All the swindlers are fleeing Russia:
They have property in the West.
The bandits and sodomites are fleeing
And all those killed by their conscience.
The Judases are running, all going there,
Where there is no love, where there is no Christ.
Where there are gay parades and Nazis,
Liberals and globalists.
God is cleansing Holy Russia,
He protects it himself like his own daughter!
He will not let the evil ones torment us,
May God grant that we keep our faith.
Only an ignoramus doesn't understand
Russia as the last hope.
Let the enemy shout that Putin is bad
And under him all in Russia is bad.
If the whole herd of fleas is mad,
Evidently our Putin has done everything right!
My name is Daniil Orain. I’m a YouTuber from Russia, and I run the channel 1420. In my videos, I try to create a montage of everyday Russians and a transparent representation of what they believe.
Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, people from all over the world have come to my channel to try and understand how Russians think.
Before I started the channel about 2 years ago, I had some skewed thoughts about the world.
At the time, I was working as a software engineer with a three-hour commute, and my perspectives changed when I began to watch on-the-street interviews with people in faraway cities during those rides. Those videos showed me how people from different places and cultures thought, and they played a big part in my self-education.
I started to wonder: Why isn’t there something like this on YouTube but with people from Russia, like me? That’s when my friend and I created 1420.
People often ask me for the story behind the channel’s name, but there’s no secret meaning. It’s just the name of the school we went to together. Our whole goal with the channel was to go out on the streets of Moscow and ask people questions that interested us — things like, “Do you believe in God?” or, “What do you think about Americans?”
When the conflict in Ukraine began, we suddenly saw a huge increase in viewers.
Our increase came from around the world — not just Europe and America, which had been our main audience. With the increase in viewership, I decided to double down and try to publish videos daily.
To get enough material for a full video, we have to ask a large number of people. Given the nature of our topics at the moment, a lot of people decline to participate.
When shooting the Zelenskyy video, for example, we had 124 people decline to answer. Only 28 people agreed. Even when they do agree, they often hold back from giving their full thoughts.
Making these videos is risky, but we haven’t had any problems so far.
Unlike with TikTok and Instagram, access to YouTube is still normal in Russia. In the videos, I’ve always muted certain words (but kept the subtitles) to avoid censorship.
For example, you’re not allowed to say “war” when referring to the situation in Ukraine. We have to say “secret operation” instead. So if someone does say “war,” we mute that word.
Some people in the comments have accused me of being a Russian propaganda channel, so I’ve had to find new ways to show that I’m not. For example, in one recent video, we blurred the faces and changed the voices of the people in it so that they could be honest without fear of repercussions. Also, we started showing longer continuous clips of the interviews so that the viewers didn’t think we purposely cut them to tell a certain narrative.
I have seen a change in how people view not only our channel since the war started — but also our participants.
Just recently, the comments on my YouTube videos said things like, “Russians are just like us.” But as the situation in Ukraine has progressed, they now tend to be more like: “Russians are brainwashed.”
I’m glad people are watching the videos because I know from my experience how helpful YouTube can be. We’re lucky to be able to learn online.
You’ll notice that in my videos, there’s a pretty clear divide between the answers coming from people who grew up in Soviet times and the younger people. When the older generations were growing up, they got their education only from books or teachers — they didn’t have access to the world like people my age do. The position that I’m in, running this channel, wouldn’t have even existed back then.
Today, you can learn things from websites, videos, and even comments.
Just last week, on one of my own videos, one viewer wrote: “You are not scared, not because you are fearless, but because you just haven’t been scared yet.”
That blew my mind. I know what I’m doing is risky, but maybe I don’t feel worried about it because I’ve never actually been that worried. But at the same time, I’m just the storyteller. A lot of people direct-message me asking for my opinion on various topics, but I don’t answer them.
I see my role as being the person who helps tell people’s stories, and I’ll continue to do so to show how and what Russians feel.
