Fakes about the impending attacks on schools and universities are wandering between the regions for the second week. Participants in parental and educational chats send them out with the best intentions, but there are exceptions: absenteeism and manipulators can use mass hysteria, which does not subside after the tragedy in Perm. Izvestia figured out what to do to parents who received a frightening message with threats of an attack, whether it is possible to determine the fake on their own and what to tell the child about, and what to leave to the teachers.

10 ghost shooters

Students and schoolchildren of Novosibirsk, starting from the weekend, send each other messages of an anonymous person with a warning: 10 shooters will come to an educational institution (which one is unknown) and open fire. Fake has traditionally been distributed along the chain. The students raised a panic, fearing that the viral message might be true and the attackers would actually come “to a random school.”

– The message came to the chat of our classmates from one girl. She took it from a friend who took it in the same way from another person – tells student of the Novosibirsk State Medical University.

On Tuesday, October 12, due to reports of the impending shooting in social networks and messengers, the security at schools in the Altai Territory was increased. However, the mailing turned out to be a fake, later confirmed by the regional government.

The same messages were distributed among users of at least eight other subjects of the Russian Federation. Kemerovo, Sverdlovsk, Lipetsk and Nizhny Novgorod regions, as well as Perm, Krasnodar and the Trans-Baikal Territories, the Republic Komi… In a number of regions, they not only strengthened security, but also organized unscheduled briefings for employees who are responsible for the security of educational institutions.

Photo: RIA Novosti / Valery Melnikov

This is not the first or even the second wave of fakes. Last week, similar threats spread through chat rooms in Ivanovo, Kostroma, Tyumen, and Yekaterinburg. The head of the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Sverdlovsk region called on the parents to calm down: “A request to parents: do not succumb to provocations and do not react in a panic manner.” As a result of the inspection, the police confirmed that there was no threat.

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Basically, two fakes are going viral. The first says that the attack was allegedly conceived by some 10 shooters. The second is about a loner who hid a weapon in a guitar case. Fakes, when passed from hand to hand, acquire new details, for example, about the arrest of two intruders and the escape of eight.

Rational anxiety

The first wave of fakes about the impending attacks on educational institutions took place immediately after the tragedy in Perm: on September 20, a student of the law faculty of Perm State National Research University, Timur Bekmansurov, opened fire in the building of the university, as a result of the attack, six people were killed and 43 were injured.

Governor of the Pskov Region (there was hysteria because of fakes on September 22) Mikhail Vedernikov statedthat the authorities, together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the FSB, promptly confirmed that the alarming reports of the shooting were just rumors.

– It quickly became clear that these were informational stuffing, which were purposefully done in many regions of the country to introduce panic. I can even name their source – these are Ukrainian bot farms, – said Vedernikov.

In Yakutsk, rumors about shooting in one of the schools, as established by the police, circulated A 45-year-old local woman, mistaking the sound of exploding firecrackers for shooting. The woman apologized and deleted the inaccurate post.


Photo: RIA Novosti / Alexey Smirnov

However, not everything is so simple – by no means every such message turns out to be a fake. After the Perm tragedy, law enforcement agencies detained a young man who was preparing an attack on a school in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. On September 27, a student from the Yaroslavl State Technical University was in the field of view of the police, who sent messages to the educational chat with threats of mass execution. In Omsk, a criminal case was opened against a 15-year-old girl, who back in May published in social networks, the manifesto and unsuccessfully tried in the company of another to collect IEDs to undermine the school.

– The resonance that arose after the incident in Perm encouraged other minors to want to repeat such actions. Recently, the investigating authorities initiated checks of information from social networks about similar crimes being prepared in Rostov-on-Don and the Vologda region, – said the head of the RF IC, Alexander Bastrykin, on September 24.

Panic Forwarding

As a rule, participants in parental chats act with the best of intentions: they want to notify as many people as possible about alarming rumors, says Yulia Matyunina, executive director of the National Parents’ Committee. This is how mass hysteria is being whipped up.

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Parental chats are a breeding ground for the spread of fakes of all sorts of things: from shooting in schools to the harm of vaccinations and the massive introduction of remote control.

However, the duplication of unverified information may entail liability under Art. 5.35 of the Administrative Code (“Failure by parents or other legal representatives of minors to maintain and educate minors”) and Art. 207.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Public dissemination of knowingly false information about circumstances posing a threat to the life and safety of citizens”), explains Olga Miteva, a member of the Russian Bar Association.


Photo: TASS / Kirill Kukhmar

– The very responsibility of the parents under Art. 5.35 of the Administrative Code is not in any way serious. So, the sanction of the article provides for a punishment in the form of a warning or a fine from 100 to 500 rubles. To a greater extent, this is a moment of a psychological nature, – says the interlocutor of Izvestia, stressing that the same cannot be said about criminal punishment for disseminating false information.

What can a parent do when they receive a questionable but alarming message? If there is a suspicion that the threat is real, give the information either immediately to law enforcement agencies or to the school administration, which is obliged to redirect it there, advises Yulia Matyunina.

