in progress edited by Daniel
Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)
In 1905, after several years of
clashes between the Tsarist regime and university students, the government shut
down higher learning institutions. This drastic measure followed a decade
characterized by students unrest, mass expulsions of students, banishments and
suspension of dissident professors, compulsory military service, and even the
executions of students, all in an atmosphere of state authoritarianism, popular
discontent, revolutionary ferment and mass uprisings
Indeed, during the last decades of the
nineteenth century, students became very active in oppositional politics and in
advocating social justice, and the Tsarist regime became more resolved to
repress any attempt for change. Violence was rampant on both sides, including
the assassination of the Minister of Education in 1898 and a fierce crackdown on
protesting students in 1899.
Thus, Russia’s twentieth century began
with a highly politicized student body and an authoritarian state under
challenge, a combination that led to increasing government control of
universities, which in turn renewed student unrest. In 1901, for instance, the
Council of Moscow University protested government intrusion in higher education
affairs, and argued that students were reacting to government restrictions in
their right to learn and freely assemble. During the following years, university
autonomy and students rights were increasingly restricted, and student protest
(and government repression) erupted in most institutions. By 1905, after a
series of dramatic events such as a violent repression by palace guards
Although the universities were reopened soon thereafter, restrictions on student
gatherings continued, and arrests increased with the passing of the years. For
universities the decade that followed 1905 was politically intense, full of
intellectual creativity and revolutionary organizing. Government policies
did not reduce the level of conflict. On the contrary. For instance, by 1908 all
women were expelled from higher education institutions, and the access of Jewish
students was severely restricted (at that time pogroms against the Jews were
very much in place). In 1917, the Tsarist regime was overthrown by a revolution
led by the Bolsheviks. Its leader, Lenin, began his political career as a
student activist when he entered the University of Kazan in 1886, and was soon
expelled for participating in a student demonstration.
Education in Russia - Informational
(Accessed July 14, 2001).
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