Russian student’s essays to be checked for extremism in a new 1.7 billion rouble “government budget”


Students prone to “socially dangerous and destructive behaviour” will be identified by cross-checking their essays and other written works. The national project “Education” intends to spend 1.7 billion rubles on software for such analysis. This is stated in the explanatory note to the draft federal budget for 2022, as well as for the planning period from 2023 to 2024.

It is expected that the corresponding draft will be submitted to the State Duma by October 1. The project for the development of such software was inspired against the background of continuing cases of uncontrolled aggression and violence in educational institutions – Oleg Smolin, the first deputy chairman of the committee on education and science in the State Duma of the VII convocation, gave a talk about this in parliament. We wrote about the last mass shooting here.

Vedomosti interviewed experts, including Pavel Zaitsev – a child psychiatrist at the European Medical Center, Igor Ashmanov – President of Kribrum and Dmitry Lesnyak – a lawyer at BMS Law Firm. Experts note that the initiative promises to be a failure. First, there is a high probability that analysis will not be an effective tool for identifying patterns of thinking – there is still no evidence-based software on this issue; secondly, the initiative can negatively affect the relationship in a school environment. In addition, the question of using the analysis’ results is still open.

“The teacher will start to look different at the students, may tell the other children around him about it. Parents of students may start to pay closer attention to the students or they may start to drift away. In addition, the student could be transferred to a special group or registered in a mental dispensary.” – Lesnyak noted.

In turn, Igor Ashmanov noted that the amount of 1.7 billion rubles seems to be 2-3 times overstated.

A new cut or another gamble of a hopelessly sick system that can only solve problems with a whip? One way or another, the billions we have earned are again used to implement the Kremlin’s shaky post-election initiatives.