August 19, 2022


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‘Instructing Youngsters To Hate’: Russian Occupation Officers Getting ready To ‘Russify’ Ukrainian Faculties

Dad and mom and educators within the Russian-occupied areas of southern Ukraine say the occupation authorities are utilizing blackmail to compel them to cooperate with pro-Moscow faculties being created for the approaching tutorial yr.

Sources inform RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service that the occupation authorities are telling mother and father that they might lose their parental rights if they don’t purchase Russian passports and ship their youngsters to the designated faculties.

“Locals don’t need to ship their youngsters to those faculties, however they’re scared,” stated Serhiy Shyshkovskiy, a historical past trainer within the Kherson area. “Persons are afraid of shedding their youngsters and don’t understand how to answer these calls for.”

“Within the metropolis of Enerhodar (within the northwestern a part of the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhya area), there has positively been strain on mother and father and kids concerning complying with [Russian] legal guidelines for the approaching tutorial yr,” stated one Enerhodar trainer who requested to not be recognized for concern of repercussions from the Russians.

The identical trainer stated the occupation authorities are recruiting lecturers and different personnel for the faculties they’re establishing.

“They’re on the lookout for personnel, however I’d like to notice the shortage of cooperation from our lecturers,” she stated. “We will be pleased with this. They at the moment have a scarcity of lecturers. I’ve been instructed they’ve been calling lecturers and even visiting their properties.”

So far as she knew, solely two lecturers had agreed to work within the new faculties.

Damage and debris in a classroom of a school in the village of Kutuzyvka in Ukraine's Kharkiv region after a Russian attack in May.
Injury and particles in a classroom of a faculty within the village of Kutuzyvka in Ukraine’s Kharkiv area after a Russian assault in Might.

Ukrainian authorities have charged that Moscow is getting ready for the long-term occupation and even annexation of the areas of Ukraine that join the jap Donbas area, the place Russia has fomented a separatist conflict for the final eight years, and the Ukrainian Black Sea area of Crimea, which Moscow forcibly annexed in 2014.

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In an interview with Reuters on July 8, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Andrei Kulin, stated it was unlikely Russia would withdraw its forces “from the southern a part of Ukraine.”

In late June, the navy occupation authorities within the Kherson area introduced they had been getting ready a “referendum” on becoming a member of Russia.

On July 4, Moscow appointed an occupation “authorities” for the Russia-controlled elements of the Kherson area, naming Mikhail Rodikov, a municipal official from the Moscow area, as “schooling and science minister.”

Rodikov headed the de facto schooling division of the federal government within the Crimean metropolis of Sevastopol following Russia’s annexation of the area.

Based on Ukrainian investigative journalist Valentyna Samar, Rodikov was concerned in a number of scandals throughout his 2015-18 tenure in Sevastopol, after certainly one of which he was compelled to resign and return to Russia.

“It’s a unusual appointment, particularly contemplating that Rodikov is 64 and may retire quickly,” Samar stated. “However I suppose he nonetheless has some gunpowder left in him, so he’s coming to Kherson to arrange a system of Russian schooling.”

A teacher in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine said occupation officials have been visiting teachers at home to pressure them to work for pro-Moscow schools this fall. (file photo)
A trainer in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine stated occupation officers have been visiting lecturers at dwelling to strain them to work for pro-Moscow faculties this fall. (file photograph)

To the east, within the Black Sea port metropolis of Mariupol, the occupation administration has been sending lecturers to Moscow for “certification,” in accordance with Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to town’s pro-Kyiv mayor. In a July 2 submit on Telegram, Andryushchenko stated the occupation authorities have in any other case informally banned all lecturers from leaving town.

In Might, Ukraine’s then-human rights ombudswoman, Lyudmila Denysova, claimed the occupation administration in Mariupol, which was largely destroyed and depopulated by fierce combating earlier than being captured by Russian troops in Might, had developed plans to “fully Russify schooling by introducing their requirements” within the coming tutorial yr.

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Maksym Borodin, a pro-Kyiv member of the Mariupol Metropolis Council, instructed RFE/RL that the Russian instructional program was suffused with “propaganda classes.”

“They immediately educate youngsters to hate Ukraine,” Borodin stated.

“In so-called ‘historical past’ classes, they are saying that Ukraine is accountable for beginning the present conflict and deny that Russia attacked Ukraine and Mariupol and that it created all this horror.”

Civilians within the occupied areas are notably weak as a result of Russia has intentionally created an “data vacuum” there, reducing the realm off from Ukrainian Web and cellular-service suppliers and outdoors media, stated former Ukrainian Schooling and Science Minister Liliya Hrynevych.

Maksym Borodin, a pro-Kyiv member of the Mariupol City Council: “They directly teach children to hate Ukraine.”
Maksym Borodin, a pro-Kyiv member of the Mariupol Metropolis Council: “They immediately educate youngsters to hate Ukraine.”

“They usually should not have entry to the Web and watch solely Russian programming on tv,” Hrynevych instructed RFE/RL. “The youngsters additionally hear all of this. After which they go to highschool the place the occupiers…fully pollute the academic area with their narratives.

“The longer this occurs, the extra it infects their consciousness, particularly when they don’t have sufficient true data and are stored in isolation,” she added.

The Russians’ purpose, she concluded, is “the destruction of Ukrainian nationwide id.”

“That’s the reason they instantly began burning books about Ukrainian historical past,” Hrynevych stated. “That’s the reason they’ve begun interfering within the instructional system and destroying our faculties.”

Based on the Ukrainian Prosecutor-Basic’s Workplace, 1,971 faculties have been broken since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Some 194 of them have been fully destroyed.

RFE/RL’s Robert Coalson contributed to this report.