Society
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Who can't live without Stalin?

A teacher from Chelyabinsk, Alexander Fokin, teaches a special course of advanced curriculum in history. At a recent class, the topic of which was Stalin's repressions, the teacher asked his students to write a denunciation.

"We study Stalinism, I gave students an assignment to write a denunciation. Only one of 16 students refused to do so, and one of the denunciations was on me," the teacher tweeted.

Interestingly, the twee from the teacher of the Chelyabinsk State University attracted attention of opposition activist Aleksei Navalny and several others of the ilk.

The teacher, who suddenly found himself in the center of a media scandal, told znak.com that he was criticized by both the "liberals," who were outraged by the fact that children were asked to write denunciations, and by the "patriots," who claimed that the teacher was desecrating the Soviet past.

"I would not be surprised if there is an administrative response coming, but so far everything is quiet," said Alexander Fokin.

"Here, one should distinguish between a schooling situation and an experiment. It seems to me that it was an experiment that was ethically unacceptable, if the teacher was trying to see who would agree and who would not," history teacher from St. Petersburg, Andrey Demidov told Pravda.Ru. "If the task was to penetrate deeper into the context of the era, it had to be solved by other methods," he added.

"If a teacher forces or encourages his students to write denunciations, this is an incorrect thing to do from both the pedagogical and the moral point of view,"  Andrey Demidov told Pravda.Ru.

The Chelyabinsk teacher has not done anything new. One can, of course, argue about the ethic side of such an assignment. The story brings up another experiment conducted by American history teacher Ron Jones in 1967. Jones wanted to find out how easily his students could succumb to manipulation. In modern-day Ukraine, for example, there were billboards in the streets, calling on everyone to root out "domestic separatists." How far can we go?

Anton Ponomarev
Pravda.Ru

Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru