The last remaining Ukrainian-language school in Russian-occupied Crimea doesn’t provide instruction in the eastern Slavic language, Eskender Bariyev, head of the Crimean-Tatar Resource Center, told RFE/RL in a radio interview on January 1.
Seven Ukrainian schools functioned on the peninsula before Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an order to send troops in early 2014 to seize the Ukrainian territory.
The school is registered in the southeastern coastal town of Feodosiya and, according to Bariyev, local residents say the Ukrainian language isn’t taught there.
According to Article 10 of the Russian-imposed constitution on the peninsula, there are three official languages in Crimea: Crimean-Tatar, Ukrainian, and Russian.
About 3 percent of 200,700 schoolchildren there were taught in the Crimean-Tatar language in 2018-2019, the peninsula’s education authority reports.
Bariyev noted that the status of 16 Crimean-Tatar language schools have also been altered since annexation.
Seven preserved instruction in Crimean-Tatar, while five have been transformed to instill instruction in Russian. Four have been designated schools that offer a “general education.”
Only 249 schoolchildren, or 0.2 percent of pupils, formally learned Ukrainian in 2018-2019.
Twenty-seven schools offer 126 classes with Crimean-Tatar instruction and five schools provide teaching in Ukrainian in eight classes.
Putin and other high-level Russian officials have justified the seizure of Crimea as a matter of historical justice.
As recently as December 30, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Crimea: “The [Foreign] Ministry’s official position, which has been voiced many times, is that the proclamation of the independence of the Republic of Crimea and its unification with the Russian Federation was a legitimate exercise of the right of the people of Crimea to self-determination following an armed coup in Ukraine with foreign support.”
Moscow maintains that a peaceful, pro-democracy uprising in November 2013-February 2014 that saw former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych abandon office and flee to Russia was a coup.
Proponents of what was called the Maidan protests in Kyiv say they stood up to an increasingly authoritarian president who ran a corrupt government that was betraying national interests to curry favor with the Kremlin.