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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“The Presidency Is a Monarchist Atavism”: Sevastopol Security Forces Crack Down on Local Anarchists

Balaklava Bay, Sevastopol

Sevastopol Security Services Search Homes of Leftist Activists Planning Rally Calling for Presidential Election Boycott
Mediazona
1 March 2018

Security services showed up at the flat of the Vorobyov family in Sevastopol, members of the VK community group Anarchists of Sevestapol, activist Alyona Vorobyova has reported to OVD Info. According to Vorobyova, she and Artyom Vorobyov were not home when the search took place. Only their seven-year-old child and relatives were at the flat. It is not known which Russian security service conducted the search and in connection with what case.

Another Sevastopol activist told Mediazona a search was also probably underway at the home of anarchist Alexei Shestakovich: a large number of police officers had gathered outside his house. The activist surmised searches could also be underway at the homes of the Anarchists of Sevastopol group’s admin, Alexei Prisyazhnyuk, and leftist activist Igor Panyuta. The two men were currently incommunicado.

Shestakovich, Prisyazhnyuk, and Panyuta had planned today to submit a notification for a protest rally calling for a boycott of the March 18 Russian presidential election. The rally was to be entitled “The Presidency Is a Monarchist Atavism,” said Mediazona‘s source.

Shestakovich announced plans to submit the notification on the Anarchists of Sevastopol VK page.

“The event’s aim is to remind people of their constitutional right not to take part in election, to inform the populace about the rules for conducting a robust boycott, and to have a public discussion of self-government in society,” he wrote.

In addition, the local online news website Krymskie Novosti reported that Republic of Crimea Center “E” and FSB officers carried out a “mopping up of the republic’s anarchist cell.” As the website’s sources reported, searches had been carried out today at the homes of the cell’s leaders and members both in the Republic of Crimea and and the Federal City of Sevastopol.

“According to available information, this group of people planned provocations during the Russian federal presidential election, scheduled for 18 March 2018,” wrote Crimean news website Informer.

Informer claimed the Crimean cell had “kept in touch” with other radical leftist groups operating in Russia. Without identifying its sources, Informer also claimed the Crimean anarchists were financed by persons residing in Ukraine.

Update. OVD Info writes that masked men armed with machine guns came to the home of Anarchists of Sevastopol admin Alexei Prisyazhnyuk, confiscated his computer equipment, and took him to a police station. Mediazona has also been informed of a police search at the home of activist Ivan Markov.

Translated by the Russian Reader. This article has been lightly edited to eliminate several minor errors regarding local media sources. Thanks to Egor Skovoroda for the heads-up. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia