Russian teachers ordered to track, report LGBTQ students to gov't - report

Interior Ministry officers guard an LGBTQ+ community rally "VIII St.Petersburg Pride" in St. Petersburg, Russia August 12, 2017.
(photo credit: ANTON VAGANOV/ REUTERS)

The Education Dept. said it "will immediately inform internal [security] agencies about minors that were subject to antisocial or unlawful actions."

Russian teachers were ordered to identify and monitor LGBTQ+ students and report them to the federation's Interior Ministry, the Russian LGBT Network reported last Thursday.

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) is responsible for law enforcement and policing.

According to the network, form masters of 5-to-11-grade classes were ordered by the administration of St. Petersburg's Nevsky District to collect information on students "using gay symbology" on social media.

The teachers were then ordered to create individual dossiers with the students' names, photos, addresses and behavioral profiles, specifying their violations of Russia's "nontraditional relations propaganda" law. The information was then given to the MVD.

According to the "Federal Law for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values," the punishment for violating Article 6.21 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses ranges between a RUB 5,000 ($66.6) fine and 90 days of administrative detention.

According to the non-state website Media Zone, Nevsky District Education Department director Lubov Chalganskaya confirmed the network's report, saying teachers conducted "selective monitoring" of students suspected of violating the law.

No official criminal cases have been opened regarding the students' alleged violations as the "facts were not confirmed," Chalganskaya added.

According to the network, the administration said the Education Department "will immediately inform internal [security] agencies about minors that were subject to antisocial or unlawful actions."

The administration "sees a student posting an LGBT flag as an unlawful or antisocial action that needs to be punished. It is absolutely unacceptable," Russian LGBT Network member Svatlana Zacharova said in response to the administration's statement.

"This is the second documented instance where an administration of an educational institution takes upon itself police authority, enforcing social norms and monitoring students' social media for 'propaganda,'" the network's legal counsel Alexander Belik said.

"Last September, the [Ural State University of Economics] confirmed its administration has been monitoring its students on social media," Belik added.

Such surveillance "is illegal. Educational facilities do not have the authority to conduct information-gathering on administrative violations, and lecturers are not required to go over [students'] social media."

Following Russian President Vladimir Putin's reelection, the country amended its constitution in mid-July, banning same-sex marriage," according to The Moscow Times. The Russian constitution now defines marriage as a "union between a man and a woman." 

The amendment was proposed by Putin back in March, according to the RIA news agency. The president said the country will not change the traditional definition of marriage as long as he is in the Kremlin, according to Reuters.

LGBTQ+ people have been imprisoned in camps in Russia's Chechen Republic since 2017, according to the BBC. Chechnya's Leader Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the existence of such concentration camps and an "anti-gay purge."

Several Chechens who fled the persecution in the federal subject have reportedly been granted asylum in Canada.

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