It’s getting to be a Halloween tradition in Russia for local governments to ban the holiday. Last year, schools in the city of Sochi, which will host the Winter Olympic Games next year, were forbidden from celebrating Halloween after the local education ministry ruled that it could harm the “psychological health” of the city’s children. For the last decade, a similar ban has been in force in Moscow, and this year the Siberian region of Omsk joined the list after local authorities ruled that the holiday contributed to “extremist sentiments.”
In a directive issued to all of the region’s schools, the Omsk education ministry ordered teachers to “take measures to curtail any events aimed at celebrating Halloween.” Citing the findings of the Institute of Pedagogical Innovations, a state-backed research center, the ministry said that the holiday perpetuates “certain propaganda for the cult of death” and could have “destructive effects on the psychological and spiritual-moral health of the students,” according to the local news website Sib.fm, which cited a copy of the directive.
The regional minister of education, Sergei Alekseev, confirmed the reports in a statement, saying the ban on Halloween was part of an effort to stop “extremist sentiments among children and young people.” Events held on school grounds, he added, should coincide with the “basic cultural values of the people of Russia.”