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Russia needs citizens and not those who would spy on their parents

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Statement for the press by Alexander Shishlov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Education and Science, member of the YABLOKO faction

Schools in St.Petersburg are ordered to make the elder schoolchildren "write an essay on the topic "The importance of elections to the State Duma for Russia, St.Petersburg and my family." The telegramme from the "executive power bodies" informed the teachers that in their essays the pupils have to answer several questions, namely on "the civil position of their families regarding the election." The schoolchildren also have to express their opinion on "whether the election of the new Duma will help the President of Russia in his work". In the Vyborgsky district of St. Petersburg the essays without any preliminary viewing by the teachers have to be forwarded to the head of the department of education and youth policies.

I am certain that such actions in schools are inadmissible. If bureaucrats follow the goal of raising the young people in the ideals of patriotism and civil responsibility, this should not be done in a form of brain-washing, openly imparting them with certain point of view and violating the laws prohibiting the use of children in election propaganda campaigns. Moreover it is inadmissible to use pupils' essays as a source of information on the political views and preferences of their parents.

The Russian parliament is an independent legislative power body and its main task is development of laws, rather than assistance to the President. These laws are obligatory for everyone, including the bureaucrats from the Education Ministry. I shall insist that the situation be investigated and that the guilty parties be made responsible.

Russia needs citizens, and not newly emerging Pavlik Morozovs! (Ed. The child who in 1920s informed on his father to the KGB).

See also:

State Duma elections 2003
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