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The law on patriotic upbringing, militarization of children, glorifying of those killed in the war: how Russia is destroying

A persistent fight against Ukrainian identity, militarization of minds of the peninsula residents, glorifying of those killed in the war in Ukraine continue in occupied Crimea. 

Thus, on the 19th of December, the so-called State Duma of Crimea passed a regional law on patriotic upbringing for “formation of citizens’ patriotic values, development of their high social activity, civil responsibility, ability to express themselves in strengthening and protection of the state, ensuring their vital interests and stable development”.

The law objectives include “formation and enhancement of patriotic values, views and beliefs, respect for culture, traditions and history of peoples inhabiting Russia, their historical past; formation of the upbringing system, which ensures development of children’s and young people’s strong background of patriotic consciousness, healthy lifestyle, feeling of obligation to protect their homeland, honest fulfilment of civil, professional and military obligations, official duties” etc.

Russia continues to spread military propaganda among Crimean citizens, promotes service in Russian army and values of the “Russian world”.

For example, a so-called governor of Sevastopol Mykhailo Razvozzhayev stated that “participants of the special military operation must be engaged in patriotic trainings of young people at schools and higher educational institutions, because the youth trusts them”.

Nursery schools of Crimea participated in a campaign called New-Year’s Letter to a Soldier. “Pupils and students of all age groups, together with their teachers and parents” participated in the campaign “in order to support the spirit of the servicemen, who attained combat tasks on the frontline”.

“Hero’s desks” with the names of citizens of the peninsula liquidated in Ukraine appear in Crimea.

In the end of December, teenage festival of “paramilitary sports dedicated to the 43th anniversary of bringing limited Soviet task force to Afghanistan” took place in Simeyiz. The children were made to assemble and disassemble of Kalashnikov assault rifles, participate in physical training, archery, air rifle and air gun shooting.

“Crimean youth demonstrated readiness to defend their homeland”, the planners reported.

This is a policy of strengthening of militarization of children with clear objectives and tasks set forth in the new law, which may briefly be described as a psychological training of Crimean children, residents of the occupied territory, for participation in military actions on the occupant country’s side. These are the new episodes of a long-lasting war crime, which includes, in particular, propaganda of service in the army of the occupant country”, expert of the CHRG Iryna Sedova says.

Glorifying of the citizens of the peninsula killed in the war in Ukraine continues in Crimea.

On the 29th of December, a stela called “We remember” was opened in Pervomayske.

“The stela eternalizes memory a heroic act of the habitants of the district, who died in the course of the Special Military Operation. The heads of the district noted that residents of Pervomayske have been, from the first day of the Special Military Operation, participating in military activities and demonstrating the example of bravery and courage. Six of them gave up their young lives for the citizens of Donbas, Kherson Region and Zaporizhzhia Region, for their fellow countrymen, for the future of Russia, press office of OKO Crimean Kozak District of Chornomorsk Kozak Troops reports.

The stela included plates with the names of six citizens of the region killed in the war: Illia Sharabarin, Oleksiy Husev, Oleksandr Ihnatov, Ivan Lazarchuk, Serhiy Hermanov, and Serhiy Stepanenko.

As the CHRG, Crimean children, since the beginning of the occupation, have been under the influence of a large-scale aggressive Russian military propaganda. Some of such actions are classified as war crime and violates rights of the child.

The entire school education system in one way or another promulgates service in the Russian army and values of the “Russian world”, which deprives children a possibility to express Ukrainian identity or make a free identification choice.

Militarization in Crimea is fast-paced. Even entertainments for children are often used for that. For instance, in Sevastopol they constructed a “children’s tank racing park”.

“If earlier we said that such militarization was aimed at preparation for service in the Russian army, now, during the full-scale war unleashed by Russia, this is a justification of war crimes committed by the RF. This way children form an idea that there are no war crimes, this is an entertainment, driving a tank is fun. But the reality is as follows: tanks are used to kill thousands of civilians of Ukraine, including children. That is why this is not only a visualization of the scale of militarization, but also an attempt to justify war crimes even in the minds of children”, the Head of the Crimean Human Rights Group Olha Skrypnyk emphasized.

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