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'Kiss The Ground That Feeds You': School Principal Humiliates Child For Offending Russia


In the video, the kindergarten principal can be seen forcing a boy to kneel in front of her.
In the video, the kindergarten principal can be seen forcing a boy to kneel in front of her.

MOSCOW -- Officials in the Krasnodar region say they will fire a kindergarten principal who was filmed forcing a 5-year-old to his knees and making him demonstrate his love for Russia.

An amateur video taken by a passerby on April 30 and posted online shows the principal verbally berating the boy in the presence of other children, and using physical force to get him to comply with her demand that he kiss the ground of the country that "feeds and waters you."

After the incident at the Little Star kindergarten attracted the attention of police and local officials, the Krasnodar department of education reportedly pledged to fire the principal and to act on any complaints filed against her by parents.

"The principal acts disgracefully, humiliating the child and exerting both physical and psychological pressure on him," Aleksei Nekrasov, an official at the Krasnodar department for education, was quoted as saying by Komsomolskaya pravda on May 1.

At least two other women can be seen in the video watching on as the principal -- subsequently identified by Russian media as Emma Milner -- humiliates the child.

"What am I supposed to do, rip your head off?" she is shown shouting at the boy. "Look at me!"

After the boy refuses to kneel before her, she pushes him down and forces him to kiss the ground.

She then turns to the other teachers present. "You're scumbag teachers...if you allow something like this to happen," she shouts. "That's nationalism!"

"Where are your morals?" she continues. "Where is your moral upbringing, if a child tells you he hates Russia and the Russians?"

In an interview with Komsomolskaya pravda, an unidentified parent of a child attending Little Star said that the boy shown in the video had been violent toward other children, with encouragement from his father.

Another unnamed mother said the child's family had recently moved to Krasnodar from Daghestan, a majority-Muslim republic in Russia's North Caucasus.

Halfway through the clip, the principal turns to another boy who stands before her, as the first continues to kneel.

"You're a Russian person," she shouts at the other boy, using the word "Russky," a reference to Russian ethnicity, not citizenship. "And this moron and scumbag tells you he hates Russia!"

On May 1, the State Duma deputy from Krasnodar, Svetlana Bessarab, said she was "taking the situation under personal control."

"This is simply savagery and medievalism. You cannot treat a child in this way," she told "Teaching is a hard and responsible process that requires not only special skills and knowledge but also patience and a specific approach to each child. Humiliating a child before his peers is unethical and immoral."

The education official Nekrasov said that the situation was "unacceptable in educational institutions and the education sphere in general," Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.

He added that Milner would be fired from her position the next working day -- which could come after the extended holiday period that begins in Russia each May -- and encouraged parents to register any complaints they have about her behavior so that "similar situations don't happen again in Krasnodar."

Some parents interviewed by Komsomolskaya pravda defended the principal, arguing that she had always been a fair teacher but had been driven to frustration by the child.

A Facebook page matching the profile of Emma Milner, the kindergarten principal, contains several posts about educating young children. "What can be more beautiful than a child's laughter?" she asks in a post in June 2016.

Another, in May 2015, reads, "It's a hard task to teach and bring up a child in such a way that it soars forth into life, with a clean and unharmed soul!"

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    Matthew Luxmoore

    Matthew Luxmoore is a Moscow-based journalist covering Russia and the former Soviet Union. He has reported for The New York Times in Moscow and has written for The Guardian, Politico, The New Republic, and Foreign Policy. He’s a graduate of Harvard’s Davis Center and a recipient of New York University's Reporting Award and the Fulbright Alistair Cooke Journalism Award.

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