With a Pot on the Head: How Ukrainian Children Were Told the “History” of Maidan in an Online Lesson

Today, Ukrainian fifth graders received another portion of patriotic online education. All TV channels of the country showed a history lesson called “The revolution of dignity and the Russian-Ukrainian war”.

It was led by Ella Vasilyevna Sytnik – the same teacher who mixed up tsars Nicholas the First and the Second and who quite tendentiously outlined the events of the formation of the UPR in 1917.

In the lesson about Maidan, she continued the tradition of one-sided presentation of historical material. The lecture was composed entirely from the point of view of the supporters of the protest actions, and the authorities of that time were exposed in an extremely negative light. The fact that almost half of the country at that time had a completely different point of view on Maidan was not mentioned at all.

During the lesson, Ella even put a pot on her head – as a sign of solidarity with the Maidan protesters.

The Ukrainian “Strana” news agency analysed how Ukrainian children were taught the history of the 2013-2014 protests.


To begin with, Ella Vasilyevna gave a fairly voluminous cross-section of how “independent” Ukraine appeared in general, gradually bringing the idea to the fact that its government did not particularly listen to the people.

However, why especially Yanukovych, and not Kuchma or Kravchuk, were overthrown by protesters with weapons in their hands – the teacher did not explain. Although life under them was worse than under the fourth President.

The preamble was often interrupted by lyrical digressions leading to the desired conclusion. Thus, it was said that the Ukrainian people have long been used to solve the most pressing issues of the country at a common meeting – preferably in the central squares.

The presentation of the events of Maidan starts on November 21st, 2013 – the day when Yanukovych refused to sign the Association with the European Union, an alliance with which, according to the teacher, “the entire Ukrainian people were waiting for”.

“This made Ukrainians and especially young people worry a lot,” the teacher said, and showed Mustafa Nayyem‘s Facebook post. Then she said that “the authorities should have listened and corrected their mistakes. But the authorities behaved differently.”

The teacher then showed article 39 of the Constitution on the right to peaceful assembly and encouraged students to use this right “regardless of age”.

“Euromaidan is both a place and a symbol of protest against the erroneous policy of the government,” said Ella Sytnik, giving a very tendentious definition.

Describing the dispersal of Euromaidan on the night of November 30th, the teacher claimed that “Berkut” dispersed young people and students. Although there were a lot of middle-aged people among the victims. At least, among the more than 30 people detained by the police that night, there were almost no people of student age.

Briefly, but in bright colors showing the events of December, Ella Vasilyevna moved to the analysis of the “dictatorial” laws of Yanukovych. She named the pan, which was massively worn by the Maidan protesters, as a symbol of resistance.

For a visual demonstration, the teacher placed the kitchen utensil on her head as well.

Armed with pots, “the people showed firmness of spirit and steadfastness in their decision to go to the end,” the teacher said.

An interesting constant refrain is that resistance on Maidan was legal. It started to sound almost immediately – the teacher constantly repeated that the government did not listen to the people, and therefore they had the right to revolt.

Quite succinctly, but in tragical way, she talked about the deaths of Maidan protesters – from the first victims up to the massacre at Institutskaya Street. Of course, not a word about the dead policemen. As well as about the fact that on that day on February 20th, provocateurs from Maidan were the first to open fire.

After Yanukovych fled, “Ukrainians did not know whether to cry or laugh. And the song ‘Plive Kacha’ is flying over Ukraine – over Kiev, cities, and villages,” said Ella Vasilyevna, drawing an epic picture.

This would be a good time for Ukraine to start to live well – “but history sends us the next test.”

Crimea and Donbass

Part of the lesson about the “annexation” of the peninsula, the teacher begins with a spectacular picture in the style of military propaganda of the “cold war” – an unpleasant-looking bear opens its mouth to Crimea.

“We have already seen something similar in previous lessons. Only there it was about Nazi Germany,” said the teacher, not skimping on comparisons.

The hypocritical mask of a friend was removed,” says Ella about Russia. She said that the desire of the residents of Crimea to leave for Russia is fake. “We know for sure that the elections on the Crimean peninsula were held at gunpoint.”

In April 2014, “the open aggression of the Russian state against independent Ukraine begins. The armed forces and volunteers have become an invincible wall against the aggressor. The war continues until now. But our strength is growing. Our army is growing.”

Then the clip with the UAF march in OUN-style began, which ended the lesson.


In Ukraine, instead of history lessons , there are obvious propaganda lessons. Children are being imposed the only “correct” version of events, moreover, this course is ongoing not under the previous President, but under the new one, who declares that he intends “to sew the country together”.

The Maidan issue still divides the country. At the same time, no attempt is made to put children “above the fray” – they are persistently driven to one side of the barricades, by deepening the split itself.

It is interesting that a kind of cult of protests is being glorified – an appeal to go to them “regardless of age”. In other words, minor children are invited to protest (the lesson was intended, as we recall, for fifth-graders).

At the same time, only those protests that supported Maidan are considered “correct”. Thus, the Euromaidan rally in Donetsk, which numbered five people, was mentioned. The far more numerous anti-Maidan protests in the southeast of the country were not analysed at all – as if they did not exist.

But there were thousands of anti-Maidan rallies that turned into the loss of Crimea and Donbass. Without them, the subsequent events of annexation and war would hardly have taken place. However, the teacher interprets the issue of Donbass and Crimea exclusively as an armed attack by Russia. Omitting the protests and in general the opinion of a huge number of Ukrainian citizens who did not support Maidan.

Viktoriya Venk

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