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Tolstoy and Gogol Banned as ‘Too Adult’ for Elementary Students

Children at the school library/ Alexei Smyshlyayev/ TASS

Prosecutors in northern Russia have announced in a public statement that reading Leo Tolstoy and Nikolai Gogol is not suitable for primary school-aged children.

The case echoes prosecutors’ orders in the Urals summer camp to ban Mikhail Bulgakov’s “Heart of a Dog” for children under the age of 12 in 2015, and for schools in southern Russia to dispose of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” in 2013.

Prosecutors in the Arkhangelsk region said they launched an inspection into educational content at a local music college at the request of the All-Russia People’s Front (ONF), a political movement started by President Vladimir Putin.

Students at the Arkhangelsk College of Music read fragments of Gogol’s “Nevsky Prospekt” and Tolstoy’s “Kreutzer Sonata,” among other “adult-themed” literature at an April 2018 event, prosecutors said.

“The inspection showed that these performances were not suitable for the primary school students’ age, interests or needs,” the Arkhangelsk prosecutors said in a statement on Monday.

They added that, in violation of Russian law, an age rating system was not placed on a billboard advertising the master class. 

The college and the city’s education department were reprimanded for failing to hold an “age-sensitive” lesson.

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