Ukraine War Day #192: Back To School!

Dear Readers:

In all the excitement of the Zaporozhie commando raid, we almost forgot that September 1 was the start of the school year, as is the tradition in Russian countries. That was Thursday, two days ago. I had even wondered if maybe school had been cancelled in the Kherson Oblast. But no, happily I saw this video, which shows heart-warming scenes of children arriving at school for the “First Bell”, as they call it in Russia. There are a few clips, you see the parents dropping their progeny off at the gates of the school; then cute kids all dolled up in their little uniforms, marching two by two, the little girls with those amazing ribbons in their hair. Some kids carrying the Russian tricolor flag, others carrying bouquets of flowers for teacher, as is also the Russian custom. The children are greeted by the kindly Principal as they head off to their first class.

Teachers greet the little angels at a Kherson school on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the courage of these Kherson kids, and especially of their parents, cannot be overstated. To stroll into a schoolhouse in a province that is under constant bombardment by American HIMARS rockets, and in the middle of a military counter-offensive…

But wait! It’s even more dodgy than that. I couldn’t believe my own eyes when I saw this piece on August 31, a day before school-opening. The reporter is Olga Ivanova. This would have been the source material for my blogpost on Thursday, if not for that little business with the commando raid. The headline reads:

Russia Communicated To the UN And to Ukraine The Coordinates Of The Schools On The Liberated Territories

My initial reaction on reading this was the same as some of the commenters to the piece: Is Putin nuts? He just painted targets on the backs of those innocent children. Ukrainian Nazis be, like, “Thanks, dudes, we’ll just plug those GPS coordinates into our HIMARS…” Because one can never overstate just how very much the Ukrainian Nationalists hate those children, like they hate all ethnic Russians. With every fiber of their being. One starts to wonder if Putin still nurtures delusional (Liberal) beliefs in the neutrality or intristic humanitarianism of international institutions.

Did Putin just paint a target on their backs?

In other words, this is one of those gambits that was either brilliant or insane, depending on the outcome. Well, it’s Saturday now, I reckon there were two days of school, and I didn’t read about any bombs falling on those schools. So maybe the gambit worked…?

The reporter goes into more detail: The Russian government made a list of all schools and other educational facilities which were scheduled to open on September 1, in the territories of the DPR, LPR and other “liberated” territories, such as Kherson, Zaporozhie, and Kharkov. They included in the list the exact GPS coordinates of these institutions, and forwarded copies to the Ukrainian government, the UN, and several other international humanitarian agencies.

In doing so, the Russian Ministry of Defense demanded of the UN that they guarantee the safety of these schools from Ukrainian artillery shelling. The Kiev regime shows an eager propensity to shell such civilian infrastructures, but never likes to be held accountable. I saw this piece by reporter Yury Vasiliev, who lives in Kherson.

The Schools Need To Be Fearless

Vasiliev: The Ukrainian armed forces, with great determination, have already destroyed a portion of our schools. They have also threatened teachers with repercussions if they choose to work under the new conditions. He interviews a woman named Tatyana Kuzmich, who heads the Department of Education and Science of the Military-Civilian Administration of Kherson Oblast [the portion that is under Russian control]. Here is her “mug shot” on the Ukrainian kill-list website. Underneath her face it reads “Traitor to the Motherland”. (It bears noting, once again, as Russian hackers discovered, that the Ukrainian Mirotvorec kill-list site is hosted on a NATO server. In other words, NATO formally endorses the notion of committing acts of terror and even assassinating ordinary civilian people, like educators, in this case.) I found a different image of her where she looks quite nice, with the hair-do and pearl necklace; not at all like a criminal.

Tatyana Kuzmich

Vasiliev: Many people know Tatyana Alexandrovna as a great teacher and pedagogue, some know her as an activist in the field of Russian culture and literature. Only a few people know her as a “traitor and collaborator”, according to the Ukrainians.

The SBU has been chased out of Kherson. But the continued presence of “partisans” and other terrorists makes Tatyana feel like she shouldn’t name any Kherson teachers or administrators by name — too dangerous. “They find their windows broken [in their homes]. People set their cars on fire. Pedagogues are not given bodyguards or protection, even though the conditions are … what you see. The fact is, we are starting to rebuild our educational system from the ground up.”

