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Ukraine’s Battle with Russia Moves to the Classroom

A Eurasianet partner post from Coda

Ukraine is trying to fight back against Russian influence with a new drive to promote teaching in Ukrainian — but some fear this will play into Kremlin hands.
 
The bell rings for the end of lessons at Bakhmut’s School Number 18 in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, and children come pouring out of the building.
 
Historically, Russian has been the dominant language here. It is a short drive to the frontline of the country’s three-year-old war with Russian-backed separatists, who briefly overran the city early in the conflict. But as the children make their way home, some are speaking Ukrainian — a sign of a growing drive to make it the main language here.
 
Russia once used language to divide Ukrainians — justifying its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its backing for separatists on the grounds that it was protecting Russian-speakers. As Ukraine has pushed back with efforts to promote its national identity, language has become the battleground once more, with education the new frontline. But that risks making Russian complaints about language discrimination — overhyped in the past — come true now.
 

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Ian Bateson is a freelance journalist based in Ukraine. @ianbateson

A Eurasianet partner post from Coda

Ukraine’s Battle with Russia Moves to the Classroom

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