The well-oiled Russian propaganda machine has now found its latest frontier — this time in the classroom.
A pro-Russia youth activist organization called Network has unveiled a new alphabet in a Siberia school that replaces all letters with pro-Russia and anti-Ukraine associations. For example, the letter A now stands for “anti-Maidan” and B represents “Berkut” — the pro-Russia special police force in Ukraine. P is for Putin and G is for Granitsa, the Russian word for border.
The alphabet aims to school children in “patriotism” by teaching them to learn to love the motherland and respect its people and culture, according to the organization's website. It consists of images, symbols, and words associated with modern Russian nationalism and politics. Apparently, this now includes Crimea, which is associated with the letter Y on the chart.
This new, politically charged alphabet was unveiled on Network’s website on April 29 and then in an elementary school in the Irkutsk region of Siberia. But according to its organizers, it will soon be implemented throughout more schools.
The alphabet is called the “polite alphabet,” in reference to the “polite people,” which is how Russians referred to their troops stationed in Crimea.
"In the internet age, [the] 'polite alphabet' will help to form the child's consciousness," states Network's website.
The Pro-Ukraine website EuroMaidan Online responded almost immediately to this new Russian alphabet, calling it the “ABCs of the Hitler Youth.” Activists soon created their own pro-Ukraine versions of the alphabet, which quickly circulated on social media. One such example was called the alphabet of the “enemies of Russia” that included terms such as capitalism, NATO, liberalism, Jews, and gays.
Other mock alphabets included stereotypical "Russian" motifs, such as A for alcohol, and associate curse words with the images of Russian politicians.
This new alphabet, however, is more than just a bizarre word association project. It is the latest example of the Russian government’s highly successful indoctrination campaign that, among other things, allowed Putin to take over part of a country without firing a shot.
This is not the first time that children have been the recipients of Russian indoctrination attempts. During the Crimea referendum vote to allow Russia to effectively annex the region, children were seen casting ballots in favor of the vote.