Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Politicizing Russian University Students a Potentially Fatal Error for the Authorities, Gallyamov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 4 – Aleksey Lubkov, rector of Moscow State Pedagogical University, has declared that students at his institution who take part in demonstrations will be expelled, a threat that if he carries through with it or others copy could do for Vladimir Putin’s Russia what a similar action in 1898 did to the Russia of Nicholas II, Abbas Gallyamov says.

            Expanding on a point Vladimir Pastukhov made in a commentary last month (, the Moscow analyst says that the expulsion of students from the University of St. Petersburg in 1898 set in train events that led to 1905 revolution (

            The 19th century rector actually expelled students who took part in traditional celebrations beyond the confines of the university, and some of those who were expelled were then drafted, infuriating and politicizing students in a way that led to ever larger demonstrations in the capitals.

            When the police dispersed the students in 1898, something very unexpected happened, Gallyamov says. Students in provincial universities came out in support of them, boycotted their classes, and then faced expulsion and the military draft. Over the next six years, protests ebbed and flowed, but the students never stopped being angry and activist.

            “If I worked in the Kremlin” – and he once did as a Putin speech writer – Gallyamov says, “I would do everything not to politicize the students. This is the most dangerous enemy of the powers that be, and they have claimed the scalps of many rulers who thought they were secure on their thrones.”

            Indeed, he continues, “If I were in the Kremlin,” I would expel this short-sighted rector rather than take the risk that his proposal will be taken up by others and spread.

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