St. Petersburg teachers will follow their students on social media to monitor their activity

The Russian authorities have taken unprecedented action. According to recent reports, the St. Petersburg Education Committee has sent instructions to all its teachers to monitor the social media profiles of its students in order to detect and report any posts considered extremist or radical.

This measure is part of a plan of the Centre for combating Extremism that aims to enable teachers to notify authorities of the detection of behavior, ideas or practices close to political radicalization movements, among other undesirable trends for local authorities. 

According to the official document, teachers should track content shared by their students on any social media platform in search of:

  • Publications inciting a violent change in the foundations of the constitution or violation of Russia’s territorial integrity
  • Calls for extremist or terrorist activities
  • Public justification for terrorism
  • Incitement to social, racial, national or religious hatred, as well as the humiliation of the dignity of a person or group of people
  • Propaganda for Nazism
  • Participation in extremist and terrorist targeting groups
  • Promotion of the concept of superiority or inferiority
  • Bullying between colleagues

In the event that a teacher detects any of these behaviors on their students’ social media, they should take a screenshot and write a report to the appropriate school address. School addresses must send this information to the police or education department no more than 24 hours.

The Centre for Combating Extremism also recommends paying special attention to any call to violence regardless of its justification. “Teachers will find out if questionable, provocative or even illegal information appears. The first step will be to try to correct this behavior with pedagogical methods, although further action is envisaged in the event that the first stage does not deliver the desired results,” adds the Centre.