The Leninsky District Court of Penza sentenced a 45-year-old Penza English teacher at the Olympic Reserve School, Irina Gen, to five years of probation in the case of “fakes” about the army motivated by political hatred (paragraph “e” part 2 article 207.3 of the Criminal Code). The verdict was posted on the website of the court.
The case against Gen was initiated following a denunciation by one of the 8-graders, in front of whom she made an anti-war speech.
Judge Lyudmila Zhuravleva also banned the teacher from teaching for three years. The judge decided that the teacher, feeling “a persistent dislike for the President”, had passed false information about the army to the students. That is how the court assessed Gen's statement that the Russian military had started the war in the “LDPR” in 2014, shot down the Malaysian Boeing, shelled a maternity hospital in Mariupol, and planned to overthrow the president of Ukraine.
On March 18, Iryna Gen answered the question asked by the 8-graders as to why they could not travel to the Czech Republic to attend a competition. The teacher touched on the topic of war, and as a result her explanations turned into an anti-war speech.
“Bombing the maternity hospital in Mariupol, we may as well celebrate the day of victory over the maternity hospital, I think, yes. They started bombing Western Ukraine. Western Ukraine is being bombed. I don't understand, what does Western Ukraine have to do with it? They wanted to get to Kyiv, to overthrow Zelensky, the government. It’s a sovereign country, it has a sovereign government. The blitzkrieg has failed.”
One of the students secretly recorded her speech, whereafter the audio was given to the security services and a criminal case was opened against Gen for spreading “fakes” about the Russian army. In April, at her interrogation in the Leninsky Department of the Investigative Committee of Penza, the teacher was familiarized with the recording of her conversation with her students; Gen did not admit guilt.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Russian school teachers who spoke out against the war were repeatedly subjected to pressure. In June, the Dzhankoy City Court fined the teacher Susanna Bezazieva 30,000 rubles under the article “discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation” after she condemned the war in Ukraine in a conversation with the students. In addition to the fact that criminal proceedings have been opened against teachers, since late February they have been receiving methodological guidelines from the Ministry of Education with instructions on how to write propaganda posts on social media in support of the Russian army, The Insider has found out. School principals require teachers to make screenshots of such posts in order to report to their superiors.
Various patriotic history lessons have also been held in Russian schools since the start of the war in Ukraine. In February, teachers received another methodology guide, which justified the need for a “military operation” against the “fascist state”. The materials for the lessons offer ready-made answers to students' questions in a propagandistic manner. The Insider reported on how such lessons were taking place and spoke with teachers about the pressure, teacher ethics, and how children reacted to what's going on.