Ukrainian librarian fired for giving out Russian textbooks

12.07.2017, Ukraine.

A librarian in the village of Utkonosovka (Izmaylovsky district, Odessa region) was fired for giving out Soviet textbooks on the Russian language which had been taken out of circulation to schoolchildren, the regional publication Trassa E-95 reported on July 11.

Utkonosovka’s school has classes with teaching in Moldavian; this is where more than 30 textbooks in Russian published in 1990 were used. This became known after one of the parents posted a photo of his child’s textbook in social media.

Director of the Izmaylovsky district’s Education Department of the Administration, Tatyana Yakimenko, explained that Russian in Moldavian schools (as well as in other schools in Ukraine) is not part of the state component of the curriculum; it can be included by a decision of a majority of parents in a class. Textbooks are not provided for optional subjects.

Among 25 classes in Utkonosovka’s school, 13 are Moldavian and 12 are Ukrainian. The government provides Russian language textbooks for Ukrainian schools but not for Moldavian ones.

Parents can buy necessary books for their children themselves, as parents in the Moldavian villages of Kamyshovka, Ozernoe and Novaya Pokrovka of Izmaylovsky district did. According to T. Yakimenko, parents in Uktonosovka rejected this option. Then the teacher used Soviet Russian language textbooks in her teaching. The textbooks were approved as teaching aids for Moldavian schools by the Ministry of Education of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The textbooks were taken out of use, and they were supposed to be recycled. The librarian kept them in a utility room, and she gave them out when needed in order to make learning the language easier.
“Of course, the teacher is guilty; with the modern level of technology, she could print the texts out herself. However, she is a person with a proper civic position. No one used any symbols or texts of that era in the teaching process. There is no politics behind this, and could not be,” T. Yakimenko commented.

As a result of an internal investigation, the librarian was fired for giving out the textbooks without the school management’s approval. The principal and the teacher received reprimands. The textbooks were taken away and sent for recycling. The parent who posted the photo of the textbooks in social media refused to return it.

Since January 1, 2017, importing Russian books both by booksellers and by individuals, even in single copies for private use, has been prohibited. This measure is to remain in force until a proper law is developed to ban the import of Russian printed products.

Since the de-communization law was passed, it can be applied to any book in Russian. Upon an initiative of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, a comprehensive inventorization began in libraries. According to Ukrainian media, Russian authors are sent for recycling, including famous children’s authors like Chukovsky, Marshak, and Barto.

The results of the inventorization were posted in social media: a boiler station at a recreation facility of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute now uses burning books as fuel. Photos of burning books by Tolstoy, Griboedov, France, Bradbury have been published. The Ukrainian authorities seem to be one step away from making bonfires from books in central city squares.

Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency

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