05:26 GMT +319 August 2019
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    Students marking the 72nd anniversary of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in Lviv, western Ukraine.

    Ukrainian 'Patriotic Education' for Kids to Instill Ideals of War Criminals

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    On Tuesday, President Petro Poroshenko approved a new 'Strategy for National Patriotic Education of Children and Youth, 2016-2020'. The new program seeks to inculcate in youth the 'ideals and values' of the fascist collaborationist Ukrainian Insurgent Army, those of the Maidan revolution and of Kiev's military operation in eastern Ukraine.

    Poroshenko announced the decree during a visit to the Lugansk Regional Lyceum, a cadet school with intensive military and physical training in the town of Kreminna, located in the Kiev-controlled portion of the eastern Ukrainian region of Lugansk. 

    The president's decree notes that "the formation of life values" among Ukrainian children and youth must be based on "the examples of the heroic struggle of the Ukrainian people for independence, sovereignty and the territorial integrity of our state." 

    In Poroshenko's words, the "heroic examples" that will contribute to the development of the new "citizen-patriot" will include the fighters of the fascist collaborationist Ukrainian Insurgent Army, an ultranationalist military and political force which operated as an anti-Polish terrorist organization in the 1930s and went on to help operate a pro-German puppet state during the Second World War, ostensibly seeking to 'liberate' Ukraine via a campaign of violence and ethnic cleansing against tens of thousands of Poles, Russians, and anti-fascist Ukrainians.

    "Values" will apparently also be borrowed from participants of anti-Bolshevik uprisings by the Ukrainian Cossacks, along with the Sich Riflemen, a force of Ukrainian militia formed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the First World War to fight against their fellow Ukrainians fighting in the Imperial Russian Army, as well as other elements fighting against Russia and the Soviet Union throughout the 20th century.

    Children will also be taught to emulate the "bravery and heroism" of the participants of the "revolutionary events" of the Euromaidan protests of late 2013 to early 2014, which led to the overthrow of the unpopular but democratically elected national leaders, and of Ukrainian soldiers fighting in Kiev's military operation against autonomy and independence supporters in the country's east.

    According to the president's website, the strategy will use these "examples of courage and valor of fighters for the freedom and independence of Ukraine" to mold "the formation of patriotism and love for the motherland, spirituality, morality, and respect for Ukrainian heritage."

    Poroshenko emphasized that he was confident that the new strategy's implementation would contribute to Ukraine's "national revival" and to the "protection of Ukraine's democratic European vector."

    According to the decree, the government now has a two month timeframe in which to develop and implement the new strategy.

    Ukraine's latest round of education reforms began soon after the success of the Maidan coup d'état in February, 2014. Last spring, the country's ministry of education developed a new national program of teaching materials aimed at liquidating the "dictatorial values of Eurasianism" and the tradition of the "sovok" (a derogatory word for Homo Sovieticus, or a person with a 'Soviet' mentality). 

    Reforms have included mandating new interpretations of historical events, including the Holodomor Famine of the early 1930s (now classified as a genocide), and the Second World War (where Ukrainian Nazi collaborators have been reinterpreted as fighters for Ukraine's independence). 

    Observers have long emphasized that controversial reforms in the country's education system stretch back to long before the events of the 2014 Maidan coup itself, with education initiatives stemming from the 2004 Orange Revolution, and textbooks created and distributed by ultranationalist émigré scholars as far back as the early 1990s noted to have played a crucial role the formation of an environment where the loathsome activities of figures like Stephan Bandera and the UPA could be justified and even celebrated by educational authorities.

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    Tags:
    rehabilitation, historical memory, historical revisionism, war crimes, history, fascism, Ukrainian Ministry of Education, Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine
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