Rashism in action: trickery, deception and hypocrisy

June 1 is International Children’s Day

On the night of June 1, 2023, as a result of the fall of
of the debris of enemy air targets in Kyiv there were killed two children.

In 1924, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted in Geneva, proclaiming the need for social protection of children’s rights. Two decades later, the International Children’s Day was established in Paris by a decision of the Council of the International Democratic Federation of Women. The first International Children’s Day was celebrated in 1950. The United Nations Organization supported this initiative and declared the protection of children’s rights, life and health as one of its priorities. It is celebrated annually on June 1.

On November 20, 1959, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It proclaimed equal rights for children in the areas of upbringing, education, social security, physical and spiritual development, regardless of skin color, nationality, social origin, property status, etc. Since then, World Children’s Day has traditionally been celebrated as a day of global brotherhood and understanding among children. On November 20, 1989, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to the Decree of the President of Ukraine of May 30, 1998, No. 568/98 «On Children’s Day,» this holiday is celebrated annually in Ukraine on June 1...

In 2016, I translated a book by the Austrian writer and journalist Dr. Margarethe Ruff entitled «Child Prisoners of Fascism» (

). The book collected numerous interviews and described the dramatic stories of teenagers who were forcibly taken from Ukraine (from Kyiv, Cherkasy, Luhansk, Poltava, Donetsk regions, as well as from Poland) to work as forced laborers in Austria during World War II. The author has documented the testimonies of once-young people who show the horrific conditions in which they were forced to stay outside their native land.

In addition to the dramatic and tragic stories of minors being taken to forced labor in Austria and Germany during World War II, there was a Nazi practice of abducting children from the occupied territories and then numbing them in «racially pure» Reich families.

The Nazis began to carry out these inhumane actions in the occupied territories of the USSR as early as 1943. Children were usually forcibly taken away from their parents (if they resisted, they were killed) and sent to orphanages. Those who did not pass the examination by Nazi specialists and doctors were sent to concentration camps or killed immediately.

The children’s documents were changed and they were given new names. Then they were taught German. Usually, the process of «Germanization» lasted three to four months. After that, the child was given up for adoption. As a rule, the adoptive parents did not know the origin of the children.

More information about this can be found in the article by Volodymyr Hinda and Serhiy Stelnykovych, «Himmler’s Baby Factory. How the Nazis Abducted Minors from the Occupied Territories» (https://localhistory.org.ua/texts/statti/fabrika-d...).

These are contemporary Ukrainian realities. The headlines are more than eloquent: «Forcible removal of children from Ukraine: where and how Russia grows «new citizens» (https://24tv.ua/rosiya-vikrala-25-tisyachi-ukrayin...); «Rashists are preparing to abduct thousands of Ukrainian children from Melitopol region» (https://sprotyv.info/news/rashisti-gotuyutsya-vikr...)...

In no way could one imagine that in the twenty-first century, seven decades after the end of World War II, the tragic topic of deportation and murder of children would become relevant to Ukraine – Putin’s racists, like Hitler’s Nazis, are forcibly removing and abducting young Ukrainians to solve their demographic problems. The racist state is doing everything possible to facilitate the integration of Ukrainian children into Russian families, preventing them from returning to their homeland, disregarding international humanitarian law and making it difficult to find the displaced. The Kremlin’s ogres are trying to erase their identity through false propaganda.

The Russian-Ukrainian war has been going on for ten years and has brought untold suffering to Ukrainian children. Hundreds of dead, thousands of destroyed lives. Kids are forced to spend their leisure time in shelters or flee from danger to different parts of the country, Europe and the world.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale armed aggression in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, about 500 children have been killed and about a thousand have been injured of varying severity. The Office of the Prosecutor General reports that the count of child victims in the areas of hostilities, in the temporarily occupied and liberated territories is ongoing. The Nazis deported 19,393 children from Ukraine and set up more than 70 camps for the forced detention of children.

The operational information of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine dated April 27, 2023 states: «The Russian invaders cynically continue to carry out the illegal removal of children from the temporarily occupied territories of the Luhansk region. In some settlements of the Shchastia district, the occupiers announced the so-called «vacation» for schoolchildren in summer camps in the territory of the Russian Federation.»

On the same day, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recognized the deportation and forced transfer of Ukrainian children to the territory of the Russian Federation as genocide. The PACE called on the International Criminal Court to consider prosecuting this crime.

«The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) emphasizes that the removal of children can be considered a war crime. Thousands of deported and abducted Ukrainian children have become hostages of the Nazis. The future of the Ukrainian nation has been stolen.