“Having burned themselves in milk, parents can blow on the water and not let their children go to school in order to protect them from the threat, albeit a ghostly one,” she adds in an interview with Izvestia. – You cannot blame them for this. In some ways, they may be right.

Parents’ fears are rational, because they have a real basis, emphasizes Anna Sergienko, senior lecturer at Moscow State Pedagogical University, educational psychologist at the Federal Resource Center for the Organization of Comprehensive Support for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (FRC FSBEI VO MGPPU). It is important for parents to talk to their children about both the cases of school shooting and speculation on these tragedies. But first you need to calm down: “When communicating with a child, they themselves should be as calm as possible.”

Disturbing speculation

Hysteria around fakes is a litmus test showing how high the level of anxiety among children is, a clinical psychologist emphasized in an interview with Izvestia.

– The school and educational institutions in general were perceived as a safe zone, which allowed children and adolescents to focus on learning or communicating with peers. This basic sense of security is now broken.


Photo: RIA Novosti / Andrey Iglov

Children can not only spread, but also launch fakes with their own hands in order to give way to this anxiety, and this does not indicate the presence of malicious intent.

– A person really could have imagined something: fear has big eyes. Children also tend to fantasize, – explains Anna Sergienko. – And then the psychology of the crowd is triggered: one shouts, others pick up.

According to the executive director of the National Parents’ Committee, psychological support is something that should be given more attention after tragedies like the one that happened in Perm.

Help “Izvestia”

Shooting in Perm is not the first attack on an educational institution this year. On May 11, 19-year-old Ilnaz Galyaviev opened fire and detonated an IED in the building of the school he graduated from. Nine people died, seven of them were children, another 23 people were injured.

After the tragedy, there were several false reports about the mining of schools. Due to anonymous complaints, students from at least 17 schools were evacuated within days. All reports of allegedly planted explosive devices turned out to be fakes.

– Often, schoolchildren and students after the attacks remember that the psychological state of the shooter – their classmate or classmate – was far from ideal. They remember the prerequisites, including open or hidden publications with threats on social networks, says Yulia Matyunina. To comprehend this, the child may need psychological help.

Deception markers

Children and adolescents can whip up hysteria around shooting and launch fakes for a variety of reasons, not just fear. There are those who do not think about the consequences and look at the situation from the point of view of personal gain, admits psychologist Anna Sergienko.

– Someone benefits from not going to school. Someone wants to attract attention to themselves. Someone experiments to get a sense of their own worth and control. And for some it is simply self-indulgence, a joke, – says the interlocutor of Izvestia.


Photo: TASS / URA.RU / Ekaterina Sychkova

The task of the parents is to explain to the child not only the significance of the problem, but also the rules of behavior, in particular when receiving a message about an impending attack on an educational institution. The algorithm is simple: do not create panic among peers, but immediately show the text to a responsible adult.

Before passing on the message further, it is worth trying to independently verify the accuracy of the information. According to the psychologist, fakes have several distinguishing features:

  • an abundance of exclamation marks;
  • stereotyped calls “spread”, “send out”;
  • grammatical errors;
  • constructions atypical for live speech;
  • and, of course, the lack of a specific source.

If the child knows the rules of behavior in an emergency, this will reduce the level of anxiety in both him and his parents, the teacher of the Moscow State University of Psychology and Education concludes.


The Ministry of Education and Science on Wednesday, October 12, published instructions on how to behave in an armed attack on an educational institution. The department has developed it together with the scientific and expert community.

The sounds of shots, explosions and shouts, as well as armed people outside the window or in the corridor – a signal of an attack. First of all, according to the instructions, it is necessary to hide (it is desirable to barricade in the room and move away from windows and doors), report the attack by calling “112”, and after that – to relatives.

– If you see law enforcement officers, keep your hands in sight, do not make sudden movements. Obey and follow their instructions, says the recommendations of the Ministry of Education. Full instructions can be found at link.


Photo: RIA Novosti / Igor Zarembo

The content of the subject of life safety has long included the module “Fundamentals of Countering Terrorism and Extremism”, which tells, for example, how to behave during a hostage taking, tells “Izvestia” Ekaterina Fadeikin, tutor of the Center for Continuous Professional Development of the Kaliningrad Regional Institute for the Development of Education (KOIRO), who accompanies the development of the direction “Life Safety and Health Preservation.”

“Each school should have an individual plan of action in case of such incidents,” she adds. – OBZH textbooks also contain information on how to recognize signs of aggressive behavior and manipulation in the information environment.

After any major incidents, not only related to school shooting, the Ministry of Education sends recommendations for preventive education. If something happens, unscheduled preventive measures are additionally carried out, explains Ekaterina Fadeykina, chairman of the regional Association of Life Safety Teachers.

In the Kaliningrad region, for example, these activities are included in the Counter Terrorism Plan. All the steps are spelled out in the methodological recommendations, up to the reporting form: reports on the school’s preventive work are annually sent to the integrated security department of the regional Ministry of Education and the anti-terrorist commission.

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