Russian universities tighten control ahead of presidential election - UK intelligence
The Russian government is increasing its control over what can be discussed in the country's universities as preparations get underway for the March 2024 presidential elections
This is stated in a report from the UK Ministry of Defense.
In October 2023, Russia's Ministry of Education and Science instructed universities to avoid open discussions about any "negative political, economic, and social trends" within Russia during academic activities. British intelligence experts believe that this further limits the ability to openly talk about political matters, especially during wartime.
They also suggest that in the long run, this could lead to the development of Russian political views that are in line with the Kremlin's beliefs, creating what they call an "echo chamber" of pro-Kremlin opinions.
British intelligence emphasizes that the Kremlin may be trying to suppress negative opinions regarding the ongoing "special military operation" in anticipation of Vladimir Putin's expected candidacy for re-election in March 2024.
The British Ministry of Defense previously reported that, even though Vladimir Putin has not officially announced his participation in the 2024 elections, his election campaign will start in November. This campaign is expected to emphasize Russia's need for protection, but it's unlikely that Putin will announce any further mobilization before the elections.