Beslan mothers threaten strike over children's education

AFP Photo / Yuri Kadobnov
Beslan children’s parents say they are eady to go on strike if Russia's tax service pushes them to pay taxes

Parents of children who suffered from the Beslan school siege say they’ll go on a hunger strike if the Russian tax service goes forward with its request to pay taxes for the free education their children are receiving as part of a charitable contribution by one of the Moscow region’s private schools. That’s according to Ella Kasaeva, the chairman of the Voice of Beslan public group that unites those who suffered during the hostage crisis.

The state tax service has insisted that parents pay income tax of 13% for the free education in Podmoskovny private school.

“If the tax authorities don’t react to our appeals, we will get together and decide what we should do next – either file a law suit or take more radical steps such as go on strike. Me, personally, am for radical measures”, said Kasaeva in an interview with RIA Novosti news agency.

Activists from the group have already sent a letter to tax authorities in Beslan, suggesting that the service apologize to the parents and group members and retreat from their demand to pay the tax, as it’s unjustified, added Ella Kasaeva.

“In order to resolve the situation created by you and your employees in the most ethical way, I suggest that you should sort out the efficiency of your employees who are in charge of this issue as soon as possible, and to offer apologies to me and other parents of children who had been ordered to pay taxes. Otherwise we will appeal your actions to the authorities of the Russian Federal Tax Services as well as take other measures provided for by the law”, the letter says.

Parents are being ordered to pay up to $2,000 in taxes and late payment fines for several years of education in the private school. About 30 families received demands to cover tax bills.

The Podmoskovny boarding school was founded in 2004 by the former head of the oil company Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. It is now supervised by Khodorkovsky’s father, Boris.