Recently, the OSCE published a 90-page report on the deportation and forced displacement of Ukrainian children by the Russian Federation. The document states that Russia has violated a number of international norms, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. «The deportation of Ukrainian children by the Russian authorities may contain elements of a crime against humanity. There have been numerous and repeated violations of children’s rights: to identity, to family, to education, to access to information, to rest, to leisure and participation in cultural life and the arts, as well as to thought, conscience and religion, to health, to liberty and security» (https://www.radiosvoboda.org/a/zvit-obsye-pro-depo...).

According to this report, there are three main scenarios for the transfer of Ukrainian children to the occupied or Russian territories: «The first is the so-called ‘evacuation for security reasons’ deep into the Russian-controlled areas, away from the war zone. The second scenario is the transfer of Ukrainian children for adoption or foster care by Russian families. As noted, the Russian authorities have been working on this since 2014 – after the occupation of Crimea, they launched the Train of Hope program. According to the program, anyone from any part of the country could adopt a child from Crimea, as they received Russian citizenship.»

The correspondent of the ArmyInform Lesya Medvedenko says that in the occupied territories, racists are conducting medical examinations of children. They send mobile teams of doctors from Russia. In many cases, the results of the medical examination become the basis for deporting children to the territory of the Russian Federation. In addition, they create a whole register of biological material of the future Ukrainian generation, including DNA. As a result of the medical examinations, Russia has complete data on Ukrainian children. Medical examinations in the temporarily occupied territories are scary. The child is taken for treatment, and on this basis, he or she can be kept in the territory of the Russian Federation for a long time. Parents are not paid for escorting their children from the age of 4. That is, children who leave unaccompanied may be later transferred to Russian families. And this will be brainwashing. In the future, these children will go to a Russian school and be in a Russian environment. After all, they will not be in the hospital all the time, so this is another mechanism of Russification. (https://armyinform.com.ua/2023/02/02/rosiya-vyrish...).

The invaders commit crimes against Ukrainian citizens that fall under the definition of genocide. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. States parties to the Convention, and there are currently 149 of them, must prevent and punish acts of genocide in time of war and in time of peace. The Convention defines genocide as acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial, religious or ethnic group. Signs of genocide include: killing members of the group or causing serious bodily harm to them; deliberately creating living conditions calculated to destroy the group; preventing childbearing and forcibly transferring children from one group to another; public incitement to commit such acts» (https://www.radiosvoboda.org/a/news-bucha-viyska-r...).

Ukraine is trying to identify the children illegally taken by Russia. «There is complete information about 19,393 children who have been deported to Russia. Children are deported and taught to hate Ukraine. There are more than 200 thousand children in the occupied territories. Therefore, the real number may be much higher.» This was stated by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy on May 13, 2023, during his visit to Rome at a joint press conference after an hour-long meeting with the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. The list with their names was handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross. It is the committee that is authorized to visit the deported children and learn about their conditions of detention.

As a reminder, in March 2023, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, finding him guilty of the illegal deportation of thousands of children from Ukraine. «According to the court’s press service, on March 17, 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II issued arrest warrants for Putin and Maria Alekseevna Lvova-Belova, who is the Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights. Putin and Lvova-Belova are suspected of committing the war crime of illegal deportation and transfer of children from the occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, which has been taking place since at least February 24, 2022. «On February 22, 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II, based on motions filed by the Prosecutor’s Office, ruled that there are reasonable grounds to believe that each of the suspects is responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation and illegal transfer of population from the occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, which caused harm to Ukrainian children» (https://www.eurointegration.com.ua/news/2023/03/17...).

Families of racists who want to take care of a child from Ukraine must take special patriotic courses. There are «financial incentives» at the expense of local and regional budgets. «The priority option is to adopt a child who has found himself or herself in Russia without the care of relatives. Such children can have their names, surnames, dates and places of birth changed, which makes it much more difficult to find them to return home. The OSCE notes that adoption itself is not funded in any way – however, in some regions, foster parents are paid 300 thousand rubles as a one-time allowance» (https://www.radiosvoboda.org/a/zvit-obsye-pro-depo...).

The OSCE emphasizes numerous violations of children’s rights, including the right to identity, family, education, access to information, rest, leisure and participation in cultural life and the arts, as well as the right to thought, conscience and religion, health, freedom and security. Children are forced to receive the so-called «patriotic education». They are forced to sing the Russian national anthem, attend history lessons, during which children are told that Ukraine «has always been a part of Russia, and its rightful place is to be a part of the Russian Federation.» In some regions, children are forced to join youth organizations – military-patriotic clubs in different cities. «Violations of the right to identity occur in ‘numerous different ways,’» the OSCE says. For example, children in camps or under the care of Russian families are constantly forced to speak Russian, attend Russian classes and «are even taught that Ukrainian and Belarusian are only dialects of Russian» (https://www.radiosvoboda.org/a/zvit-obsye-pro-depo...).

