As part of its greater goal of fully absorbing Ukrainians into Mother Russia, Moscow is offering huge sums to its teachers to go to Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine to give students a “corrected,” Russia-centric education.
In some cases, the pay is five to six times the average monthly salary of teachers, especially in rural areas of Russia, which may create resentment in Russia.
One chat group message from June 17 to the Washington Post noted that transportation to and from the southern Kherson regions of Ukraine were free, and “accommodations and food” were “under discussion.”
Another message added: “Dear teachers, is there anyone else who wishes to help colleagues? It is safe in those regions. Please respond fast.”
As the Post reports:
Moscow is carrying out an intense Russification effort in occupied regions, one that appears designed to quash Ukrainians’ sense of history, nationhood and even their language. Targeting what children learn is a key strategy. Ukrainian education “must be corrected,” Russian Education Minister Sergei Kravtsov said at a June 28 meeting of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.
But as the Post adds:
[the] Kremlin’s effort extends far beyond the schools. It already has blocked Ukraine’s cellphone network and media in areas it controls, while broadcasting Russian state propaganda about its “denazification” of the country. It has torn down Ukrainian city signs and replaced them with Russian ones. And under a Putin decree, Moscow is trying to get Ukrainians throughout the country to sign up for Russian passports.
Referendums are planned for September on occupied areas “joining” Russia. The Kremlin also has foreshadowed possible votes on making Russian the official language of Ukraine.
Several weeks ago, Russia set up civil registry offices in Kherson and Melitopol, where Ukrainians can register newborn babies “in accordance with Russian law,” get Russian documents and apply for welfare payments.
Putin’s Russification effort in Ukraine comes at the same time that he is transforming Russia’s education system to promote a more ‘patriotic’ citizenry. The Post notes that:
This push comes amid a major overhaul of Russia’s own education system, prompted largely by top security officials calling on schools to build a new “patriotic” generation. History textbooks are being revised to reflect Putin’s view that Ukraine was never a real state.
Most concerning is how all these efforts harken back to the darkest days of the Soviet Union. As the Post explains:
Moscow’s Russification of areas it occupies in Ukraine bears disturbing echoes of the Soviet era under Joseph Stalin when millions of people from annexed or subjugated regions were deported to Siberia and Central Asia. Russian workers were sent in to settle and assimilate many areas. The Baltic states and Central Asian nations such as Kazakhstan still have significant numbers of ethnic Russians, often a source of tension amid Moscow’s frequent vows to “protect” all Russian speakers. ADN