From the beginning of the Russian occupation, the Crimean collaborators began to methodically destroy everything that links the peninsula with Ukraine. This applies to symbols, history, political parties and social movements, human rights circles and cultural traditions. All these things are united by one category, which is the foundation of Ukrainian identity – language.

The invaders also began to actively fight against him. Since 2015, the criminal trend of the destruction of Ukrainian-language schools has begun to clearly form; at present, the eradication of the Ukrainian language in Russian-language schools continues.

In this light, 2023 brought its own threats, to which the Ukrainian authorities have already begun to respond. The chronology of events and the latest facts were analyzed by the experts of the Association of Reintegration of Crimea.

From the very beginning of the occupation, the Crimean collaborators began to lie about the “guaranteed right of Crimeans to receive education in the language they consider native”. The criminal Sergey Aksyonov said that “the Ukrainian gymnasium in Simferopol will continue to work”, however, its director Natalya Rudenko was naturally “fired” [1]. However, these promises were made only at the stage of establishing the criminal occupation regime. By the end of 2014, the rhetoric begins to gradually change.

In many Crimean schools, traitors in front of the children began to seize Ukrainian-language textbooks and burn them in the schoolyards, and the occupiers did not even allow the children to take the books home [2]. Such indicativeness is connected with the criminal desire of the Kremlin from childhood to instill in children a rejection of their homeland, and the ideology of hatred, in this case, is based on the “authority” of adult collaborators.

In the future, the situation rapidly changed in a negative direction, as did the response statements of the Crimean collaborators. In particular, already in 2015, pressure began on the Ukrainian-language schools of the peninsula from the side of the criminal authorities. His goal was to intimidate and further destroy such schools, which the traitors aggressively positioned as “cells of evil”. Quite different methods were used for this. For example, in 2015, a representative of the criminal “Aksenov’s self-defense” entered one of the schools in Yevpatoria and, seeing the Ukrainian flag, began to tear it in front of the children. In parallel, the “ideological work” of the aggressor with the “directors” of schools begins [3].

As of 2017, according to the statements of the Crimean collaborators, in most of the settlements of the peninsula allegedly “it was not possible to gather those willing” to create Ukrainian-speaking classes. This points to the practice of intimidation of parents by criminal “principals of schools” and fake “officials from education”. At that time, allegedly 370 students studied in Ukrainian in Simferopol, and “Ukrainian-language classes” remained only in four “educational institutions of the city” [4]. But by the beginning of 2018, none of the seven “Ukrainian-language schools” remained on the occupied peninsula.

However, the Russian occupiers spoke about the “practice of Ukrainian-language classes in separate schools”, a “mixed form of education”, which, of course, was dominated by classes with the Russian language [5]. Experts noted that the number of declared “Ukrainian-speaking classes” does not correspond to their real number, and the Crimean collaborators deliberately provided biased data in order to create the illusion of “non-discrimination” of the population of the temporarily occupied Crimea [6].

Such criminal activity of the Crimean collaborators bore fruit, because by the beginning of 2020 the occupiers had “officially announced” that “there was only one school with the study of the Ukrainian language” in Feodosia on the peninsula. It should be noted that we are not even talking about a “Ukrainian-language school”, but about a school in which they allegedly “study the Ukrainian language and literature” [7], and even “according to official information”, at the beginning of 2021, only 214 children “studied discipline”, which is 0.1% of all students on the peninsula [8].

It should be noted that in order to hide language discrimination, the Crimean collaborators came up with a kind of “alternative”: they suggested that parents “enroll their children in elective courses in the Ukrainian language and literature”, carrying out a fraud similar to the situation with the Crimean Tatar language. Moreover, according to the testimony of the children themselves, at such electives they simply talked, and did not “learn topics from the school curriculum” [9].

Let us emphasize that in 2021, experts carried out relevant calculations, the results of which are impressive: over the eight years of occupation in Crimea, the number of children learning the Ukrainian language has decreased by 60 times [10].

With the start of full-scale aggression on February 24, 2022, the Crimean collaborators began to complete their plans to destroy the Ukrainian language and literature as an educational component.

It should be noted that in the case of the newly occupied territories, the aggressor state decided to follow the criminal Crimean scenario. In particular, by analogy with the occupied Crimea, a “free choice” of the language of education and communication was declared, but in fact the aggressor established the Russian language as the only “free choice”.

An example is the aforementioned Ukrainian gymnasium in Simferopol, which the Crimean collaborators criminally “turned” into the “Simferopol academic gymnasium”, focused exclusively on Russian-language studies [11]. So, we again see the manipulation of history, because the occupiers essentially destroyed the educational institution, contrary to the decision of the International Court of Justice, which states the need to ensure the availability of education in the Ukrainian language in the occupied Crimea [12].

With each defeat of the aggressor on the battlefield and the approach of the moment of the liberation of Crimea, the collaborators increase the pressure on the Ukrainian-language education, or rather on what was left of it in the ninth year of the occupation. So, since the beginning of 2023, Crimean collaborators have been trying to completely oust the Ukrainian language and literature from the educational space of the peninsula. We are talking about direct coercion of “schools to teach all disciplines” exclusively in Russian. Experts point to attempts to erase Ukrainian identity.

