In a shabby countryside Russian classroom, on the blackboard, a faded inscription of the letter Z is covering the whole board. Teachers and students all over Russia are cherishing the Russian army’s courage in fighting against the Ukrainian nazis. Some intruders oppose the regime, but their voices are kept silent, at this point, during wartime, even the education system has changed.
Recommendations have been sent to schools in at least several regions of Russia to teach lessons about the war in Ukraine, which outline the Kremlin’s official view of the Russian invasion. Screenshots of materials distributed in the Tomsk, Moscow, and Kaluga regions were published by the Russian journalist Andrey Serafimov.
The document sent to Russian state schools states: “Overseas curators have set a terrible task for the Ukrainian authorities, for future generations – victory over Ukraine, victory at any cost. As we say: Russia shall fight to the last Ukrainian.”
When asked about the war, the Russian teachers must state: “There is no war going on in Ukraine, but a special peacekeeping operation, the purpose of which is to contain the nationalists who oppress the Russian-speaking population.”
School in Russia obeys the state, and children are forced to attend special classes on the topic “Events in Ukraine “.
On the first of March at school number 1 in Poronaysk, Russia a patriotical lesson was held.
The Instagram post states: “On the first of March, special classes were held at our school on the topic Events in Ukraine. The pupils made a historical digression into the development of state relations between Russia and Ukraine. We remembered the events that united our states during the Second World War. We honored the memory of those who died for the freedom and bright childhood of the inhabitants of our countries. We traced the events of recent years in chronological order. This is definitely the hard truth! But, as one famous film director states, Danila Bagrov: What is strength, brother? Power is in the truth. And you must know this truth.“
No one escapes the clutches of Russian propaganda, not even university students:
The YouTuber Goprussian recorded an interview with a Russian student from Lomonosov Moscow State University. In the interview, the student declared they are forced to attend specific classes on the topic of “History lessons: about the events in Ukraine”. Those who do not attend the lessons are forced to write an explanatory note, states the student.
Barbie and Lightning McQueen are now cartoons that will be long forgotten by Russian children, either those in kindergarten or in elementary school. On the Russian TV channels, you can see the new cartoon called “Vanya and Mikula, a story about two brothers – Russia and Ukraine”. The cartoon was aired by the Russian TV channel 1rus.ru.
“Once upon a time, lived two friends, Vanya and Kolea. They were really good friends. Vanya would always protect Kolea if someone attacked him, because he was stronger. When they got older, they went together to the same school and stayed in the same desk, but at some point in time, Kolea moved to another class and asked Vanya not to call him Kolea anymore but to call him Mikola. Vanya accepted his decision, this won’t affect their friendship. After some point in time, Mikola started to have new friends and he started to attack his past classmates.”
Breaking the ice – what happens to those who speak up?
“When we’re afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyzes us. Besides, fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators’ repression”Marjane Satrapi, The Complete Persepolis
Students from Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology spoke up against the war through a letter sent to the university administration. Students and scientists of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology demanded that the administration of the university “express a consolidated protest” against Russia’s military actions on the territory of Ukraine. The students’ letter, which was sent to teachers on February 28 stated that:
“The world community is categorically against the military actions carried out by the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine. UN Secretary General António Guterres called for a halt to hostilities. The Skoltech student community is also extremely concerned about what is happening. We believe that there is always a diplomatic solution to resolve foreign policy issues. As an institution based on the principles of international cooperation, we cannot but demand just such a resolution of conflicts. In the current circumstances, the management, teachers, staff, students, and graduates of the university must strongly protest the military actions in Ukraine in order to restore peace and preserve people’s lives and safety. We value a peaceful life in which there is a place for cooperation, creativity, and prosperity. We look forward to restoring and maintaining international relations with world universities and foreign colleagues, partnerships that have been built over many years. Peace and human lives are priceless. Our consolidated protest regarding the military actions of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine will help save lives!” writes Meduza.ru.
No matter what hards time we live, it is the matter of a teacher to teach us the truth, but unfortunately for Russian teachers, this is not the case. “We were told that we cannot have our own opinion at all” , stated Kamran Manafly, a 28-year-old geography teacher from Moscow for Meduza.ru.
“It is necessary to live a life that won’t torment you in the end. I was told, you can’t state your own opinion that contradicts the state. Well, I have my own opinion! And not only me, but many teachers also have their own opinion. And you know what? It clearly does not coincide with the opinion of the state. I do not want to be a mirror of the state’s propaganda, I am proud that I am not afraid to write my thoughts! My conscience does not bother me. I celebrate absolutely every student that I had, have, and will have ❤️” wrote Kamran on his Instagram page.
Kamran Manafly refused to teach lessons about the special operation in Ukraine and because of this, he was fired from his former job as a geography teacher at school number 498 in Moscow, where he had been working for two years. He decided to leave Russia, wrote Meduza.ru.