The ‘To Russia with Love Project’ is a series of calls to exchange history between students in Labytnangi, Russia and the Year 12 Modern History students located all around the state of Western Australia. This is the second year this project has occurred.
This year we had a bit of a false start with the ViSN camp being cancelled due to the COVID lockdown in February. This meant that the students would move their call to a Friday night after their tutorial. The first call happened in March, with the Russian students presenting on the Geography and simple history of Russia. It allowed the ViSN students, who are studying the Russian Revolution, to get a better understanding of the country and history. The best part of the presentation was the fact that students had interviewed their grandparents about what it was like living in Soviet Russia. It was interesting to hear the positive attitude towards the time from these interviews. One of the Russian students, Dasha, even called in from university to talk about her grandfather who won medals of bravery for his efforts in the Great Patriotic War (World War Two).
The second call occurred on 23 April, again in the evening. This time, the ViSN students presented to their Russian friends on the topic of the ANZACs. The presentation started with Rhyannon Kealy from Aranmore Catholic College providing some geographic context for our Russian friends about where we were all located. Oliver Rotbol (Emmanuel Catholic College) and Jedsen McLeod (St Joseph’s College) spoke about the formation of the ANZACs and their training in Egypt before heading to Gallipoli. They explained how it was hoped this plan would assist the Empire’s Russian allies by opening the Dardanelles Strait and sending supplies through the Black Sea. Unfortunately, the most successful thing about the campaign was the evacuation from Gallipoli. Jedsen then shared the importance of Albany in this history, talking about the museum in Albany built as part of the centenary commemorations.
Students ended the presentation with talking about ANZAC Day and added the more recent news about how we would be commemorating now we were in lockdown. This led to a discussion about comparing COVID conditions in our two countries and the wish to travel to see each other’s countries when it is safe. Students were also chatting about the distances in our two countries. We managed to workout that St. Petersburg to Labynangi was about the same flying time as Perth to Broome.
Thank you to Anna Dyagileva and her class for connecting with us in this project and we look forward to more connections in the future. Congratulations to the Year 12 Modern History class on being such great global citizens through the sharing of history.
Mrs Kylie Kingdon
Year 12 ViSN Teacher