Ігор Жданов Міністр молоді та спорту України

Information, published in international media about the financing of youth camps in Ukraine contains false facts

19 листопада 2018, 13:20

Я дякую МЗС, дипкорпусу України, посольствам, всім ЗМІ та організаціям, українській Facebook спільноті, які поширили наше спростування щодо недостовірної інформації, оприлюдненої в низці іноземних видань про національно-патріотичні заходи в Україні.

Ми також звернулися до представництва Associated Press в Україні з проханням уточнити неперевірені та викривлені факти, які були наведені в статті агентства, що потім була републікована в Washington Post та інших виданнях.

Пропонуємо до уваги іноземних корпунктів, організацій та ЗМІ, що працюють в Україні, текст спростування та роз'яснення Міністерства молоді та спорту англійською мовою.

***

Together with the colleagues we were unpleasantly perplexed by the article "Training kids to kill at Ukrainian nationalist camp" which appeared in the Washington Post on 12 November, and then in several other international mass media.

The author of this peace of news claims that the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine allegedly finances radical nationalist organizations – in particular, saying that this year the Ministry of Youth and Sports has allocated 4 million UAH (near $150 000) to finance several youth camps which were organized by the nationalists, namely by an organization called "Sokil Svobody" (Falcon of Freedom), where kids are taught how to kill Russians; and that the Ministry is, allegedly, indulging xenophobia and racism: https://goo.gl/JJAFJq

So, which part of it is true, and what is a false claim and manipulation here? Well, despite the fact that the above mentioned camp was indeed organized by the participants themselves in the Ternopil region of Ukraine, the remainder of the information provided in the article is blatantly false.

What do the facts say?

Fact N1 The Ministry of Youth and Sports didn't and doesn't finance any non-governmental organization. The budget costs are allocated through the project contests exclusively for the purpose of projects implemented by non-governmental organizations.

Indeed, 4 million UAH were allocated from the Ministry's budget this year to support the following projects: camping, seminars, conferences organized by non-governmental organizations in different regions of Ukraine that are in some way connected with the topic of national and patriotic education.

Fact N2 The youth organization "Sokil Svobody" (Falcon of Freedom) based in Ternopil region applied for a competition that was organized this year, but their application was declined, as indicated in a decision of the competition commission: http://www.dsmsu.gov.ua/media/2018/05/24/34/Rishennya_3.pdf

Fact N3 The competition of projects on national and patriotic education is transparent. The majority of the competition commission's members are representatives of the civil society, not the Ministry (a full composition of the commission is defined by an appropriate Order 2159 of the Ministry dated of 12 October 2011 http://dsmsu.gov.ua/index/ua/material/37645).

This year the competition commission selected 30 projects implemented by 19 non-governmental organizations: http://www.dsmsu.gov.ua/media/2018/06/11/3/4420_3.4_-_3.pdf.

The selection of the projects is made having regard to the priorities, set up in the text of the competition's announcement: http://dsmsu.gov.ua/index/ua/material/36919.

The selection of the projects is done in accordance with the Resolution 1049 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine: http://dsmsu.gov.ua/index/ua/material/36907.

Fact N4 During the examination of projects, the competition commission analyses them and determines, in particular, whether they contain any manifestation of xenophobia or discrimination. No organizations participated in the competition that was found by the court involved in unlawful activities under the article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine, including based on xenophobia or racism.

Furthermore, some projects submitted to the commission were aimed at the elimination of xenophobia and supporting national minorities in Ukraine, namely "Together to the future", which has been implemented by the "Congress of national communities of Ukraine": https://goo.gl/gT5NLw

The organizations whose projects were supported by the competition commission, prior to the allocation of budget costs shall conclude a typical agreement with the Ministry, the paragraph 3.3.4 of which states: "There shall be taken measures aimed at the prevention of xenophobia during the implementation of the project".

We also addressed the representatives of national minorities, particularly the Roma community, with a proposal to join the monitoring of all events financed within the competition, for the purpose of disclosing and preventing the manifestations of xenophobia and racism.

***

Personally, I am proud that since 2015 we in close collaboration with non-governmental organizations, members of the Parliament, other members of the Cabinet of Ministers and the President of Ukraine have managed to revive the system of national and patriotic education in Ukraine. It is no secret to anyone that prior to the events of 2013-2014 all displays of it were limited to candid sharovarshchyna (marginalization of Ukraine's culture and history), or were deliberately ignored.

Since 2015 more than 250 000 young Ukrainians from all over the country took part in various events organized by non-governmental organizations with the support of the Ministry – more than 200 events in total.

I am sorry that some respectful publishers bought into the allegedly hot topic without the proper fact-check.

On the other hand, his article and the like are an indirect confirmation of the fact that the national patriotic education in Ukraine really grows stronger. Apparently, some people are driven nervous about the fact that young Ukrainians are becoming more conscientious, learn their history and understand the challenges that Ukraine is facing now.

All this is evidence that we are doing everything right.

At the same time, I traditionally urge journalists from Ukraine and abroad, to cooperate in an honest and productive way.



Ihor Zhdanov,

Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine

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