Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory.
The IFDT employees protested after Zoran Avramović, member of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party during the 1990s, was appointed the head of the Managing Board.
The protesters hold Avramović responsible for depriving the Institute of funding.
By the end of February, Gazela Pudar Draško, an IFDT associate, said that the Institute was in “a state of emergency since March 2019, when the Government violated the usual practice of consulting IFDT about the appointment of the Managing Board members and then installed the director in the same way.”
She said that she would not exclude that “the possibility of political pressure,” and that the regime criticised IFDT “because the Institute’s employees had signed support of civil protests in Serbia.”
“We don’t want Zoran Avramović in the Managing Board, and the authorities cannot or don’t want to dismiss him,” Pudar Drasko said.
She added that the main problem regarding Avramovic was “his nationalist political activities since the Institute fights against nationalism and xenophobia.”