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Mon
19
Jun

Russia: The Case of the Tenth-Grade Pacifist from Tatarstan

Natalia Vasilieva, The Evening Kazan

They threatened to mess up his permanent record if the tenth grader at a village school in the Arsky region did not take military training classes. The classes are required for boys as part of OBZh — a health and safety course taught in all Russian schools. “I’m a pacifist. I think it’s just not right for me to assemble and disassemble automatic weapons. I don’t want to spend beautiful days in May playing war,” explained 17-year-old Kamil Sh. to newspaper Evening Kazan. Staff at the human rights organization “For Our Sons” note that this is the first case in Tatarstan where a student has openly refused to take part in the OBZh classes out of conviction. Up until now, if young people asked to be excused from the training, it was on grounds of poor health.

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