Integral page story of KPI is its participation in the general democratic movement in the country that was carried out under the banner of democratization of higher education and the freedom of student associations. Students demanded the elimination of police surveillance in higher education, complained repressive tsarist policy.
In the spring of 1899, in the first year of its existance, the KPI students took part in the national student strike directed against the reactionary policies of the authorities. The government responded by excluding from the institute, arrest and exile of 32 students - the organizers and active participants in the strike. However, student unrest did not stop, over 1,900 students demanded the return excluded in the institute.
The student movement in the institute was directed by created in early 1899 Organising Committee [10, p. 122], composed of representatives of the revolutionary groups, associations and affinity groups. It existed illegally. The organizing committee had a close relationship with the Kiev Council of the United fraternities and organizations which was located in the room of the University and directed all the student organizations of the city. The council included representatives of the organizing committee of the KPI, namebly its participants A.I. Gusev, and A.V. Vinter [10, p. 73]. The organizing committee and the Kiev Council fraternities operated actively. They introduced the youth with the course of the first mass student unrest, responded to major political events in the country, reported about the student movement in other cities. The government has introduced strict supervision of students, pursued student organizations, appointed as the heads the conservative universities professors and 29 July 1899 issued a "Provisional rules of student organizations," which provides for severe penalties for active members of the student movement. On the basis of these rules in January 1901, 183 students of Kyiv University for participating in mass rallies have been conscripted to the army.
Government repression has triggered a wave of protest. It was exploded a general student strike which up to March 1901 covered 35 schools in the country. In January, the first were the students and the university KPI, they were supported by students and workers Petersburg, Moscow, Kharkov and other cities [33, p. 50].
March 11, 1901 in Kiev, once again, there was a demonstration of university students and other polytechnic universities. Together with the workers Kiev enterprises with red flags, singing the "Marseillaise," they marched through Khreshatik. The joint statement made a great impact on the growth of political consciousness of workers and students. As noted in the proclamation of the Council of Student Organizations, the demonstration proved once again that the natural ally of the students is the working class, and only with him protest youth can become a formidable force with which the authorities will be considered.
1901/02 academic year was characterized by student protests that have taken political orientation; in particular, demands were made for the democratization of higher education. October 24, 1901 in a large chemical audience it was held a meeting, which discussed the reform of higher education. The resolution expressed deep anger at the fact that the Institute is not recovered the students expelled for participating in student demonstrations. Participants of the rally demanded the complete autonomy of the higher school, non-interference in the administration of student affairs, the right of admission to higher education for everyone, regardless of gender and nationality.  On the mass gathering of December 5, 1901 it was decided to call a strike if before 20 January 1902 the government did not publish the law on the autonomy of higher education. To this gathering it was invited director of the Institute V.L. Kirpichiov, who reviewed the adopted resolution [10, p. 93]. Administration hurried to release students for the Christmas holidays and thus distract strike. But its hopes were dashed. January 21, 1902 once again there was a mass gathering, which decided to start the strike with termination of classes [36, p. 487]. Despite the categorical prohibition of the Minister of Finance on strike, students did not attend the classes, March 5, 1902 the institute was closed until autumn. In order to stop the student movement, the police arrested and expelled from Kiev active participants [37, p. 128]. The authorities tried to calm the students by individual actions. December 22, 1901 it was promulgated "Temporary Regulations on student facilities," which allowed students under the supervision of "school authorities" to create awareness clubs, libraries, select the course stewards and, in exceptional cases, to convene student meetings. Such "freedom" could not, of course, to meet the democratic youth. Therefore, 2 - 3 February 1902 students of the university, polytechnic and other universities together with the workers again took to the streets with political slogans. They clashed with police, on both sides there were injured. Police arrested more than 100 demonstrators, including 19 students [38, p. 30]. Actions of Kiev students have grown into a new all-Russian strike. Tsarist policy of flirting with students completed thus a failure, the introduction of new rules was thwarted.
