«The soul is formed by kindergarten and the family. But first of all by school! I went to first grade in 1943. Winter, war… What kind of breakfast could you get at home? Herbal tea. A piece of bread.
But at school, the stove was heated from the early morning. After second period, the teacher brewed the very same tea and poured it into everyone’s mug of slightly diluted saccharin – personally! She would open the door to let in the attendant, who brought with him a baking tray full of little hand-pies. What they were with, I don’t remember, but they were the most delicious in the world! We ate them, washed them down with hot tea as our teacher read us various stories. That was called an education! That was called care! Care for the next generation.
This is how children are raised to love their motherland; when they feel their motherland loves and cares for them. And now I listen to all these arguments about paid educations, elite schools… I do not understand the concept of “elite students”. Elite dogs and horses – that I understand. But I don’t know “elite people”. Educated people I know. Intelligent people I know.
An attempt to replace one class with another – the intelligentsia for the elite,
whose elitism is determined by their level of income – gives birth to stratification and, in turn, the destruction of our souls.
Ostrovskiy once said, “Without the theater, there is no nation.” To paraphrase, I will say that without culture, there is no nation. How could they have removed hours of Russian literature and language classes from school curriculums? And now they have finally realized! So they returned writing composition to school exams. And suddenly it turned out that over the years, when children were being prepared for the standardized state exam, they forgot how to formulate their thoughts in writing. That is, they forgot how to analyze, reflect! Now, again, they try to readjust, add something here, remove something there. It cannot be so! Once and for all, it needs to be said, “Excuse us! We tried for better, but it turned out worse!” Remove the standardized state exam from the curriculum. Restore the exams to the form in which they existed for centuries.
If you ask a modern schoolboy, “do you know where Baikal is?” you’ll be told to leave him alone. And that a monument for Marshal Zhukov stands towering near Red Square, they also will not know. At best they wonder who this general might be...
When we start to forget our own history, we end up with what we have today.»
Yuriy Mefodyevich Solomin.
Artistic Director of Maliy Theater.
(excerpt from an interview)