As Kommersant has learned, Russian schools have received new recommendations on teaching special lessons in the light of the “special military operation” in Ukraine. In this case, teachers must organize classes for students in grades 5-9 and 10-11 on the topic of “anti-Russian sanctions and their impact on the domestic economy.” In the training manual, this “impact” is depicted rather positively: schoolchildren are told about the growth of the share of Russian-made products in several sectors, and then they are asked to assess which countries would suffer great economic losses from sanctions. Economists interviewed by Kommersant point out the mistakes made by the manual’s authors and warn that Russian schoolchildren will soon see the effect of sanctions themselves.
Materials for the “sanctions” lesson were handed over to Kommersant by a teacher in the Moscow Region. We found reports on such lessons on the websites of a number of schools in the Moscow, Oryol and Samara regions. As stated in the manual, teachers should “show Russia’s capacities for overcoming the negative consequences of the sanctions pressure brought by western countries on our society’s economy [and] give [pupils] an idea of the main vector of anti-sanctions policy in the Russian Federation.” The classes are to be held as part of social studies courses.
At the beginning of the lesson, teachers must quote President Vladimir Putin that “unprecedented external pressure has been exerted on Russia.” They must then ask schoolchildren whether they know “what the priority measures of our state’s anti-sanctions policy are.”
Only then should teachers tell their pupils what sanctions are: “Restrictions designed to ‘punish’ a country for its actions.” At this point, they must also clarify what “actions” are meant: “the special military operation being conducted by Russia in Ukraine, occasioned by the need to protect the population of Donbas.” Examples of sanctions include the freezing of assets of state corporations and banks, as well as a portion of Russia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves. Another example is the departure of foreign companies.
Teachers should then tell pupils that Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin “has identified protecting the domestic market and keeping the able-bodied population employed as the most important focus of the anti-sanctions policy.” And students have to answer the question “Why exactly are these areas a priority?”
The manual also contains a link to a video about the benefits of import substitution.
The video explains that, in the 1990s and early 2000s, imported products prevailed over domestic ones. “Active advertising of foreign goods” and “the idea of the superiority of imported products and the inability of Russian manufacturers to bring similar products online” were pushed. But by 2022, the situation had changed dramatically, says the voice-over: the share of Russian-made products had grown in food production machinery (from 12% to 45%), agricultural machinery (from 24% to 55%), and machine tool construction (from 18% to 38%). It is also suggested that teachers show pupils statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade during the lesson. The statistics purportedly show that the share of Russian goods across the entire civilian range of commodities has increased many times in the field of mechanical engineering since 2014.
“Together with pupils, the teachers conclude that economic policy in recent years has been aimed at increasing protections for domestic producers and ensuring their sustainability in the face of external crises,” the lesson script says. At this point, students in grades 5-9 are asked to list the set of measures taken to support the Russian economy and citizens in “conditions of increased pressure from sanctions,” while high school students have to describe their intended effect.
At the end of the lesson, students must fill out a feedback form. They have to answer the following questions: “Are the sanctions against Russia fair?”, “Will the sanctions lead to a strengthening of the Russian economy?”, and “Who will suffer great economic losses?”
There are three possible answers to the last question: Russia, the NATO countries, or all countries of the world.
The Education Ministry confirmed to Kommersant that it had sent methodological recommendations to schools. They were developed by the Institute of Education Development Strategies, which is subordinated to the Ministry. The Ministry noted that “leading third-party experts” from different industries had been involved in developing the lesson scenario. “The lesson materials offer schoolchildren the chance to familiarize themselves with the measures taken by the president and the government to counteract sanctions by unfriendly countries,” the Ministry told Kommersant. “The lesson materials specially emphasize the characteristics of the import substitution policy that has been implemented in Russia in recent years. The lesson assumes the active involvement of students when working with documents and interactive materials containing important information about the Russian economy’s achievements in various sectors and its readiness to resist sanctions,” they said.
Teachers from schools in Crimea and Sevastopol confirmed to Kommersant that they would have to give such lessons. And yet, they refused to give a personal assessment of the lessons, explaining that they were afraid of violating the laws on disrespect for the authorities and discrediting the armed forces. The Irkutsk Regional Ministry of Education said that lessons on import substitution had already been conducted (as extracurricular classes) for 85,000 students in 154 schools. “Children have generally shown an interest and reacted positively to the information,” they noted.
