The rector of Murmansk State Artic University votes for Putin. Photo:

Russian universities promote re-election of Putin

The president’s self-nomination is supported by the Arkhangelsk-based Northern Federal University (NArFU) and Northern State Medical University, as well as by the Murmansk Arctic State University.
January 08, 2024


Russian universities have joined Vladimir Putin’s election campaign. At the end of December, similar messages appeared on the websites of educational institutions, as well as on their pages on VK, Russia’s largest social media platform. Some of them were published on the same day – December 29.

For example, NArFU’s Naryan-Mar campus published this on VK: “The staff of the NArFU branch in Naryan-Mar left their signatures in support of Vladimir Putin’s candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections.”


Signing up for Putin. Screenshot of NArFU’s Naryan-Mar campus on VK.


Earlier, NArFU published a post in which it advertised Putin’s self-nomination for the presidential election. In the post, the university did not forget to mention the results of Putin’s rule related to the academic environment.

According to the Russian education law, teaching staff are prohibited from using educational activities for political agitation or coercion of students to accept or renounce political, religious or other beliefs.

The Barents Observer spoke to a NArFU student to find out about political campaigning within the university. A student anonymously told us about a meeting between Rector Elena Kudryashova and representatives of student associations where state propaganda was very much present.


“She (Rector Elena Kudryashova) asked student associations “to urge young people to vote in elections and remember what policies our university adheres to.” That is, in fact, to conduct propaganda through the resources that we have. She noted that we would be reminded of this in an official document. The rector also attached great importance to electronic voting. I don’t know why exactly but this was what was spoken about the most,” said the NArFU student.

Messages about President Putin’s self-nomination appeared on the website of another Arkhangelsk university, the Northern State Medical University, or SSMU. Students were offered to sign for Putin; to this end, the website published addresses where they could do this. The Barents Observer also found a similar message on the website of the Murmansk Arctic State University, or MASU.


Rector of the Murmansk State University Irina Shadrina together with leader of the local People’s Front Maksim Sakhnevich collect signatures for Putin’s candidacy. Screenshot of the MASU website. 

Rector of the Northern State Medical University (SSMU) sign up for Putin. Screenshot: SSMU website


“This is the first year when propaganda is so open,” says Leonid Spirin, editor-in-chief of Groza, a media outlet that talks about students’ rights. “Previously, it was all more closed, they could hold some kind of lecture where they would say that Putin was great. The number one reason for this is that they simply became completely insolent. Secondly, the investigation made by “Project” and “DOXA” is still relevant, as it shows that often someone from the university is connected with the authorities, especially with “United Russia”.

“The reason for all this, it seems to me, is the mediocrity of youth policy in Russia. When they support Putin in the upcoming elections in such a clumsy it means that they have no idea whatsoever what kind of reaction this will cause. The fact that everyone is unhappy and sees this as some kind of circus does not bother anyone. Regarding illegality, this is certainly a violation of the Federal Law “On Education”; political campaigning is prohibited in establishments of higher education,” Spirin said.


Leonid Spirin. Photo: private


After the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, state propaganda in Russian educational institutions intensified. Schoolchildren began to attend “Conversations about Important Things,” and students, for example, began to participate in pro-Russian rallies. The Barents Observer wrote earlier about the expansion of state propaganda and patriotic education of both students and teaching staff at Russia’s educational institutions.




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