You will notice the complete lack of Russians living in Russia who even signed the petition anonymously, and no indication that the Russians in Russia want the ICM there to be canceled or that it would help. Rather, we see a list of virtues that skinless Western academics signal in the game and are happy to volunteer their Russian counterparts as guinea pigs.

Concern about Russian politics, like concerns about Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong around the world, is far from universal, but ICM is an international organization. It has quite a few members in Russia, China, Iran, as well as in Arab and African countries where the US State Department’s party line differs from official or popular opinion. This type of petition is foggy bottom and projects soft power by academic representatives, not as a sign of democracy.

Speaking of the state and its color revolutions, how did the US elections go? There is a de facto communist revolution underway, a political and economic crackdown from the right of Chuck Schumer, and the White House is currently boycotting not Russia but * Florida *. Given the centrality and power of US science and the totalitarian tendencies it is now engulfing (e.g., deplatforming, summary layoffs, critical racial theory, mandatory diversity statements), developments in the US are more of a concern when the ICM Interested in intellectual and political freedom is a problem more than anything else in Russia, but Russia’s secession from the rest of the ICM would exacerbate US dominance and its dysfunctional academic policies within the organization. For example, the AMS has just introduced a race-specific “scholarship for a black mathematician”. Is anyone at ICM ready to comment?

For every ICM spokesman who refuses to go to Russia, there are several mathematicians who would like to take their place. The “free market of ideas” and the people who “vote with their feet” counteract this boycott. The only way to make it successful is to put pressure on the ICM as a whole and enforce it from above. Which of course has much less political legitimacy; The angriest faction can win by tantrum, not law or popularity. The top-down workaround is a very familiar step for fringe movements in a hurry to gain political power. It usually doesn’t end well and is obviously at odds with supposed concerns about democracy and human rights.


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