Kommersant asked economists to comment on the manual. Natalya Zubarevich, a specialist in regional socio-economic development, refused to look at it. “Why should I read this manual? It’s already clear as it is that we will lose the most advanced technology industries,“ she told Kommersant. “There is no need to hurry. Even if this manual is read aloud to children, life will show them how things really stand. In the summer, or certainly in the autumn, the children will come home and see for themselves that their families have no money, and that there is no way to buy certain goods.”
The manual’s specialized language is too complicated for both schoolchildren and teachers, says Vladimir Salnikov, an expert at the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecasting.
“Many points [in the manual] are quite correct at the qualitative level, but you can argue with individual figures,” says Salnikov. “For example, according to our estimates, the share of imports in certain industries is slightly higher [than indicated in the lesson materials]. Mr. Salnikov considers it an incorrect decision to present mechanical engineering as a good example of import substitution. “Things were going much better in the Russian food industry and in a number of segments of the chemical industry. And things have been quite good in some parts of light industry,” the expert says, “but the progress has been worse in mechanical engineering.”
The presentation states that “the share of Russian-made goods in the automotive industry” increased from 7% in 2014 to 86.3% in 2020. Kommersant‘s sources in the automotive industry confess that they do not understand where these figures came from: “Probably, the figures for 2020 include Russia’s entire production of cars, regardless of localization. But in this case, it is wrong to call the goods absolutely domestic. It’s also unclear why the manual’s authors cite the figure of 7% for 2014. In fact, at that time, Russian production’s share in the car market was about 75%. It’s a shame that schoolchildren will receive distorted information,” they said. Our sources also reminded us that the only automotive plants currently operating in Russia are those belonging to GAZ, UAZ, KamAZ, Mazda Sollers, and the Chinese brand Haval. The rest have been idled due to sanctions.
In early March, the Education Ministry recommended that schools hold a special history lesson (see Kommersant, 2 March 2022). Its goal was to “shape” an adequate stance among high school students on the issue of the special peacekeeping operation by the armed forces. Later, classes devoted to fake news were held in schools, in which students were urged not to believe the reports of the Ukrainian authorities about the number of Russian soldiers who had been killed (see Kommersant, 11 March 2022). Finally, during the “Brotherhood of Slavic Peoples” lesson, schoolchildren were told about the kindred cultures of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, “who should remain a single people today and not succumb to the provocations of those trying to divide them.”
Source: Anna Vasilyeva, Maria Starikova, Olga Nikitina; Vlad Nikiforov (Irkutsk); and Alexander Dremlyugin (Simferopol), Kommersant, 5 April 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader
Schoolchildren animatedly perusing a textbook entitled The History of Crimea, 5–6, Part 1. Photo courtesy of Viktor Korotayev and Kommersant
Schoolchildren Encouraged to Discuss Crimea Ministry of Enlightenment Recommends Thematic Lessons on the Peninsula’s Accession
Ksenia Mironova Kommersant
March 19, 2019
The Russian Federal Ministry of Enlightenment has drafted a set of recommendations for thematic lessons dealing with “Crimea’s reunification with Russia” in schools. The ministry stressed its recommendations are just that: recommendations. In particular, they suggest choosing the lesson’s format depending on the age of children. Depending on their ages, the ministry suggest the children play games and have contests or holding conferences, seminars, and debates involving parents and civil society stakeholders. Experts, on the contrary, argue schools should not risk debating the subject.
On Sunday, the ministry’s press service reported Crimea’s accession [sic] to Russia had been included in the calendar of educational events occasioned by state and national holidays. In this connection, the ministry drafted recommendations for holding “thematic lessons, round tables, class assemblies, concerts, events, and contests” in connection with March 18, “the day Crimea was reunified with Russia.”
