Staunton, Jan. 31 – Many students in Russian higher educational institutions are against Putin’s war in Ukraine and his campaign for what he calls “traditional Russian values.” But there are also students who for principled or careerist reasons are rabid Russian nationalists and who have taken the lead in seeking the firing of faculty members and expulsion of students.
In an important article on the Eurasianet portal, Dmitry Dubrovsky, a social scientist at Prague’s Charles University, provides a guide to some of the most active of these groups at some of the most prestigious Russian higher educational institutions including MGIMO, Moscow State University and the like (russian.eurasianet.org/россия-«русские-общества»-студентов).
The specific groups, their activities and online presence, and their attacks on professors and other students, will be of interest to specialists. But his words should serve as a wakeup call for those who think that all Russian students and especially those at the most elite institutions oppose what Putin is about.
Some of those involved undoubtedly believe in what they are doing while others, perhaps many, are motivated by careerist calculations. But the phenomenon Dubrovsky points to suggests that the Putin regime has made greater inroads into university life than many think and that he is succeeding in producing a new generation of nationalist cadres to carry on his policies.