The Russian Ministry of Education this week unveiled new history textbooks with sections about the "special military operation," — a term President Vladimir Putin uses to refer his war in Ukraine — the annexation of Crimea and Western sanctions.
Critics say the move is a part of a sustained effort to indoctrinate school children and stifle any independent thinking.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has always maintained that Moscow's unprovoked aggression against Ukraine is an effort to liberate the country from a "Nazi regime" and Western influence. He even went as far as suggesting there was no such thing as an independent Ukraine, insisting instead that the country has traditionally been part of Russia and that Russians and Ukrainians are "one people."
The new textbooks endorse this narrative and include maps that show occupied regions in Ukraine as being part of Russia. Photos of the books published by state media show they call Ukraine an "ultranationalist state" where all dissent is persecuted and "everything Russian is declared hostile."
Elsewhere, the authors tell students that when they look for information about Ukraine on the internet, they should remember that there is a "global industry for the production of staged videos and fake photos and videos."
Since coming to power in 2000, Putin has always emphasized the importance of education and programs for young people, pushing for reforms, according to Katerina Tertytchnaya, an associate professor of comparative politics at University College London
"This is a long-term investment policy on the part of the Kremlin, they care about the younger generations and how they see the state and how they interact with it," she said.
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