May 30, 2022 - 5:14pm

After the invasion of Ukraine, formal economic sanctions were ordered by Western governments to punish Putin’s inner circle. Then private institutions and individuals took it upon themselves to sanction everyday Russians, even those living abroad. Informal cultural and social sanctions have gone from cancelling Tchaikovsky concerts to banning Russian players from Wimbledon, and now it seems that universities have joined the anti-Russian culture war.

Elena Ledneva, a woman living with her husband and young child in the UK, applied for a Master’s course in hospitality at the University of West London. Elena had years of experience in running events, including welcoming international delegates to the Sochi Winter Olympics, so on paper, she would seem to be the ideal candidate. But last week she was rejected due to ‘the situation in Ukraine’. Was she really rejected for being Russian?

Elena joined Florence Read in the UnHerd studio to share her story.