Ukrainians in Russia ask Medvedev why their Centre was closed


The Association of Ukrainians in Russia has addressed a letter to the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev asking him to explain why the Ukrainian Educational Centre in Moscow was closed. They explain in their letter, that the Centre worked for over 10 years in accordance with licences issued to School No. 124, and members of staff were officially employed in line with labour legislation.

They also stress that considerable money (around 25 thousand USD) was spent on equipping the Centre.

On 17 April 2008 the building was sealed off on the pretext that there were no permits for the very existence of a Ukrainian Educational Centre.

The letter states that the Association of Ukrainians in Russia, the Regional Organization of Ukrainians in Moscow, and the teaching staff of the Ukrainian Educational Centre have on a number of occasions written to the Central District Department of Education in Moscow, as well as to the Acting Head of School No. 4 asking about the work of the Centre.  It says that the Central District Department of Education has confined itself to formal responses which do not address the issue, and “in an extremely rude and arrogant manner unacceptable for educational workers”. (The letter itemizes specific approaches made].

In view of this the Association of Ukrainians in Russia is asking President Medvedev to answer the question: “Why was it necessary to dissolve the Ukrainian Educational Centre which had been functioning for a long time, not as an underground organization, but with the knowledge of the Department of Education in Moscow, dismiss the staff and then return to discussion of the issue?”

The Association believes that this is very difficult to reconcile with the assertion that “the issue of improving ethno-cultural education, as before, is one of the main elements in the programme for developing the system of education in the Central District.”

“The destruction of an albeit small centre of Ukrainian education in Moscow is impossible to explain given the declared State educational police in the Russian Federation and prompts various interpretations of the likely reasons. Such actions have a negative impact on the development of Ukrainian education in Russia, are viewed without understanding by Ukrainians, and clearly do not contribute to harmonizing inter-ethnic relations in Moscow, and Russia”.

The Association also asked Mr Medvedev to explain how the “representatives of the ‘competent bodies’ which after the destruction of the Centre expressed interest and questioned some members of staff had to the issue of Ukrainian education in the Russian Federation.”

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