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Russian State Duma to consider amending education law to prevent ‘foreign interference’

Russian lawmakers and senators have submitted amendments to the Federal law “On Education” to the State Duma, which seek to coordinate educational activities (prosvetitelsky deyatelnosti) with the authorities to prevent interference from “anti-Russian forces.”

The bill defines “educational activities” as “activities carried out outside the framework of educational programs, aimed at the dissemination of knowledge, abilities, skills, and values,” for professional, creative, or intellectual development.

According to the authors of the amendments, “A lack of appropriate legal regulation is creating the preconditions for the uncontrollable implementation of a wide range of propaganda activities by anti-Russian forces in school and student environments under the guise of educational activities, including those supported from abroad and aimed at discrediting state policy pursued in the Russian Federation, revising history, and undermining the constitutional order.” 

The same draft law prohibits the use of educational activities “to incite social, racial, national, or religious hatred, including by informing students of false information about historical, national, religious, and cultural traditions of peoples.”

The authors behind these amendments are the same deputies and senators who, on November 18, submitted a draft law that expands the “foreign agent” designation to include Russian citizens and foreigners who receive income from abroad and at the same time “participate in political activities.” This draft law also proposes banning individuals deemed foreign agents from holding state or municipal offices.