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'Unpatriotic' Snow White Could Have Children's Math Textbook Banned

The textbook will be scrapped from a list of recommended literature because of "unpatriotic" fairy-tale illustrations.

The Education and Science Ministry plans to scrap a mathematics textbook from the list of recommended literature for elementary schools after an official accused the fairy-tale characters in the book of being insufficiently Russian, a news report said.

Russian Academy of Education official Lyudmila Ulyakhina said using Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio, Cinderella and other classic fairy-tale characters in illustrations and word problems in the math textbook for grades one through four is "not conducive to instilling patriotism," reported.

"What do we see starting from the first pages? Gnomes, Snow White — those are representative of a foreign culture," she said. "And here are gnomes again — I'm starting to wonder what they are doing here in such numbers and whether they are working to help understand the solutions to this or that mathematical problem. And I have come to the conclusion that they have no direct relevance to the solution, and it's completely unclear what they are doing here," she said.

The textbook, written by Lyudmila Peterson, is one of the most popular mathematics textbooks in the country, but will be scrapped from the list of recommended literature soon to be released by the Education Ministry, reported  Tuesday.

"When I was attacked by critics purporting that patriotism in a math textbook was a ridiculous concept, I did the math: Out of 119 characters pictured here, only nine have something to do with Russian culture," Ulyakhina said.

"I'm sorry, but no, patriotism is not ridiculous, it is our mentality," she said.

Vladimir Peterson, a school principal and the son of the author of the textbook, said that China, an emerging leader in math education, recently expressed an interest in translating the popular Russian math textbooks so that they can be used in Chinese classrooms.

"Leaders are searching for the best examples to address new challenges, experts are traveling the world, looking around," he said. "Meanwhile, we are abandoning our own, already successful textbook because the Three Little Pigs are not instilling patriotism."

Supporters of the textbook were planning to appeal the ministry's decision in court, reported.

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