Marietta Chudakova tells of officials’ seizure of school students’ history questionnaires

posted 16 Feb 2017, 07:45 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 16 Feb 2017, 07:49 ]
9 February 2017


Officials of the education department of the city of Rybinsk in Yaroslavl region have seized questionnaires completed by students at the request of the literary scholar Marietta Chudakova prior to her visit to the town. In the forms the children answered questions about their attitude to politicians: Vladimir Lenin; Josef Stalin; and Boris Yeltsin.

The Internet journal "7х7", reports on the incident and Chudakova herself tells of the meeting with readers in Yaroslavl on 7th February.

According to Chudakova, the collection of students’ opinions is a tradition, and the literary scholar seeks to add to the feedback she gathers on these questions in each city she visits. Chudakova specified that from the start the municipal education department supported her initiative. However, afterwards as the meetings with her were cancelled in some municipal institutions, the employees of the department took away the questionnaires directly from the librarians who were typing up the students’ answers from their papers.

In all my trips throughout the country I have never asked for help from officials, and I was certain that this time it would not turn out well,” Chudakova said. “The librarians who were typing out my questionnaires told me that they were left with “a very strong impression.” They managed to type out about half of the questionnaires until they were ordered to hand over the paper copies of the answers. The thought this is some sort of fetishism, as in a primitive society, they think that if they take away the manuscripts of the questionnaires, then something is resolved.”

The cancellation of all Chudakova’s planned events in Rybinsk was reported on 2nd February. The online newspaper “Cheremukha” published the response from the town hall’s press office:

They sent the applications to some organisations too late, there were already other events that were planned there, because these plans were made earlier. As for School No.2, the situation there was a bit different. Because we are now carrying out routine measures for flu prevention in educational establishments, events with large numbers of people are restricted at the moment.”

The president of the board of the NGO “Open Rybinsk”, Andrei Chekanov, said that all applications had been handed in in good time.

Translated by Frances Robson