Fake news states University of Oxford is revoking degrees of alumni with Kremlin links

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Social media users, as well as one of Russia’s largest TV channels, Rossiya 1, shared misleading claims on Sunday that the University of Oxford has started to revoke the degrees of 10,000 students linked to the Kremlin.

According to the report, any student with ties to Russian officials who has graduated since 2014 is at risk.

The British Police are already in the process of destroying degree certificates, and students will not be refunded their tuition fees, the Panorama report stated.

The story initially came from an article published by the Russian satirical website, Panorama.

Each article is accompanied by a visible disclaimer stating “all texts on this site are grotesque parodies of reality and not real news.”

The Panorama article even contained a falsified quote from the supposed University Vice-Chancellor, who they named Sir Louis Lawrence: “We are a democratic country, and we cannot issue diplomas to representatives of barbaric and totalitarian regimes.”

Not only was the statement fabricated by the satirical site, but also the name. In reality, it is Professor Louise Richardson who has been Vice-Chancellor since 2016.

Despite this, one of Rossiya 1 star presenters, Dmitry Kiselev, brought up the allegations as an example of ‘absurd’ Western sanctions on Russia. 

It was only after an almost two-minute rant that Kiselev acknowledged that the information was a joke.

However, he proceeded to state that the policy sounds like a very realistic and “plausible” policy. 

In a tweet, the site that wrote the satire article posted a clip of the TV programme with the caption: “We’re back on TV!”

However, some social media users have fallen for the story, taking to the internet to express horror at the “news”, which they see as an example of Russophobia in European institutions. 

One user posted on Facebook that it was an “unpleasant” policy, with another seeing the positives in the alleged decision, saying it could be an opportunity to develop “the prestige of Russian universities”.

When approached with the footage of Rossiya 1 and the Panorama article, the University of Oxford confirmed the claims were “wrong”.