Vladimir Putin intends to end his Ukrainian parents’ generation through war and hold children back to indoctrinate them and turn them into Russians. Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine a year ago, 232,000 minors have been evacuated from areas occupied by Kremlin forces and transferred to Russian territory. Now we know that At least 6,000 of these boys – although it says the number could be “significantly higher” – aged between four months and 17, are being held in re-education camps and that hundreds have already been given up for adoption to Russian families. The vast majority of children are claimed by parents and legal guardians in Ukraine.
According to a report published this week by the Yale University School of Public Health (HRLY) and the Conflict Observatorywhich the State Department created in May to document war crimes and other atrocities committed by Russian forces, minors are held in at least 43 centersincluding 12 used as summer camps by Russian state organizations around the Black Sea, 7 others in the occupied Crimean peninsula and 10 around the towns of Moscow, Kazan and Yekaterinburg. Eleven of these fields are located more than 800 km from the Ukrainian border, including two in Siberia and one in The heirsin the Russian Far East, near the coast of the Pacific Ocean.
At least 32 of the fields, 78% of those identified in the survey, “are engaged in systematic re-education efforts with the apparent aim of integrating Ukrainian children into the official view of Russian culture and history”. Putin himself repeatedly mentioned in his messages from Moscow his intention to “russify” the Ukrainian population. “Russia has a consistent criminal policy of expelling our people. Forcibly expels adults and children. It is one of the most heinous war crimes. In total, more than 200,000 Ukrainian children have been deported so far. They are orphans from orphanages. Children with parents. Children separated from their families”, had denounced the president in September Volodymyr Zelensky. “The Russian state disperses these people on its territory, settles our citizens, in particular, in remote areas. The objective of this criminal policy is not only to rob people, but make the deportees forget Ukraine and not return there“, he added.
Since the invasion, several senior Russian officials have trumpeted the transfer of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia to be adopted and become Russian citizens. State television shows the arrival of these contingents and officials handing out teddy bears to children, who are portrayed as “abandoned saved from war”. In the case of the summer camps denounced by HRLY, many parents were forced to accept the trip of their children and once there, they warned them that they would not return. This happened in at least four camps, those of Artek, Medvezhonok, Luhistyi and Orlyonok.
In September, Putin signed an emergency decree to speed up the process of granting Russian citizenship to these children and for them to be handed over to Russian families as soon as possible. He also appointed in charge of the whole process Maria Lvova Belovaa 38-year-old fundamentalist Orthodox Christian, married to a priest and mother of 17 boys, 5 blood, 4 adopted and 8 in custody. The Russian leader asked this official who holds the title of Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights in Russia, which will speed up the whole process of “integration” of Ukrainian boys into their new society. which is clearly prohibited by the Geneva Conventionthere United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and some Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to constitute a “war crime”.
Among the other centers in which the orphans were confined, one called “Romaska” located at 20 Lomonosov Street in the Russian city of Rostov, 200 kilometers from Moscow. there they meet 540 Ukrainian boys. Commissioner Lvova-Belova’s visit to the center was also recorded “Polyania” in Moscow, where she was photographed with 31 other orphans illegally transferred from Mariupolthe Ukrainian city bombarded for three months by Russian artillery.
In November 2019, Lvova-Belova was elected senator from her Penza region (625 kilometers southeast of Moscow) just one day after receiving the ruling party’s membership card, United Russia. A year later, Putin named her children’s advocate. The secret to the meteoric rise lies in the support this music teacher has from the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church. her own husband, Pavel Kogelmanwas ordained a priest after several years of theological studies.
Putin is obsessed with inversion Decline of the Russian population. He sees it as both an economic and a geopolitical problem. In his speeches, he regularly calls on Russians to have more children. He even approved a series of incentives to increase the birth rate, such as bonuses for couples who have more than one baby. In this context, one can understand the order he gave to his generals to transfer to Russian territory all the children they find “in a situation of powerlessness” in the occupied zones.
The birth rate in Russia is very low. The number of children per woman, 1.5 on average, is below the threshold of 2.1 needed to replace the population without immigration. And since 2014, emigration has increased, which increased with the start of the new war in February. Since then, some 300,000 people have left the country, mostly highly trained professionals. The pandemic has claimed another 700,000 lives.
In 1989, the then Soviet Union had a population of 286.7 million., more than the United States (246.8 million). Following the collapse of the communist bloc, and without the former Soviet republics, the population of the Russian Federation fell to 148.5 million. In 2020, it fell to 144.1 million, compared to 329.4 million in the United States. According to the latest United Nations projections, made before the pandemic and the war, could drop to 139 million by 2040.
The practice of stealing children during wars has a very long history. The Nazi practice of kidnapping “racially desirable children” of conquered countries in World War II and raising them as Germans is well documented. And the abduction by the Soviets in the 1940s of almost 28,000 Greek children is also well known. The Greek delegation to the United Nations successfully lobbied for child transfers to be included in the legal definition of genocide.
Child abductions are considered so egregious that the first genocide convictions in history involved 14 Nazi officers accused of forcibly transferring Polish children to Germany. At the trial, remembers the professor Marcia Zug in his attempt to The conversationtax Harold Nely suggested that child abduction might even be the most outrageous of all Nazi crimes. Neely said the world was aware of the mass murders and atrocities committed by the Nazis, but added that “the crime of child abduction, in many ways, transcends them all”.
Perhaps the most concrete evidence of the crime that Russian forces are currently committing is found in this message from a kidnapped Ukrainian child read by the head of the Ukrainian delegation, Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk, at the OSCE annual meeting, l Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, denouncing what was happening:
“Aunt Ira, I am in Russia, the Russian army brought me here. I’m writing to you in secret, I managed to get a phone for a few minutes. My mother is no longer alive, she was killed in a bombardment. They say I’m an orphan. But I’m not an orphan, I have you, I have grandparents. There are many children like me here. They say they want to leave us in Russia. And I don’t want to stay in Russia! Aunt Ira, get me out of here. I want to go home to Ukraine.”
The child was returned to his aunt earlier this year due to international pressure.
The original version of this note was published on February 18, 2023
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.
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