I googled using search strings such as "russian school grades", "russian school ages" and "russian school discipline" (though that last one netted me more bad p0rn than useful info) and found out that:
- school is mandatory for Russian children between the ages of 6 and 15, though if you want to "graduate properly" and go on to higher education you need to stay till 17.
- exams are held in June, at the end of the school year.
- any kind of corporal punishment of students is strictly forbidden, but teachers can often be quite harsh in criticizing students, even in front of their class.
- there aren't really any objective standards for grading, it depends on the teacher's opinion of the student's performance.
- a student who doesn't "perform up to standards" can be held back a year.
However, I still wonder...
How do teachers adress each other, and their students? I know student to teacher is always first name + patronymic, and I presume teacher to teacher would be the same unless they were friends as well as colleagues, but would the average teacher adress their students the same way, or by first name only, or what?
My main character is very smart, but prone to acting out (fighting with/beating up other kids, minor vandalism, that sort of thing). What kind of disciplinary measures would the school take? Is it at all plausible that despite doing well on tests, he'd be given poor enough grades to be held back?
Are grades and exam results considered private info in Russian schools, or would they be posted/announced publicly?
Oh, and the bonus question: could you name a few bands/TV shows/similar that were hot among Russian teens around 2000? I'm thinking something like Justin Bieber, where even if you don't like his music and in fact you define yourself by being Not The Kind Of Person Who Listens To That Crap, you couldn't help but be aware of him. I know T.a.T.u. were a big deal around that time, would they count?