One of the forms of revolutionary propaganda at the time were the lectures. Inside KPI these lectures were heard by hundreds of people, mostly workers, there were handed out leaflets, selling illegal publications, collected funds for revolutionary work [10, p. 124]. Institute audience often used for meetings and gatherings of various revolutionary organizations that operated outside the institute. Ministry of the Interior, in a letter to the Minister of Finance reported that "when examining the revolutionary organizations operating in Kiev, it became clear that students of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute played in the local revolutionary movement a significant role. One part is operating among local circles Socialist Revolutionaries and the Social Democrats, the other formed a special anti-government student organization and directed its campaign activities in the unorganized part of the students of the Institute ... "[10, p. 124].
The nature of the student movement, the growth of its political orientation is shown in the contents of the leaflets, printed by the organizing committee KPI October 2, 1903. It said that "... after a hard struggle, after many and serious casualties became clear that no political freedom there can be no academic one. One should first seek political freedom, but it needs to do away with the autocracy ... We have found a reliable ally, woke up the working class ... it deliberately chose the path of the great struggle against the existing order. That's where we need to get our views, that's who our ally. There, in these series, our place "[10, p. 129].
The institute was equipped with warehouses of revolutionary literature and organized an underground printing press. In June 1904, police found one of these warehouses on the roof of the main building and seized four pounds of illegal literature - brochures almost 100 titles published in Russia and abroad, about 40 kinds of leaflets. There's also kept hectograph and other accessories for printing [39, p. 5].
Professors and teachers of the institute had different views. Some require only improvement of academic work within the existing system, while others tried to reach a compromise with the authorities. They were opposed the democratically-minded group of professors and teachers who sought to reform the national high school.
Progressive part of the professors kept in touch with the workers. Already in February 1900 with the participation of Professor N. Konovalov indoors Institute it was opened Sunday school, where there studied factory workers "Grether and Krivanek" other businesses. At the Institute in 1901 there were held the agricultural courses that could learn not only men but also women. These courses and Sunday school classes had a democratic orientation. On hearing this, the tsarist authorities soon banned them[39, p. 106].
Part of the professors supported the democratic demands of the students, including demands for autonomy of the higher school, influenced the decisions of the Board of the Institute on the student movement, and sometimes participated in student performances. In late 1901, the Institute Council requested the Ministry of Finance to provide opportunities for women to go to college, and everyone, regardless of religion and nationality and protested against the police intervention in the internal institution affairs [37, p. 126]. This decision was consistent with the requirements of the student gatherings, held October 24, 1901 [10, p. 88].
The events in the institute during the first Russian revolution of 1905-1907 were developing rapidly. The massacre of St. Petersburg workers in 9 January 1905 has led to a powerful revolutionary upheaval in the country. In those days, students and teachers of the Institute gathered in great physical audience to express their protest. The authorities found out about it, decided to rip it and arrest the organizers. The Governor-General sent to the Institute police forces combined with battalion of infantry and a hundred Cossacks [41, p. 103]. Barricaded students, did not allow the police to enter into the room and through the window at the main entrance with the water from a fire hose cut police and Cossacks entrance to college. After the gathering, students left the house and went to the city, where they demonstrated [42, p. 122]. This performance of students had a clear political character. Fearing that the institution can become the center of political action, the authorities January 15, 1905 decided to close it, hoping to intimidate students and thus stop the riots. However, high school youth continued to gather in the premises of the KPI. January 21 the Ministry of Finance canceled its order for termination of classes. January 31, 1905 in the large chemical audience there were gathered about 600 students and 14 faculty members. After a stormy meeting they decided not to resume classes at the institute until September 1, [43, p. 41]. For the final solution of this question Council of the Institute conducted a survey of 1,005 students, 996 of whom were opposed to the resumption of classes in the current academic year.
