The United Russia Guide to Winning Hearts and Minds. Strategy 1: Threaten Schoolchildren

In the hallway of Krasnoyarsk High School No. 3, United Russia posters depicting the leaders of the party’s list [for the upcoming parliamentary elections] have been hung up.

One student decided this violated the law and wrote something that wasn’t nice on the posters, for which he was called into the principal’s office. Despite direct threats to turn him over to the police, an appeal to his religious sensibilities, a reminder that Vladimir Ilyich Lenin had been expelled from university and so on, the high-school student stood his ground. He attempted to cite federal law and even secretly shot [this] video:

Judging by his profile on VKontakte [a Russian social web site], Matvei [Tsivinyuk] is fifteen years old. Although young, he is a brave and intelligent citizen, and far ahead of many indifferent, spooked adults.


A partial transcript of Matvei’s conversation with his high school principal, courtesy of RFE/RL:

Aleksandra Pronina: If there is something you disagree with then go to a demonstration. But not in school.

Matvei Tsivinyuk: According to Article 9, Point 5 of the law of the Russian Federation….

Aleksandra Pronina: Enough, Matvei! I don’t care about any article. Article 9, Article 10, or whatever…. Does your family have a lot of money? Your parents may have to pay a fine for your hooliganism.

Matvei Tsivinyuk: A fine over a piece of paper?

Aleksandra Pronina: For hooliganism! Do you understand!? It’s not just paper! It’s a political placard!

Matvei Tsivinyuk: It should not be in the school because political parties are forbidden from agitating in educational institutions, including spreading propaganda.

Aleksandra Pronina: It’s not propaganda.

Matvei Tsivinyuk: What is it, then?

Aleksandra Pronina: It’s not propaganda. It is there so you can read the biographies of these people. I am telling you now, categorically, that if you deface any more placards I will turn you over to the police.

Matvei Tsivinyuk: And what will they do?

Aleksandra Pronina: I don’t know. It’s another sphere. My sphere is education. But I have warned you. If you read the biography of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin….

Matvei Tsivinyuk: I don’t respect him….

Aleksandra Pronina: I’m just telling you that he was expelled from gymnasium and he was expelled from Kazan University when he studied there. I don’t know if you want the same fate.


Thanks to Comrade S. for the heads-up.


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Filed under film and video, political repression, protests, Russian society

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