Schoolchildren Depict Ukrainians Being Hanged in Kremlin-Funded Comic Book Contest
After Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the government allocated some grant funding to various projects aimed at bolstering support for the war. One such initiative was a comic book contest, where some graphic artwork showed dead Ukrainian soldiers.
Graphic depictions of hangings and the killing of Ukrainians marked the endings of some comics created by Russian children during the "Heroes of Russian Victories" contest.
The aim of the contest was to portray the exploits of Russia's historical and contemporary heroes. The artworks saw depictions of the deeds of Soviet soldiers during World War II, but others focused on Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The Presidential Grants Foundation allocated nearly 3 million rubles ($37,000) to finance the project. The grant was awarded to My Choice, an organization with ties to the party of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is dedicated to guiding Russian youth in "patriotic education."
The center used the money to host comic book creation masterclasses, and to organize the competition. Snippets from some of the stories also appeared on the grants foundation’s social network.
A page from the "Heroes of Russian Victories" contest booklet
In one of the images, the comic book portrays a story about Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, a Soviet partisan executed by German soldiers in 1941. The comic, written by a 15-year-old, ends with a bloodstained Kosmodemyanskaya being hanged.
We can't let Ukrainian Nazis get away.
Another shows the ending of a comic about the war in Ukraine, where Russian soldiers blow up artillery and people with the words: "We can't let Ukrainian Nazis get away."
The authors of the project said in their grant application that the current generation "resists or ignores attempts to instill in it the traditional concept of patriotism." They added that they hope to allow teenagers to "present their patriotic beliefs to society."
The announcement of the competition winners took place on June 2 at Poklonnaya Hill, home to a World War II memorial in Moscow. A total of 10 selected stories, three of which focused on the war in Ukraine, were curated in a journal comprising 3,000 copies.
The booklets were given to the participants, with the remaining copies intended for distribution among schools and youth organizations.
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