Frank Thoms

In Cahoots with Putin?

Nov 07, 2022 by Frank Thoms

I quickly discovered that podskazka––prompting––was endemic. “Of course we prompt each other,” confided Nikolai from the eighth form. “It is an important part of our schooling. Without it, our class would not be able to get our work done. Teachers give us a mark every day, so we must be ready for every class. But there is too much homework. We have to help each other. It is important to help my friends, more important than helping myself!” And a week later, when observing a colleague in her classroom, before I could catch myself I leaned in to whisper an answer!

Podskazka served as a mouthpiece for the State, perpetuating its propaganda. No time to discuss, to argue. No conversation. Everyone understood that what ‘we’ know to be more important than what ‘I’ know. How else would many of the students have gotten through each day.

Podskazka kindled the collective. It kept everyone in line, ensured that nobody would be left behind, and discouraged personal initiative. It led to mediocrity. By staying ‘in it together,’ no one would appear to stand out, which would be frowned upon. Those who ‘knew’ would not let classmates fall behind. Otherwise, many would have failed.

Training for Putin?

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