Skip to main content

Russian teachers complained to the prime minister about low pay. The first one to sign the open letter was fired 10 days later


Viktor Makarenko, a teacher at a metallurgical vocational institute in Taganrog, was fired 10 days after he signed a public letter to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, where he and several colleagues complained about low salaries. The educators told Medvedev that the Rostov region’s Education Ministry didn’t raised teachers’ pay between 2012 and 2016, during which time their salaries were 8,289 rubles (about $150) a month — almost 70 percent lower than the national average.

Rostov Education Ministry officials say Makarenko was dismissed because of repeated “disciplinary issues,” though his school has refused to comment. Before penning the letter to Medvedev, Makarenko and several teachers at the Taganrog institute met with Larisa Balina, the local education minister, who reportedly listened to their complaints and then went silent for two weeks.

Makarenko is reportedly on bad terms with the institute’s new director, having been reprimanded several times in the past 18 months, though he was previously a decorated instructor. He says he intends to challenge his dismissal in court, and his colleagues say they’re ready to support his lawsuit.