According to the ministry, its methodological suggestions are only recommendations meant to “help teachers select the right information and hold thematic lessons, special events, meetings, and other interventions.” By way of enlightening schoolchildren about the issues surrounding “Crimea’s reunification with Russia,” the ministry has recommended hold different events depending on the ages of children. It has suggested telling them about Crimea via games, contests, drawing competitions, conferences, seminars, and debates. In addition, the ministry has suggested involving parents and civil society stakeholders. The ministry’s press service said the recommendations were based on the practical know-how of teachers, but it refused to answer our questions about what exactly the ministry had recommended telling schoolchildren about “Crimea’s reunification with Russia.”
According to Olga Miryasova, secretary of the trade union Teacher, she was especially intrigued by the ministry’s recommendation to hold “debates among high school students.”
“It’s not worth risking debates on the subject. High school students read the internet and know how to argue. God forbid some of them accidentally voiced the ‘wrong’ viewpoint. The homeroom teacher would be left to pick up the pieces. Either the event, as recommended by the ministry, would be a failure or teachers and students would be forced to try and prove the legality of the ‘reunification,’ and there is no guarantee they would be able to do that. And so, again, some children would be threatened with expulsion or bad marks. That is what debates would boil down to,” argued Miryasova.
Lawmakers do not agree with her. According to Boris Chernyshov, an LDPR MP and deputy chair of the Duma’s education and science committee, such recommendations were signs of “proper management.”
“The Minister of Enlightenment was simply obliged to draft these recommendations. Crimea is a vital historical milestone. We only need the psychologists to tell us what age groups can be told what,” Mr. Chernyshov told us.
As we have written earlier, the fifth anniversary of the peninsula’s accession to the Russian Federation has been celebrated on a large scale only in Crimea, Sevastopol, and Moscow, where concerts, exhibitions, and thematic festivals were scheduled.
On March 15, a special citywide lesson dealing with Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation was taught in all of Simferopol’s schools.
Commenting earlier on the Crimean Spring Festival, political scientist Konstantin Kalachev told us the celebration had been depoliticized as much as possible. It had been turned into a mainly cultural event.
“Crimea’s mobilizing effect has petered out,” he said. “The explanation is simple. Some people are a bit tired of the subject of Crimea, and some even find it irritating.”
There are eleven Russian words in this poster for the April 29 St. Petersburg Craft Event at Art Play SPb, and twenty-one English words. Photo by the Russian Reader
Oh, how they hate the United States!
My boon companion was just chatting with a neighbor lady, a woman who has lived in our building her whole life and makes the best salt pickles I have ever tasted.
As it happens, our neighbor is friendly with a member of our municipal district council.
If you follow the news from Russia closely, you would know that the beleaguered united opposition, led by Dmitry Gudkov, made significant inroads in Moscow’s municipal district councils during the last elections to these entities. One of the people thus elected, the young, well-known liberal politician Ilya Yashin, has now announced plans to challenge the incumbent, Sergei Sobyanin, during the next Moscow mayoral election.
In reality, municipal district councils are the lowest rung on the political totem poll in Russia. They have very little power and are perpetually too underfunded to do the work they are supposed to do.
However, since Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, is power hungry and paranoid, they try and stack the lowly municipal district councils with their own members.
God knows what could happen otherwise.
The municipal district council member with whom our neighbor is friendly is one such United Russia Party placeholder.
“And she’s a real louse,” my boon companion would add.
The councilwoman recently got back from a trip to the United States. It turns out her daughter and son-in-law have lived there for a long time. They have a big, beautiful house in Silicon Valley.
The councilwoman told all this to our neighbor lady, explaining how much she had enjoyed the trip and how much she liked the United States.
“Why did she have to tell ME this?” the neighbor lady asked my boon companion, “Why couldn’t she have told someone else?”
Remember this little story the next time you see Foreign Minister Lavrov or President Putin or the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations or Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova huffing and puffing and blowing America’s house down.
Everything they say is meant for domestic consumption only. They don’t really hate the United States. They just need a Big Enemy to occupy the minds of the Russian people, to distract them from their own more serious crimes and misdemeanors.