Classes at the institute, as in all higher educational institutions of the country, has been stopped. Students were involved in the national student strike, took an active part in meetings, gatherings and demonstrations of workers of the city. So, February 7, 1905 the gathering of workers and employees of South Western Railway Directorate was attended by over 200 students-polytechnics. A large gathering of students of the University of Kiev Polytechnic Institute was held also February 21, 1905
Despite repeated requests by the authorities to resume the work of educational institutions, the classes in the KPI, as well as other universities did not begin until September 1905
In an atmosphere of social upheaval the government decided to grant autonomy to universities. September 27, 1905 it was published "Provisional Rules on the management of higher education institutions", in which professors were given the right to elect the director, his deputy and the deans, and students were allowed to gather at rallies. On the Council of university was imposed a duty to monitor the progress of the educational process. The government hoped to appease with these liberal professors and distract students from the revolutionary movement, but these hopes were dashed.
In September - October 1905 Polytechnic Institute became one of the centers of political propaganda in the city. Here almost every day there were mass demonstrations, the participants openly discussed political issues, distributed illegal literature, collected funds to purchase weapons. Rallies were attended by college students, workers, soldiers [10, p. 174]. At the rally on September 9, which lasted almost nine o'clock, there were about three thousand people. Presentations were made by 22 speakers, calling for the overthrow of the autocracy [44, p. 612]. At the meeting on October 9, as reported by the newspaper "Kyiv word", it has gathered more than 5 thousand people.
The lectures on the theme: "The main points in the development of the working class", "On the tactical differences between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks", "The Agrarian Question and agricultural policies" and others were written at that time at the KPI.
To stop the revolutionary activity in the walls of the KPI, by order of the Governor-General of Kiev, police and troops surrounded the October 14, 1905 Institute. The admission to its territory was given only people who lived there. On the same day, the Council of the Institute has protested against the "military blockade" [38, p. 36]. October 18, it was appointed as a gathering of the institute, but in the morning newspaper became aware of the Manifesto of October 17, in which the government promised political freedom and the convening of the Legislative Duma. Students who gathered in the Institute's went to the Duma Square (now Independence Square), where from all parts of the city, thousands of people came together. Events of the day ended with the shooting of demonstrators [38, p. 36]. And yet, in spite of the massacre, the revolutionary struggle was growing. In great physical audience on October 30, it was held the first meeting of the Kiev Council of Workers' Deputies (Chairman of the Board was elected factory worker "Grether and Krivanek" Fedor Alekseev).
The workers and revolutionary-minded students KPI, the number of whom reached more than 600 people were preparing for armed insurrection [10, p. 189]. In the chemical laboratory for fighting squads secretly there were made bombs [32, p. 107].
November 20, 1905 in Kiev, it was introduced martial law. Mass arrests were begun. The City Council of Workers' Deputies was forced to go underground. For the place of residence,it was chosen the factory district Shulyavka, which was called "Shuliavka Republic." United in fighting squads workers in mid-November drove away from this region the police. Center of the "republic" was Polytechnic Institute [37, p. 140].
By decision of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies of 12 December 1905 began a general strike of workers in Kiev. The tsarist authorities were preparing for the massacre of strikers. On the night of December 16 troops surrounded the area Shulyavka. There were began street clashes with soldiers, but the forces were unequal. December 17 government troops captured Shulyavka. Searches and arrests began. Members of the Kyiv council of workers' deputies and active members of the revolutionary movement were arrested [38, p. 38]. On the campus authorities deploed troops. On the flats of some teachers and many students the police searches were made. Initiators of the revolutionary events were arrested and sent for three or four years to distant places in Russia [45, p. 38].
After the defeat of "Shuliavka Republic" strike wave in the city began to decline. Classes in the KPI, as well as in other universities began in September 1906. But from the first days of training students resumed their revolutionary work. Kiev Security Department told the Police Department, the University and Polytechnic Institute again became centers of anti-government propaganda and weapons storage sites [46, p. 65].
September 22, 1906 in a house in the KPI, despite the ban on the Governor-General to cross the threshold of the Institute to third parties, labor organizations held a conference of neighboring businesses. The protest movement of students of the Institute did not stop during the 1906
After the dissolution of the first State Duma, June 11, 1907 it was introduced new "Regulations on student organizing and holding meetings in the walls of institutions of higher education." "Rules ..." virtually eliminated university autonomy. However, government failed completely eradicate the revolutionary spirit among students. At the institute there were operated semi-legal student organizations, which included several hundred students, professors and teachers [47, p. 256]. It was continued at the institute readings essays on political themes, spreadings revolutionary literature, raising funds to assist participants in the revolutionary struggle, who was in prison.
