Russian lawmakers adopt amendments requiring official permission for ‘educational activities’
The Russian State Duma has adopted in the third and final reading amendments to the education law aimed at bringing public outreach under state control to prevent “foreign interference.” Going forward, carrying out educational activities outside of a formal setting will require permission from the authorities.
According to Interfax, only the United Russia faction supported the amendments (308 lawmakers voted in favor of the changes and 95 voted against). Deputies from the Communist Party (KPRF) and Liberal Democratic Party factions urged their fellow lawmakers to reject the initiative. Lawmaker Oleg Smolin from the KPRF, the first deputy chairman of the State Duma’s committee on science and education, also noted that “all of the major groups of the domestic intelligentsia had united” against the amendments.
The changes to the education law were submitted to the State Duma in November 2020. Members of the academic community warned that the proposed amendments would jeopardize the popularization of the sciences in Russia. Astrophysicist Sergey Popov noted that according to the bill, the “educational activities” in question include websites, YouTube channels, and podcasts.
In early March, journalist Mikhail Rodin announced the end of his well-known radio programs on the station Govorit Moskva. According to Rodin, this took place due to the fact that he wrote an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin criticizing the proposed amendments concerning educational activities.