The Crimea Lesson

history of crimeaSchoolchildren 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.”

Translated by the Russian Reader

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“Anti-Americanism”

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

msmomovladimirskyokrug.jpgOur 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

Muddle

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“Our President” desktop calendar. Photo by the Russian Reader

Andrey Kalikh
Facebook
November 21, 2017

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.

You tell me about a cab driver you once met who watched pro-Putin TV presenters Vladimir Solovyov and Dmitry Kiselyov, but whose favorite politician was Vladimir Ryzhkov, a well-known member of the liberal opposition and former MP.

That is mere child’s play.

Translated by the Russian Reader

The Best Russia Experts Don’t Live in Russia, or, Crypto-Putinism

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“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

Photo by the Russian Reader

On a Rope

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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.”

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Current Time
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.

[Subtitles]

The Novosibirsk authorities organized a Zarnitsa game for orphans and children with disabilities.

“And smile!”

“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.

Translated by the Russian Reader. Photo courtesy of fakty.ictv.ua

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Suffer the Little Children

My friend L. writes:

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.

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“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

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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.

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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.

ds1The blogger who posted these photos claims that one of the parents decided to make the children happy in this way.ds3

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

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Gleb Kuznetsov writes on Facebook that it is no longer necessary to watch television [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.”

source: online812.ru