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"Putin was scolded, the national anthem of Ukraine was sung"

March 16, 2023, 21:55 292 Author: Nina Nazarova bbc.com How Ukrainian children are "re-educated" in russia.

How Ukrainian children are re-educated in russia

The russian authorities spend millions of rubles on the ideological processing of children from the occupied Ukrainian regions.

On Monday, the russian Presidential Grants Fund, through which state money is allocated to russian non-profit and non-governmental organizations, named the winners of the first competition for 2023.

The BBC studied this list and found that millions of rubles went to, in particular, projects for the "patriotic education" of Ukrainian orphans and refugees.

Ukraine has repeatedly accused the russian authorities of ideologically processing children from the occupied Ukrainian regions and of trying to change their outlook and instill support for the Kremlin's policies.

The analysis of russian grants in 2023 allows us to see new examples of how this happens - with the help of direct propaganda, "psychological consultations" and even training children from the occupied regions of Ukraine to enter russian military universities.

Traditions of the "russian World"

In the Rostov region, the project "Help to orphans of Donbas" received almost $ 40,000. The authors say that one of its tasks is "the organization of patriotic education of orphans - students of orphanages of the LPR/DPR and members of foster families using the capabilities of the Don Cossacks."

In the description of the project, the authors directly indicate that the children are going through the "process of changing the Motherland" and use the term "russian peace".

"Some children from the liberated territories, who ended up in orphanages, were brought up in the Ukrainian paradigm, and now they are going through a complex psychological process of changing the Motherland. They also need to be supported both by reducing stress and by instilling the traditions of patriotism and russian peace", - this is how it sounds quote from the justification of the project.

The Ukrainian education system is called "less developed than the russian one".

According to the application, in total, the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" currently have more than 2,250 orphans. All of them are considered as the audience of the project

Psychological consultations as a way of increasing loyalty

Another similar project called "To the sources" was initiated in the Belgorod region. The authors call their tasks "increasing the loyalty of forced migrants to the political course of the russian federation" and "creating a system of spiritual and moral enlightenment of citizens who arrived in Belgorod from Ukraine." The project received a presidential grant for $ 13,000.

The authors of the project are the Belgorod regional children's and youth public organization "Youth brotherhood of Saint Biloghirya". In the description, the authors refer to putin's article "On the historical unity of russians and Ukrainians", published on the Kremlin's website in 2021.

The authors plan to achieve the goal with the help of "a series of activities: communication, conversations, animations, films, trainings, video tours, master classes, psychological diagnostics." In particular, they plan to "determine the dynamics of personal changes of project participants" through psychological consultations and diagnostics.

Psychological counseling for refugees and their children "in accordance with the legislation of the russian federation" is provided by another project from the Belgorod region - "Good Deeds".

"Psychological help is especially important for children and adolescents who, due to psychological processes that are not fully formed, can react very painfully to the situation, can be prone to depression, despair, or succumb to provocations," the project justification states. The authors note that quizzes and film screenings are provided for children and teenagers, in particular, for "acquiring knowledge about the culture and history of the Belgorod region."

Preparation of Ukrainian children for service in the russian army

Children from the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are also being prepared for admission to russian military academies.

The project entitled "I am preparing to defend the Motherland" from the city of Novoshakhtynsk, Rostov region, received a grant to improve the physical training of children and teenagers "for passing sports standards to higher educational institutions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the FSB, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Ministry of Defense, Cadet Corps and military-oriented schools."

The authors of the project specifically specify that their target group includes, in particular, "98 children and adolescents aged 6.5-18 years who arrived from the LPR and DPR". The initiative received a presidential grant of $ 32,000.

"Negative turns into love for russia"

These projects are not the first evidence of ideological processing of Ukrainian children who were taken to russia or those who ended up in russian-controlled territories.

Maria Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children's Rights in russia, spoke openly about how orphans from Mariupol captured by russian troops are taught to love russia in their new families.

"When we brought them to the territory of the Moscow region so that they could recover a little, the story began that they spoke negatively about the president [putin], said all kinds of abominations, sang the national anthem of Ukraine, "Glory to Ukraine" and so on," she said during speech in the public chamber of the Federation Council of the russian federation.

After the children were transferred to russian foster families, their views, according to Lvova-Belova, quickly changed: "We started asking the children: "So you say, russia is bad. Well, let russia be bad, you have the opportunity to return now, - the commissioner recounted in her speech. - None of the children wanted to return, they all said: "We are very good here." Therefore, yes, there is some negativity, maybe at the beginning, but then it turns into love for russia."

Ideological processing also most often takes place in children's rest camps, where children - not only orphans - from the occupied regions of Ukraine went "for rest" or "for rehabilitation".

According to the calculations of the Laboratory of Humanitarian Studies at Yale University, in total, more than 6,000 Ukrainian children were sent to rest camps, and not all of them were able to return home later.

Ukraine has repeatedly stated that the removal of children from the occupied territories to russia and the attempt to subject them to ideological processing are classified under international law as deportation and genocide.

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