One of Russia’s most prestigious universities planned to award controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte an honorary doctorate, but he left the country before the ceremony could take place, Russian media reported on Wednesday.
The Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), which is run by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is considered the top university for aspiring diplomats, announced that Duterte would be awarded an honorary doctorate and deliver a speech today before students and faculty. However, before the event could place, Duterte cut his visit short and flew home after declaring martial law following an outbreak of violence in the south of the Philippines.
According to an announcement that the university has since deleted from its website and social media pages but that remains available in cached versions, “The title of Honorary Doctorate of MGIMO is awarded to outstanding state, political and public figures, to diplomats and also scholars working in the field of international relations and foreign policy.” Past recipients include former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Duterte is a controversial figure who has been accused of presiding over thousands of extrajudicial killings while serving as mayor of Davao City. Since being elected president last year, his government has launched a war on drugs that has left thousands more dead.
Duterte arrived in Moscow this week for a four-day trip that was seen as part of a broader effort to cultivate closer ties with Russia. According to a transcript of a meeting with Vladimir Putin held on the eve of his departure, Duterte requested that Russia provide the Philippines modern weaponry to help fight the Islamic State.
MGIMO’s plan to award the doctorate is being derided on social media.
МГИМО присвоил звание почетного доктора президенту Филиппин Дутерте. Тому, который устроил у себя в стране кровавую баню с отстрелом людей.
— Рустем Адагамов (@adagamov) May 24, 2017
MGIMO awarded an honorary doctorate to the president of the Philippines Duterte. The one who organized a bloodbath and the shooting of people in his country.
Надеюсь, Менгисту Хайле Мариам и Бэби Док Дювалье тоже ждут своей очереди. pic.twitter.com/qbpzJsEbyV
— Alexey Kovalev (@Alexey__Kovalev) May 24, 2017
“I hope Mengistu Haile Mariam and Baby Doc Duvalier are also waiting for their turn.”
МГИМО, давно стал клоакой невежества, мракобесия и ничтожества, где “учатся” дети воров, негодяев и коррупционеров.
— Михаил Тевосян. (@tevosyan_m) May 24, 2017
MGIMO long ago turned into a cesspool of ignorance, obscurantism and worthlessness where the children of thieves, miscreants and corruptionists “study”
It remains unclear whether Duterte was officially awarded the doctorate despite missing the ceremony.