“Urgent,” his June 17 message said. “Teachers wanted for [Zaporizhzhia] and Kherson regions for the summer period. 8600 rubles per day. The task is to prepare the schools for the new school year. Round-trip transportation — free. Accommodation and meals – under discussion.”
An hour later, the director added: “Dear teachers, is there anyone else who would like to help colleagues? In these regions it is safe. Please respond quickly.” Both requests were shared with the Washington Post by the Alliance of Teachers, an independent group in Russia.
The pay is so lucrative that one of the members of the group briefly considered responding before his administrator warned him he would be insane to leave.
“Everyone understands everything. No good will come of these trips,” said the teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
Moscow is undertaking an intense Russification effort in the occupied territories, aimed at destroying Ukrainians’ sense of history, nationality, and even their language. Alignment with what children are learning is a key strategy. Ukraine’s education system “needs to be corrected,” Russian Education Minister Sergey Kravtsov said June 28 at a meeting of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.
But the Kremlin’s efforts go far beyond the schools. It has already blocked Ukraine’s cellphone network and media in areas under its control while spreading Russian state propaganda about the country’s “denazification”. She tore down Ukrainian place-name signs and replaced them with Russian ones. And following a Putin decree, Moscow is trying to get Ukrainians across the country to register for Russian passports.
Referendums on the “annexation” of the occupied territories to Russia are planned for September. The Kremlin has also hinted at possible votes on making Russian the official language of Ukraine.
A few weeks ago, Russia set up registry offices in Kherson and Melitopol, where Ukrainians can register newborns “under Russian law”, obtain Russian documents and apply for social assistance.
Russia is trying to militarize schoolchildren and censor textbooks amid the war
Almost 250 teachers, 57 of them from the Republic Dagestan in southern Russia has signed up for Ukraine, according to a list on the Dagestan Ministry of Education website, which is no longer visible. Their targets include those supported by Moscow Separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Kherson. The ministry announced a massive salary increase – 8,000 rubles a day, about $137, on top of existing teachers’ salaries.
In the city of Izhevsk Georgy Grigoriyev registered for salary. He doesn’t worry about possible dangers and plans to go for at least a year, “then I’ll probably stay there. I’ll probably buy an apartment there. I have nothing to lose.” He teaches Russian language and literature, as well as chemistry and biology.
“They promise very good salaries and housing,” Grigoriev explained in a telephone interview. “And I thought, ‘Why not?’ I’m divorced, my kids are grown so I might as well work there, especially for such a good salary.”
Another teacher, who lives in Astrakhan but spoke on condition of anonymity, said over the phone that he had registered to teach in Ukraine “because I want to be useful there. I believe life in these regions is very hard and I want to help the people there.”
The offices of the Ministry of Education in Moscow and Dagestan did not respond to questions from The Post, but in late June, the ministry told the government newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta that it was “putting in place high-quality Russian standards to enable schools to function properly.” Russian independent media Caucasian Knot quoted a ministry spokesman in Dagestan as saying the order to recruit teachers came on the evening of July 6 and had only two days to receive replies.
Minister of Education Kravtsov, one of the most enthusiastic Supporters of Putin’s Russification project flew to Melitopol in mid-June and stressed Moscow’s determination to teach Ukrainian children the Russian version of the history of the nations.
“The main task is to tell the students the whole truth, the truth about our brother peoples, about common achievements and victories,” he told Russian journalists in the occupied city. He said Russia will stay in the region “forever”.
Kravtsov was a math teacher in Moscow in the 1990s before moving to university and then to state education boards, where he rose quickly through the ranks. He has multiple degrees, although a lawmaker once accused him of plagiarism when he received one of them.
Days after Putin’s party leader announced this month that a “brigade” of student teachers had arrived in Ukraine, Kravtsov visited a northeastern town and said the first Russian textbooks, including language and history books, had arrived. Ukrainian children, he noted, need to be brought up in “traditions of friendship” with Russians. The result will be “our happy children.”
Ominous rhetoric is gaining ground in Russia while its armed forces are dying in Ukraine
That push comes amid a major overhaul of Russia’s own Education system, largely encouraged by senior security officials who urged schools to build a new “patriotic” generation. History textbooks are being revised to reflect Putin’s view that Ukraine was never a proper state.
off in From September 1st, Russian teachers will have to hold new lessons called “Talking about important things”. This must follow government guidelines on what children should learn about the war in Ukraine and current events – an approach reminiscent of Soviet-era “political information” courses. If the classes follow Putin’s lead, they will reflect his false claims that Ukraine has committed “genocide” or that its government is made up of “Nazis” who are determined to attack Russia.
Moscow’s Russification of occupied territories in Ukraine bears disturbing echoes of the Soviet era under Joseph Stalin, when millions of people were deported from annexed or conquered territories to Siberia and Central Asia. Russian workers were sent to colonize and assimilate many areas. The Baltic states and Central Asian nations like Kazakhstan still have significant numbers of ethnic Russians, which is often a source of tension amid Moscow’s frequent vows to “protect” all Russian speakers.
Kravtsov’s educational project gets a boost from another Kremlin program Pairing of Russian cities with occupied Ukrainian cities and towns. St Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov flew in June to Mariupol, the Ukrainian port city heavily bombed by Russia, to sign a “Twin City” deal with the Russian proxies. He announced he would merge his schools with those in Mariupol and promised to send teams of teachers and government officials.
An anti-war teacher in St. Petersburg named Larisa believes it would be morally wrong to teach in Ukraine, where millions of people have been killed or displaced by Russian attacks.
“Unfortunately, there will be teachers who will go to Ukraine to make this damn money,” said Larisa, who calls The Post only by her first name because she fears being arrested or imprisoned. “I don’t know how they will look in the mirror.”
Daniil Ken, chairman of the Alliance of Teachers, said some regional governments have deleted recruitment Offers from school chats as soon as local media reported about it. He suspects governments were concerned that teachers would complain about the low wages being paid in Russia, particularly in understaffed rural areas.
“People might ask, ‘Why are our teachers sent there if we don’t have enough teachers here?’ said Ken, who recently left Russia amid concerns for his safety.
Larisa expects history teachers to have the toughest task: to change Ukrainian students’ views of their country’s past so that they conform to the demands of the Russian government.
“I don’t think that will be successful,” she said. “Those who depend on you can pretend to believe you under the threat of being killed or punished. But deep down in their hearts, they will not believe you and will wait for any opportunity for revenge.”
Natalia Abbakumova in Riga, Latvia contributed to this report
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/07/18/russia-teachers-ukraine-rewrite-history/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_world Russia sends teachers to Ukraine to monitor what students are learning there