40+ Expat Teachers Banned from Russia

April 17, 2014

On April 16th, An International Schools Review member posted the following Review of Atlantic International School, Moscow:

“Please read about the extreme trouble that Atlantic in Moscow has had this year. Google: Moscow Times Atlantic International School. Read the articles carefully & understand the implications that having a Visa from this school can have for you. I have been banned from Russia for 5 years thanks to Atlantic! There is no need to say any more, apart from the fact that previous posted Reviews are 100% accurate!”

ISR learned that 40+ expat teachers (mostly British) from the Atlantic School left the country to process new Visas at the behest of the Federal Migration Service. Unfortunately, after leaving the country, the teachers were informed they could not reenter Russia for the next five years for ‘national security reasons. Imagine yourself in this situation! What sort of support would you expect to receive from your school?

 There has been speculation the expulsion is part of the Russian government’s reaction to sanctions from both the British & US governments in relation to the events taking place in Ukraine. Others speculate the school was simply looking for a quick way to get rid of a group of teachers to hire replacements for less money. Still others speculate a high-ranking parent had a beef with the school & used their influence to create utter chaos.

Unfortunately, there are few known details about the incident. As reported in the Moscow Times, March 4th, “…a Federal Migration Service spokesman said he was unaware of any problem involving the school’s teachers. A British Embassy spokesman also knew nothing about the matter.” Really??

 The most recent Moscow Times article of March 11th reported “a hiring spree is under way & Atlantic school administrators spent the last weeks in London recruiting British-trained teachers for contracts starting late March.” When asked to comment, school officials reportedly refused repeated requests. A top administrator, Galina Kovalenko, said the only comment she would offer was “the school is ready to return to work without any problems.”

 The fact remains that no information or statement from the school indicating any efforts to aid the displaced teachers can be found. In a situation like this we would think the school would express its concern for these educators, their families & at the very least, lay out a plan for bringing them back to reinstate them in their jobs. Quite to the contrary, the school’s efforts appear to be focused on installing replacement teachers to satisfy the needs of their financial bottom line. Understandably, the school should not be sacrificed nor students denied an education, but our concern now is for the well-being of our colleagues, of which no mention has yet been made.

 If you have first-hand knowledge of this event &/or school or just simply want to weigh in to shed some light on this incident please scroll down to Comment