“My name is Savina. Elena Viktorovna,” a woman introduces herself. “I am the Director of School #55 in Kherson. I hope that Tatyana Alexandrovna will forgive me for revealing myself, but I refuse to hide. Besides, in this place every neighborhood dog knows me, not to mention the people.”

Right as she is talking, she gets a new text message on her screen. “Look, it’s another death threat: We know where you are, we know where you go…” Savina shrugs and tells the reporter: “In Kherson we used to have 64 schools, but now we are merging and consolidating into fewer. We want to make sure we have enough teachers for the number of children. We factor in, whether the school is in walking distance so that the parents can bring and fetch their children on foot.”

Savina admits that some of the parents have been resistant to the new order. Ukrainian propaganda still works. Some of the parents wouldn’t allow their kids to go to summer camp in the Crimea, because they were told that the Russians were taking the Ukrainian kids and harvesting them for organs. But then they saw their neighbors’ children returning from summer camp happy, tanned, and still with all their organs. Another talking point of Ukrainian propaganda is that “Russian schools teach only reading, writing and arithmetic.” The reality is that the Russian schools teach many more topics than the Ukrainian schools.

The Curriculum

Next, assuming these Kherson children survive the next few days and weeks, we need to look at what they will be studying. I have this piece recounting the return of Russian History to the Kherson curriculum. These are older kids that we are looking at, they are not quite as cute or well-groomed as the little ones, and judging by the empty bookshelves, they don’t have much in the way of instructional aides. But nonetheless they are trying to make up for lost time in their young lives.

The youth learning Russian History

In fact the Kherson schools had to add extra hours to the curriculum, since some of these kids went for years without learning any real history; only the fictional fairy tales which Kiev passes off as Ukrainian and world history. Leaders of the Kherson Oblast have stressed that one of the critical missions of the new Kherson school system is to “de-Nazify” History. According to a communique of the Kherson Educational authorities:

“The Ukrainian regime broke the previous curriculum. It was customary for children to start learning about the Ancient World, and then gradually work their way forward to contemporary times. This is how we continue to teach it in Russia. But in the Ukrainian textbooks they only learn about the Ukraine.”

One of the Kherson teachers explained how, in normal times, History is taught for two hours per week. But the Kherson kids are so far behind the Russian kids, that they had to add two additional hours per week, to allow them to catch up: “This entire school year is going to be devoted to catch-up. In Classes 6-8 we are adding additional hours in order to catch up to the Russian standards. And in the schools with a Humanities specialization, it is necessary to add even more, up to 3 extra hours of History.”

This teachers adds that the Ukrainian schools have been teaching fake history, therefore it is necessary to de-Nazify it. They are hoping to immunize the kids against the Nazi ideology. After 8 years of persistent Ukrainian Nationalist propaganda, the road to clarity will be a very tough slog.

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17 Responses to Ukraine War Day #192: Back To School!

  1. michaeldroy says:

    “the Ukrainian Mirotvorec kill-list site is hosted on a NATO server. ”
    how does one go about proving that? I have heard that it is in Belgium, and the IP address would give that. But Nato is a very small subset of Belgium.

    The whole School co-ordinates / UN thing is very similar to the Hospital coordinates.

    You may recall the Kunduz Hospital shelled by US in Afghanistan or the 42 different “last hospital in Aleppo” reported destroyed in Syria.
    To avoid accidental hits on hospitals, besieged towns usually pass hospital coordinates to the UN who in turn inform the besiegers. It appears that they don’t independently check the data.
    Naturally enough the besieged are happy to give coordinates to safe zones, and naturally enough promptly plant their most important fighters and leaders in them. Often chasing existing doctors and patients out of them (remind you of anywhere).

    Naturally enough the Besiegers quickly cotton on that they are being conned and attack irrespective of UN info. Sometimes that leads to a confirmed disaster like Kunduz, Afghanistan. Other times it leads to a photo op for the White Helmets, faking injuries and encouraging the media to write last hospital in Aleppo stories. Or indeed Mariupol maternity hospital stories (but not Donetsk Maternity stories unless the journalist is the brilliant Eva Bartlett).

    I guess right now the whole thing is irrelevant – journalists have been kicked out of the Kherson region from what I can gather, and they have largely stopped reporting events that they cannot confirm directly. Short of an epically surprising Ukrainian victory we will not hear from the region for a long while.

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      About the NATO server, I am not sure there is any way to prove that. So, yeah, it’s just an unproven allegation.

