Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Putin insists Russian students must learn ‘patriotic values’ from age of seven

Monday 01/August/2022 - 04:44 PM
The Reference

Russian students heading back to school in the autumn will be taught about the country’s values amid the Kremlin’s wider campaign to implement “patriotic” education in schools.

Starting from September 5, schools across the country will dedicate hours to so-called “conversations about important things”, Sergei Novikov, head of the presidential directorate for social projects, told Tass, the state news agency.

These “conversations” would focus on the values of Russian society as enshrined in the country’s national security strategy, he said.

The Ministry of Education would begin to implement the new class discussions in schools in August, Novikov said.

According to the Kremlin website, Novikov oversees President Putin’s efforts to “strengthen the spiritual and moral foundations of Russian society” and improve “young people’s patriotic education”.

Russia’s efforts to instill patriotic education in its schools have gained fresh momentum in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin maintains is meant to “demilitarise and de-Nazify” its pro-Western neighbour. It has compared the invasion to the Soviet war effort against Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

Reports in independent Russian media have documented numerous cases of Russian teachers being pressured and intimidated into publicly supporting the war effort and teaching students about the Kremlin’s narrative of what it calls a “special military operation”.

Several Russian teachers have faced punishments including fines or dismissal for making anti-war statements.

In April, Sergei Kravtsov, the education minister, announced plans to start compulsory history lessons for students as young as seven years old, with courses to include an emphasis on denials that Russia mistreated other nations, particularly Ukraine and Belarus. Kravtsov said the ministry would also supplement history textbooks to include the “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Schools nationwide are set to implement daily ceremonies featuring the raising of the Russian flag and the playing of the national anthem when the new school year starts.

The government plans to spend more than 970 million roubles (£2.8 million) on Russian flags and coats of arms as part of the initiative.

In July Putin signed into law new legislation that creates a modern youth organisation in the vein of the Soviet-era Young Pioneers — which was one of the first steps of integrating citizens into communist ideology — though officials denied that it was a direct revival of that group