The ideological pressure on Russian schoolchildren is gradually but constantly increasing. A course of initial military training is being formed for them, a new pro-government structure, the Movement of the First, has been created, and the work of military-patriotic associations has intensified. At the direction of the authorities, every Monday morning in all schools in Russia, a solemn raising of the flag and the performance of the anthem are held - currently the entrance to the school is blocked - then a new lesson "Talk about the important" takes place. Now classes on this topic are going to be held for parents.
From September 2023, directors will have special education advisers in all schools in the country. Even now, children send leaflets to Russian soldiers at the front and take part in competitions on military topics. There are cases of dismissal of teachers for oppositional views and persecution of parents whose children speak out in support of Ukraine.
Russian schools still have teachers opposed to the war. Three people from different regions told how state propaganda is now organized in the education system, and whether it is possible not to carry out this state line in schools. For obvious reasons, Radio Liberty does not disclose the names of the interlocutors.
– Many have the impression that there have been cardinal changes in the teaching of history, in educational work. Not really. Kvass patriotism pumped up until February 2022. With the outbreak of the war, of course, all this intensified, but so far this is not a complete system.
In "Conversations about the Important", they first planned to talk about "SVO" ("special military operation" the Russian authorities call the war in Ukraine. - RS), but when this caused a clear rejection of the parents, the program was abruptly changed before September 1, 2022. As a result, "Talk about the important" is aimed at the formation of rather individualistic values: children are told that it is good to become a businessman, a blogger. Who conducts the "Conversations about the Important", in fact, no one checks.
Yes, there were letters from children to the front, other forms of solidarity with the NVO. Education Ministry officials are trying to show support for the regime. All these measures do not require much effort from teachers, sometimes they also pay money and give a sense of belonging - it seems that we are helping ours. Locally, there are excesses if officials or teachers take propaganda literally.
There are teachers, directors who believe that everything is serious, that we are building a "Russian world", and they are fighting on their front and must suppress those who disagree. And the further everything goes, the more it will be.
"Yunarmiya" is implemented if there are people in the school who are rooting for it - mostly former military men. Before the "Movement of the First" there was the Russian movement of schoolchildren, which no one remembers anymore. Here, too, money will be mastered and forgotten. Nothing but aversion to patriotism is thus inculcated. Everything is poorly thought out, not prepared, produced for ticks and reports. And society and children see it.
There is no consistent strategy in education, instantaneous needs are realized. Officials in the Ministry of Education change quite quickly. Everyone implements what comes to mind. Education is also a business, because serious public funds are allocated for holding events.
A bunch of officials, structures cling to grants. If cosmopolitanism is required instead of patriotism, they will be introduced in the same way. Literally in the NWO, they introduced participation in the global PISA assessment of students, then abruptly stopped.
But Russia still remains in the global trend of education - Russian schools are aimed at developing leadership qualities in the child, individualization, and to some extent tolerance. With regard to LGBT, of course, no, but with regard to people with disabilities, it is. Ethnic conflicts are ending.
Parents in schools are very afraid. The task of the director is to ensure that everything is calm on his territory. What can people rebel for? For your children. The director is between parents and teachers, and on the other hand, between officials and businesses that implement their projects in schools. Directors often fly out of their positions.
If the teaching staff is good and there is mutual understanding with the director, state propaganda can be put on the brakes by sending good reports to officials. I also host "Conversations about the important." How I lead them: you can’t find fault with me, I adhere to all methodological recommendations. But you can always present it in such a way that it causes laughter or rejection in children.
Everyone knows very well at school that I signed a petition against the war and continue to be against it. Perhaps they will start to find fault with me, but not yet.
- Last February, when it all started, the teachers tried to talk among themselves about what was happening and learn about each other's views. Then directives began to come, what is impossible, what is impossible. In practice, in each school all this works differently, it depends very much on the director.