The Russian government will buy over 970 million rubles' ($17 million) worth of Russian flags and coats of arms to install in rural schools as part of a wider push for “patriotic” education amid the country's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Education Minister Sergei Kravtsov in April said that starting Sept. 1, schools will raise the Russian flag and perform the national anthem every Monday in a practice aimed at raising “civic consciousness” among children. The ceremony resembles the “Pledge of Allegiance” recited in U.S. schools.
Schools in western Russia’s Kaluga and Voronezh regions started raising the flag in mid-April.
The cabinet said Friday that Prime Minister Mikhail Mihustin allocated the sum for flags and coats of arms at 11,000 schools across 31 of Russia’s 85 federal subjects.
“The rest of the country’s educational institutions will get new sets of state symbols by 2024,” the government said in a statement.
Journalists were quick to note that the new flag purchases come despite more than 5,500 rural schools across Russia lacking indoor plumbing.
Kravtsov said Friday that the ministry will also introduce mandatory Russian history classes for high schoolers.
In April, he announced plans to lower the age of children taking compulsory history lessons to seven, with an emphasis on denials that Russia mistreated other nations, notably Ukraine and Belarus.
On Thursday, Kravtsov suggested that eastern Ukraine’s separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as those territories captured in the current invasion, could switch to Russian educational standards the next school year.