School kids in Severomorsk honour Andrei Paliy, the deputy fleet commander killed in Ukraine
With patriotic fervour, schools across Russia are decorating walls and classrooms with photos of warriors killed in the onslaught on Ukraine. In addition to memorial plates describing ‘heroic’ fighting and ‘glorious death’ for the motherland, the schools also put up symbolic classroom benches to their honour. The so-called Heroes Benches (Parta Geroya) include photos and text about the men, many of them post-mortem awarded medals as Heroes of Russia.
Many schools themselves have former pupils that have been killed in the war.
In School No 10 in Severomorsk, the headquarter city of the Northern Fleet, the headmaster last week officially opened a Hero’s Bench dedicated to Andrei Paliy, the military man that reached the rank of deputy fleet commander before he was killed in Ukraine on the 19th of March 2022.
In his youth, Paliy was a student at School No 10, local authorities in Severomorsk inform.
Paliy came from a military family. He was born Kyiv and studied at the Kyiv Higher Naval Political Institute where he in 1992 graduated with specialty as military psychologist. But instead of joining the armed forces of newly independent Ukraine, he went to the Kola Peninsula to serve in the Northern Fleet.
According to Kommersant, Paliy sailed on several of the Fleet’s surface vessels, among them battle cruiser Pyotr Veliky.
In 2008, he took an active part in Russia’s war against Georgia, and in 2014 he reportedly played a key role in the annexation of the Crimea.
In 2020, he was appointed Deputy Fleet Commander of the Black Sea Fleet with responsibility for so-called military-political activities. At the same time, he was sent to Syria where he served as deputy head of Russian forces.
But the 51-year old captain’s life of conquest and military aggression against neighbouring countries came to an end on the battlefield of Mariupol. On the 19th of March 2022, he was killed by a sniper’s bullet. According to Russian state-controlled media, Paliy was engaged in the evacuation of civilians from the city at the time of his death.
Russia’s war against Ukraine has led to the utter devastation of Mariupol and many other Ukrainian cities and towns. None of that destruction will be on display in the Russian school classrooms.
In Severomorsk, Andrei Paliy is depicted as a hero that gave his life for the best of Russia, not as a war criminal that inflicted pain and suffering on hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians.
In School No 10, the patriotic description of his life history now is available for local school kids.
Similar Heroes Benches are now set up in most schools in the Kola Peninsula. Many are devoted also to war heroes from the Second World War. According to regional authorities, there were by late October a total of 168 Heroes Benches in regional schools, of which 54 are devoted to warriors killed in the war against Ukraine.
On the 23rd of October, another 23 Heroes Benches were officially opened in the region in connection with the 79-year’s anniversary of Soviet victory over Nazi German forces in the Kola Peninsula.