Authorities in the Russian-occupied areas of the Luhansk region have issued a “government” order that bans the use of all Ukrainian-language books and educational materials in schools, and ordered that all such materials to be removed from school libraries.

A letter signed by Luhansk’s Vice Education Minister Leila Zotova, instructs managers and directors of all schools, universities and other educational institutions in the region that the removal of Ukrainian-language material is mandatory.

“Respected directors! The Ministry of Education and Science of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) directs your attention to the fact that is impermissible of the use in educational activities, and the mandatory removal from libraries and professional educational organizations materials of all types (educational, reference, periodical etc.) and visual aids in the Ukrainian language,” the order said.

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Ukrainian news platforms including the volunteer-run fact check group InformNapalm said the internal “Ministry” order, first published on the pro-Kyiv Skhidniy Telegram channel, was authentic. Kyiv Post researchers have found that the content of instructions and other publications issued by the LNR “Education Ministry” (LNREM) are always only in Russian,.

On Jan. 17, the LNREM announced a region-wide “Russian language Olympics” for middle school students, and on its public Telegram channel published a video statement by Sergei Kravtsov, Russia’s Education Minister, stating that Moscow will hand over 1.3 million Russian-language literature books to Luhansk educators and school libraries.

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The Kremlin goal is to fully integrate “new regions” such as Luhansk into the Russian Federation’s national education system, in the next two years, Kravtsov said.

An InformNapalm statement on the LNR language order said: “This is another fact of the consistent policy of the occupiers regarding the genocide of the Ukrainian nation, when children are taught by "pedagogues" imported from the Russian Federation, and everything Ukrainian, from language and literature to attributes of statehood, becomes an object of persecution.”

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The so-called Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) was established in 2014 after Kremlin-sponsored armed groups assisted by Russian troops forced out Ukrainian authorities in the east Ukrainian region bordering the Russia Federation’s south-western Rostov Oblast. Moscow initially denied it was involved in the military intervention, but later admitted its fighters took over the territory to “protect” Russian-language speakers supposedly persecuted by Ukraine’s national government. Most independent observers including Kyiv Post reporters have found little evidence supporting these claims.

Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian President and current deputy chairman of Russia’s Security council, in a post on his Telegram channel on Wednesday flatly denied Ukraine’s right to exist separately from Russia, and warned that continuing Ukrainian resistance to the Russian military will result in the total destruction of the Ukrainian nation. Ukrainian independence is impossible, he said.

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“The existence of Ukraine is fatally dangerous for Ukrainians ... they will understand that life [with Russia] in a large common state, which they do not want very much now, is better than death. Their deaths and the deaths of their loved ones. And the sooner Ukrainians realize this, the better,” Medvedev wrote.

Olexander Scherba, a Ukraine Foreign Ministry ambassador-at-large, in a response to Medvedev on X (formerly Twitter) on Jan. 18 said: “This is Russia’s most genocidal statement so far. Dmitry “Demon” Medvedev, deputy head of 🇷🇺 Security Council & ex-president writes that Ukrainians face a choice: be part of Russia - or die with their families. Literally.”

According to local media in west Siberia, as Medvedev threatened Ukrainians with mass death and their elimination as a nation, pro-Russia activists in the remote oil-drilling city of Nefteuhansk announced the opening of a museum devoted to “materials typical of Ukrainian society which had been taken back to Russian by Kremlin troops invading Ukraine.

Exhibits, according to the Jan. 17 report published by the local news platform Neft-Novosti, include Ukrainian military uniforms and equipment, as well as civilian items such as newspapers and children's books in the Ukrainian language, car numbers, tape recorders, medals and certificates.

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Denys Hrybkov, the head of a local branch of a pan-Russia civic activist veterans’ group called Union of Marines, said the purpose of the exhibition is “to show the similarities between Russians and Ukrainians and to inform [visitors] about the brotherhood of nations that were part of the USSR.”

Exhibition organizers plan to invite adult citizens and groups of schoolchildren to the museum, for whom “educational” events about formerly Ukrainian territories will be held, the report said.

The exhibits will expand over time as Russian troops bring back more “materials” from Ukraine, the report said.

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