Russian teachers urged to donate salaries to soldiers in Ukraine; Unsure where the money is going

Teachers in Russia have been asked to donate money to help Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, but are reportedly unsure what the funds will be used for.

Participants at a regional meeting for teachers in Moscow earlier this month were urged to each voluntarily donate 3,000 rubles (about US$50) to support the Russian army, a teacher at a school in the neighboring town of Podolsk told independent Russian news agency Important Stories “ (iStories).

“They say they don’t have pants and socks [at the front lines]’ the teacher, who was not named, told the outlet.

Donation forms obtained from iStories showed that teachers had the choice to withhold part of their pay this month. The money would then be transferred according to the forms to a charitable foundation called Cultural Development of Podolsk Youth.

“I invite everyone to take part and thereby bring our common victory closer,” Podolsk boss Dmitry Zharikov was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Half of the teachers’ school staff reportedly got involved in the fundraiser.

According to iStories, the teachers are unsure what their money is being spent on and what supports the so-called cultural development of the Podolsk youth.

Writing as a school employee, iStories asked one of the alleged founders of the organization, Dmitry Nikolaev, where the funds would go.

“Currently, the city administration is negotiating with the responsible state authorities, to whom, how and where [to transfer money]. After all this is clarified, the purchase and shipping/delivery will be carried out,” Nikolaev replied.

“[Zharikov] will let everyone in the city and at all locations as well as all helpers know how this transport will be handled. This initiative came from the city’s students and is completely transparent,” he added.

As of Sept. 8, 33 regions of Russia have pledged 4.8 billion rubles ($80.2 million) in support of the Russian military in Ukraine, iStories said in a previous report.

According to the outlet, around 85% of these funds have already been spent. According to the report, 4.2 billion rubles ($70.2 million) was used to compensate families of the dead and wounded.

Russian independent media outlet Mediazona said it had confirmed 6,219 Russian military deaths in Ukraine as of September 9.

But the true number of Russian casualties in the ongoing conflict could be anywhere from 70,000 to 80,000, US Undersecretary for Defense Policy Colin Kahl said last month.

Servicemen of pro-Russian troops drive tanks during the conflict between Ukraine and Russia near the settlement of Olenivka in Donetsk region, Ukraine, July 29, 2022. Reuters / ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO

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