According to the Kyiv Police Department, 1908 from 2 thousand students KPI over 1 thousand participated in the revolutionary movement [47, p. 256]. In 1907-1908 students protest was directed primarily against the introduction of the new "Rules ...". In September 1908 instead of the previous council of student representatives it was established a new student governing body - the coalition council.
In the autumn of 1908 students KPI, following the example of students from other cities, actively supported the national student strike to protest against the attack on the autonomy of the tsarist high school, started at the initiative of the students of St. Petersburg University. September 24, 1908 it was held at the Institute a mass gathering, which was attended by about 1,500 students. The large physical audience could not accommodate everyone. The resolution noted that polytechnics strongly protest against government policies and join the nationwide student strike. Students required the approval of the higher school autonomy, freedom of science and teaching, providing the possibility of entry into higher education students with specific educational qualifications regardless of gender and nationality, recognition of student representatives and organizations [48, p. 187]. Progressive-minded professors and teachers supported the struggle for the autonomy of the higher school.
The Council of the Institute also required to cancel the new “Rules …”. October 4, 1908, at its emergency meeting it approved the text of the memorandum to the Ministry of Finance, which reported that the general student meeting took place on September 24 with the permission of the Director of the Institute, emphasized that the unrest among students caused by events at universities across the country. The Council considered that the only condition for restoring the normal educational process at the Institute is the abolition of the "Rules ..." from June 11, 1907 [10, p. 225]. The director of the Institute V.F. Timofeev, Deans V.G.Bazhaev, A.A. Radtsig, V.G. Shaposhnikov, E.A. Paton were resigned in protest against the introduction of the new “Rules …” [49, p. 49]. Ministry of the Interior, for its part, demanded the release from the Institute professors M.P. Chirvinsky, M.M. Tikhvin, Y.M. Wagner, A.V. Nechayev, MA. Artemyev, D.P. Ruzsky, S.A. Ivanov, E.P. Votchal, A.V. Klucharev and Director of the Institute K.T. Dementiev [10, p. 242] At the same time, the Black Hundred newspaper "Kyivlyanyn" urged to close the KPI at all, and transfer its premises under the barracks soldiers.
In 1910 the revolutionary movement revived again in the country. A striking manifestation of this was the performance of workers, intellectuals, students at the beginning of November. In some cities there were mass demonstrations. Students KPI over the death of Leo Tolstoy declared mourning, stopped classes and sent a delegation to Yasnaya Polyana to the funeral of the writer [12, p. 27]. They participated also in a demonstration at the Theater Square. As noted in a report of the Kiev secret police, the demonstration was peaceful, but when students polytechnics arrived, there was the need for police intervention. [48, p. 151].
A wave of student protests gradually increased. At meetings political issues were discussed, political resolutions were taken. So, at the end of 1910 at the student gatherings at the institute there were adopted resolutions of protest against the abuse of political prisoners and the death penalty [10, p. 256]. In January 1911 higher education student riots broke out with renewed vigor. They were caused by government decree confirming the abolition of the autonomy of higher education and the prohibition of student assemblies and organizations. It was allowed "if necessary" to send troops and police in the territory of higher institutions. Students at St. Petersburg University in protest against the authorities urged to declare national student strike. Students all over the country strongly supported the call. Coalition Council KPI expressed intention to join the All-Russian student strike. The leaflet on 21 January 1911 stated that "students must defend their academic rights, to fight for them ... Academic struggle turns into a political". Postcard ended with the words: "Long live free school in a free country" [10, p. 258]. Student strike, which began Jan. 29, 1911, lasted more than two months and ended only on April 8. At their gatherings students vividly discussed current affairs and political events, distributed leaflets, which said the situation in the country, calling for resistance in the struggle, unity with the workers. Kiev secret police noted that "at the head of the student movement in Kiev - Kiev Polytechnic Institute and well-defined revolutionary character of his speeches, in other universities so vividly expressed" [10, p. 294]. The authorities have repeatedly tried to suppress this strike, introduced into the Institute reinforced police [10, p. 265]. In March 1911 there were arrested 12 student activists, who were accused of belonging to the coalition council. The strike caused the sympathy and support of workers [10, p. 286].
