School No 3 in Alakurtti has at least seven of its former graduates killed in Ukraine. Photo: School No 3 on social media VK

This small town Russian school near border to Finland has lost at least 7 former pupils in war

School No 3 in Alakurtti has opened a special 'memory exhibition' dedicated to former students killed in Ukraine.
January 05, 2024


“We remember them with a feeling of deep sorrow and grief,” the school administration says in a statement about former graduates that have been killed in Russia’s bloody onslaught on Ukraine.

They are heroes and good examples for today’s students, the school explains.

“We have told the oldest students about our graduates and about the qualities that they acquired and unquestionably are distinct for real heroes,” the school writes on its social media page.


School exhibition devoted to former students killed in Ukraine. Photo: School No 3 on VK


Alakurtti is a military town that houses Russia’s 80th Motorised Rifle Brigade, also called the Arctic Brigade. It is located about 40 km from the border to Finland. The town belonged to Finland until it was attacked and annexed by Stalin’s troops following the the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in 1939.

A small exhibition devoted to the former students has now been opened in the local school museum. “Duty. Honour. Bravery,” an exhibition poster reads. “Heroes of our time,” reads another.


Included in the exhibition are photos and descriptions of seven men.


According to School No 3 in Alakurtti, Oleg Gorbatyuk, Sergei Anfimov, Danila Borisov, Sergei Kondratov, Maksim Pashchenko and Aleksei Agarkov have been killed in the war in Ukraine. They are all former graduates from the school. Collage by the Barents Observer based on posts on social media


Among them is Danila Borisov, who had not yet turned 20 years. He served as a Navy sailor, a social media post reads.

Maksim Pashchenko had served as contract soldier since 2010 and fought in the Donbas region already in 2014. He was killed in battles over the town of Popasnaya on 6th of April 2022, a VK post explains.

Several of the men are believed to have been fighting for the local 80th Motorised Rifle Brigade. Not all of them were professional soldiers. Denis Serkov was originally trained as a locomotive mechanic.

The School No 3 has also on several occasions invited soldiers that are still fighting in Ukraine to tell about their war experiences.

In one of the meetings, soldier and school graduate Vladislav Silvestrov told the students about “the importance of military service, love for the motherland and duties for one’s people,” the school informs.

The meetings with the soldiers and former graduates are important for the school kids because they show that “there are real heroes living next door” and that “bravery and love for the motherland are features of patriots and real citizens of Russia,” the school underlines.


The 80th Motorised Rifle Brigade in Alakurtti is called Russia’s Arctic Brigade. Photo:


It is not known how many soldiers from the 80th Motorised Rifle Brigade that have been killed since Russia launched its massive onslaught on Ukraine. But a local information resource in early 2023 commemorated more than 65 men.

The soldiers were all presented in an online photo album. They might constitute only a portion of the actual number of killed.

The soldiers serving in Alakurtti come from all over Russia, and are believed to be Russia’s best men in Arctic warfare.

The 80th Motorised Rifle Brigade in Alakurtti - branded as the Arctic Brigade - was established in December 2014. It belongs to the Northern Fleet and its mandate is to defend Russia’s vast Arctic territories, from the Kola Peninsula in the west to the New Siberian Islands in the east.




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