In the footsteps of Irina Vereshchuk's statement: Not only a teacher, but also a locksmith can be considered a collaborator

Following Irina Vereshchuk's statement: Not only a teacher, but also a locksmith can be considered a collaborator

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration Irina Vereshchuk called on parents in the occupied territories not to send children to schools with the beginning of the school season: “Where children go to study in September can literally determine the fate of both children and parents …” – wrote a member of the government. Addressing the teachers, she even intimidated: “If you work for the occupiers, you may avoid legal liability. But your teaching career will end there.”

The only recipe that Vereshchuk gave was to move from the occupied cities and villages to the territories controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. We wondered if all the remaining collaborators could be considered.

“Wait for us. Alive”

Under the post of Irina Vereshchuk on Facebook there are more than 700 comments. Those who are in occupation write that the move is impossible. There are no “green corridors” from Berdyansk and Kherson and never have been – these cities were captured in the first days of the war. There is no public transport to go out, there is no car and no money for a private carrier.

Those who were able to escape accuse those who remained of inactivity, unwillingness to overcome difficulties and secret sympathy for the Russians. Now everyone who remained in the occupation and is not ready to die of hunger quietly runs the risk of being branded as collaborators, if not legally, then morally.

Teachers are in a special position – they have to leave not only the house, but also relieve themselves of responsibility for children who want to impose Russian programs.

In the footsteps of Irina Vereshchuk's statement: Not only a teacher, but also a locksmith can be considered a collaborator

Lesya Litvinova. Photo:

Lesya Litvinova, the head of the Svoi Charitable Foundation, is a well-known volunteer

em>I remembered the writer and teacher Janusz Korczak, who during the Second World War could have escaped, but stayed with his children in the Warsaw ghetto and died with them in the gas chamber.

– Probably, if at that time in Warsaw there was a conditional Mrs. Vereshchuk, and Korczak would somehow manage to escape, after the war he would not be allowed to work with children anymore. For refusing to leave the occupation. And especially – for the well-known phrase “I am ready to meet the devil himself in order to save the children,” writes Lesya Litvinova.

She believes that the main task of those who remained in the territories temporarily occupied by the enemy is to survive.

– Wait for us, please. Alive. Do not leave children, even if you have to teach them from Katsap textbooks. Help them to remain human,” Litvinova addresses the teachers.

There are about 450 comments under her post. Including this one: “Children who have been taught in Donetsk for 8 years write letters to the “DNA” soldier and wish to kill more Ukrainians.”

There is no general recipe

In the footsteps of Irina Vereshchuk's statement: Not only a teacher, but also a locksmith can be considered a collaborator

Viktor Gromovoi. Photo:

– It is very difficult to say something if you are not in the situation these teachers are in. And it's very easy to be a hero, an armchair strategist, when you're in controlled territory. Although it is obvious that in any situation it is necessary to try to save not only life, but also human dignity, – says Chief Editor of the Educational Policy portal Viktor Gromovoy.

The expert cites as an example a school in Sartan, an urban-type settlement in the Donetsk region.

– Last year's photo on Flag Day – all under Ukrainian flags, in embroidered shirts. Photos from this year May 9 – teachers cheerfully wave Russian flags. This is outrageous and shocking. But, first,there are always people who do not care what authority to serve. And secondly, there are always those who, albeit hidden, but resist the aggressor, – continues our interlocutor. – We don't know all the situations and we can't confidently say how each of us will behave when at gunpoint.

Viktor Gromovoi also notes that not all teachers in the occupied territories are in an equal position. Let's say a physics teacher. Ohm's law is also Ohm's law in Russian textbooks.

– If the teacher does not campaign in favor of the Russians in parallel with physics or mathematics, he will simply do his job. But I can't imagine how a history teacher, who yesterday taught children the path of development of the state of Ukraine, will tell them about the “role and greatness of the Russian world.” There is no general recipe here. And I am against the universal vision of him from the ministerial office, – the expert believes.

In his opinion, Vereshchuk's words that in the controlled territories they will find work for all teachers who left, should be backed up by deeds. And a system of distance learning from the occupied territories should be developed for families who wish to continue studying according to the Ukrainian program.

– Such training is still taking place, but periodically there are problems with the remuneration of teachers who have been evacuated. For example, a gymnasium teacher from the occupied Kakhovka teaches remotely from the Khmelnitsky region. The administration has changed in Kakhovka, they are firing her there – and? .. First of all, such technical issues need to be worked out. It's not difficult, Viktor Gromovoi concludes.

