The student, who corrected Vladimir Putin during a discussion on history, triggered a discussion in Russia about the admissibility of criticism of the head of state.
During a live meeting with students as part of the educational marathon at Ocean children's center in Vladivostok, a student from the city of Vorkuta, Nikanor Tolstykh, corrected Russian President Vladimir Putin, who got a little confused in wars:
"Please do not count it as … In general, it was called not the Seven Years War, but simply the Northern War."
Elena Groznykh, a teacher at school No. 35 in Vorkuta, thought that the boy was a fine fellow, because he drew attention to the president's mistake:
"There is such fearlessness, we won't lie. Maybe I would have kept silent. Maybe other guys did not say anything because they either didn't know about the war or were too shy. Maybe it was an impulse that Nikanor expressed, but there is nothing terrible here," the teacher said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin later said that he was not offended at all. On the contrary, he was only pleased with what the boy said, TASS reports. He noted that he did not even pay attention to it.
"This can only please me: young guys know the history of the fatherland well,” the Russian president said praising the student.
Elena Groznykh suggested that Nikanor Tolstykh could choose the profession of a teacher in the future:
"He chose several directions. Perhaps it will be something related to communications. He also said that he could go to work as a history teacher at school. He studies a lot on his own with a history teacher."
Yulia Ryabtseva, the head teacher of Vorkuta school No.35, on the contrary, sensed danger coming from the student's remark:
"Probably, it is a combination of youth, when there is still a lack of communication with people who already take a position in the society, and healthy ambitions that allowed Nikanor to achieve certain results. My age would not allow me to act this way in communicating with the president … One should have modesty not to correct others, including Vladimir Putin," the head teacher said.
Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov, apparently being familiar with modern trends, rushed to announce that there was no need to reprimand schoolboy Nikanor Tolstykh for his bold remark:
"We are convinced that no one will expel the child, especially such a talented and knowledgeable child. This is not arrogance at all… The child dod good!" Dmitry Peskov said.
The ongoing story with the school in the village of Ketovo, the Kurgan region of Russia, shows to which extent the head teacher of School No. 35 in Vorkuta was right in her concerns. Presented by the authorities as a school of the 21st century, it did open its doors to children on September 1, 2021. The local children had to start the new school year in their dilapidated, ramshackle school.
The problem, as the last Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev used to say, was "buried" in the co-financing scheme. The main part of the construction was covered by the federal budget, and 50 million rubles — by the local authorities. They were supposed to commission the school in 2019, but for some reason the local authorities kept the money.
Schoolchildren's parents tried to draw attention to the problem through local mass media, but they were immediately explained that journalists could only sympathise with them, but could not help the people due to the position of the local authorities.
The initiative group decided to complain to the President of Russia and ask the Ministry of Education for help. They started collecting signatures to find solution to the problem. Former school head teacher Yuri Leonov, said that he was surprised by the position of the teachers:
"For some reason, the teachers refused to sign the petition for the new school. We found out later, though, that all the teachers had been warned not to put their signatures on the petition."
Apparently, this is the modesty that the head teacher of the school where Nikanor Tolstykh studies was talking about.
Law-enforcers also intervened.
"They found out the addresses of all signature collectors. They came here [to school] in the afternoon, began looking for lists, asking who had them. We had removed them from here literally the day before, which means that someone tipped the police off."