Possible consequences

This page lists some suggestions of possible actions and their assumed consequences.


Russia as a country is attacking Ukraine. It is – without a doubt – the main responsible actor and should therefore be handled appropriately. This has already been done by CERN, restricting future collaborations and removing Russia’s observer state status.


There is a more difficult discussion with institutes that are associated with CERN as they are not directly attacking Ukraine but are scientific institutions.

It is to note that institutions are a fixed part of a country: they get funded and lead by it, they provide knowledge to the industry (such as nuclear weapon maintenance and technologies affected by sanctions) and prestige to the country. Contrary to individual researchers, they cannot change their country and will always belong to Russia. Therefore, they may also seem eligible as targets for sanctions, similar to other branches (such as sports) where sanctions have also been brought up despite being only indirectly coupled to the country.

Possible consequences

Temporary suspension of collaboration with institutes, either all of them, all that don’t come forward with at least neutral statement, all that support the war. A temporary measure may be more appropriate than a full cut as it gives an incentive to change the current situation and not to only punish them.

Institutes play a major role and provide Russia with technology that will become an increasingly important role in a strongly sanctioned Russia. Access to technology is – amongst other things – crucial for the development, production and maintenance of weapons.


When talking about scientific individuals, it may has to be made a distinction between individuals with a Russian passport and individuals that are associated with Russian institutes. Also, this assumes individuals speaking for themselves and not having a representative role such as being a director of an institute.

Individuals holding a Russian passport should clearly not be targeted based solely on the fact that they are holding a passport.

Individuals being associated with Russian institutes should probably not be targeted as individuals either: CERN is collaborating with institutes and not individuals (usually). Consequences for a group of individuals may come from the consequences of the institute that they are associated with.

In contrast to institutes, individuals may change their affiliation and are therefore not a fixed part of a country.

Individuals views

We explicitly omit the statements – or the absence thereof – of individuals, irrespective of the actual statement. While some individuals have come forward with letters against the war (example) – and this may be very welcome given that peace amongst scientist is a requirement for successful collaboration amongst them – some have also come forward with statements in support of it.

Overall, this would require to also keep a list of individuals that have not come forward or who explicitly promote the war.

We don’t think this is appropriate and targeting individuals for their personal views should not be a general measure. As with many workplaces, inappropriate behavior such as sexism, racism or extremist views not aligned with the institutes values may lead to consequences such as termination by the institute.

It is to note that individuals views can be hard to read: some examples of statements and what they mean are discussed in Argumentation and their meaning