Russian Officials Wrestling With Spread Of Increasingly Lethal Violence In Schools – OpEd


Tragically, the United States has been the site of increasing violence in its schools, the result of cultural changes and the easy availability of guns. But Russia is not that far behind, even though it regularly suppresses any media reporting about them and christens those the media do cover “Columbines,” a reference to the most infamous American case.

As a result of these policies, the exact amount of such violence in Russian schools is unknown; but there are clear indications that it is growing and results in lethal outcomes ever more often ( and

The response of officials has been first to deny the problem and then to seek to improve security at schools; but the education ministry admitted last year that only about half of Russia’s schools have any security arrangements in place and it is unlikely that there has been significant progress in that regard (

Russian parents are both angry and increasingly inclined to accept the arguments of those who say that such crimes are the works of migrants, contributing to growthating migrantophobia in Russian society, up to and including the expulsion of migrants. But others are now saying that the schools themselves must change to deal with the increasing availability of guns and an internet culture that celebrates their use.

 In a new commentary, Kirill Shulika says that migrants can hardly be blamed for many of the cases of violence because most of them are between students who are not from the migrant communities. Instead, the schools must take a more active role in promoting the idea that using guns to settle disputes is not the way to go (

 Unfortunately, the increasing militarization of schools themselves and messages on the Internet undercut the schools’ ability to present such an alternative message; and the schools themselves are staffed by people who continue to operate with a vision of education that may have been appropriate in Soviet times but isn’t now.

But deaths from such violence cannot be ignored, Shulika says; and so the schools working with the courts and other authorities must do what they can to end the Columbines now occurring in Russian educational institutions

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *