Officials of the Department of Education of the Ust-Vym District asked teacher of the local school Nikita Tushkanov to resign voluntarily. This happened after he held a one-person picket in defense of liberty of speech on January 23. Tushkanov told the correspondent of 7x7 about it.
When rallies in support of politician Alexei Navalny were held across Russia, 26-year-old history and social studies teacher Nikita Tushkanov held a picket in defense of liberty of speech in the town of Mikun. He stood with a placard saying, "Keep silent or die" outside the local cultural center for about an hour. A district police officer approached the picketer, said that the administration had complained about him, and offered going with him for interrogation, but Tushkanov refused. In the evening, the police visited the teacher and asked him why he had held the picket and whether he knew Navalny.
“I said that I did not want to support Navalny. I wanted to express my civic position on the situation in the country, on liberty of speech. We do not usually publicize our personal opinions. The police did not charge me with anything, they said that it was just interrogation,” the teacher said.
On Monday, January 25, the Head of the Department of Education of the Ust-Vym District Elena Pekach and her assistant arrived at school No. 1, where Tushkanov works, for an "emergency meeting". At the meeting, the teacher was asked about why he had held the picket and what he was dissatisfied with. According to Tushkanov, he was called "a bad example for students."
As Nikita Tushkanov told the correspondent of 7x7, parents of children informed the head of the Department of Education of the district against him after the picket. At the meeting, the teacher suggested calling a committee to discuss the situation with parents of students, but this idea was not supported.
“They tried to convince me to resign voluntarily, otherwise I am facing punitive discharge. What happens next? No idea. I think that they will try to find reasons to fire me,” says Tushkanov. “I suffered the whole system, which hates any opinion that does not come close to its opinion.”
The Head of the Department of Education of the district Elena Pekach told the correspondent of 7x7 that there had been a meeting with the teacher, but nobody had suggested him writing a resignation letter.
“We had a talk with him. In any case, we had to clarify the situation, whether he held the picket as a teacher or as a private individual. What did he want to show by this, what does not suit him? In any case, we do not make any decisions, the headmaster does,” the official replied.
According to Tushkanov, many students supported him, and he "began to feel like an outcast" among other teachers after the picket. The teacher retold the story on a video and posted it on his Instagram account. 13 thousand people have watched the video in one day.
In the Komi Republic, 12 people were detained after the protests on January 23: 10 people — in Syktyvkar and two more — in Ukhta. The court found three activists guilty of organizing a public event without notification (Part 2 of Article 20.2 of the Administrative Code) and fined each of them for 10 thousand rubles. Reports under part 5 of Article 20.2 of the Administrative Code were drawn up against the others, one of the detainees was already fined for 5 thousand rubles by the court. Protests were held in Usinsk, Mikun, Zheshart, Vorkuta, and Pechora. No one was detained there.
In total, according to the OVD-Info Web-Portal, 3,500 people were detained at unagreed protests in 123 cities and towns of Russia. Most of the organizers and participants of the rally were convicted under Article 20.2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation (Violating the Established Procedure for Arranging or Conducting a Meeting, Rally, Demonstration, Procession or Picket).