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Rights Group of the Week: International Memorial Society

posted 1 May 2017, 08:16 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 1 May 2017, 08:27 ]
On 25 April 2017, International Memorial Society said officials had sought to prevent teachers and school students attending the award ceremony for the NGO’s school history-writing competition. Caucasian Knot  reported on 25 April that, on the eve of the awarding ceremony of the winners of the contest for high school pupils 'The Man in History, Russia – the 20th Century,' organizers said that officials had demanded that teachers and children should not travel to Moscow. As Caucasian Knot reports, the competition has been held since 1999; it's purpose is to further the development of civic awareness and of historical understanding among young people: 

"This year, the completed 18th contest received 1993 works from 78 regions of the country. The jury selected 43 best works, whose authors and their teachers were invited to Moscow to take part in the awarding ceremony, scheduled for April 26. However, this year, the organizers have complained about the pressure on the contest and its participants. On April 20, reports started arriving from the majority of regions, where the winners of the contest live, that officials from regional ministries of education forbid pupils and teachers to attend the awarding ceremony."

Irina Shcherbakova, who works for International Memorial Soceity and is one of the organizers of the competition, told Kommersant

"All the head teachers said that they had received a phone call from higher up – either from the regional ministry of education or from the city administration. The callers, in their turn, stated that they had been rung by the federal Ministry of Education and Science with the message that neither the children nor the teachers should travel to Moscow for the ceremony. Different reasons were given. Some directors were told that there was an increased terrorist threat and therefore children should not travel to Moscow. If parents said that they would go with their children, they were told that only the teachers could accompany the children. And pressure was put on the teachers. Some were told the competition has been organized by a banned organization, hence the children will be turned into extremists in Moscow.

' "Memorial" states pressure on participants of children's contest,' Caucasian Knot, 25 April 2017
'«Родителям говорили, что детей в Москве сделают экстремистами»,' Kommersant, 23 April 2017
'Pressure on participants in Memorial’s competition for schoolchildren. ‘Parents were told that in Moscow the children would be turned into extremists.’ [Kommersant],' Rights in Russia, 23 April 2017