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Samara’s education ministry sends schools “anti-extremist” recommendations against Navalny

Samara’s regional Ministry of Education has recommended that school teachers “strengthen anti-extremist and patriotic [sentiment] amongst students,” reported newspaper Novaya Gazeta on Wednesday, citing the Ministry’s communication.

The document emphasized the importance of “preventing young people from participating in the opposition rally on June 12,” which is being organized by oppositionist politician Alexei Navalny. Teachers have also been advised to tell students about the destructive nature of “Navalny’s [political] party” (Meduza’s note: It is likely that this was a reference to the unregistered Party of Progress).

“It is necessary that [methods] of countering extremism be discussed with students. First and foremost, [this means offering] support to [Russia’s] president Vladimir Putin. It is necessary [that students be] told that under Article 282.1 [of the constitution] punishes extremist activity by up to ten years in prison,” read the documented being cited by Novaya Gazeta. In reality, the referenced article is on the “organization of extremist communities” and provides a sentence of up to ten years specifically for the creation of extremist communities.

Novaya Gazeta reports that police commissioners have also been informed of their responsibility to participate in the June 12 rallies. Older students have been threatened with difficulty with admission to universities in the event of their participation; parents have been warned of encountering difficulties at work, especially in the public sector.

In March, Samara’s regional governor Nikolai Merkushkin organized a “No to Extremism” forum in the city of Samara in light of the protests that swept Russia on March 26. Then, local parliamentary deputy Mikhail Matveyev asked the prosecutor’s office to verify the legality of showing a film in which Russia’s opposition activity was compared with Ukraine’s Maidan to underage forum participants. The prosecutor’s office confirmed that the film was not intended for audiences under the age of 16.

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