Students in universities across Russia have been investigated for loyalty to the state without their knowledge.
Nikita Danyuk, deputy director of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Projections think tank at People's Friendship University and the investigation's author, presented his findings at a congress of university provosts. He claimed to have found evidence of "destructive propaganda and anti-state ideas" among the faculty and students of Russian universities.
In the course of two years, Danyuk and his team visited 40 Moscow universities and dozens of regional higher education institutions to give a series of lectures called "Scenarios for the Future of Russia," which would "counteract destructive political forces." During these lectures, the researchers encouraged students to express their political opinions and "join in the discussion."
However, an official from People's Friendship University has admitted that the real goal of the project was to measure the "protest potential" of the students and faculty. Danyuk told the congress participants that the results of the study would be made available to state authorities.
"I think the expert community understands that the government is in a state of undeclared war," Danyuk said. He claimed that "Western planners" had experience in "inspiring coups," and that students were "one of the main destructors."
Danyuk's admissions were not without opposition, however. Alexander Stradze, a participant at the congress, criticized the idea of teaching state ideology in universities.
"State ideology in education came from paternalism," he said. "Today we educate the child from the point of view of the humanist ideology, freedom of choice, and support for individuality. And this path is justified in any democratic society."