OxBlog

Thursday, May 27, 2004

# Posted 7:21 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

RUSSIA'S YOUNG DICTATORS: The WaPo has a long and interesting article about the struggle of one Russian teacher to persuade her students of the perils of Communist dictatorship. While the students' perspectives are often disturbing, especially their apologias for Stalin, what I found far more interesting was the struggle of the teacher, Irina Suvolokina, to lead her students to discover the merits of freedom on their own. Trained in the Soviet era, Irina seems unsure of how to open the minds of those who do not see things her way.

While the tone of the WaPo's coverage is fairly pessimistic, I think it may underestimate the degree to which high school students have to try on ideas for size before discovering which ones fit with their lived experience. While Tanya Levina may describe fascism and communism as "systems of genius", how will she feel when she confront a teacher or other authority figure who tries to shove their values down her throat? Then, perhaps, she will remember the democrat, Ms. Suvolokina, who even let Stalin's advocates have their say.
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