Federal election officials are miffed about ‘inappropriate’ campaigning in Russia's schools
Russian Central Election Commissioner Ella Pamfilova is mad that schools keep dragging students into the country’s presidential campaign. Her outfit is sending an official “please cut it out” letter to the Education Ministry, she says, highlighting several “inappropriate” incidents at schools throughout the country.
The letter is only a list of recommendations and doesn’t impose any penalties on the schools where violations have apparently taken place.
What kinds of campaign violations have been happening at Russian schools?
Earlier this month, a relatively unknown information agency called Charity Infrastructure organized a contest at several schools where students had to “draw Putin.” Election officials in Dagestan, where Putin won 93 percent of the vote in 2012, reviewed and promptly dismissed a complaint about the contest. In the Krasnodar region, also in February, fourth graders spent a “five-minute information session” lecturing one another about Putin’s re-election campaign.
Is this legal? Not so much. Russian education laws prohibit teachers from conducting political propaganda in the classroom or imposing any political views on students.