Professors and teachers of the university were also against the government circular on the abolition of the autonomy of high school. January 31, 1911 Council of the Institute by 21 votes to 8 adopted a resolution stating that "the student riots that engulfed today Kiev Polytechnic Institute, along with other higher education institutions of the empire, are in direct contact with the circular dated January 11, the Council of Ministers". With that Circular professorial board and director denied the opportunity to maintain the normal school life. " Council of the Institute said that in this regard, it does not assume responsibility for the learning process [50, p. 29].
In response to that the Ministry of Trade and Industry dismissed from work deans chemical (A.V. Nechayev), engineering (S.P. Timoshenko) and mechanical (K.G. Schindler) faculties [51, p. 15]. Another 17 professors were reprimanded [51, p. 4].
Council of the Institute did not agree with this decision and sent a special delegation to the Ministry with a petition for reinstatement of dismissed professors. However, the Ministry did not satisfy the request. In protest, seven famous scientists professors – M.A. Artemyev, M.M. Tikhvin, D.P. Ruzskiy, A.V. Klyucharev Y.M Wagner, L.V. Pisarzhevsky, S.A. Ivanov - March 10, 1911 filed a letter of resignation from work. The Ministry has taken their resignation, as it were mainly those teachers, the elimination of which demanded Stolypin and Kyiv Governor-General.
Exemption leading scientists weakened teaching and research at the institute. Most departments and educational support institutions for a long time remained without leaders [12, p. 29].
The impetus for the new upsurge of the mass movement in Kiev became Lena events in April 1912 , as well as provocative trial, which was held in Kiev in 1913, the so-called Beilis case [44, p. 664]. It is, as already mentioned in the leaflet, printed in the KPI, aimed "at one end against the Jewish people, the other - against the whole of Russia." Postcard encouraged students to take part in the strike and 25 September and protest against this shameful process [10, p. 312].
A further rise of the student movement in the CPI due to the celebration of 1914 100 anniversary of the birth of the great Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. Progressive community of the country was preparing to celebrate this date, but the tsarist government banned any event to honor the poet. The local authority has made significant efforts to prevent the jubilee celebrations in public meetings, speeches, distribution of works of Taras Shevchenko, staging his plays [28, p. 33]. The democratic community of the country with anger and indignation accepted such steps of the government. It called to protest against the "oppressors Shevchenko", "remnants of the serf of barbarism." In a proclamation released on February 27 it was stated: "On the day of memory of the poet ... join a general protest against government oppression, test against the oppressors of your rights and the rights of nations" [52, p. 525].
The youth took an active part in the preparation and conduct of the anniversary celebrations. It initiated the creation of Kiev citywide special committee for organizing student protests, which included except for Ukrainian students, representatives of the Polish, Georgian and Armenian fraternities. They printed leaflets calling in Shevchenko days to organize readings in Russian, Ukrainian and Polish works of the poet. February 25-26 young people marched in protest against the tsarist policy of national oppression, organized rallies and meetings. During clashes with police and the Black Hundreds there were arrested on February 26 more than 100 students, including polytechnics [10, p. 317].
