Sunday, 23 October 2011

Students unhappy about president’s visit

One of Russia’s leading journalism schools needs a good clean-up after President Medvedev visited it yesterday, according to a group of students planning to stage a “subbotnik” flash-mob.

It comes after several students were detained or taken away when they tried to unfurl posters with some unauthorized questions, but Saturday’s flashmob organizers claim there is no political subtext behind their action.

“Just some people feel there is a need to clean up at their home,” read a message spread via social networks, reported.

The president was going to hold an open discussion with young people about nationalism, but students claimed only people from a special list were allowed in the lecture hall, including members of pro-Kremlin youth movements

Those who got in were advised to put their mobile phones on silent mode and “acclaim [Medvedev’s speech] with applause”, according to Moskovskiye Novosti.

Medvedev’s visit yesterday was announced just on the night before, according to Novaya Gazeta’s reporter who is currently studying journalism at MGU. But students were quick to prepare for the visit - tutors had to remove stickers put up inside the building asking the president about how many transport disasters it would take for him to lose trust in Igor Levitin, the current transport minister.

Several students were not allowed in the building by presidential security guards who claimed all their lectures were cancelled that day.

However, three people unfurled posters asking “Did you consult with the prime minister before coming here?”, “Why you are spending your time on twitter and why is Khodorkovsky spending time in jail?” and “Why did you fire Kudrin?”, Interfax reported. They were swiftly detained and taken to the local police station, but released after a “preventative talk.”

When the crowd occupied all the space around the main stairs, one of the men muttered “come on girls, it’s time to show your boobs”, hoping for some of Medvedev’s supporters to strip again for the president, Novaya Gazeta reported.

And one of the female students waited for the moment when Medvedev appeared after two hours of delay to take her jumper off, but only to unveil a t-shirt with “Who beat up Oleg Kashin?” on it, recalling last year’s highly-publicized case.

Five more people took out posters with a slogan protesting against pressure on the media, Novaya Gazeta reported. Interfax report suggested there were four people.

All were taken away promptly, and some of them later claimed they were threatened with expulsion from the university.

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