From Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, Russian schoolchildren are preparing for the most important holiday of the year: Victory Day. Commemorated with a grand military parade on Moscow’s Red Square every May 9, the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany has long been used by authorities to rally support for the state. And it starts in school.
Russian students play a central role in the patriotic celebrations: popular Victory Day merchandise for children ranges from mini Red Army uniforms to toy guns. They also lead the Immortal Regiment, a march where participants carry portraits of relatives who fought and died in World War II. Entire classrooms are taken to the event.
Amid the euphoria surrounding the event, however, Russia’s history teachers are finding themselves under pressure to conform to the Kremlin’s interpretation of the war…
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