Overshadowed by the ongoing war, the new school year started on September 1st in both Ukraine and Russia. In the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which is often shelled, schoolchildren gathered in the subway stations for security reasons. Media from the city of Kryvyi Rih published pictures of first-graders in the bomb shelter on Friday.
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj wished all students and teachers a successful school year. "We are making every effort to restore security in the country," he wrote on Platform X, formerly Twitter. "Even the biggest dreams come true for those who are genuinely committed to working for them and have the support of others."
In total, the new school year has started for around 3.7 million Ukrainian children and young people, said Selenskyj in his evening video address. "And the day will come when September 1st will be peaceful and safe across our country," he promised.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin visited a school when school started in Moscow. Pictures show him accompanied by Mayor Sergei Sobyanin in the school canteen and playing table tennis against a schoolboy in the gym. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gave a lecture to aspiring diplomats at the university, in which he once again accused the West of wanting to wage war against Russia. Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin also met children and young people on the occasion of the start of the school year.
Marching and Armory
The war of aggression against Ukraine that Moscow began a year and a half ago is having an ever greater impact on Russian schools. From the tenth grade onwards, the teaching units on security and protection against disasters are again supplemented by military training - with marching and weapons training. With the start of the new school year, Russia also introduced a new textbook for students in the tenth and eleventh grades. Critical observers see pure state propaganda, especially in the passages on the war against Ukraine, which is described as a "special military operation".
The West is primarily criticized for striving for "destabilization within Russia". The book also cites Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin's claim that Russia's brutal war of aggression is intended only to end the fighting that has been smoldering in Donbass in eastern Ukraine for years. Minister of Education Sergei Krawzow recently presented the textbook.
Referring to the exodus of Western companies, the teaching material goes on to say: "Such unique times do not come often in history. After the departure of foreign companies, many markets are open to you."