This editorial presents the special issue on challenges of academic freedom in Europe, predominantly in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The volume provides a novel empirical stream of research, urging scholars to face the emerging discourse and problems of academic freedom in the contemporary higher education systems that were largely overlooked in the analyses dominated by the West-oriented global neoliberalism following the collapse of the USSR. Acknowledging collision and collusion between global competition for excellence and predomination of national interests, we propose to re-conceptualize the premises and prospects of academic freedom in the discourse of global higher education. We advance the idea of a post-Humboldtian university, assuming that modern universities are increasingly influenced by the geopolitical imperatives that depreciate academic freedom. The special issue exemplifies these concerns by detailed analyses in such contexts as Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, and a comparative analysis across Great Britain and continental Europe.