Teachers in Russia have been asked to donate money to aid Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, but they are unsure what the funds will be used on, according to reports.
Attendees of a regional meeting for teachers in Moscow earlier this month were told to voluntarily donate 3,000 rubles (about $50) each to support the Russian army, a teacher from a school in the neighboring city of Podolsk told independent Russian investigative outlet 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 by iStories showed that teachers were given the choice to have part of their salaries withheld this month. The money would then be transferred to a charitable foundation called Cultural Development of the Youth of Podolsk, according to the forms.
“I invite everyone to take part, thereby bringing our common victory closer,” Dmitry Zharikov, the head of Podolsk, was quoted as saying by the outlet.
Half of the staff at the teacher’s school reportedly took part in the donation drive.
The teachers are unsure what their money will be spent on and what the so-called Cultural Development of the Youth of Podolsk supports, according to iStories.
Writing as a school employee, iStories asked one of the organization’s reported founders, Dmitry Nikolaev, where the funds would go.
“At the moment, the city administration is negotiating with the competent state bodies, to whom, how and where [to transfer money]. After all this is resolved, the purchase and shipment/delivery will be carried out,” Nikolaev replied.
“[Zharikov] will inform everyone in the city and at all the sites as well as everyone who helped how this shipment will be completed. This initiative came from the students of the city, and it is completely transparent,” he added.
As of Sept. 8, 33 of Russia’s regions have pledged 4.8 billion rubles ($80.2 million) to support the Russian military in Ukraine, iStories said in a previous report.
Around 85% of these funds have already been spent, according to the outlet. The report said 4.2 billion rubles ($70.2 million) were used to compensate families of the dead and wounded.
Independent Russian media outlet Mediazona said it has been able to confirm 6,219 Russian military deaths in Ukraine as of Sept. 9.
However, the real number of Russian casualties in the ongoing conflict may be between 70,000 and 80,000, U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy Colin Kahl said last month.