The director of a Moscow training center lost her job for refusing to ensure her employees’ attendance at a weekend rally in support of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s presidency bid, Novaya Gazeta reported on Monday.
In an ironic twist, Karavella (Caravel) director Yelena Travina was forced to write her resignation with wording stating that she had actually told her employees to attend the rally in Moscow’s Poklonnaya Gora park on Saturday.
The center had received an order to send eight teachers to the rally but Travina challenged it at a meeting with a local education authority.
After the incident, Karavella was told not to send any people to the rally but teachers from other schools in Moscow’s Zelenograd region were bused in to the rally.
All last week there were numerous reports that state employees were being coerced into attending the pro-Putin rally. Internet activists have started putting such companies on a black list.
Russia’s liberal Yabloko party has asked prosecutors to investigate those reports after media and bloggers logged dozens of complaints from state employees, including postal workers and school teachers, that they were being threatened with fines and demotions if they refused to attend. Bonuses and “late breakfasts” were offered in return for attending.
Police said between 90,000 and to 160,000 attended the event in Putin’s support, compared to 35,000 at the opposition rally on Bolotnaya Ploshchad, whose organizers estimated attendance at 100,000.