Ukraine: No to the closure of Tauride National University

Priama Diia- Direct Action
January 16, 2024

I am forwarding you a statement by the Priama Diia- Direct Action trade union against the closure of the Tauride National University, originally in Crimea but exiled to free territory, which teaches, among other things, the Tatar language. This closure is part of a wider plan to - Reduce the number of students (see also reduction in student grants); - Leaving their land and buildings to speculation It is the result of a World Bank-supported audit carried out before 24.2 22. Maksym, one of the union leaders, said to me: “We are probably running the biggest Direct Action campaign. We are fighting against the optimisation of higher education and several universities and student groups are currently supporting us. We really need international support.” A further 70 universities are to be “optimized”. This is a central battle for the Ukrainian student youth against the bourgeois Zelensky government, which serves the interests of the oligarchy. Messages of support (in English) from trade union structures can be sent to An international petition of individual signatories with close or distant links to the university world is being prepared.

Statement of Direct action

We recently learned that the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science is planning to ’reorganise’ Tauride National University (TNU), i.e. to merge it with Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University (KMA). This means putting all the students and all the buildings at the disposal of the KMA administration, effectively destroying TNU, and for its students, it means losing their own autonomy, their subjectivity, their unique specialities and an uncertain future.

TNU is the only university in Crimea that has managed to move from Crimea to the territories controlled by Ukraine. Only here can students learn the Crimean Tatar language. The students who have joined the university find themselves in a situation where they will be forced to join another university with no guarantee that they will be able to keep their specialities, their old tuition fees and dormitory accommodation.

All the Ministry of Education and Science is proposing is that we “trust”?

The plans of the Ministry of Education and Science have provoked deep indignation among the university’s student community: they are firmly opposed to the liquidation of their university, rightly emphasising its importance for the preservation of cultural diversity and the unique educational opportunities it offers.

This is not the first time that such ’reorganisations’ have taken place - it is a systemic problem. Last year, as a result of its merger with the University of Municipal Economics, the Kharkiv National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture ceased to exist. Similarly, the Ministry of Education and Science wanted to destroy the Ukrainian Academy of Printing by attaching it to the National University of Lviv. But thanks to the solidarity and mobilisation of the students, it was fortunately able to be defended. In the same year, the problem of “reorganisations” became increasingly important: it was already affecting not only the TNU, but also the universities KHNPU, ODEKU, UIPA and NAU, so this list does not just concern the TNU.

During Russia’s large-scale aggression against Ukraine, universities have become more important than ever: student dormitories have housed many forcibly displaced people, and high-quality specialist training is very important for the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. In an article by Oleksandr Kostiuk, a doctor of economics, the author points out that the state should take on the entire burden of education in order to create an effective system of advanced training for people who are already on the labour market or who will soon be entering it, among them young people. Such investment in higher education alone could lead to growth in the country’s GDP of between 1.8% and 2.1% by 2030. At the same time, the Ukrainian private sector currently offers lifelong learning to only 2% of its employees. By this measure, Ukraine is close to Ghana and Kenya. Reducing the number of universities runs counter to this vision, only exacerbates existing problems and does not offer a promising model of effective post-war education.

We are students who are directly affected by this criminal offensive by the Ministry of Education and Science. We, the students of the National University of Taurida and the members of the independent student union Direct Action, have joined forces to draw attention to the problem and to fight against the outrageous initiative of the Ministry of Education and Science. The students of the educational establishments under threat now urgently need solidarity and cooperation, which is why we urge you to disseminate information about this unprecedented case by all possible means.

Priama Diia (Direct Action)

Messages of support from trade union structures can be sent to