In the summer of 1999, N. Kropachev, who was the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the time, refused to take into account the so-called rector’s list during the entrance exams. (The “rector’s list” is a list of applicants who are to get a good grade during the entrance exam regardless of their knowledge.) A few days after that he took part in Sergei Chernyadyev’s TV show “Sobytie” (Russian for “Event”) on TRK Petersburg channel.
During this broadcast, among other things, they showed a video recording of an entrance exam in the Russian language (an essay); the exam had been conducted in one of the rooms of the Faculty of Law, which was equipped with a CCTV cam. The camera had recorded actions of one of the Russian language teachers, whose responsibility was to monitor the exam process and, in this way, to ensure equal opportunities for all entrants to show their knowledge when competing for a university place. That teacher, after looking at the essay topics at the start of the exam, wrote his own essay draft and gave it to one of the entrants right before the eyes of the other entrants and teachers.
The TV host asked: “What are your comments on this?” Nikolay Kropachev answered laconically, “Corruption”. During the TV show, Nikolay Kropachev also spoke about other measures that he had been taking as the Dean of the Faculty of Law in order to prevent the violation of rights of university entrants.
At the University, meanwhile, the Rector L. Verbitskaya issued an order instructing the Dean of the Faculty of Journalism M. Shishkina to conduct an investigation “in response to publication of false and discrediting information about the University”. Based on the results of this “investigation” and upon the recommendation of the committee, an administrative decision was made: the Dean of the Faculty of Law N. Kropachev was discharged from his position at the order issued by the Rector L. Verbitskaya on 30 August 1999. Suggestions made by the members of the SPbU Academic Council to dismiss the academic council of the Faculty of Law and create a second, alternative law faculty, fortunately, were not supported by the majority of the SPbU Academic Council members.
The speeches made by the members of the SPbU Academic Council in support of the Rector’s decision, at the meeting held on 01 September 1999, included for instance the following: “As a dean I support the decision of the Rector. Why? It is written in the Labour Code: you cannot be rude, you cannot be abusive, you cannot insult. You cannot insult the Rector, who is the protector of our moral code and environment; the Rector is the protector and every University member should understand that.” (M. Shishkina)
In the time preceding his dismissal, N. Kropachev indeed had spoken repeatedly at the meetings of the Academic Council and the University Senate, criticizing the financial, economic and commercial activity of the University as well as the organizational aspects of the University entrance exams that facilitated corruption and favouritism.
Those facts were mentioned by the members of the academic council of the Law Faculty at the meeting of the SPbU Academic Council held on 01 September 1999: “Indeed, we should admit that the whole conflict has been caused /.../ by the attempts to oppose the mismanagement and irresponsibility prevailing at the University today. The information ultimately published by the press has been openly discussed by Nikolay Kropachev and other representatives of our faculty at the previous meetings of the University Senate and the University Academic Council.”
FOR YOUR INFOMRATION: You can find more details concerning the financial and economic situation of the University at that time from the following sources:
- On eviction of more than 1,500 tenants living illegally in the SPbU halls of residence, see the answer and the memorandum of G. Vasilyev from 25 March 2012 (with addendums from 15 May 2012) on the state of the SPbU Halls of Residence in the Virtual Office section of the University portal, as well as the minutes of the Rector’s Meetings held on 22 August 2011, clause 3.2; 5 September 2011, clause 5; and 2 April 2012, clause 3;
- On illegal use of SPbU premises for housing private restaurants, a health centre, shops, steam bathhouses, workshops, factories, a pet clinic, etc., see information on the situation with the rental of SPbU premises in the minutes of the Rector’s Meeting held on 4 June 2012, clause 3.2;
- On finding over 500,000 books (including the books from the first Russian social science library), which had been removed from the library of the Vasilyevsky Island Training and Research Complex and left unattended more than 10 years before, in cement bags in a warehouse of the Petrodvorets Training and Research Complex (without heating), see the information provided by the Director of the SPbU Library on the condition of specialist-subject book stock in the minutes of the Rector’s Meeting held on 18 April 2011, clause 3;
- On transferring into private hands of 50,000 rare books (including atlases and maps published before 1917, in Russian and in foreign languages), see the Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting held on 04 April 2011, clause 9;
- On large-scale misappropriation and embezzlement during construction works at SPbU: during the renovation of the Twelve Colleges building, see publications by Fontanka.ru from 04 October 2006, 15 December 2008, and 15 February 2011; during the renovation and repurposing of the former NIFI (Research Institute of Physics) building to house a library, see a publication by Fontanka.ru from 09 August 2010 and the minutes of the Rector’s Meetings held on 27 June 2011, clause 4; 29 August 2011, clause 4, and 19 Match 2012, clause 9);
- On over 200 million roubles of taxes overpaid in 2000-2006 and later returned as a result of successful challenges against the tax authorities, see an article in the Delovoy Peterburg magazine published on 29 April 2011 and the minutes of the Rector’s Meeting held on 11 April 2011, clause 6;
- On unauthorized attempts to redesign and redevelop the University premises starting from 1955, see the minutes of the Rector’s meeting held on 26 March 2012, clause 4;
- On the condition of premises and teaching equipment for academic and research activities, see the minutes of the Rector’s meeting held on 13 February 2012, clause 3;
- On the condition of fire safety at SPbU, see the minutes of the Rector’s meeting held on 9 April 2012, clause 4;
- On the former “system of payment” for members of the academic staff and the University administration, see the minutes of the Rector’s meeting held on 17 October 2011, clause 3;
- On the system of payment for research workers, see the minutes of the Rector’s meeting held on 24 October 2011, clause 6;
- On improving the system of payment (including changes to the former system), see the minutes of the Rector’s meeting held on 7 November 2011, clause 7;
- On the general state of financial and economic activity of SPbU from the early 1990s to the middle of the 2000s, see the minutes of the Rector’s meeting held on 9 July 2012, clause 2.
After the statement issued by the academic council of the Faculty of Law demanding that law should be followed when solving any organizational issue, including a conflict one, after the lawsuits filed by a number of law faculty members seeking cancellation of the unlawful order of the Rector, and after the lawsuit filed by N. Kropachev seeking reinstatement in his position, the Rector of the University cancelled her order to dismiss the Dean of the Faculty of Law while the case was pending trial.