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Russian School Head Causes Fury After Proposing Fundraiser for New Su-24

A Russian Su-24 fighter jet

Parents in the central Russian city of Saratov have expressed outrage after the head of a local school said students were raising funds for a new bomber for Russia's military in Syria, the RBC news agency reported Monday.

The controversial plan was announced by the head of School No. 3, Tatyana Raikova, at a local government meeting on Friday, the report said.

“We want the terrorists to be paralyzed with fear when they see the Russian plane,” she was cited as saying at the meeting, adding that the bomber would be decorated with a large red star, RBC reported.

Raikova also said the school's students were planning to launch a crowdfunding website titled “Fate and motherland are one.”

The school director did not mention the type of plane the students were saving for or how much it would cost, describing it only as a “large, huge plane, that could replace [the plane] downed by militants,” the local Vzsar.ru website reported Friday.

Turkey last week downed a Russian Su-24 fighter jet along the Turkish-Syrian border — the first such incident since the Cold War. Another Russian plane, the Airbus A321, broke up in mid-air over Egypt's Sinai peninsula in October, in what has been deemed a terrorist attack by the Federal Security Service.

Raikova's ambiguous phrasing led some parents to wonder which of the two incidents she was referring to in her speech.

“Where is the logic, that, as a matter of fact, you as a teacher should be imparting your students?” one of the parents, Araik Arzumanyan, was cited as saying by RBC.

Some parents also complained she had dragged the children into “a matter not suited for children” and had exposed them to possible retribution from terrorists, RBC reported, citing an open letter to the school head.

“My 7-year-old son! Have you forgotten about Beslan?” Arzumanyan, was cited as saying.

The parents were planning to appeal to regional prosecutors to conduct an investigation into the school's staff, RBC reported, citing Arzumanyan.

Contact the author at e.hartog@imedia.ru

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