St Petersburg University expelled seven students after the scandal surrounding the statements of ex-Associate Professor of the Institute of History of St Petersburg University Mikhail Belousov. Three graduates lost their diplomas literally on the eve of the defense. The university has lost at least one honor student and one scientist.
The scandal was preceded by political squabbles in the student council. Everything was in an adult way: with elections, insults and a fight. The elected head of the student council was also on the list of those expelled – so in fact it is clear who won the political struggle.
Among the seven expelled students were three chairmen of the student council of the history department (we will call the Institute of History in the old fashioned way). In 2021, the self-government was headed by Mikhail Martin, a year later he was replaced by Daniil Podluzhny, in May 2023 a new head was elected – sophomore Vladimir Zheleznyakov.
Fourth-year students Podluzhny and Martin were finishing their undergraduate studies this year. After the commission on ethics, whose members decided that the students were ironic about the death of a student who died at the front, the date of defense of diplomas was postponed for a week, to June 13th.
“Introducing a disciplinary sanction at St Petersburg University takes place in the following way: first, an ethics commission passes, the decision of which is the basis for issuing a disciplinary sanction. Then this basis goes to the vice-rector for educational work, a draft order for disciplinary action is drawn up – in our case, this is a draft order for expulsion. This document is sent to the Student Council of St Petersburg University. In fact, the opinion of the council is not taken into account, but they are obliged to ask. The student council has seven days to make an opinion. Considering that the ethics commission was held on June 5, it’s easy to guess that seven days is the 13th,” says Podluzhny. – They wanted to have time to expel before the defense, but they miscalculated, since it was not about seven calendar days, but about seven working days. Then the defense was once again postponed to June 16, and we were expelled on the evening of June 15.”
Podluzhny and Martin became the heroes of publications about the so-called “party” at the history department, which is associated with the dismissed associate professor Belousov. The news feed swept through the patriotic telegram channels, it was reposted by Anton Krasovsky, picked up by the Readovka publication with a million subscribers, where the article “Organized criminal group of the history department of St. It said that the leader of the “gang of young liberals” was graduate Mikhail Martin. According to the authors, he “has taken over the student newspaper, trying to turn it into a trans-Ukrainian leaflet.”
“I have one photo with Belousov, but there is a photo with both our dean and vice-rector for educational work Alexander Babich, but they don’t write me down with the latter in the same organized criminal group,” says Martin. – This is a very distant flight of fancy, if there was a Ukrainian DRG and an organized crime group, I would have been in prison for a long time. I have never received money from Ukraine, I was not its citizen, so these accusations look ridiculous.”
Among the participants of the “party” there is a version that revenge could become the reason for such publications. Liberal-minded students in the history department are ideologically opposed by others who lost the election to the student council.
What is the student council of the history faculty known for?
The history department of St Petersburg University regularly gets into the news feeds of the media. It was his students who noticed the posts on social networks about the “liberal liver”, written on behalf of one of the teachers. And during the population census, the students of the history department defended their right not to work out the practice as census takers: then the department of the state statistics service for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region asked the universities to help with the bypass of the population.
“In one day, they came up with a practice on our knee and said that it was mandatory for everyone to go through it. We tried to defend the rights and said that the practice was introduced illegally, and it turned out that way. As a result, at our faculty, the practice was voluntary, and students from other faculties, where the student council is not so active, went to this practice without fail, ”Podluzhny notes.
The Student Council also discussed issues related to scholarships, distance learning, and the curriculum.
On February 24 last year, student council activists launched a pacifist petition.
In the spring, Podluzhny’s term of office expired. And the student council was preparing for the election of a new chairman.
Vladimir Zheleznyakov became the candidate from the party. In his campaign program, he put it succinctly: “Why do we need a student council?” In my opinion, the answer is extremely simple: “The Student Council is needed to defend the rights and interests of students, as well as to implement their initiatives.”
The third-year student Igor Gerasimenko opposed him. In the election program, he noted that over the past year there have been many scandals related to the student council, and the self-government has “stretched relations with the university administration.”
“At the same time, some delegates, positioning themselves as a stronghold of resistance to the administration, apparently accuse other students of being paranoid of working for the administration and at the same time perceive any actions with hostility,” Gerasimenko’s program says. – In my opinion, this position is unconstructive and smacks of infantilism. For the successful development of the student council, it is necessary to take a balanced and pragmatic approach to interaction with the administration.”
In a paragraph with the heading “Strength in unity,” Gerasimenko noted that “the student council gradually began to acquire a certain color.” The candidate urged instead of political squabbles and undercover intrigues to engage in “improvement of the institution in all its aspects.” Gerasimenko read the message of the Fontanka correspondent with a request for comment, but left it unanswered.