Therefore, today we should talk not only about the violation or restriction of the rights of Crimean residents, but about ethnocide, that is, the policy of destroying Ukrainian identity and culture [13]. Another example of this is the latest statistics from the beginning of 2023, published at the round table “De-occupation and reintegration of Crimea: challenges in the field of education”.

Thus, among the 283,000 children who “study in schools” in the occupied Crimea, only 197 students allegedly “study in the Ukrainian language.” Moreover, the aggressor state has already taken on preschoolers, among whom only 34 children in the entire occupied peninsula allegedly study in the Ukrainian language. It is worth noting that the invaders “transferred” more than a thousand children from Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson regions to the “schools” of Crimea, who are also forced to study exclusively in Russian. Crimean collaborators call this criminal process “support” and “educational integration” [14]. The process of destroying the Ukrainian studies component in education is taking place in parallel with the criminal intensification of the militarization of education and the imposition of a “culture of war” [15].

Also, a means of destroying the Ukrainian language and literature is the transition of the occupied Crimea to “Russian standards of education” and the criminal “work with pedagogical teams”. The latter were completely replaced by figures loyal to the occupying “authority”, who seek to criminally form the narratives necessary for collaborators not only in children, but also in their parents, and who actively cooperate with the fake “authority” [16].

Ukraine’s Commissioner for the Protection of the State Language Taras Kremen notes a new threat. The fact is that the Crimean collaborators, together with the Kremlin, have been practicing the criminal creation of so-called “language camps” since 2022, operating on the occupied peninsula. In them, the occupiers bring teachers from the newly occupied territories to “quickly learn the educational standards” of the aggressor state [17]. In this case, the occupied Crimea becomes a kind of center of ethnocide, because the Crimean collaborators will criminally teach their “mainland colleagues” how to effectively oust the Ukrainian language and literature from school curricula.

Experts note that since 2023, the so-called indoctrination has been intensifying on the occupied peninsula, which accompanies the destruction of the Ukrainian-language component in Crimean schools. This is a criminal process organized by the occupiers, in which education is used as a tool for repeating the necessary narratives until children begin to perceive them as dogmas [18].

It is obvious that the Ukrainian language prevents Crimean collaborators from promoting this process and educating Crimean children as bearers of the ideology of the “Russian world”. That is, Ukraine have to counted an aggressor’s holistic strategy of ethnocide, in which the destruction of the Ukrainian language and literature is seen as a precondition for illegal indoctrination. In turn, the latter is part of the Kremlin’s propaganda and assimilation that usually accompanies the process of occupation of the territories of another state.

Such a policy of the Crimean collaborators is becoming more and more obvious and aggressive. For example, recently the Secial Service of Ukraine announced suspicion to the former “Berkut” Valery Astakhov, who tortured illegally deported children in the occupied Crimea because they did not communicate in Russian and refused to sing the anthem of the aggressor state [19].

This case shows that the criminal process of the displacement of the Ukrainian language and literature in Crimea will only intensify and take on new forms. The invaders are unlikely to give up their plans, because having been defeated on the battlefield, they are criminally trying to win in the fight against Ukrainian identity. Realizing the situation, the Ukrainian authorities have already begun to act in the direction of educational de-occupation, an element of which is a personnel policy, within which teachers will be trained to work in the liberated territory.

The Ukrainian authorities also plan to: return the Ukrainian language to school curricula; resumption of education according to general Ukrainian standards; liquidation of occupiers’ “educational institutions”; the return of educational institutions forced to leave the peninsula; construction of modern educational centers [20]. It seems that, in combination, these proposals will make it possible to return the occupied peninsula to the educational space of Ukraine. It should be noted that the fight against de-ukranization also takes place in the legal plane. In particular, in 2021, the European Court of Human Rights published an interim decision on the claim of Ukraine against Russia over Crimea. The decision found justified Ukraine’s complaints about the prohibition of the Ukrainian language in schools by the occupiers and the persecution of Ukrainian children on the basis of language [21].

So, at present, in the occupied Crimea, the aggressor is completing the criminal process of destroying Ukrainian-language education, which he started in 2014, and any organized educational activity in the Ukrainian language or in relation to this language and literature has become completely impossible. After the start of a full-scale invasion, the process was significantly intensified due to the final removal from pedagogical activity of teachers who taught Ukrainian-language components.

The Crimean collaborators managed to form a structure of persons loyal to the occupiers, ready to promote the so-called “Russian standards of education”, including in the new occupied territories. During the years of occupation, the traitors switched from the tactics of covert destruction of the Ukrainian language in Crimean schools to open ethnocide, spreading to children of school and preschool age.

This is part of a criminal strategy for the destruction of Ukrainian culture and identity, which the occupiers consider an effective tool to eradicate anti-Russian sentiment on the peninsula.


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