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Backlash follows a pacifist speech by a Russian high schooler at the Bundestag

Several complaints have been filed with state prosecutors, federal police, local school officials, and even the Kremlin in response to a speech delivered by a Russian high school student on a trip to Germany’s Bundestag. Nikolai Desyatnichenko, a young man from Novy Urengoy, told German lawmakers about a Wehrmacht soldier captured in the Battle of Stalingrad who later died in Soviet captivity. Some believe Desyatnichenko’s remarks were controversial because he expressed the belief that many of the German soldiers killed or captured at Stalingrad were “innocent men” who “wanted to live peacefully” and “didn’t want to fight.”

Elena Kukushkina, a lawmaker in Russia’s Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, has asked local officials in Novy Urengoy to investigate Desyatnichenko’s school, warning that his comments about German soldiers at Stalingrad could be a sign that Russian educators are trying to “reexamine” the results of the Second World War. Sergey Kolyasnikov, a Yekaterinburg blogger, has appealed to federal officials, accusing Desyatnichenko of trying to “rehabilitate fascism.”

The mayor of Novy Urengoy has defended Desyatnichenko’s speech at the Bundestag, rejecting allegations that his remarks in any way support fascism.

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