Since the beginning of the First World War, Kiev as a front-line city was placed under martial law and the military-police regime was strengthened. In the autumn of 1914, illegal student groups were formed the KPI, where students discussed the situation in the country, events in the city and the institute. In the hospital, arranged on its territory, the students are actively led revolutionary propaganda among the wounded soldiers [10, p. 322], distributed leaflets calling for a political strike. So, postcards Ukrainian Youth Committee and Board Coalition of the universities Kiev called for a political strike on the birthday of Taras Shevchenko [53, p. 134]. In April 1915 there were distributed leaflets calling to mark the anniversary Lena events with the protest against autocracy [54, p. 115]. In February 1916 there was appeared a leaflet of the coalition committee of higher educational institutions of Kiev, to join a one-day nationwide strike to protest against the trial of the workers who were part of the IV State Duma. As published in the April 1916 postcard group of students-polytechnics demanded an end to the war and the overthrow of the autocracy [10, p. 326]. At a meeting of university students that took place in April 1916, it was belief in the need to end the war as soon as possible [10, p. 327].
The victory of the February bourgeois-democratic revolution has caused a great revolutionary upsurge in the country. Kiev was swept by a powerful wave of rallies and demonstrations. Political prisoners were released from Lukyanovskaya prison, they were destroyed security and the gendarmerie offices, disarmed the police. Polytechnic students stripped uniforms backpacks with monograms of Alexander II. March 1, 1917 at the Duma Square held a rally with the active participation of the students of the university. Mass gathering of students passed a resolution to extend the revolutionary struggle together with the workers of the city [12, p. 35].
The revolutionary events in the city grew. On the morning of March 16, 1917, in the "Feast of the revolution", from all parts of the city center headed columns of workers, students and soldiers. Brest-Litovsk highway was filled with column from Shuliavska area. To the workers of the plant "Grether and Krivanek" new groups of workers, craftsmen from other plants joined. Polytechnics for this holiday prepared in advance. At seven o'clock in the morning they gathered at the main building of the institute and merged into the general column. Many students, as workers held flags, placards and slogans, their chests were decorated with red ribbons [44, p. 238].
Following the example of the working of the Kiev university students formed the Student Council deputies with representatives of all the universities of the city. Student Assembly deputies, held March 24, 1917, expressed confidence in the coalition council and a majority vote decided that the Board of Deputies and the student coalition council should be elected representatives only from the socialist parties.
Professors, teachers and technicians, released by the authorities in 1911 as unreliable, returned to work. In October, the Soviet of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies Shuliavska district appealed to the Council of the Institute to organize the forces of the institute to read public lectures for workers and soldiers to the area, as well as provide space for classes, spent the District Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies. October 6, 1917 Council of the Institute decided to read public lectures on different issues and the presentation of popular systematic courses. For the organization of the work it was created a special commission. It is composed of Professor V.A. Sintsov, V.M. Chirvinsky, V.G. Shaposhnikov, V.P. Ustyantsev, K.K. Siminsky.
October events in Petrograd in 1917 had a significant impact on the situation in Ukraine. According to the documents, the KPI at the time was one of the centers for new performances in Kiev. November 9, 1917 General Meeting of the District Council of Workers' Revolutionary Committee chose Shuliavska area to prepare it. Inside the Institute it was located district headquarters of the Red Guard working group led by V.M.Dovnar-Zapolsky. Students stepped up their actions in the struggle for the democratization of school management. Developed by the Coalition Council recommendations, entitled "Regulations on the minimum requirements of the democratization of Higher Education", November 2 were submitted to the Board of KPI [10, p. 336]. This paper put forward the requirement to recognize the legitimacy of student representative bodies, participation of students in the university management, ensuring full freedom of assembly and student organizations permission to attend lectures and the library of the Institute to all comers, etc. (Total 15 claims) [55, p. 168]. However, the Council of the Institute declared inadmissible a number of requirements, allegedly led to a decrease in the level of academic training. Only 25 November 1917 under public pressure Council of the Institute has legalized some of these requirements, including giving students freedom of assembly and organization in the institute, as well as attending lectures and libraries unauthorized persons wishing to pursue higher technical education [56, p. 69].
December 2, 1917 at a meeting of students it was elected the executive committee, which was entrusted to intensify the struggle for the implementation of democratic reforms in the institution and recognition of all points of the "Regulations ..." [57, p. 64].
The student movement that developed in the country in the late XIX - early XX century was part of the national struggle against the autocracy and reaction, for democracy. A prominent place was occupied by performances of young people higher technical educational institutions, including KPI.