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Ruskie teacher fired for objection to Microsoft Office

Education directorate 'defies Kremlin over Linux'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

A Russian school teacher says he was forced to quit his job because he complained that the Moscow school system requires students to use Microsoft Office.

Vladimir Sorokin – a computer science teacher and deputy director at School No. 572 in southeastern Moscow – tells the Moscow Times that officials asked for his resignation after he complained to the Kremlin that an online training system used by Moscow schools won't work without software made in Redmond. In 2007, the Russian government ordered all of the country's schools to adopt Linux by 2011, and Sorokin argues that the Redmondian training system defies the government.

"The education directorate is giving preference to Microsoft," Sorokin said. "There has to be freedom of choice."

In late September, Moscow City Hall ordered schools to use the training system, which prepares students for the state graduation exam, and according to Sorokin, it was developed by the Moscow Institute of Open Education, which has a previous connection to City Hall.

Sorokin said that on October 5, he filed a complaint with the Kremlin over the Microsoft-laden training system, and by the middle of the month, he was told the complaint had been sent to City Hall. Then, over the weekend, according to Sorokin, the director of his school told him he was "not wanted" because he "set up the people who feed the school" – an apparent reference to the Moscow Institute of Open Education, which provides money and equipment for two educational programs at the school.

Open, you see, never means what you think it means.

Sorokin says the school's director told him to file a voluntary resignation. And he has asked the Kremlin why his complaint was sent to the people he was complaining about.

The man may be jobless. And he may wind up on the wrong side of the Kremlin. But it's all for a good cause. ®

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