November 01, 2021

News and Readings from Russia

Russian officials are seeking to prevent school shootings by blocking the influence of “harmful information” and by seeking out potential offenders through analysis of school essays. A new R1.6 billion program will subject the writings of Russian schoolchildren to content analysis in order to ferret out those “prone to socially dangerous and destructive behavior,” according to the bill describing the plan. The program, reported by the RBK news agency, will allegedly use a neural network to scan texts and find patterns, marking “suspicious” works with the help of psychologists and experts in deviant behavior.

Government attention turned to so-called “Columbiners” in 2018, when a student killed 21 people at a Crimea polytechnical college. This year, two attacks ended the lives of nine people in a Tatarstan school and six at a Perm university. The State Duma is currently sitting on a bill that would ban the purchase of weapons without a medical exam, an attempt to control firearms.

The shooter in the September incident in Perm, Timur Bekmansurov, was shot and wounded by police. At press time, he was still in the hospital. In a video taped prior to his shooting rampage, Bekmansurov said that he is not a member of any extremist group and told no one about his plans. He also said he began saving up for a weapon in tenth grade and dreamed of carrying out his plan for many years, expecting to die at the scene.

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