In the summer of 1999, Nikolay Kropachev, the then Dean of the Faculty of Law, refused to follow the so-called “Rector’s list” (the list of university applicants whose admission he was supposed to facilitate) and, several days after, was a guest on Event, Sergey Chernyadyev’s talk show broadcast on St. Petersburg TV.

The programme featured the footage of the entrance exam in the Russian language (an essay writing) held in one of the rooms of the Faculty of Law. A CCTV camera installed in the room captured one professor of philology who was supervising the examination to ensure fair competition of applicants. At the start of the session, that same professor looked through the essay topics, wrote a draft and – right in front of the other candidates and colleagues – handed it over to one of the applicants.

When asked by the programme host to comment on the incident, Nikolay Kropachev gave a very terse reply, “Corruption.”  In the programme Nikolay Kropachev talked about some other measures he takes as Dean of the Faculty of Law to prevent the infringement of applicants’ rights.

Meanwhile,Marina Shishkina, Dean of the Faculty of Journalism, investigated the case of “libel and defamation against the University.” As the findings were submitted to the Committee, it issued an organizational verdict: Nikolay Kropachev was dismissed from the position of Dean. Fortunately, the initiative to dissolve the Academic Council of the Faculty of Law and create another alternative Faculty of Law developed by the University was not welcomed by the majority of its members.

Participating in sessions of the SPbU Academic Council and the University Senate before his dismissal, Nikolay Kropachev had often criticized administrative, economic and admissions policy of SPbU senior management team as encouraging corruption and protectionism.

His efforts did not go unnoticed at another session of the SPbU Academic Council held September 1, 1999, “We have to admit that this conflict is rooted in the /.../ attempts to fight against poor and irresponsible administrative management the University is witnessing these days. What has released to the press is no secret – the Senate and the Council heard Nikolay Kropachev and other faculty members speak about all these issues openly.”

As a follow-up to the statement of the Academic Council of the Faculty of Law, demanding to comply with law at resolution of any, including conflict issues of the University management, after a number of faculty members have filed court claims to annul the illegitimate order and upon the court claim of Nikolay Kropachev for the reinstatement of employment during the court hearing stage the order for dismissal of the Dean of the Faculty of Law was cancelled.