In the elections, he was supported by classmate Pyotr Kolyubaev. He told Fontanka that in the election campaign, candidates from the party were given preference. So, in the lists they were printed first. Kolyubaev was indignant, but in response he received aggression.
“On the day of the debate, they called Igor Gerasimenko “not a man”, “mummy”. Then they began to tell me this, it became unpleasant for me. They began to hurt me to the core, ”Kolyubaev notes.
The debate ended in a fight in which Kolyubaev sprayed pepper spray in the face of student Samsonov. “He took off his glasses and cap and came at me with his fists. I sprayed the can because the person wanted to inflict physical harm on me, ”said Kolyubaev.
According to those who sympathize with Samsonov, the conflict began because of the pacifist position of the student, and he stood up for her. The case was considered by the ethics commission, which found both parties to the conflict guilty.
Echoes of this confrontation can be seen in two publics with identical names and avatars “Overheard at the history department of St. Petersburg State University.” In them, the opposing factions attack each other.
In one of them there was an entry:
“You know, the debates in the student council reminded me of the political show RosTV. Only in the role of the collective Skabeeva we have a party.
And then in the second:
“Colleagues, we ask you to provide all possible assistance, it is necessary to raise money to pay for martial arts courses for Petka Kolyubaev. I have never seen such a vile use of peppercorns … “.
Gerasimenko lost the election, more than 30 people voted for him. And Zheleznyakov won more than 110 votes, but now he is also on the list of those expelled.
From May 25, posts with a screenshot of a message began to appear on Telegram on behalf of Mikhail Belousov, Associate Professor of the Department of Russian History from Ancient Times to the 20th Century. It said that “it is normal to use your own rhetoric in the framework of post-irony, i.e. outright banter.” The reposts began to acquire details, including about a cell of students of “Russophobic Russophobia”.
As a result, Belousov was fired from St. Petersburg State University, seven students were expelled. Igor Gerasimenko and Petr Kolyubaev acted as witnesses at the ethics commission.
“Despite the fact that Belousov did not conduct anything with them, they still kept in touch with him and communicated with him, there is even a short video where Belousov walks with expelled Mikhail Martin not far from the history department. There is a photograph where they are all in vests, – says Kolyubaev. “They found a similar person in their views, in their thoughts, in their worldview, and kept in touch.”
According to the student, the leaked screenshot of Belousov’s message was made in a teacher’s chat with students who wrote scientific papers for him. Neither Kolyubaev himself, nor Podluzhny, nor Martin were members of this chat. Also, expelled students deny close contact with a former teacher.
“Belousov is a very complex person. In simple terms, he just got tired of everyone. There were times when he threatened to expel all students from my stream. I do not know what he wanted to show that the students are lazy? A lot of people didn’t like it and don’t like it now. Perhaps this accidentally leaked, – says Kolyubaev. Students were expelled for misbehavior. For persecution, for eternal banter. They position themselves as liberals, but can they be called that? They don’t accept other opinions. If you start talking, they start to poison. This was long before the NWO began. Even in the first year in the chat, they argued with them because of their disdain for St. Petersburg slang, and they all pounced on their opponent. This is a special case, but then everything became more politicized.”
What after deduction
Daniil Podluzhny notes that due to his activity, he was not in very good standing with the administration of the university. So, at one of the retakes of the exam (the process is being recorded), when Podluzhny left the classroom, the teacher stated that “the student is not a fool, capable, but he just doesn’t do it,” and unambiguously quoted Dostoevsky’s “Demons” in the sense that it scares him a great power deliberately turned into an abomination.
“I specialized in the history of the fortification of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, 16-17th century. I was going to pursue a scientific career. As a result, I was left without a bachelor’s degree, this year I definitely won’t enter the master’s program. And they also refused to work with me on a grant at the Institute of the History of Material Culture, they didn’t say any particular reasons. But I understand that they decided to protect themselves in this way,” the expelled graduate notes. – The most negative option is that I can be drafted into the army, otherwise I will probably have to re-learn. I’m thinking of going somewhere abroad, why should I study at a Russian university again. Unfortunately, there are no better universities in St. Petersburg than in St. Petersburg State University – and this is not a compliment for the university.”
“People went four years to get a red diploma, someone had publications in Scopus,” adds Mikhail Martin. “Some have been expelled and their educational careers and lives are cut short because they have the ‘wrong’ views and someone doesn’t like them.”
Both students plan to apply to the dispute settlement committee, and if necessary, to defend their rights in court.
Fontanka contacted the dean of the Institute of History, Abdulla Daudov, to find out how adequate, in his opinion, was the punishment for students – to expel them on the eve of graduation, completely breaking their plans for higher education in Russia. He promised to comment – but only if management allows. A request sent to the press service of St Petersburg University last week also remained unanswered.