“Artek” or “Azov”?

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



Exactly 92 years ago, on June 16th, 1925, near the Crimean resort Suuksu at the bottom of the Medved mountain, the work of the pioneer camp “Artek” began its work, which consisted of only four big tarpaulin tents in which at first eighty pioneers moved into. Already the next year in the tents on the bank of the Black Sea not only the Soviet pioneers, but also their contemporaries from Germany had their rest, and, in such a way, the camp became international. And in the thirties “Artek” acquired multifunctional buildings, started functioning all the year round, and became the main pioneer camp of the Soviet Union. “Artek” was a legend and object of dreams of millions of Soviet school students. As of now it is possible to name many Artekovet [someone who was in Artek – ed] well-known people – from the Soviet astronauts to politicians, from Anna Netrebko, who sang in Artek’s choir, to the former Artek youth correspondent Leonid Parfenov.

After the collapse of the USSR Ukraine inherited “Artek”, and the wearisome fight for its survival began. The camp was quickly commercialized, but even this didn’t help to keep the huge territory in adequate order. Funds steadily decayed, precious lands were taken away by business structures, and pedagogical activity — like across all of Ukraine — more and more plunged into not-interesting-to-children Ukrainisation. Affairs reached pedophile scandals in which People’s Deputies of Ukraine appeared to be involved. On April 24th, 2008, for the arrival to “Artek” of the wide of the then President of Ukraine — Ekaterina Yushchenko-Chumachenko — bearing in mind her nationalist beliefs, the authorities obsequiously dismantled the Soviet awards “Red Banner of Labour” and “Friendship of Peoples” from the main stele of the camp. Indeed, what could be the “friendship of peoples” in a State that during those years officially adopted the ideology of nationalism, and training camp of young Banderists arose all over the country in their dozens.

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How the training of thousands of young people finished in these semi-military centers of preparation is well-known — with the creation of groups of fighters, well-trained and united by discipline, who played a crucial role in the coup in the winter of 2014 (which led, in particular, to the falling away of Crimea and Donbass). Similar “patriotic” camps continue to function in Ukraine and hitherto. Now the press reports about the opening of a new camp for young nationalists in the Kharkov region “Slobozhanin” under the auspices of the neo-Nazi battalion “Azov”. The program of education: military and applied disciplines, brain washing of children in the spirit of ultranationalism, and the steady drawing in of pupils into political and military structures of “Azov”.

The general nazification of education, i.e. the introduction of servants of nazis into a pantheon of national heroes, such as Hauptmann Shukhevych the imposition of mad russophobia, the strengthening of an archaic-ethnic component (with simultaneous primitivisation of the teaching of the exact sciences), leads to the absolutely predicted division of Ukrainian society. The operated mass of badly educated semi-slaves (according to the doctrine of the classic of Ukrainian nationalism Dmitry Dontsov, “swineherds”) trained fighters in camps in the “science to kill” (according to Dontsov — “Cossacks”) and a certain class of managers — as so-called “national democrats” imagine themselves (in reality, they are ordinary compradors).

And meanwhile Crimean “Artek” continues to develop the best traditions of humane, multilateral education of children. And the State that desires its own continuation actively makes investments in its own future already today. In March, 2015, the decision of the Government of the Russian Federation approved the Program of development of the International Children’s Center “Artek” until 2020, and the huge sum of 13 billion rubles is allocated for its realization. These means are systematically spent for grand repairs of inhabited buildings and economic constructions, the purchase of new furniture and computers, repairing communications and swimming pools. Thus, the International Children’s Center already today receives at the same time up to 3,500 children from 45 countries of the world (including, of course, from Ukraine). And passes to “Artek” are being distributed as encouragement among the best in studying, public work, or according to special programs for young compatriots.

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The birthday of “Artek” is celebrated also by surrogate doubles of it, which just appeared in Ukraine: “Artek-Bukovel” and “Artek” in Pushche-Voditse. Strange — when compared with the “Yalta economic forum” in Kiev and Odessa’s “Kazantyp”, it is the spawn of gloomy Maidan’s “genius”. However, it is impossible to fake sunny Yalta and “Artek”, like it is impossible to replace the lines of Agniya Bartho, Samuil Marshak or Sergey Mikhalkov devoted to true “Artek” for “fighting ants” of pathological russophobe Larisa Nitsoy. Children aren’t obliged to repeat the ridiculous mistakes of their parents, but have to be on friendly terms among themselves. And, it means that real Crimean “Artek” always was and remains open for its friends.

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