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Memorial International reported pressure on the school students contest participants

Daniil Kuznetsov
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The direction of Memorial International received some information that the winners of the school research contest “The Man in History. Russia — The Twentieth Century" were not allowed to go from the regions to Moscow for the award ceremony. The Ministry of Education denies its intervention, as reported by the press service of the human rights organization on April 21.

According to Memorial, in several regions (Volgograd, Astrakhan, Penza, Arkhangelsk, Tver oblasts, Mordovia and the Krasnoyarsk region), the organizers of the school research contest received the information that the Moscow authorities had demanded the officials not to let the people from their jurisdictional schools go to the award ceremony. Moreover, organizers think that the verbal orders were received only by the schools where the winners of the contest are studying. They connect it with the hacking of e-mail belonging to the members of the contest steering committee. In addition, two weeks before the awards ceremony, the landlord of the ceremony venue tore up the contract with Memorial despite a preliminary agreement.

The Memorial leaders said that such actions of officials are surprising, since the current contest is the 18th in succession, and it is supported by the decree of the Russian president, the Moscow government and many public men. Presidential grants have been allocated not just once for conducting the contest. Deputy Minister of Education Valentina Pereverzeva assured Memorial that her department was not involved in the prohibitive initiatives.

The awarding ceremony will be held at the Nikitsky Gate Theater on April 26. This year, there were 1993 works from 78 Russian regions received. The jury has chosen the best 43 out of them. The authors of these studies and their teachers are invited to Moscow.

Over the 18 years of the annual contest “The Man in History. Russia — The Twentieth Century" existence, more than 40,000 high school students from all over the country presented their research works. The best of them are published in many digests and translated into English, Italian, German, and Norwegian. The founders of the competition are the Memorial International, the Dmitry Likhachev Foundation, the Local Historians Union of Russia. They set sights on promotion of a civic-mindedness and historical self-awareness among the younger generation through independent historical research.

In 2016, during the awards ceremony, the organizers and participants were attacked by the representatives of so-called National Liberation Movement, who poured over them brilliant green and pelted them with eggs.


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