Russian nursery removes British flags after mother claimed it glorified 'hostile state'
A Siberian nursery has been forced to remove Union flags from its classroom after a parent complained that its English classes were glorifying a “hostile state”.
In September, the nursery arranged a corner presentation of British culture, with a tea set, figurines of Buckingham Palace guards, a picture of Queen Elizabeth II and a few flags, in a bid to introduce the children to foreign countries.
But a mother complained about the nursery in Zelenogorsk, outside Krasnoyarsk, and was later backed by a local politician who said supporting Britain was like supporting the Nazis, in a sign of growing resentment towards the UK and the West.
The nursery had prided itself on introducing bilingual Russian-English games and classes to children as young as three years old, and its latest efforts included Union Flag stickers on the children's lockers and novelty British passports for them.
The mother, named in local media as Kristina, told the NGS24 website last week she was initially told the display would stay for a week to introduce the children to British culture, but the flags were never removed.
“I’m not against studying foreign languages and cultures but it was too much,” Kristina was quoted as saying, adding that she faced “abuse” for her “patriotic views”.
The flags were removed last week after the town’s mayor called the kindergarten’s administration to admonish them.
Yelena Penzina, a local lawmaker who sided with Kristina, said displaying state symbols of a “hostile country” that has been one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters against the Russian invasion is akin to hailing Nazis during the Second World War.
“What would happen to that kindergarten director if the portrait of Hitler would hang for five months in 1941-45?” Ms Penzina said on her blog.
The kindergarten said last week that it was “outraged” by the “slander” it has faced from unnamed parents.
“We would very much like to hope that common sense will prevail and that our children will be able to grow, study and discover different cultures while loving our own,” it said.
Parents have flooded the nursery’s social media page with messages of support.