School bus in the military village of Korzunovo, Murmansk region. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Murmansk gives more benefits to students and school children of soldiers fighting in Ukraine

Social stratification is growing between children of fathers fighting Russia’s war on Ukraine and those who not. Free meals, free vacation, free dormitory and free commuting transport for students are some of the new benefits presented by the war-focused Murmansk Governor Andrey Chibis.
March 14, 2023


It was on Monday the new benefits were approved by the regional government, Governor Chibis writes on his VKontakte page.

“All college students from families of Special Military Operation [participants] will be provided with free meals,” according to Chibis. That includes all federal educational institutions in the Murmansk region.

Pupils in municipal schools were divided already from the start of school-year on September 1. Two free hot meals to those with fathers killed, injured or still fighting, and no such benefits to those with parents not taking part in the war. At the time, the Barents Observer reported that at least 1,274 Murmansk kids had the rights to receive such benefits.

This time, the regional government doesn’t highlight the number of pupils and students with parents involved in Ukraine.

Free hot meals are just part of a larger support program speeding up the social stratification between youths in Russia.

All dormitory fees for college students will be reimbursed. So will inter-municipal travel between home and the educational institutions. Free dormitory will also be provided to others that have lost their breadwinner.

Children of warriors will be given priority for free vacation travel, according to Chibis. The bill says nothing about which destinations are included, like Crimea or Sochi or other locations.



Gymnasium No. 1 in Murmansk. Photo: Thomas Nilsen


Last December, the Murmansk governor was sanctioned by the European Union for his personal involvement in child kidnapping by illegally facilitating for taking Ukrainian kids to Russia. Several of the children were brought to Murmansk.

Several thousand soldiers from the Murmansk region are sent to the front, as the war in Ukraine last month entered its second year. Death toll are kept secret, but it is believed that at least 1,500 Murmansk soldiers are killed or wounded.

The measures implemented by the Murmansk government comes a short two weeks after Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin ordered his Government Coordination Council to pay close attention to informing all participants in the so-called special military operation and their families about social support measures and monetary allowances.

“It is important that these measures are provided without excessive red tape and administrative delays,” the prime minister made clear.


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