Staunton, Sept. 20 – Russia has suffered another deadly school shooting, with features similar to those of the 1999 Columbine shooting in the US, a linkage that commentators and others in Russia inevitably make. The commonalities are striking, but there is one major difference: in Russia, unlike in the US, the authorities try to suppress information about them.
Today, a law student at Perm State University opened fire killing six and wounding more than 20. He posted a declaration online subsequently taken down saying that he hated himself but wanted to get rid of all those who block his way. And it has been determined that he had the weapon he used completely legally (meduza.io/feature/2021/09/20/vooruzhennyy-student-napal-na-permskiy-gosuniversitet-est-pogibshie-i-ranenye, znak.com/2021-09-20/permskiy_strelok_pered_napadeniem_na_vuz_ostavil_manifest_i_podrobnoe_opisanie_podgotovki
Moreover, as Russian commentators have pointed out, there is another commonality: After each such act of violence, people are angry, politicians pledge action, but it quickly becomes apparent that when lone shooters are involved, there is far less the powers that be can do than they and their populations would like to believe (publizist.ru/blogs/113683/40834/- and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2021/05/after-kazan-school-shooting-much-talk.html).
All these things resemble what happened in Colorado and other American states, but there is already one major difference: the Russian authorities are doing everything they can to throw a blanket of silence over the incident with Perm students being told not to talk to journalists and even to remove references to their university affiliation from online identities.
University officials say this is necessary because the Russian security service, the FSB, is now handling the case and that it rather than the media is where the incident should be examined and the guilty party or parties brought to justice (dailystorm.ru/news/fsb-zapretila-studentam-rasprostranyat-informaciyu-o-permskom-strelke).
Another unfortunate development is that Russians are not the only ones who immediately link any shooting in that country to Columbine. Many Western journalists follow the same pattern reinforcing the idea that school shootings are a uniquely American problem that has spread to others, precisely the view the Kremlin undoubtedly hopes its population will take (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2021/05/school-shootings-in-russia-not-as.html).
In fact, Russia now has had numerous “Columbines.” The exact number is unknown because the authorities suppress information about them, but it is large and growing as more Russians acquire guns and suffer the alienation and anger from economic and social problems (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2021/05/russia-now-has-not-only-columbines-but.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/12/russians-using-guns-ever-more-often-to.html).