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Russia is sending students to the occupied territories to "reeducate" Ukrainian children – IMI study

01.06.2023, 18:07
Edit by IMI, photos by Serhiy Nikitenko
Edit by IMI, photos by Serhiy Nikitenko

A narrative most often endorsed by the Kremlin propaganda and by the new volunteer teachers themselves is that the Ukrainian education lacks quality and is no match for the “high” Russian standards.

This is explored in IMI's study “Cultural Genocide: Who is Introducing Russian Education into Ukraine’s Occupied Territories”.

In reality, however, Russia is sending students from pedagogical faculties with no teaching experience to schools in the temporarily occupied territories.

For this, the aggressor country has set up a mechanism of "humanitarian missions". Over the course of 2022, Russia arranged 147 “peacekeeping” missions to the Donbas. Moreover, as of February 2023, around a hundred Russian volunteers were still in the occupied territories of Donetsk oblast. The #MYVMESTE “humanitarian missions” are being implemented under the April 30, 2023 decree by the President of Russia. The process for selecting volunteers has several stages, each featuring thorough checks by the Volunteer Centers Association team. This is may be the organizers’ way of preventing undesired information leaks. In particular, they may be trying to conceal the fact that there are few experienced professionals among those willing to do volunteer work in the combat area, so they are targeting less protected groups to compensate for the lack of personnel. Most reports circulating in the Russian media space are about students (with allegedly robust volunteering experience. – Ed.) in the “humanitarian missions”, while stories dedicated to professional teachers who joined the #MYVMESTE initiative are quite difficult to find. 

Sending "humanitarian missions" to the temorarily occupied territories of Ukraine is but one of the schemes set up by the aggressor state to unlawfully introduce Russian education into Ukraine. Read more about Russia's unlawful schemes in IMI's extensive study.

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