The con seems to be working so far. // TRR
Our humble municipal district newspaper, as published by our municipal district council. This is the one of two spots in our municipal where I know one can read it. Maybe there are more, but otherwise the newspaper is not distributed to the municipal districts’s residents, because the less they know about our municipal district’s business, the better, I guess. Photo by the Russian Reader
The mishmash in people’s heads also comes in a number of flavors. Sometimes, you come across thermonuclear mixtures.
In October, we took a former police investigator who had worked on Petersburg’s major case squad to a round table of European prosecutors in Sofia. The man knows everything about Putin, all the nitty-gritty, all the cases from the early 1990s, the ties with organized crime, the origins of the Ozero Dacha Co-op, and how nearly its entire membership later migrated to the board of Rossiya Bank.
The cop ran the investigation of the Twentieth Trust Corporation, unofficially dubbed the Putin case, until September 2000, meaning when the dude was already president. Subsequently, of course, the case was shut down, and the investigator was put out to pasture.
I can confidently say the former investigator still has the most complete and systematized knowledge of Putin’s background.
In Sofia, however, this same man suddenly went completely off topic and publicly babbled something to the effect Ukraine should have been punished long ago, we will show them all, Russian liberals take orders from the US State Department, and other splendid nonsense.
After the event, I asked him what he had been going on about. He knew perfectly well what a criminal Putin was, but he had apologized for his other crimes.
His response was that in terms of domestics politics Putin was a criminal, but he supported him to the hilt when it came to foreign policy. It was a good thing, he said, Putin was president, and not the investigator himself. Otherwise, something disastrous would have happened to the world long ago, whereas Putin had preserved the peace.
Now that, if I am not mistaken, is a total muddle.
“There’s a more likely possibility, and it doesn’t hinge on accumulated historical trauma or some irrational longing to go back to the Soviet system. With the USSR’s fall came the loss of many other things Russians valued: their country’s stature in the world, decent living standards, the welfare state, education, even a sense of community and collective identity. Putin’s apparent promise to restore some of these things is a far better explanation for his widespread popularity at home than the theory that most citizens have been too brainwashed or traumatized to think for themselves.”
But he’s been eighteen years “in office” and he hasn’t restored any of these things really, and he never really promised to restore most of them, not that you would notice if you hadn’t lived here during those eighteen years, as the author of the book review, quoted above, has signally not lived here.
Nor, as far as I know, did the author ever live in the Soviet Union he misses so much, but which lots of former Soviet citizens I know don’t miss at all.
Go figure why the western left misses a country most of its current supporters never lived in or visited for a millisecond, but which millions of its actual former inhabitants don’t miss for a second. It says something slightly disturbing about the intellectual integrity of the western left, doesn’t it?
As for brainwashing, I can’t say anything about Russians, but I know a lot of foreign so-called Russian experts and reporters covering the Russian beat who have been brainwashed by the triumvirate of dishonest Russian pollsters known as FOM, VTsIOM, and Levada Center into believing that Putin enjoys “widespread popularity at home.”
In fact, this popularity is a lot less apparent when you’re actually on the ground day after day for years on end, conversing and dealing with lots of different people who say lots of different things but somehow usually fail to express their ardent love of Putin. Here, in the actual Russia, not the imaginary Russia inhabited by the Russia experts, his “popularity” looks more like a dictatorship for life, reinforced by brute police force, flagrant corruption, major TV channels that have been nazified to the point that almost no one I know has watched them for years, and selective but regular show trials in case anyone has forgotten where they really live.
Why do so-called Russian experts, like the author of the review, quoted above, believe every poll about Russia those shysters and shills publish, including the pap about Putin’s rampant popularitry?
I’ll tell you why.
Because the world’s greatest Russia experts do not live in Russia, nor do they want to live here (they’re not stupid!), but endlessly citing so-called Russian public opinion polls as if they are the gospel truth gives their specious, highly partisan arguments an air of scholarly or empirical knowledge, of “knowing what Russians really think.”