      Maybe Western journalists have been kicked out of Kherson, but there are Russian journalists there, that’s why we can get these stories about the schools!

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    • BM says:

      Interesting question. I did a little bit of rummaging around. First I did a search for the whois, and found this:

      https://www.whois.com/whois/myrotvorets.center

      As I understand this the site is on cloudfare.com, isn’t that owned by amazon? Maybe one could try to put pressure on amazon.

      and this:

      https://whois.uanic.name/eng/domainname/myrotvorets.center.html

      which is a whois lookup site, presumably the official Ukraine government internet nic authority (or possibly private?). They cite the alleged name and address of the domain name registrant as Oxana Tinko, Bang Pai Soi 30, Bang Phai, Nonthaburi, Nonthaburi Province, Thailand. The address is invalid, as “Soi 30” is a street number not a house number. I’m not sure whether somebody could sue the relevant domain name authority in the US to try to get the site delisted as the registered address is invalid.

      I then found this:

      View at Medium.com

      which links to this:

      https://m.vk.com/wall578562906_68247

      Maybe this is the source of the rumour that the site is on NATO servers. They cite this link (I’ve neutered it by removing some slashes and replacing by semicolon – personally I would not want to risk going there …)

      https:;;myrotvorets.center;secure;

      and I found archive.is made a screenshot of that page a week ago, here:

      https://archive.is/Hn3St

      It is not really clear what this page is, but it is clear it does not show that it is located on NATO servers. My guess is that it might be a page to which NATO has been offered secure access, for – alleged – security information exchange or something. A tiddly bit incriminating towards NATO, but even if my guess is correct there is no proof that NATO accepted the offer. But definitely one could ask one’s own parliamentary or congressional representative to make enquiries – not all that likely to bring results, but you never know, sometimes something happens. Definitely an opportunity to bring some pressure to bear on NATO. I wouldn’t be at all surprised at a connection to MI6, the world’s foremost centre of depravity.

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  2. stephentjohnson says:

    Actually, I believe providing the coordinates to 404 makes perfect sense, primarily for two reasons:
    1) Realistically, the Ukrainians already know where they are, this just makes pretending they don’t know much harder
    2) It puts both UN and collective west under a certain degree of obligation to at least pretend to get on Elensky’s case to not attack the schools.

    So, realistically, it costs next to nothing and has at least some potential gains (And on the ever-problematic propaganda front, too)

    Oh, don’t forget, Michael @1 – Journalists are only kicked out of the Ukrainian territories, these schools are all in liberated territory. I suspect that Ukrainian schools anywhere near the frontlines will not be opening, especially as they’re mostly occupied the UAF (Actually, this makes some degree of sense, most of these are Soviet vintage, and built with Civil Defense in mind – robust structures with viable basement shelters)
    My two cents worth, but there it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yalensis says:

      Just to add to the complexities about the school situation: Many of these schools (on both sidesof the front lines) were closed for a couple of years anyhow, due to covid. Children were involved in “distance” learning, so yeah, they probably didn’t learn anything during the past couple of years. [Color me skeptical about distance learning!]
      A whole lot of make-up studying for these poor kids.

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  3. the pair says:

    re: the nato server; it’s very possible to prove its location and contents depending on the level of “hacking” done. tracing an ip address isn’t much to go by but actually exfiltrating data is pretty much a smoking gun (unless it’s a “zombie” piece of a botnet or whatever).

    as far as the schools and history lessons – the remaining ukie/azov/SBU straggler types should learn about it as well. especially how vichy collaborators were viewed post-WWII. i was recently reading a novel that takes place in postwar france; the main character has a run in with a belligerent prick and eventually kills him. the police and the townspeople are apathetic if not overjoyed as the murder victim was a notorious collaborator during the war and his death goes uninvestigated.

    fiction, obviously, but based on accurate historical research…anyone targeting women and children is signing themselves up for a very unpleasant future and even given the apparently suicidal nature of these folks i doubt they’ll enjoy being the one with a bullseye on their back.

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    • yalensis says:

      I personally have a kind of iconoclastic view of studying history (and this comes from having to study many history lessons and having to read many history textbooks in my youth, so it doesn’t come from pure ignorance!) — I think studying history in school is mostly B.S., especially from textbooks; and that kids/youth should just be encouraged to learn specific topics from monographs. Or even watching documentaries on youtube.

