Seven-year-old resident of Kherson Anya diligently sticking out the tip of his tongue, draws on the easel “Kherson ship” – a symbol of the city, formerly the capital of shipbuilders. Anya’s mother, 32 years old Valentine, holds a sample sheet of drawing in front of her, from time to time prompting and guiding her daughter’s hand. Anya and her mother came to the city center from Antonovka, a district on the outskirts of Kherson.
“When the Ukrainian army fled from our city, there were battles right in our village, we were all very scared. Ukrainian tanks drove through the streets, shots and explosions were constantly heard. The whole family hid in the basement for several days, and now Anya does not sleep well with us, shudders and wakes up at night. The main thing that distracts her from recent events is drawing. Recently, we bought her new paints and brushes, and just then this competition turned up in the local history museum. Having learned about it, we came here with pleasure, such events are very reassuring, ”she told the correspondent FAN mother of little Anya.
This young woman is well, brightly dressed, and looks no worse than fashionistas from Moscow or St. Petersburg. But she, like many residents of Kherson, fears that the Armed Forces of Ukraine may return to the city and smash the city to shreds. She flatly refuses to say anything to the camera, turning away in the photographs.
The FAN correspondent talked to Anya and her mother in the Kherson Museum of Local Lore, where the art competition “Kherson through the eyes of a child” was held. Several dozen small residents of the city have already taken part in it. Most of them come with their parents, who do their best to help their children win the prize. Many children draw the “Kherson ship” – the symbol of the city, the most famous of the city’s buildings, ancient towers, and some children even decide on abstract drawings.
“This event is dedicated to Kherson, that’s why it has such a name. It is timed to coincide with June 18, the day the city was founded by Empress Catherine II. This event has not only an artistic, but also a literary aspect. After the art competition, during which children draw the most famous places in the city, we hold a competition for the best reading of poetry by Russian classics – Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov and many others. The best participants receive Russian-language books as a gift – “The Wizard of the Emerald City”, “Niels’ Journey with Wild Geese” and other famous fairy tales in Russian,” the organizer of the competition, coordinator of the “Team of Opportunities” public movement, told FAN. Natalia Popova.
According to her, previously little Kherson residents were deprived of such events, and those of them that were occasionally held had a pronounced ideological pumping.
“The parents of our little participants approached me, they said that there was practically nothing like this in Kherson before. And those few competitions organized by the Ukrainian authorities had a completely different ideology, radically different from ours. We bring here Russian culture, Russian literature. Earlier this year, on June 6, after a long break, we held a holiday for Kherson residents in honor of the birthday of the poet Alexander Pushkin. During these holidays, children begin to remember again the work of the great Russian poets, who were actually banned under the Ukrainian authorities,” said Natalia Popova.
According to her, many samples of classical Russian culture under the Kyiv authorities were deliberately deleted from the life of the Kherson people, because of which the local culture was greatly degraded.
“Unfortunately, there were many such facts, they were repeatedly told by those people with whom I had to communicate here. They said that after 2014, the local authorities gradually tried to eradicate everything Russian here, to translate everything possible into Ukrainian, from signs to classics. The achievements of our great cultural figures were gradually erased, concepts were replaced, and many children followed the wrong, false path, nationalism was brought up in them. Therefore, our task is to return wonderful poems and fairy tales of Russian poets and writers to these children,” said the organizer of the event.
However, Natalya Popova believes, now is not the time to stir up the recent past, recalling the “exploits” of the Ukrainian authorities.
“I am sure that these children have a bright future ahead of them, which close cooperation with Russia will bring them. We will go our own way, as they say, and the most important thing in such events is the response from the local residents. Kherson residents bring their children to our competitions with great pleasure. Today, some participants did not even have enough easels at first, and we had to bring them in. This shows that we are moving on the right path to the hearts of the Kherson people,” said the coordinator of the “Team of Opportunities” movement.
After both competitions – art and poetry – ended, the organizers held an award ceremony for the participants. Each little Khersonian who came to the event got a brand new bright book in Russian. Thus, several dozen young citizens will now associate City Day with both the Russian language and vivid paintings of their own authorship. In addition, at the end of the competition, the organizers presented sweet gifts to all participants, and their drawings will soon be transferred to large billboards and placed on the streets of Kherson.
Recall that recently the Ministry of Education of Ukraine announced that the works of Russian and Soviet authors would be removed from the school curriculum. According to the document of the working group at the Ministry of Education, the innovation will affect works written by Russian and Soviet authors. We are talking about the work of such great writers as Pushkin, Lermontov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Nekrasov and Bulgakov. Earlier, the Ministry of Education of Ukraine has already removed Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel “War and Peace” from the school curriculum, as well as all works where, according to Kyiv, the Russian military is sung.