Russia has a new socialist movement

We were looking for areas of struggle within the university. In 2009, the administration wanted to tighten the rules for access to dormitories. We launched a protest campaign, collected seventeen hundred signatures and finally succeeded in having these new rules rescinded. As a result of this three-week campaign, we formed a core of university activists, around 30 people. We solved everyday problems, but it was obvious that this was not enough to bring us to another level of organization.

Then we started to cooperate with the Communist Party branch of the university which included both teachers and students. In 2011 the administration decided to toughen the dormitory rules again and we managed to organize a really powerful and successful protest campaign. It directly involved hundreds of people and our core grew. It was just then that large-scale protests began after the Duma. [parliamentary] elections, which had been rigged in favor of Putin’s united Russia. At the university level, this resulted in a struggle between our own initiative group and the official MSU Student Council, closely associated with the ruling party.

We also actively participated in the independent observation of the parliamentary elections, and at the polling station in the main MSU building, we largely defeated United Russia, despite the mobilization of administrative staff.

We also actively participated in all of the 2011-12 protest rallies in Moscow, and many students who came to demonstrate but were not ready to join a particular political force joined our contingent.

This experience led, among others, the Confederation of Labor to raise the question of the creation of the “University Solidarity” union. So we started to help groups of students and teachers from other universities through the union. We have also been actively involved in park preservation campaigns around the MSU buildings, which have constantly aroused the interest of developers. Through this, we came into contact with local councilors and residents actively involved in neighborhood issues. We have organized joint events, especially in the Ramenki region. University authorities attempted to fire me twice for these activities, in 2013 and in 2018.

About Andrew Estofan

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