      Having said that, I understand the Russian POV when it comes to de-brainwashing children who grew up on Ukrainian history textbooks. They were absolutely the worst, completing appalling, and the task is akin to de-programming people who grew up in a cult.

      Having said, that: current Russian history textbooks are also B.S., from what I understand. I mean, they are all written by committee and try to present a vanilla non-controversial version of Russian greatness, with emphasis on the Tsars and denigrating the Soviet leaders. History is mostly just propaganda, in other words.

      Again, I know this sounds iconoclastic, but this is my personal belief: Children should not be taught history from textbooks. They should be encouraged to do independent research, using mostly monographs and archival information, plus online sources.

      Liked by 1 person

      • raccoonburbleca says:

        That is a very good point. Education in general should focus on independent learning. Grade school history and “civics/social studies/whatever” would usually be the worst kind of BS, reflecting the “consensus” world view of the times and the present estyablishment.

        For example, I was in grade school way back in the 1960s in Canada. We got this idealized version of Canada up to the closing of settlement around 1905. After that, everything was perfected, nothing new to say. Aboriginal people did not exist, 1837 never happened, Louis Riel never existed. There was absolutely nothing about world history or ancient history.

        They tell me that Canadian history in public school is very “woke” now. But the real movers of history are air brushed out of the narrative. There is still almost nothing about world history. A little bit about Britain.

        Nothing outside Canada is really important.

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        • yalensis says:

          That’s what happens when books are written by committee. The ideas presented will be “non-controversial” and the lowest denominator.
          When it comes to science and math, that’s okay, textbooks are great, they should pick the best textbooks.
          But when it comes to “social studies”, history, civics, etc., all the soft and squishy subjects, I personally believe that children should be exposed to differing (and competing) interpretations as early as their brains can handle it. But first they should be taught logic, epistemology, how to do research, and and how to think independently.

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  4. Anti-swastika says:

    Since you’re probably wondering whether I noticed something that subtle: Yes. Ha ha!

    Like

  5. max says:

    “If you take the government’s nickel, you also take its noose.”

    Education: Free and Compulsory
    One cannot be truly free within a mandatory, coercive system of social control.
    At the base of totalitarianism and compulsory education is the idea that children belong to the State rather than to their parents. One of the leading promoters of that idea in Europe was the famous Marquis de Sade, who insisted that children are the property of the State.
    https://mises.org/library/education-free-and-compulsory-1/html/c/21

    Murray N. Rothbard, Education: Free and Compulsory
    Samuel L. Blumenfeld, Is Public Education Necessary?
    John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education: A School Teacher’s Intimate Investigation Into The Problem of Modern Schools
    Rousas John Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      Well, based on his “other writings”, I think we all know what de Sade actually wanted to do to the children of his nation.

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      • BM says:

        Marquis de Sade, who insisted that children are the property of the State.

        Property of the State or property of the Elites? Something like that.

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        • yalensis says:

          de Sade wanted to lock them up in a dungeon, invite his aristocratic friends over for the fun; then, over the course of several weeks they would methodically torture, rape, mutilate, and eventually murder the children. (Who were the children of peasants, natch.)
          I reckon he was the Jeffrey Epstein of his day!
          (To be fair, he was just fantasizing, I don’t know if he ever actually did any of that.)

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  6. BM says:

    I hated history at school – dead boring bland facts about battle after battle, nothing else. It seemed so pointless. Although I didn’t notice as such at the time – no social context. Also passed unnoticed at the time was that it was only the Establishment point of view, everything else ignored. Nobody pointed out that there could be different points of view or that History is always written by the Winner. The teacher was also a joke – a chain smoker, obviously bored to tears with teaching, no inspiration whatsoever. No relevance of history to the present or the future. [This teacher was the exception – most other teachers in the school were better than first class, especially maths and science].

    Years later I happened to have a friend who taught in the Faculty of Education. One day out of the blue he invited me to join an excursion to a model history lesson at some school or other in some outlying town. There were two others in the car, both also from the education faculty. It was a long time ago, but I think it was part of a research project into teaching methods.

    My friend taught the class – middleish to lateish teenagers roughly, I can’t remember exactly. I was bowled over, I found the lesson fascinating, I had no idea history could be interesting. He was discussing the social context of whatever the theme of the lesson was, presented how different protagonists had different points of view, and probably also challenged the students with questions (I think it was a little interactive, but I don’t remember, it was decades ago).

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