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Russian Conservatory Instructor Resigns After Lecture On National 'Traitors'

The video shows a student being forced to read a lengthy text on the topic of the "fifth column," which included a list of figures for whom students were instructed never to vote.

An instructor at the Moscow Conservatory has resigned after a video came to light showing her leading a class session in which various opposition political parties, activists, and others were labeled "fifth columnists" and "traitors."

Instructor Farida Kulmukhametova resigned on March 28 following a discussion with Conservatory deputy rector Laris Slutskaya.

The video shows Kulmukhametova compelling music student Danil Pilchen to read a lengthy text on the topic of the "fifth column," which included a list of figures for whom students were instructed never to vote.

That list included anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny, former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, and others.

At one point, Kulmukhametova threatens to expel Pilchen for reading the text sarcastically.

Slutskaya told journalists that the text and the list of "traitors" were compiled on Kulmukhametova's personal initiative.

Also on March 26, a video appeared on social media in which Tomsk State University lecturer Nikolai Pichkurov criticizes students who attended an opposition anticorruption protest on March 26, calling them "freaks" and implying that they only protested because they were paid.

Pichkurov also argues that official corruption is normal and inevitable and that officials stealing from the state is a sign of a healthy economy.

"If a state has no corruption," he said, "it means it is a state that nobody needs."

The two videos are examples of several that have come out in recent days in which teachers are seen attempting to persuade students to shun political activities that are not approved by the Kremlin.

In one video, a Bryansk high-school teacher tells students Russia is in the midst of a "civil war."

On March 26, Navalny called for a national wave of protests against corruption that brought tens of thousands of people in dozens of cities out into the streets. More than 1,000 people were reportedly detained.

Many of the protesters were in their teens and 20s, prompting Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov to accuse them of having been paid to participate.

With reporting by Meduza, The Moscow Times, and Global Voices
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