Who is a collaborator

In the footsteps of Irina Vereshchuk's statement: Not only a teacher, but also a locksmith can be considered a collaborator

Pavel Lisyansky. Photo:

– To realize what Irina Vereshchuk is talking about, we need a socio-economic base. It is necessary to allocate housing, at least temporary work is needed so that people know where they are going and what they will live on. As long as there is a socio-economic threat, people will stay in their homes. And there will be contradictions, notes the director of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Security, lawyer Pavel Lisyansky.

The lawyer draws attention to the fact that now the occupiers are re-registering everything according to their rules state and public utilities.

– Under international law, the occupier is responsible for the occupied territory. And for transport, and for education, and for medicine. And according to the law on collaboration, which was adopted by the Rada in March of this year, everyone who works for the occupation administration is formally considered collaborators, – the lawyer explains.

That is, not only a teacher or a doctor, but even a locksmith who repairs pipes in the administrative building can be considered an accomplice of the enemy.

– Of course, this does not mean that the doctor of the communal clinic, when he enters the controlled territory, will be held criminally liable. Even if he is charged with suspicion, then as a lawyer I will prove that there is no corpus delicti here, – says Pavel Lisyansky.

Can pensioners and disabled people who do not reach Ukrainian money and who are forced to draw up relations with the occupiers in order to receive benefits from them, the lawyer found it difficult to say.

– There has not yet been a single criminal case on the fact of receiving Russian assistance. But I can say that people who work for a private entrepreneur will definitely not be considered collaborators. They don't have to know with whom he formalized the relationship, the expert concluded.

Individual approach

Following Irina Vereshchuk's statement: Not only a teacher, but also a locksmith can be considered a collaborator

Sergei Garmash. Photo:

The law is law, but the moral side of the issue is no less important.

– Collaborators should be considered people who who swore allegiance to Ukraine, and now agreed to work for the occupying power. These are police officers, civil servants, – journalist Sergey Garmash believes,which represents the interests of Donbass in TGC. – Employees of the communal sector cannot be traitors, because they ensure the life of the city, rescuers, because they are responsible for safety.

As for the teachers around whom the dispute broke out, from a moral point of view, Sergei Garmash believes, they will have to make a choice.

– Either lie and maim children, or refuse to work on the orders of the enemy. The choice is hard, you need work. But let's look from a different angle. We work for money. Money can just be stolen. But we do not do this, because there are moral limits, – Garmash argues.

At the same time, Sergei Garmash is sure that it is impossible to threaten teachers with “ending their careers”:

– We know that during the Second World War schools, theaters, and enterprises operated under occupation. Even Stalin did not imprison everyone and did not fire them. When Soviet power returned, decisions about who to fire were left to the teaching staff. And they judged how this or that teacher behaved during the occupation.

All experts agree in one opinion: in each case there should be an individual approach, an individual assessment.

Dissenting opinion

Following Irina Vereshchuk's statement: Not only a teacher, but even a locksmith can be considered a collaborator

Alexander Kudinov. Photo: FB Alexander Kudinov

– It is necessary to consider as collaborators those who lowered our combat capability, and not ordinary citizens who are forced to survive. My wife came from Avdiivka. I ran around Kyiv for two weeks, looking for a job. She is a medic. Everyone says that there are not enough doctors, but they don’t take them anywhere. With great difficulty I sent her to Germany. It’s not better there, she wants to return, but I don’t allow her, she has nowhere to settle down,” says human rights activist Alexander Kudinov, who survived captivity in the “DPR” in 2014. – I have a married couple in Krivoy Rog now. She is also a doctor, a disabled person of the 3rd group, he is a veteran of the ATO, a disabled person of the 3rd group. They can work, they want to find a job, but everything is busy everywhere. Nowhere to move.

Someone was indignant that in the port of Mariupol our dockers were loading metal stolen by the Russians. So without them there will be someone to download. Whoever is in charge now will do it anyway. And if a Mariupol resident went to earn a piece of bread, then maybe he will learn something at the same time and pass the information on to us. Or an IT specialist who got a job working for an occupier will get valuable information. Only a responsible official can be a collaborator. The worst thing is when everyone who is held hostage is labeled.

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