Ukraine: Russia imposes the teaching of the Russian language in the occupied regions

Russian officials are purging Ukrainian language education in captured areas of southern Ukraine, actively seeking publications that do not follow the pro-Russian narrative of the war, and setting up political agitation points for the ruling political party, United Russia.

The Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine reported the seizure of documents on Thursday. The report focused on territories in eastern Ukraine, which Russia considers a friendly stronghold, as well as newly captured territories in the north of the country.

According to the report, Russia is using “military police” in Sumy and Chernihiv regions in the north and Lugansk and Donetsk regions in the east to enforce the policy.

“They are most interested in books that focus on Ukrainian ‘maidans’, the war in the East and other texts that cover revolutionary history,” the report says, using a term used to identify the movements insurgents led by Ukrainian civilians. “In addition, ordinary history books, scientific and popular historical literature are considered ‘extremist’.”

In addition, the report identifies historical Ukrainian and Cossack revolutionary figures whose names should not be mentioned in publicly available literature. Among them is Ivan Mazepa, a Cossack leader who gathered a militia of Ukrainian villagers and waged war against Russia in the 18th century.

The teaching of the Ukrainian language is the other target.

In recently captured Melitopol in the southern Kherson region, Mayor Ivan Fedorov reported that Russian forces raided schools to force the switch to Russian. Fedorov was kidnapped and threatened earlier in the war, but was released following mass protests. The population of the city seems to defy Russian domination.

“I know that the Russians went around all the schools and told the teachers to start using Russian from April 1. Nevertheless, I always found that there was unity in public education of the city. I’m sure they will all continue to put our children and their future first,” said Fedorov.

Russia institutes politics by creating local professional administrations.

The intelligence report mentions administrations in all the captured regions. Additionally, new reports have come from the city council of the southern port city of Mariupol.

“Just near the city borders, Russia has opened an office for the ‘United Russia’ party in the Metro shopping mall,” the report said. “According to the remaining population of the city, the office distributes party literature, campaigns for Russia and distributes SIM cards named “Phoenix”. SIM cards have been used in the occupied eastern regions since the beginning of war in 2014.”

One of Russia’s justifications for its invasion of Ukraine was the claim that Russian speakers were oppressed. Polling agency Rating, however, showed that those who consider Ukrainian the language closest to them fell from 57% in 2012 to 76% on Friday.

Moreover, the number of people who use Russian on a daily basis has fallen from 40% in 2012 to 18% in 2022. In fact, the invasion only increased the desire to switch to Ukrainian only among respondents, analyzes the survey. suggests.

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Sylvester L. Goldfarb