Kremlin’s ambitious program to assimilate Kherson residents failed – NYT

Local residents told the publication that it simply did not work, because no one believed in Russian propaganda about one people.

APU liberated Kherson / photo from UNIAN
APU liberated Kherson / photo from UNIAN

Liberated from Russian occupation , Kherson was the center of an ambitious Russian campaign to assimilate Ukrainians and eradicate Ukrainian identity, but these efforts were in vain.

According to a report by The New York Times (NYT), national songs were banned in Kherson, and speaking Ukrainian could lead to arrest.

In addition, “schools switched to Russian curricula, and students had to be told that they were Russians, not Ukrainians.

The publication talked with Kherson residents and reported that, for example, the daughter of Irina Diaghileva studied at a school where the program was supposed to memorize the Russian anthem. But the teachers ignored him, instead quietly greeting the students in the morning like this: “Glory to Ukraine!”

And from Olga Malyarchuk, an employee of the taxi company, the invaders demanded to pay in rubles, but she continued to pay in hryvnia.

“It just didn’t work,” Malyarchuk said of Russian propaganda broadcast on TV and billboards during the nine months of Russian occupation of Kherson.

Sergei Bloshko, a construction worker, lived with friends during the nine months of the occupation, fearing arrest for joining anti-occupation protests in March, shortly after the Russian army entered the city. The soldiers came to his house. According to him, not finding him, they took away the TV and refrigerator. But the Russians found some of his friends who were detained and disappeared, he said.

“They repressed the pro-Ukrainian population,” Bloshko said. Regarding cultural assimilation efforts, he said, “What happened here was ethnic cleansing.”

The publication reports that not a single resident was seen in Kherson during the weekend who would favorably treat Russian assimilation efforts. And in support of this, he gives an example that on one of the roadside billboards it was written in large print “We are together with Russia!”, But the teenager, who told the journalists of the publication only his name Alexander, climbed onto a support pole and tore the inscription into pieces. as he feels, the teenager replied, “Free.”

Three days after the flight of the Russian army, several hundred Khersonians were still celebrating in the central square.

Liberation of Kherson region

On November 9, the Russian Federation announced the withdrawal of its troops from Kherson.

On November 11,  the Armed Forces of Ukraine entered the city , and President Volodymyr Zelensky officially announced the liberation of the city. He called this day historic.

Experts assessed the withdrawal of Russian troops as another strategic failure of the Kremlin. 

At the same time, Ukrainians were urged not to return to the Kherson region for the time being due to the high likelihood of shelling. In particular, the occupiers occupied the left bank of the Dnieper, from where they are shelling the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine.

(c)UNIAN 2022

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