A group of students at one of Russia’s most important Universities have claimed a small triumph against plans to move them during the World cup.  The state have decided that their campus is to be designated a ‘fan zone’ during the whole of the FIFA 2018 World Cup tournament.   This has not gone down well with the students at the Moscow State University who have been literally told to leave.


Not only is the campus area being fitted with big screens displaying the matches but their rooms are in danger too.  It is planned to house many of the National Guard who will be running the security option in their rooms too.  The event starts in June and runs for four weeks however it is thought the students might be told to leave for longer.

The situation is worse for the students who are actually having their exams moved forward to May in order to accommodate this.  Indeed further complaints are regarding this timetabling as some students are having their exams compressed in order to allow this world cup modification!   Not surprisingly the students are angry and an online petition has already garnered over 11,000 signatures.

Russia is obviously very proud of the fact that they have won the right to host the World cup and in many senses the event has great political significance for their leaders.  Although football is not quite as popular as in many European countries, although you will find many watching foreign football.  Indeed many use a VPN to watch German and UK football shows like Match of the Day onlineread this for information.

The petition has now been delivered to Vladimir Putin and the Mayor of Moscow asking for this fan zone to be moved.    It is unlikely that this will happen though as the Russian state is not known for bowing to public pressure and certainly not in response to social media movements.

Indeed the petition was initially being blocked by the University itself and the attempt to deliver a physical version was stopped.  Security guards prevented access to the Dean’s office to the protesting students.   Hopefully this will change as their seems to be a softening in their stance in the last few days.  You can follow the latest on Russian TV, but you may have to change your IP address to Russia to access.

The students have been promised to be relocated temporarily while their rooms are being used.   Also the University have promised to return their exam timetable to it’s initial schedule.

John Williams