The subject of today’s Russia and what Russians really think is way more complicated (and, sometimes, way more simple) than the certified Russia experts suspect or want to admit, however. TRR
Artem Kravchenko Facebook
January 22, 2015 • Razvilka, Moscow Region
Re: words and deeds
My elder brother has a wife and four children, aged almost zero to nine years old. Boy-girl-boy-girl.
In this situation, of course, overall carelessness means that all six of them are stepping on each other’s toes, running around, jumping, being late getting somewhere, losing socks, toys, passports, and so on and so forth.
I don’t know exactly in what terms the youngest part of the family reflects on these difficulties (and whether they do reflect on them), but the eldest part of the family, it goes without saying, periodically tends to resort to dramatic statements on the matter.
For example, the mother of the family took a shine to a remarking, “It’s time to lather the rope!”
You can utter this phrase exhaustedly and phlegmatically. Or, on the contrary, belt it out while wringing your hands. Or stress each word strictly and disapprovingly. Basically, there are plenty of fine options.
But, as we all know well, “We cannot predict / How our words will resound” (Tyutchev).
Eventually, after a while my three-year-old nephew showed up and said, “Mom, I lathered you a rope.”
He pulled out a fairly long piece of twine, solicitously adding, “With good antibacterial soap.”
June 17, 2016
Community volunteers in Novosibirsk have spent a grant from the mayor’s office to organize a Zarnitsa[Soviet-era children’s war game] for children with disabilities. The goal was to adapt the children to life and integrate them into society. This is an interesting way of doing it.
The Novosibirsk authorities organized a Zarnitsa game for orphans and children with disabilities.
“Put down the pistol.”
“There will be live fire. We are going to be firing, and we will be fired on.”
[Sign on left:] “Red Army warrior! The lair of the fascist beast lies ahead.”
“This is a war game, which the young generation needs nowadays.”
The game was meant to help the child adapt to life.
Today a fourth-grader told me that his history teacher [at a school in Petersburg’s Central District] had explained in class that Stalin had shot traitors. “Is it true?” the child asked me. I said the teacher was a foolish woman and it was pity she hadn’t been shot! And that the student could go and tell her so. The child reasonably remarked that if he did that, she would call the police. I then gave him the rundown on Stalin, thus completely and utterly undermining the history teacher’s authority.
“Let’s Save Russia’s Children from American Slavery!” Placard at Anti-Maidan rally, Field of Mars, Petrograd, February 21, 2015. Photo courtesy of Sergey Chernov
Fontanka looking for kindergarten that staged “Militiaman Day” with arms
February 24, 2015 Fontanka.ru
Photos from a “Militiaman Day,” allegedly held at a St. Petersburg kindergarten, are being discussed today on the blogs. In the photos, a man in a major’s uniform shows children all sorts of modifications of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, as well as a Dragunov sniper rifle, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and a shaped charged anti-tank grenade. The children happily pose with all these weapons, which are probably dummies used for training.
The photos has had a bombshell effect on the Russian segment of the Internet. The shots have been compared to images from children’s celebrations in institutions supported by Hamas.
The blogger who posted these photos claims that one of the parents decided to make the children happy in this way.
The only thing that remains off camera is what kindergarten would permit such a celebration? We ask parents who know in what kindergarten the photos were taken to contact Fontanka’s editors.
The images, above, are screenshots from twitter.com as reproduced on Fontanka.ru
Gleb Kuznetsov writes on Facebook that it is no longer necessary to watchtelevision [to experience Russian war hysteria]: it suffices to pay a visit to a kindergarten: “As she was undressing the child, Grandma vaguely heard what was being said in the group before classes began. Seated on little stools, the kiddies were gathered around the minder. ‘Children. There is a war on in Ukraine. People are dying. Little kids and their parents are being hurt. Enemies have attacked them. But our president is a good man, children. He is fighting for peace… He is sending arms to the militiamen. So today we’ll be gluing envelopes.’ A child of six heard this as was he was changing his clothes and yelled, ‘Hurrah! World war. We’ll beat everybody.”