Hamburg University has cancelled an honorary doctorate awards ceremony for Russian President Vladmir Putin scheduled for September 10. Putin was supposed to receive an honorary degree in economics. In recent weeks students and professors at the university have strongly criticized Putin's policies in the breakaway province of Chechnya. 67 professors signed a petition protesting the award to Putin on grounds of what they say are human rights violations by the Russian president. Others argued that a degree should not be given to an active politician and also said Putin had not displayed enough academic and scholarly merit to be eligible for the award. However Hamburg university has said the decision to cancel the ceremony had nothing to do with the protests. "The necessary preparations usual for such a ceremony cannot be concluded by that date," a spokesman of the university said.