Local members of Russia's Youth Army (Yunarmiya) mark start of the school year in Pechenga, the home town of the 200th Motorized Infantry Brigade. Photo: local social media

School year in Pechenga starts with a greeting to warriors in Ukraine

About 85 percent of the kids in the local north Russian school have fathers fighting in the war.
September 04, 2023


“I want to express gratitude to all our men that now are on the frontline in the special military operation, the participants from the 200th Guards Brigade and the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade,” school director Natalia Sidorova said in connection with the start of the Russian school year.

“I wish them victory and survival. We are are very much waiting for their return,” she added.

On 1st of September, Sidorova welcomed local kids back to a new study year.

Natalia Sidorova is director of School No 5 in Pechenga. Photo: local social media

Since the children started their summer holidays in June, the School No 5 in Pechenga has undergone a major upgrade. The sport hall and cantina have been renovated and new equipment acquired, local authorities inform.

The school has also gotten a special war museum devoted to local soldiers taking part in the aggressive onslaught on Ukraine.

“School No 5 is being transformed [and] thanks to everyone that has supported us in this truly difficult time for our country,” Natalia Sidorova says in a statement.

According the school director, 85 percent of all pupils in the school are children of participants in the war.


It is good for the soldiers to know that their kids are in good hands, she explains.

“The fathers will know that everything is fine on the home front; that the children are okay, that they are warm, in a light and modern school and that all conditions are facilitated for their comprehensive learning and education.”

“The warrior will feel lighter at hearth,” she underlines, and adds that very many of the men fighting in the special military operation themselves are former pupils of the School No 5.

The new school museum in Pechenga praises Russian war aggression in Ukraine. Photo: local social media

In connection with the opening of the new school war museum, a group of members of the local Yunarmiya organization (Youth Army) gathered to salute the soldiers.

“We wish you faith in our right cause and victory over Nazism. Let your spirit remain steady,” one of the youth soldiers proclaimed.

“Be calm when you fight, know that your family awaits you and that we take you as examples in our daily lives,” another added.

School No 5 in Pechenga has also gotten a new name. It now also carries the name of Mikhail Popov, the soldier from Pechenga that has been awarded the order Hero of Russia after he and his unit reportedly killed more than 150 Ukrainian soldiers in a battle near Kharkiv.

Mikhail Sergeevich Popov was born in naval infantry base Sputnik and graduated from School No 5 in Pechenga.

The school is located immediately adjacent to a graveyard where about 12,000 German and Austrian soldiers were buried during the Second World War. In July this year, a so-called ‘memory garden’ was established next to the graveyard. The includes a total of 250 pine trees all of them were marked with the name of a soldier killed in Ukraine after 24th of February 2022.

The town of Pechenga is located only few kilometres from the borders to Norway and Finland. It houses the 200th Motorised Rifle Brigade. In the nearby settlement of Sputnik is based the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade.

Both brigades are heavily engaged in the war. Losses have been dramatic. According to a Norwegian intelligence report published in February 2023, the 200th Motorised Rifle Brigade has only left about one fifth of its former capacity and the number of killed men is believed to exceed 1,500.



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