Jailed Russian ‘Enlightener’ Gets Retrial

MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Supreme Court overturned on Wednesday the guilty verdict for a school teacher whose attempt to revitalize a provincial school ended in a jail term for abuse of authority and graft.

Ilya Farber, sentenced in August to eight years in prison and a fine of 3.2 million rubles ($100,000), will remain in detention until mid-February, when the Tver Region Court is to name a new jury and the date for the new trial, the Supreme Court said.

Farber, convicted of extorting a bribe of 430,000 rubles ($14,000) from a contractor hired to renovate the school building, pledged innocence and claimed the Tver court was biased against him, influencing the jury.

Farber, a Muscovite, abandoned the capital in 2010 to teach arts, music and literature at a village school in Tver Region, the unusual move following the templates of late 19-century Russian intelligentsia.

However, many villagers never took to his unconventional teaching style and attempts to stage what they saw as “cultural revolution.” Tensions culminated in a criminal case against Farber, who was also accused of embezzling money allotted for the repairs.

The case gained much media exposure and was widely seen as proof of the social divide between Russia’s big city dwellers and the conservative-minded countryside residents.


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