Russia suffered its first ever school shooting this winter. Unlike in the US, where disgruntled students with firearms make headlines with tragic regularity, the phenomenon is virtually unheard of in Russia, given that there is no constitutional right to bear arms.* So when a tenth grader entered his school, held the guard at gunpoint, killed two people, and briefly held his schoolmates hostage, Russia could hardly believe it.
The school in Otradnoye, a grey and unappealing suburb of the capital, was the target of a teenager armed with two shotguns belonging to his father, an FSB officer. He killed a police officer and a biology teacher and held two dozen students captive before police apprehended him. At press time, no motive for the boy's action had been released, but reports said that he was a stellar student unhappy with a bad grade.
* To obtain a gun legally in Russia, you must be over eighteen, have a registered permanent residence, and demonstrate a legitimate use (self-defense, hunting, or sports). You must obtain a license, which is valid for five years and is issued by your local police department after a thorough background check, including a review of your ability to store guns safely and an evaluation of your medical records. Mentally ill people and those who have been treated for substance abuse are not allowed to possess firearms.
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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.
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