Ukrainian Teachers Balk As Moscow Seeks To Impose ‘Russian Standards’ In Occupied Territories

While street battles may have quieted down in Ukraine’s occupied region of Kherson, there appears to be another fight brewing in its halls of education.

Russian troops overran the Kherson region in Ukraine’s south in the early days of its invasion, charging north from annexed Crimea and installing a pro-Moscow occupational government.

Now, as the Kremlin contemplates annexing the region or recognizing it as an “independent republic” — should its troops not be driven out in the meantime by Ukrainian forces — it is moving ahead with plans to impose “Russian standards” in local schools, and finding plenty of resistance.

Kherson’s occupational government said earlier this month that its plans to launch “Russian standards” in local schools after May 10 stumbled when many Ukrainian teachers refused to accept the changes.

“Everywhere they say that they continue to teach [according to the Ukrainian program],” Kirill Stremousov, the Kremlin protege installed by the occupying forces as the deputy head of the Kherson regional administration, complained earlier this month.

To combat what he called “sabotage,” Stremousov said Russia will send teachers from nearby Crimea to Kherson to help the Ukrainian teachers “adapt.”

Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov: “The rewriting of history will follow.”

Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov: “The rewriting of history will follow.”

Crimea’s Moscow-imposed governor, Sergei Aksyonov, said teachers from other regions of Ukraine that Russia has seized since it launched its invasion in February — including parts of the Donbas and Zaporizhzhya — may be “retrained” on the peninsula.

If there is further resistance in Kherson, then Russia will send a “landing force” of volunteer teachers, said Vladimir Konstantinov, the speaker of the Russian parliament of Crimea.

He said Crimea has already started “collecting literature for students of schools in the liberated territories.”

Prominent Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov said the education system is a “very important” tool for Russia as it seeks to hold on to the occupied regions.

“The rewriting of history will follow,” he said.

Russia has rewritten its own history books over the past two decades as President Vladimir Putin looks to sugarcoat his nation’s past and instill greater “patriotism” in young people.

Russian schools are now being inundated with pro-war propaganda.

Sergei Akimov: "I don't know what else Crimean teachers can teach their Kherson colleagues."

Sergei Akimov: “I don’t know what else Crimean teachers can teach their Kherson colleagues.”

Crimean public figure Sergei Akimov warned that nothing good would come of Russia’s “retraining” of Ukrainian teaches, citing the experience on the peninsula over the past eight years.

“I don’t know what else Crimean teachers can teach their Kherson colleagues, except to sing the national anthem of the Russian Federation and other so-called ‘Russian standards,’” he said.

“They will definitely not teach them anything new and progressive,” Akimov said.

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