Russian News agency TASS reports that Culture Ministry investigators are checking reports that books published by the international Soros Fund have been burnt in central Russia’s Komi Republic, minister Vladimir Medinsky said on Thursday, rejecting any possibility that this destruction had been authorized.
Russian authorities have burned more than 50 books and pulled more than 500 other volumes from university libraries on the grounds they contain sentiments “alien to Russian ideology”.
The books, most of them textbooks, were published with money from the Soros Fund, which in November was declared an “undesirable agent” and forced to stop its work in Russia.
The Komi education minister said in a letter dated Wednesday that the books were destroyed to fulfill an order from a presidential envoy requesting that books published with funds from the Soros Fund be removed from circulation.
The letter was sent to a local news site in response to its request for information.
“I believe that burning books is similar to monument destruction, ” the minister said. “In my view this is inadmissible, ” he added, pledging further comment after inquiries had been made. Media outlets have reported that more than 50 books on “Renewing humanitarian education in Russia” were burnt in Komi after the Soros Fund, the publisher, was added by Russia’s Justice Ministry in December to a list of undesirable non-governmental organizations and whose books should have been seized.
The Soros Fund, officially named the Open Society Foundations, is an international grant-awarding network founded by American business magnate George Soros to support civil society groups worldwide.
George Soros is an Hungarian-born American businessman considered one of the 30 richest people in the world.