On April 1st, 2014 NTV showed a story about the dismissal of Kharkiv Professor Alexander Mihilev. According to the story, Doctor of Philology at the University of Kharkiv refused absurd orders of management to lecture in Ukrainian on subject of Russian language and literature. This refusal was allegedly followed by immediate dismissal.
“The Faculty Dean suddenly disagreed with the ideological views of the lecturer. Supposedly, given the current political situation it is a betrayal to speak, teach and even think in Russian (the only language that students understand and accept). Academic was offered two options: learn Ukrainian language or to resign”- say NTV journalists.
Also the story tells about supposedly dozen postgraduate students under supervision of Alexander Mihilev who are to graduate this year.
Out of all news reported by the NTV, true is only information that Professor Mihilev has resigned from Kharkiv University.
Center of Public Relations and Press of V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University responded to the story on the NTV and stated :
• No instructions manual “to lecture Russian language and literature in Ukrainian” have ever existed, does not exist and won’t exist. The lecturers from the Department of Russian Language, Literature and History have always taught their lectures in Russian. The Professor A.D. Mihilev worked at the Department of History of Foreign Literature and Classical Philology, so he could not teach Russian literature, much less Russian language.
• The lecturer’s working relations with the school are based on a contractual basis. On August 31st, 2013 the old contract of A.D. Mihilev as a Professor of the History of Foreign Literature and Classical Philology ended, accordingly he has ceased to act as the Head of this department. After that Professor A.D. Mihilev was elected again as a Professor by Academic Council and on September 1st, 2013 a new three-year contract with him was signed. However, A.D. Mihilev fraudulently applied and participated in the application process for the vacant lecturing position at another academic institution of higher education in Ukraine and signed a contract with them. This is in violation of employment laws. When this fact became known to the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, in accordance with employment law, Professor A.D. Mihilev was asked to choose, in which institution he was going to work. A.D. Mihilev made a choice not in favour of the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University and handed in written letter of resignation on 1st of November 2013. Thus, there is no relation of A.D. Mihilev dismissal to “current political situation”.
• Postgraduate students of Department of the History of Foreign Literature and Classical Philology are able to safely continue their education (of course, they are not “a few dozen people, which were supervised by A.D. Mihelev and graduate this year”). They can discuss their thesis and submit them to specialized Academic Advisory Board.
• Attempts of the NTV journalists to portrait A.D. Mihilev as a victim of “nationalist obsession” are meaningless. A.D. Mihilev always taught his lectures in Russian, as the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University respects both Ukrainian and Russian languages and uses them without restrictions in teaching and administrative work. The university has high capacity departments of the Russian language and the history of Russian literature, where highly regarded Professors and Associate Professors work. Students are admitted annually to the Faculty of Philology in the Russian Department. There are regularly held competitions of experts of the Russian language, where hundreds of students of Kharkiv and Kharkiv region take part. Students–rusists win in numerous student contests and competitions of student research papers. This is why there is no need to worry for NTV journalists and “intelligent professor” A.D. Mihilev about the fate of the Russian language in Kharkiv University.