Putin’s war harms children of Russian descent in European schools

The New York Times – A suburb of Aachen in the west GermanyAlex Ebert, 11, was riding a bus from school when his mother said four boys told him he was killing Ukrainian children.

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One of the boys, whom his son said pushed him a week ago and called it a nickname for the Russians, pressed Alex’s head against the window and kicked him in the stomach and back. Alex, who speaks Russian because he came from his parents KazakhstanHe got off at the next stop and sat on the floor, until strangers stopped the car to give him a ride.

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“She was crying and in pain,” said her mother, Svetlana Ebert. “She doesn’t understand what it has to do with it.”

Alex (center) eats cake and tea at his home in Germany with his mother, Svetlana Ebert (right) and his sister Selena.
Alex (center) eats cake and tea at his home in Germany with his mother, Svetlana Ebert (right) and his sister Selena.

Presidential attack Vladimir Putin Hundreds of Ukrainians have killed children, orphaned many more and displaced millions এবং and destroyed homes and schools. But it has also disrupted the lives of Russian-speaking children EuropeThose who have seen themselves pay the price for Putin’s aggression have endured humiliation, harassment and intimidation – another perverse effect of a war that is destroying innocents.

“The problem is getting worse every day,” said Kirsten Stahl, Germany’s most prominent anti-bullying activist, who said she had received numerous reports of bullying from Russian-speaking students. Bullying. “I’m very upset and very embarrassed.”

In classes across Europe, war-confused children asked questions and got answers. But when their government wants to isolate them Russia Both culturally and politically, they too have overcame their fears, and sometimes blamed or reproduced adult adversity – again risking creating new breeding grounds for violence and intimidation on a war-torn continent.

“If we take it to heart that hate and bullying are okay, it lasts a long time,” Stahl said. “Children are the mirror of our society.”

World events often justify persecution. Its epidemic Covid-19 Asian has brought a wave of harassment against children, and in 2016, after the terrorist attacks Islamic State, Reported an increase in the incidence of harassment of Muslim children Now, Stahl said, panicked over War in Ukraine Added new goals to retaliatory behavior that can cause children to avoid school and in some cases lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.

Alex Ebert plays in a trampoline with his younger brother Leon.
Alex Ebert plays in a trampoline with his younger brother Leon.

In Harsefeld, a small town near Hamburg, 13-year-old Anastasia Makison, a Russian-German, received several anonymous notes at school that she had been cursed by the Nazis and asked to return to Russia “to have vodka with Putin”.

He said some students approached him and shouted, “Putin!” Anastasia liked the school, but since the last notes were published in April, she did not return for fear. “I’m afraid someone might hit me,” he said in an interview. “Everyone is looking at me. It’s like them, ‘How disgusting, he’s Russian.’ “

Her father, Elijah McKison, said the school had promised to investigate the case, but had done nothing; The school did not respond to a request for comment.

About a week after Russia invaded Ukraine, Alyssa Spadoni, 13, a Russian-Italian, finished her homework in her home in central Italy and checked the WhatsApp group in her class. A colleague in the chat called her “Putin’s daughter.” Another message read: “Why don’t you die?”

When the girl asked her classmates to stop it, one boy replied, “We will stop when you stop firing missiles at Ukraine.” And he further wrote: “Tomorrow I am going to kill him”.

Students at a school in Harsham, England, watch a video about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Students at a school in Harsham, England, watch a video about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Elisa, usually an enthusiastic and dedicated student, told her mother that she no longer wanted to go to school. “I was embarrassed,” he said. “If I hadn’t lived in Russia half of my origin.”

When her father told the teacher about the harassment, the issues were discussed in class, Elisa said. But her mother said the girl waited several days before opening up about the message; Her classmates told her mother that she was crying at school.

Like Elisa, many Russian-speaking children who have been abused have tried to tell no one; In some cases, due to embarrassment, as is often the case in bullying situations. Among those who expressed what they were suffering, some parents feared that discussing the incident could lead to more problems for their children or make them feel more inclined to fight.

Nevertheless, the agency and some European authorities have identified the problem.

“Classmates – regardless of their nationality – should not be held responsible for the actions of an attacker,” the education minister said. LithuaniaJurgita Siugzdineene, in a statement to the school.

“Let’s keep the kids away,” said Gianmarco Medusei, president of the regional council for the Liguria region in northern Italy. Italy. A. Denmark, The charity Save the Children has also expressed concern. “No child should be bullied for the sake of adult choice,” the agency said in a statement.

Anna-Maria Krevskaya Hansen, 14, says that at her small school in the Danish town of Horsens, some classmates began pointing fingers at her in the hallway and saying: “Look at the spy.”

Ana-Maria Krevskaya Hansen, 14, in an art and craft class at her school in Horsens, Denmark.
Ana-Maria Krevskaya Hansen, 14, in an art and craft class at her school in Horsens, Denmark.

Some children told him he would have to return to Russia, which is his home, and others said he would bomb them. “Some colleagues think it’s funny,” Anna-Maria said. “But it hurts a lot.”

Her mother, Nellie Krevskaya Hansen, said Anna-Maria had trouble sleeping and was at home for a few days because she felt a drain.

Morten Tido Madsen, a teacher at Anna-Maria, took some singing students and asked them why they said such bad things to him and other classmates. Some have answered: “Because it’s funny and quiet”; Or they didn’t pay attention. Madsen asked them if they wanted to behave this way and said he was sure they did, because they are not people who like to hurt others.

“The important thing for kids is, do you want to be a bad person or a good person?” He said. “No child wants to be a bad person.”

Several times, Madsen asked Anna-Maria to join them and share her feelings about the comments.

Morten Tido Madsen, Anna-Maria's teacher, tried to intervene to stop the bullying.
Morten Tido Madsen, Anna-Maria’s teacher, tried to intervene to stop the bullying.

“They understand that she is Anna-Maria, a student, not the country,” the professor said. “He doesn’t have to apologize for Putin’s actions.”

The story of Alex, a boy from Aachen, shows that bullying and harassment do not only affect Russian children, because many people in the former Soviet republics speak Russian. Estonia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine itself. According to a survey by the European Commission, Russian is the fifth most spoken language in Europe.

In London, 11-year-old Yaroslav Fedorov, a Russian, and a Ukrainian friend were leaving school when three older boys stopped them. “They told us, ‘Why are you speaking Russian? We are going to kill you, “he said on the phone. The school principal spoke to the boys after Yaroslav complained. The school declined to comment on the case.

Carolina Krilova, a 14-year-old of Estonian descent, was with a friend on an empty railway platform in Vantaa. Finland, When the two teenagers approached and accused the pair of supporting the war and loving Putin; And then throws empty energy drink cans at them.

Alex's mother, Svetlana Ebert, met the child who had insulted her son and his parents at an inter-school meeting to apologize.
Alex’s mother, Svetlana Ebert, met the child who had insulted her son and his parents at an inter-school meeting to apologize.

In Germany, Alex’s mother said that after she had applied enough pressure, the school arranged a meeting with the boy who had kicked and cursed her son with his parents, where the boy apologized. The boys who swore in Alex were called to a similar meeting with their parents. The school did not respond to a request for comment.

At the hospital where Alex was treated after being beaten on the bus, he was diagnosed with syncope (or unconsciousness), headache, severe abdominal pain and nausea, according to medical records shared with the hospital. New York Times.

“At first I hated this boy for beating me up,” said Alex’s mother. “But I realized a week later that he too was a child and that it was not his fault.” / Translated by Guilherm Russo

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