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.
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.
It remains unclear whether Duterte was officially awarded the doctorate despite missing the ceremony.
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