Online calls for violence in Russian schools should be swiftly blocked, a top Russian MP said, commenting on recent stabbing attacks in Perm and Ulan-Ude. The existing laws provide sufficient tools to fulfill this task, he added.
“All the means to block [social media] groups, which contain calls for violence in schools are in the possession of [Russian internet watchdog] Roscomnadzor,” Leonid Levin, the head of the State Duma’s Information Policy Committee said. “It is necessary to monitor such content and swiftly block it,” he said, adding that no new legislation would be introduced by parliament in this regard. “Despite all their atrociousness, the tragedies in the Perm region and the Republic of Buryatia shouldn’t deprive us of common sense," the parliamentarian said.
According to Levin, the internet is not to blame as it exists only to speed up the distribution of information, which is still uploaded by people. ”Therefore, any bans on information channels would only limit the spread [of the data], but won’t eradicate the core of the problem,” he explained.
"If we won’t bring up our children properly – if we don’t know what they’re thinking about, what they’re striving for – we’ll never be able to protect them from the challenges of modern times, hoping that we’ve placed them under an impenetrable information dome,” the MP said.
Russia has been shocked by two stabbing incidents, which happened in the country’s schools in the space of just a week. Earlier on Friday, seven kids were injured in Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Republic of Buryatia, when an older student attacked students with an ax and set the school on fire with a Molotov cocktail. On Monday, two ninth graders in the Siberian city of Perm assaulted primary school pupils with knifes, delivering multiple wounds to nine children and their teacher.
The attacks have been linked to the infamous social media ‘suicide game,’ dubbed ‘Blue Whale,’ which targets vulnerable teens online. Its participants are manipulated into completing a number of stunts involving various forms of anti-social behavior and self-harm, allegedly culminating in the game’s supervisor demanding the players take their own lives.
When asked about the attacks, Vladimir Putin’s press-secretary Dmitry Peskov pointed out that the President has stated that “the internet is an absolutely free space and its freedom should be maintained.” According to Peskov, the web “brings a lot of good, but one shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the fact that the Internet also brings evil, which sometimes manifests in our lives in an ugly and tragic way.”