18 December 2008, 12:50

Krasnodar departments of education deny lists of "Caucasian-looking" schoolchildren

The "Caucasian Knot" correspondent was assured at two district departments of education that there would be no "census" of schoolboys of "Caucasian nationalities". The officials of the departments declared that they had never urged schools to make nationality-oriented lists of pupils.

The fact that schools of Krasnodar were drawing up such lists was earlier reported to "Novaya Gazeta" by Zoya Gontar, head of the education department of the Prikubanskiy District of Krasnodar. As she said, a respective instruction was attached to the electronic letters dispatched by departments of education to school directors.

"I hear it for the first time from you. There was no initiative of the district departments of education," Vera Fomenko, an employee of the department of education of the Prikubanskiy District of Krasnodar, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent and supposed that "it could have probably be an initiative of the militia."

"We're engaged in preventing extremism among young people," Ms Fomenko has added, "but we do it by means of mass actions: last month under the conference on the rights of the child we held a month dated to the World Child's Day. There, we considered rights and duties, issues of tolerance, but we didn't ask any lists."

A specialist from the department of education of the Zapadny District of Krasnodar, who preferred not to name herself, has also informed the "Caucasian Knot" that "they did not collect any lists." However, she confessed that initially a letter with such requirement had been sent to schools.

"Firstly, it's illegal, and secondly, children aren't obliged to indicate their nationalities, therefore, collection of such lists is just impossible," the lady has explained. "That is why, on December 10 this letter on drawing up lists was cancelled, and no school really did it. It was an internal document, and it was immediately cancelled, since it was impossible to fulfil it."

Galina Kozhevnikova, expert of the "Sova" Information and Analytical Centre, making comments in her interview to the "Caucasian Knot" on the information that appeared in some media on such lists allegedly compiled in Krasnodar, has noted that it was far from being the first initiative of this sort in Russia, but it is difficult to fight against, as the antidiscrimination legislation in Russia is poorly developed, whereas such initiatives, in her opinion, have discriminative character.

"I don't know any cases of successful litigations, where the accused party was convicted under Article 136 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation ("Discrimination")," the "Sova" Centre expert has admitted.

Ms Kozhevnikova has also added that earlier, "a year or two ago", scandals were caused by the then initiated "census" of Georgian children and children from Caucasus who attended Moscow schools. Then, as she said, it was initiated by the militia, against which parents had complained.

According to the expert, they have not yet received any complaints against this sort of illegal "census" of schoolboys from Krasnodar.

Author: Anastasia Kirilenko, CK correspondent;

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