Monitoring Report “What is hidden behind “recreation” in a children’s camp? How Russia militarises, indoctrinates and changes the identity of Ukrainian children

Since the beginning of the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, the Russian Federation has been creating an effective system of destroying Ukrainian identity of the residents of the occupied peninsula. This system particularly targets children and uses a variety of tools, including formal and non-formal education, recreation, cultural life, etc.

After the occupation of the AR of Crimea in 2014, it is possible to trace how the Russian side uses the system of Ukrainian children’s health facilities that remained on the temporarily occupied territory to improve health of children from the TOT of the AR of Crimea, the Russian Federation, as well as children from the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, there have been numerous cases of illegal transfer of children from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine (Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, the so-called DPR and LPR) to the territory of Crimea (including the transfer of children within the TOT of the AR of Crimea) under the pretext of improving their health and rehabilitation.

The total number of children illegally transferred to health facilities in the AR of Crimea is growing, and this “recreation” is also used to conduct patriotic and military activities in accordance with the main narratives of Russian ideology, introduce camp shifts with enhanced military training, hold military training camps, games and festivals aimed at integrating Ukrainian children into the educational and educating space of the Russian Federation.

The Russian media, citing officials of the occupational Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea, note that 55400 children stayed in 30 countryside camps in Crimea during the summer holidays on preferential vouchers. In particular, from the occupied region of Zaporizhzhia there were 4358 children, from Kherson region- 727, Donetsk and Luhansk – 4000

These facts indicate a systematic approach to measures aimed at forming a Russian identity among Ukrainian children, their militarisation and involvement in activities in support of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.

Such actions violate a number of provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Firstly, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the forcible transfer of residents of temporarily occupied territories. Secondly, the use of recreation for the actual “reeducation” of children violates Article 8 (the child’s right to preserve his or her identity), Article 19 (protection of the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse), Article 31 (the child’s right to rest and leisure) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the Russian Federation is a party.

This monitoring report covers the activities of camps in temporarily occupied Crimea and the city of Sevastopol that hold military and patriotic events, re-educate children from the TOT of Ukraine, conduct military training, games and projects as part of the 2023 summer recreation campaign. The purpose of this report is to record and publicise the crimes of the Russian Federation.

Read the full text of the monitoring report at the link below :

The monitoring report was prepared by the Centre for Civic Education “Almenda” as part of the project “Re-education camps: drawing attention to the crimes of the Russian Federation against Ukrainian children” (implemented within the framework of the EU Emergency Support for Civil Society Project, implemented by ISAR Ednannia with the financial support of the European Union). Its contents are the sole responsibility of the CCE "Almenda” and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.