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Russian prosecutors investigate claims that fourth graders were subjected to lectures about Slovyansk's ‘crucified boy’
The Sverdlovsk district attorney has opened an investigation into allegations that local schools subjected fourth graders to lectures about “atrocities committed by Ukrainian troops in Slovyansk,” including the widely-debunked story of the “crucified boy” and rumors about the Kiev's “total surveillance” of all computer activity and phone calls.
“We will ascertain what exactly children were told, and whether requirements concerning the children's age, the distribution of school materials, and psychological needs were observed,” an aide in the prosecutor's office told the news agency Interfax.
The Ural-based new agency Ura.ru reports that the Education Ministry's Sverdlovsk branch has also launched an investigation. According to Yuri Biktuganov, the agency's head, officials will determine if the school lectures were appropriate for schoolchildren, or for anyone, if the material turns out to have been absurd.
The lectures about the “crucified boy” took place in two cities in the Sverdlovsk region. Students' parents complained that their children were frightened by the material, and some students became hysterical.
According to Ura.ru, the lecturer was a man named Ivan Agulov, who, according to Radio Svoboda, is a traveling lecturer in the region. In the past, he has instructed children on the need to love their mothers, among other topics. None of Agulov's previous lectures has raised any concerns.
The story of the crucified boy in Slovyansk appeared on Russian state media in July 2014. Channel One ran a report claiming that Ukrainian soldiers tortured and crucified a three-year-old boy, before his mother was tied to a tank and dragged through the city. The story, which is now widely believed to be a work of fiction, greatly damaged the perceived credibility of Russia's state media.
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