Russian Parents Send Children For Patriotic School Year

Girls with enormous white hair bows and lads in blazers clasped hands as they lined up for their first day back to school in Moscow, with proud and, for some, apprehensive parents watching.

Angelov’s 12-year-old daughter, like students across Russia, will study the country’s new militarized curriculum in the midst of Moscow’s grinding assault in Ukraine, which has seen increasingly frequent strikes on the Russian capital.

“We are living in difficult times,” the 39-year-old driver said.

“All sorts of things are happening and can happen.”

Drones are already hitting Moscow practically daily, 19 months after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his soldiers in Ukraine.

The Russian president also opened a new school via video chat in Mariupol, a city in northeastern Ukraine that was burnt to the ground last April before being taken by the Russian army.

Moscow-installed officials, who have been tasked with removing Ukrainian insignia from public locations since the city’s seizure, unfurled a long Russian flag across the city’s center.

‘Courage And Heroism’

Russian schoolchildren parade with a Russian national tricolor flag during a “first bell” ceremony to mark the beginning of the school year in Moscow on September 1, 2023. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP)

The new school syllabus for Russian students includes rudimentary military training, restoring a Soviet-era subject that had long been neglected.

Teachers will also utilize a new history textbook extolling the offensive, curated by Putin’s hardliner supporter Vladimir Medinsky.

Tatiana Barabanova, a local history teacher in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, welcomed the course book, whose cover depicts Putin’s centerpiece bridge connecting occupied Crimea to Russia’s mainland.

“Young people are disorientated by various mass fakes slandering our country,” she said, using terms reminiscent of Putin’s speeches.

“In this new textbook, there are very clear examples of courage and heroism,” she said.

The book hails Russia’s war on Ukraine and includes sections that explain how Moscow was “saving peace” when it took Crimea in 2014.

Meanwhile, Yelena Sobachkina, a first aid and sports teacher, displayed gas masks and plastic hands with simulated wounds that will be utilized in the new main military preparedness classes.

“They will understand what military service is like,” Sobachkina said, adding it was aimed at 15- to 18-year -olds.

She said the school would also introduce the teens to “tactical training and theoretical training of combat drones.”

Sobachkina plans to bring soldiers from the Ukraine front to speak to her students.

‘Prepare The Children’

In this pool photograph distributed by Sputnik agency Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with schoolchildren after holding a lecture called “Important Conversations” in Solnechnogorsk in the Moscow region on September 1, 2023. (Photo by Ekaterina CHESNOKOVA / POOL / AFP)

Sergei Varalov welcomed the prospect of seeing his child getting more teaching on the conflict in Ukraine.

“The political situation is such that the whole world has collapsed on us,” the 55-year-old builder said.

He also expressed support for military trainings and increased patriotic education.

“We need to prepare (the children),” he said, while clarifying, “I am not saying that it should be like North Korea.”

Back in Moscow, 83-year-old Nina Ivanova, watched her grandson start his new job as a teacher.

The pensioner hoped the job would “relieve him from the army” in the event that Russia would introduce another mobilisation.

In the crowd, painter Irina Dobrokhotova, just back from annexed-Crimea, was dropping her son Daniil to school.

“There are reasons for concerns… You just need to be prepared for anything and not be afraid,” Dobrokhotova said.

But she added: “Everyone is hoping for the best”.

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