war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

FSB in occupied Melitopol threaten to send children to Russia if parents don’t agree to their indoctrination

Halya Coynash
Moscow knows very well that Ukrainians in occupied Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts hate them and is escalating measures to try to brainwash young people and terrorize their parents

Melitopol school under Russian occupation Photo RIA Melitopol

Melitopol school under Russian occupation Photo RIA Melitopol

Families in occupied Melitopol who refuse to send their children to ‘Russian schools’ have faced visitations from Russia’s FSB [security service] and direct threats that their children will be taken from them and sent to Russia.  The International Criminal Court has already initiated criminal proceedings against Russian president Vladimir Putin and his so-called ‘children’s ombudsperson’ over the forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.  The latter’s security service is making it abundantly clear that such deportations are about indoctrinating Ukrainian children, turning them into ‘Russians’.  If Ukrainian parents are unwilling to tolerate this, then Russia will take their children from them.

RIA Melitopol reports that from 15 to 30 August, representatives of the district occupation authorities appeared, together with FSB officers, at the homes of parents who had refused to send their children to occupation ‘schools’.  They held supposedly ‘prophylactic talks’ on compliance with the norms of Russian legislation on mandatory school education.  The parents had protocols drawn up, accusing them of not fulfilling their parental obligations.  They were warned that if they get three such protocols, they will be stripped of their parental rights and their children will be placed in ‘the care of the social services’ in children’s homes in Russia.

For all such purported concern about children’s education, occupation ‘schools’ began the school year on 1 September only for the children to be sent home until 11 September.  This is because of the fake ‘elections’ which Russia is staging on occupied territory to try to claim legitimacy for a regime imposed with guns, tanks and the abduction and indoctrination of Ukrainian children.

Ivan Fedorov, the real Mayor of Melitopol, points out that you can scarcely talk of a curriculum in the Russian ‘education’ foisted on occupied territory, with this focused solely on propaganda.  “Today children are one of the groups who suffer most from the enemy on occupied territory.”

Fedorov was speaking particularly on Russia’s imposition of totally rewritten ‘history textbooks’ which provide the new, compulsory, and entirely false account of recent history, in particular, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.  Given Russia’s failure to restore the infrastructure it destroyed in most cities that it is now occupying, it is telling that these ‘textbooks’ have been pushed through and were recently delivered also to occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblast, as well as to occupied Crimea.  Such emphasis on propaganda was first seen in devastated Mariupol.  While people froze in half destroyed apartment blocks and spent hours everyday queuing for food, the occupation regime erected huge television screens on the street to broadcast upbeat propaganda and concentrated on removing the Ukrainian ‘I’ from the sign welcoming visitors to Mariupol. 

Efforts to indoctrinate children, and even recruit them into Russia’s ‘Youth Army’, or Yunarmia began almost immediately.  Now the situation has become much more critical as the new textbooks, with their total distortion of history are to be mandatory. In their final year at school, students will be told that it was Ukraine who began the war, that it is in government-controlled Ukraine, and not in Russia and on occupied territory, that “any dissident thinking is brutally persecuted against”.  The ‘special military operation’ that children will be told about in such ‘lessons’ will make no mention of Russian bombing of residential blocks, hospitals and schools; nor of the atrocities well documented in Bucha and other Ukrainian cities, not to mention the mass graves found where Russia has been forced to retreat.  Teachers will have no choice but to present such lies as these will be tested at the end of the year in the mandatory school-leaving exams.

This is why parents are intent on ensuring that their children are not subjected to so-called ‘Russian education’.  Attempts to pretend that the effective raids of such parents’ homes are because of concern that children are not receiving a proper education are especially cynical.  The Russian occupiers regularly stop people and check their phones with any indication that young people are studying according to the Ukrainian curriculum, or even subscribed to Ukrainian media, likely to lead to repressive measures, with these by no means confined to threats alone, as the involvement of Russia's FSB makes all too clear.

See also: Russia’s use of ‘education’ to destroy Ukrainian identity in occupied Ukraine is cultural genocide, study finds

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