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Russian soldiers “know what we're fighting for” after seeing gender-neutral toilets in Ukrainian schools, says St. Petersburg Governor

In a recent post on Telegram, St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov wrote that the Russian military had allegedly come across “gender-neutral toilets” in Ukrainian schools, which meant they “understand very well what [Russia is] fighting for.” The post was published after Beglov’s visit to a hospital treating soldiers wounded in Ukraine.

“Visited our guys in the hospital, congratulated them on the [Orthodox] New Year. My soul practically melted, [everyone I spoke to] understood [me] completely. It’s easiest to talk to the soldiers on political topics. Those who went through the Ukrainianized version of Donbas with a machine gun in their hands understand very well what we are fighting for.

These guys who saw toilets in schools, where instead of two rooms: [one] for girls and [one] for boys, there are three — girls, boys and gender-neutral — do not need explanations as to what values we stand for,” Beglov said.

A number of media outlets recently reported that transparent plastic doors were installed in the toilets of a school in Bratsk, a city in Russia’s Irkutsk Region. The school’s administration explained the decision by claiming that “children are barbarians.” Ekaterina Vlasova, the school principal, called the pupils “little barbarians who don't appreciate and take care of anything.”

According to Vlasova, the schoolchildren broke the normal doors and the transparent ones had to be installed urgently at the end of December because there were no others. However, locals commented that the transparent doors were installed much earlier, and said many of the children preferred to use the toilets in the nearest shopping mall.

Not all Russian schools have basic amenities, according to a report by the publication To Be Accurate («Если быть точным» or “Esli Byt Tochnym”) last September. Every tenth school building in Russian villages did not have central heating in 2022, while 12% did not have access to water or sewage systems. More than half of school buildings in the villages of Yakutia, Dagestan, Tyva and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug in 2022 did not have water and sewage. In Tyva, only 15% of rural buildings have central heating.

In total, 6,000 school buildings in Russia are not equipped with sewage systems, 5,600 have no water supply, and 5,000 have no central heating.

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