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Open Letter from Teachers and Researchers in Support of Fair Elections

Source: HRO.org (info), 06/02/12

· Electoral rights

Almost 150 secondary school teachers and teachers and researchers in higher education institutions have signed an open letter calling on their colleagues to take a principled stand over the 4 March presidential elections.

As RIA Novy Region correspondent Natalya Anikina reports, the open letter to teachers was initiated by the Developing Education International Association of Teachers.

“We appeal to the community of teachers in Russia to show maximum responsibility and take a principled stand, and to prevent violations and falsifications or any other actions that may cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election results,” the open letter says.

In the opinion of the letter’s authors, “teachers can do much to make the elections fair: after all, schools are often polling stations, and election commissions are often largely made up of teachers and heads of educational institutions.”

“We call on teachers who are full members of election commissions to actively take part in the commissions’ work. We call on other teachers to become election observers and consultative members of election commissions, and we call on our colleagues, the parents of our students, and our former students to also do this,” the appeal says.

“Russia’s future largely depends on whether we can together defend the electoral choice of the people from fraud at the forthcoming presidential elections,” the teachers stress.

At the same time, a teacher at one of Moscow’s schools told Echo of Moscow radio that only teachers who are members of the United Russia political party are being allowed to become members of the election commissions in Moscow.

The teacher also said that her school had been sent an instruction to send six members of staff to the pro-Putin rally at Moscow’s Poklonnaya gora on 4 February.