19 January 2021
Pictured: Sergei Lukashevsky, director of the Sakharov Centre and member of Moscow Helsinki Group.
The founders and leaders of 17 independent Russian educational projects and organisations have released a statement in protest at a bill proposing the introduction of state regulation of educational activities in Russia.
We, the founders and leaders of independent Russian educational projects and organisations, express our objection to the Russian authorities’ new “legislative initiative,” which seeks to introduce state regulation of educational activities.
Education and the promotion of learning is a prerequisite of well-rounded social development. Whether it is dinosaurs or distant planets, evolutionary theory or medieval history, the very idea and practice of education is grounded in the values of freedom and dignity, and it teaches intellectual independence and critical thinking skills.
Today in Russia we already have redundant legislation aimed at combatting “extremism”. Still, the government need more new tools with which to put pressure on society. This regulation of educational activities is essentially a form of prior restraint, reminiscent of the darkest periods of Russian history, and directly restricts freedom of speech and discussion in our society.
A lack of freedom is an experience that is all too familiar to us in our country’s past, but today it is rapidly transforming before our very eyes from a topic of study for historians to our own living circumstances. This new law will affect everyone, even if you do not read popular science books or listen to lectures, as it will impact the trajectory of development of the whole of Russian society.
We demand that Russian lawmakers abandon the new bill. We call on everyone not to be indifferent but to see this for what it is and protest against the attack on fundamental human rights and freedoms that is taking place before our eyes.
Aleksandr Arkhangelsky, the Enlightener Prize
Maria Borodetskaya, Sinkhronizatsiya (Synchronize)
Philip Dzyadko, Arzamas
Mikhail Zygar, Istoriya Budushchevo (Future History)
Andrei Konyaev, N+1
Boris Kupriyanov, Falanster
Andrei Kurilkin, InLiberty
Sergei Lukashevsky, The Sakharov Centre
Lev Lurye, The Lev Lurye Cultural Centre
Ivar Makustov, PostNauka
Kirill Martynov, The Free University
Lena Nemirovskaya & Yury Senokosov, The School of Civic Education
Irina Prokhorova, The Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation
Yan Rachinsky, Memorial International
Yury Saprykin, Polka
Aleksei Sidorenko, Teplitsa Sotsialnykh Tekhnology (The Greenhouse of Social Technologies)
Nikita Sokolov, The Free Historical Society
Translated by Verity Hemp