The Kids Are (Not) Alright, Part 3: Are You Ready to Defend the Motherland?

30707960_10156005294207203_9089823561300341523_nThe third page of a questionnaire focusing on “patriotism” and “extremism,” allegedly administered to schoolchildren in Petersburg’s Moscow District. Photo courtesy of Daniel Alexandrov, Jr.

Daniel Alexandrov, Jr.
Facebook
April 20, 2018

The most monstrous thing currently in the works is the forthcoming ban on imported drugs. Much has been written about it, emotions have flared, and I have nothing to add. I would imagine we have seen nothing like it in recent Russian history. People are cynicallly willing to sacrifice tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of lives, by sending medical care forty or fifty years back in time, in order to increase the profits of several Russian companies.

But what kicked off the other day in Petersburg’s schools is no less vicious, although it is not such an obvious case of cannibalism. As Marina Tkachova, on whose page I saw the link, wrote correctly, a witch hunt has been launched.

In violation of Article 29 of the Russian Consitution,* which directly prohibits forcing people to voice their political views, the Moscow District Administration, assisted by the Center for Psychological, Pedagogical, Medical, and Social Aid, made schoolchildren fill out a questionnaire.

The questionnaire asked the schoolchildren, for example, to voice the extent to which they agreed with the following statements.

  • Russia’s interests are greater than my own.
  • I am ready to defend the Motherland and the people [narod = das Volk].
  • I feel proud of Russia’s current political influence.
  • I am proud of Russia’s culture and traditions.
  • I live in Russia and I do not plan to emigrate to another country.

31068869_10156005294157203_338838680958886823_nPart 12 of the questionnaire reads, “I don’t consider a person a patriot if . . . ” 1) He experiences no feelings for his country; 2) Believes the interests of ordinary people are more significant than the state’s interests; 3) The historic past of his people makes him ashamed; 4) The policies of our state towards its own citizens abolish patriot sentiments; 5) he want to leave Russia; 6) Other (specify).” Students could chose more than one answer. Photo courtesy of Daniel Alexandrov, Jr.

In addition, the pupils were asked to determine what social phenomena and psychological traits (!) generate nationalist or extremists moods among young people. The people who compiled the questionnaire openly provoked teenagers into violating Article 282 of the Russian Federal Criminal Code [which forbids “inciting the hatred and enmity” against other people based on ethnicity, religion, etc.] by asking them, “Are their religions or ethnic groups you dislike?” and “When faced with people different from you in appearance, ethniicity or religion, you usually . . .” One of the possible answers was, “I act aggressively.”

30742559_10156005294177203_1430095687740250696_nThe fourth and final page of the questionnaire focuses on the attitude of students toward different ethnic, religious, and social groups, thus encouraging them to violate Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code, as Mr. Alexandrov points out. Photo courtesy of Daniel Alexandrov, Jr.

The Education Committee at Petersburg City Hall explained to Fontanka.ru that the questionnaire was part of a “comprehensive plan for preventing juvenile delinquency among minors during the 2017–2018 academic year.” It is a program for monitoring and identifying potential “extremists” among schoolchildren.

I have the sense these people either do not realize what they are saying or they do realize it, which is even worse.

Even the Soviet Union was bereft of such idiocy and meanness, as when minors were asked to fill out questionnaires with questions like, “How much do you love the Motherland on a scale from one to five?” or “Whom do you love more, the Motherland or Mom?”

I have learned the schools on Vasilyevsky Island have not administered the questionnaire—yet—but since the Education Committee has adopted the plan, it means the questionnaire will be administered, if not now, then in September.

This cannot be ignored. We cannot stay silent about this. Interrogating schoolchildren about their love of the Motherland and their willingness to sacrifice themselves, and suggesting they should rat on themselves are real manifestations of fascism, and there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Friends, city council members, human rights activists, public figures, and local journalists: do something about it.

Article 29 of the Russian Constitution:

1. Everyone shall be guaranteed freedom of ideas and speech.

2. Propaganda or agitation instigating social, racial, national or religious hatred and strife shall not be allowed. Propaganda of social, racial, national, religious or linguistic supremacy shall be banned.

3. No one may be forced to express his views and convictions or eject them.

4. Everyone shall have the right to freely look for, receive, transmit, produce and distribute information by any legal means. The list of data comprising state secrets shall be determined by federal law.

5. The freedom of mass communication shall be guaranteed. Censorship shall be banned.

Thanks to Valery Dymshits for the heads-up. Translated by the Russian Reader. I slightly edited the excerpted quotation from the Russian Constitution to make it more readable.

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Home Sweet Home

Vasya Lozhkin, "Abroad / Motherland," 2015. Source: Facebook
Vasya Lozhkin, “Abroad / Motherland,” 2015. Source: Facebook

[…]

Enter the Abroad, lamenting, with the Forbidden Hemisphere,
And with the Horizon, debased, dangling from her evening gown.
She calls our simple Yermolai names like François, Jacques or Jean-Pierre,
Carps on and on about the law. Unfair tariffs get her going.
She blurts out, “How are things!” Raphael and Buonarotti
Disturb our gaze with flesh’s gloss, but on the back there’s not even a jot.
Workers of the world
March into a bar and grill.

“In those jeans you look like a Yank.”
“Popped her cherry when I was drunk.”
“I was just a simple worker.”
“By the by, we all are wankers.”

Enter Thoughts of Days to Come, dressed to the nines in khaki blouses.
They carry in atom bombs, ICBMs, a launching pad.
Oh how they reel, dance and caper: “We are warriors and carousers!
Russian and German will fall together; for example, at Stalingrad.”
And like old widow Matryona, cyclotrons are dumbly howling.
In the Ministry of Defense a nest of crows is loudly cawing.
Look at the pillow. What do you know!
Shiny medals all in a row.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
“A pint of vodka, they say,
Soon’ll be a ruble a pop.”
“Mom, I really don’t love Pop.”

Enter a certain Orthodox, saying, “These days I’m number one.
I’m pining for the sovereign, and in my soul the Firebird flares.
Soon Igor will reunite with Yaroslavna and have his fun.
Let me make the benediction or else I’ll box you on the ears.
Worse than evil eye or herpes is the plague of Western thinking.
Sing, accordion, and drown out the saxophone, jazz’s vile offspring.”
On the icons they plant a kiss,
Sobbing victims of circumcis—

“Me? Steak, Director’s Cut, of course.”
“Barge haulers in Severomorsk,
Wasted thin by radiation,
Drag the cruiser to its station.”

[…]

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