Michael C. Kimmage, a former State Department official who specializes in US-Russian relations, said the bard action sent a terrifying message to academics.

“I can’t think of a responsible administrator at an American college or exchange program who doesn’t take this seriously and is concerned,” said Dr. Kimmage, now professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington.

Russia has taken several steps to reduce educational exchanges between the two countries, despite trying to establish educational partnerships elsewhere and improve the quality of its domestic public universities.

In 2014, the Russian government withdrew from the Future Leaders Exchange program, a US State Department-funded initiative to promote US study by foreign high school students, after a Russian teenager studying in Michigan sought political asylum had. More recently, limited consulate services have made it difficult for Russian students to obtain a visa to study in the United States.

Suspicions have also increased in the USA. In 2019, a program at the American University in Washington was criticized as being too soft on Russia, and the Russian ambassador, Anatoly Antonov, accused the US news media of Russophobia while calling for increased cultural exchange between the countries.

Several American universities set up programs in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but some of them have closed in recent years. In 2018, Stanford University announced that it was suspending its Russian study abroad programs, citing security issues. That same year, Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts began phasing out its program at Astrakhan State University in Astrakhan, Russia, citing the cost and difficulty of managing its program from the United States as reasons.

The decline may be largely symbolic, indicative of the deterioration in relations between countries. Russia has never been a major partner in international study programs with the United States and ranks low on the list of countries whose students come to the United States. And according to the Institute of International Education, the number of Americans studying abroad in Russia fell to 1,305 in 2019, and data is available for the last year, from 1,827 in 2011.