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Students in Russia, Ukraine and Occupied Territories Head Back to School

Children in Russia, Ukraine and the Moscow-occupied territories of Ukraine marked the start of a new school year for the second time since the start of the war in Ukraine on Friday.

Every year on Sept. 1, schoolchildren in Russia and several other countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union celebrate День Знаний, or Knowledge Day.

The holiday sees parents bring bouquets of flowers to their children’s teachers, and boys and girls wear their finest suits and hair bows.

In Russia and the occupied Ukrainian territories, high-school students will be introduced to new school textbooks that teach the Kremlin’s preferred version of history, particularly that surrounding its invasion of Ukraine.

Schoolchildren will also be expected to participate in “Important Conversations,” a patriotic course introduced at the start of the 2022 school year. Critics accuse the classes of seeking to indoctrinate Russian children into believing a one-sided narrative of current events from a young age.

Here's a look at scenes from Knowledge Day in Russia, Ukraine and Ukraine's Moscow-occupied regions: