V. I. Lenin
The Student Movement and the Present Political Situation
A students’ strike has been called at St. Petersburg University.  Lenin wrote this article in reply to a letter from one of the leaders of the student movement in 1908. The student movement was directed against the reactionary policy pursued by the Minister of Education Schwartz who set out to crush university autonomy and annul all the liberties won by the students in 1905.The movement was led by the joint students’ councils in which Social-Democrat students played an important role. But quite often the councils ignored the mood of the students and tried to clamp down on their demands. Thus, the general student meeting at the St. Petersburg University on September 13th, 1908, passed a resolution which urged the students to protest against the government policy in regard to the higher school and proposed to call an all-Russian strike (extracts from the resolution and Lenin’s article were published in the same issue of Proletary). However the St. Petersburg Joint Council quashed the resolution and instead addressed an appeal ‘To Society and Students’ in which it spoke only of the need to defend ‘education and culture’.In Moscow a group of Social-Democrat students took up a misguided stand against the strike, insisting that it should have a pronounced political character. Lenin devoted a large part of his article to a criticism of this wrong stand. A number of other higher educational establishments have joined in. The movement has already spread to Moscow and Kharkov. Judging from all the reports in the foreign and Russian newspapers and in private letters from Russia, we are faced with a fairly broad academic movement.
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