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War on Ukraine: A “special military operation” not an “invasion” or “attack” – Russia

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As Russia’s bloody military operation against Ukraine enters its second week, the Kremlin has been working overtime to publicize its version of events in the face of public moral outrage and an anti-war movement at home, which has resulted in nearly 7,000 arrests since the conflict began on Thursday.

For example, referring to the ongoing military action as an “invasion,” “attack,” or “declaration of war” will result in the offending website being blocked, according to a statement by Russia’s internet censor agency, Roskomnadzor.

Since Tuesday, Russian schools have been hosting special war-themed social studies lessons, in which teachers are required to inform students in the seventh to eleventh grades about the official government’s view on history and the Kremlin’s “special military operation.”

The lessons are directed by manuals that are circulated across the school system and detail the accepted version of events.

According to one such guidebook, which was published by the independent Russian news outlet MediaZona, the Ukrainian nation did not exist until the twentieth century and was overthrown in 2014 by a brutal coup that established an American puppet regime.

According to the story, after the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine emerged against it, they were besieged for eight years and subjected to a “genocide,” which Russia is now trying to prevent through a “special peacekeeping operation” (the materials explicitly state that this is “not a war”).

The document also references NATO and how Washington overlooked Russian security concerns as another justification for the necessary military operation, as well as Ukraine’s ability to produce nuclear weapons under its current, virulently anti-Russian leadership.

By phone, a source at a school in a Russian city told Al Jazeera that they had received identical manuals and that, in a public school, instructors had no choice but to teach these courses in the context of history or social studies, and to give evidence that they were doing so.

They are not authorized to refer to the ongoing military action as a war or invasion, as is the accepted media narrative. Instead, they must refer to it as a “special operation.”

According to the source, teacher perspectives differ based on their age, but even among those who favor President Vladimir Putin in general, there are individuals who are frightened by the war.

Parents have also received letters from their children’s schools warning them to monitor their children’s use of social media platforms such as TikTok, where they may be encouraged to use the hashtag “no to war” (#нeтвоне) and drawn into “unsafe” protests, as well as be exposed to other misbehavior such as “suicide flash mobs, detailed instructions on gender reassignment, and promotion of same-sex relationships,” among other things.

It has been a top priority in recent years to get more kids in the country to learn about the military and how to be patriotic.

In 2015, a uniformed “Youth Army” was founded. At regularly-attended camps, hundreds of thousands of children aged eight to eighteen were taught how to wield firearms and instilled with patriotic attitudes.

Image Credit: Getty

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