Belarus participated in the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children. This is stated in a report by the National Anti-Crisis Government, which opposes Lukashenko’s government, Sky News quoted. The document states that 2150 Ukrainian children, including orphans aged 6 to 15, were sent to camps and sanatoriums in Belarus (https://babel.ua/news/94203-biloruska-opoziciya-za...). Thus, it is time for the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for the self-proclaimed President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, who is responsible for the illegal deportation of thousands of children from Ukraine.

Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasizes on the pages of LB.ua that genocide is a war crime under international law. This is the direct responsibility of the top leadership of the Russian Federation, who have repeatedly admitted in public statements that they massively took Ukrainian children to their territory or the occupied territory. The adoption of Ukrainian children in Russia is illegal, because according to international and national standards, in order for foreigners to adopt our children, they must notify Ukraine and obtain its consent, which our country has not provided. However, Russia circumvents such prohibitions by granting Ukrainian children Russian citizenship.

Children in the Russian Federation are held hostage, not provided with information about them and do everything to prevent them from leaving the territory of the aggressor country. Children who have been deported and returned home by the Ukrainian state testify to psychological pressure and inadequate conditions of stay. In particular, some were threatened with being sent to boarding schools and lied to about being abandoned by their parents. The children were also told that some Ukrainian cities no longer existed and that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that caused the Russian-Ukrainian war (https://lb.ua/blog/dmytro_lubinets/554338_vikraden...).

Mykhaylo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Presidential Office, said that children deported from Ukraine were mocked in Russia. Those minors who had the courage to say «Glory to Ukraine!» mysteriously disappeared. The children who were returned to Ukraine say that they were threatened with isolation, boarding school and beaten with sticks. They were told that their parents had abandoned them and that they were now «children of Russia.»

Anna Dolgareva, a racist propagandist, poet and military journalist, issued a hateful statement on Russian TV channels about her understanding of the so-called «denazification» of Ukraine: «Denazification is possible purely physically. We just need to destroy those who are at war with us and raise their children in the ‘Russian spirit’.

Kateryna Rashevska, a lawyer at the Regional Center for Human Rights (RCHR), spoke about the situation with deported Ukrainian children: «Now in Russia, programs are being developed specifically for teenagers. The Children’s Ombudsman of the Russian Federation, Maria Lvova-Belova, has started to say directly that these are ‘difficult children’. And the fact is that some of these children were volunteers in Mariupol. This story about the children who shouted «Glory to Ukraine!», sang the Ukrainian anthem and hated the Russian president, we assume that it was this group of teenage children from Mariupol. No wonder they were hastily handed over to Russian families, but some managed to return, before the new year, with the assistance of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets, a boy from this group returned» (https://armyinform.com.ua/2023/02/02/rosiya-vyrish...).

This tragedy must be put to an end. We cannot allow girls from Mariupol and Melitopol, Kherson and Berdiansk to sing:

I’m a little girl, I dance and I sing,
I have not seen Putin, but I still love him.

We have to save the future of the Ukrainian nation.

Dog Patron. Drawing by Yuliana Romanchuk. 6 years old.

P. S.

According to the website «Ukrayinska Pravda», on the eve of International Children’s Day, Volodymyr Zelenskyy opened the Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights and got acquainted with the Bring Kids Back UA plan for the return of children. Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights and Child Rehabilitation Dariya Herasymchuk provided detailed information about the blocks that make up the plan: the return of Ukrainian children deported by Russia; development of family-based forms of education; reintegration of children returned from Russia, organization of their socialization and educational initiatives; rescue and protection of Ukrainian children; recording crimes and bringing Russia to justice; inter-parliamentary cooperation; communication and public events; and development of family education infrastructure.

On May 30, Russian media published a video of an interrogation of a Save Ukraine employee who wanted to take her godson and his brother from the occupied territory of Kherson region. The Save Ukraine Foundation reported that groups of Ukrainian women were traveling to Russia to pick up their children (https://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2023/05/31/7404613/).

Viktoriya O. ROMANCHUK,
PhD Student,
Journalist, Correspondent (magazine «Universum»),
Member of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine,
Member of the Organisation Mondiale de la Presse Periodique (Brussels, Belgium)