In the past, Irina worked as a psychologist in a school in Novosibirsk and engaged in political activism. For example, in 2015 she collected signatures in support of the Democratic Coalition
. In 2019, Tolmacheva was fired
from the school because of a video demanding an increase in teachers' salaries.
After her dismissal, Irina continued her civic activism: she was the head of the local branch of Teachers Alliance and volunteered in the pre-election coalition of independent deputies "Novosibirsk 2020"
. At the same time, Irina runs a private psychological practice and an educational blog
about eating disorders.
Irina is now under a written pledge not to leave and is awaiting a subpoena together with her lawyer Alexander Fedulov. Her allies in the independent deputy coalition and trade union helped her raise money for the lawyer and the inflicted damages.