Week-ending 31 July 2020
On 24 July 2020 the Russian Parliament passed a bill (tabled in May by the President) which will make inculcation of ‘Russian patriotism’ and ‘civic consciousness’ part of the school curriculum in both Russia and occupied Crimea. The State Duma approved the bill on 22 July, and the Federation Council passed the bill two days later on 24 July. Human Rights in Ukraine reports that Russia has long used various methods to force Crimean children to forget they are Ukrainian, but these formal changes to school education will inevitably increase the already worrying level of pro-Russian propaganda and militarization of childhood on occupied Ukrainian territory. The bill essentially echoes the planned inclusion of ‘patriotic education’ in the amended Constitution which now says that the state must create the conditions for developing in children “patriotism and civic consciousness, as well as respect for the memory of defenders of the Fatherland and the older generation”. The bill speaks of “activities aimed at development of the individual, creation of the conditions for self-identification and socialization of the students on the basis of socio-cultural, spiritual and moral values and rules and norms of behaviour accepted in Russian society”. It also proposes “to form in the students the sense of patriotism, civic consciousness, respect to the memory of the defenders of the Fatherland and achievements of the Heroes of the Fatherland; to the law and public order; to men who work and to the older generation” and others.
Halya Coynash, ‘Putin’s law aims to educate ‘patriots of Russia’ and eliminate Ukrainian identity in occupied Crimea,’ Human Rights in Ukraine, 31 July 2020