The city of Vladivostok school 14 has been renamed to honour Yevgeny Orlov, a PMC Wagner fighter killed in Ukraine, BBC News Russian reports.
According to the BBC, the decree on renaming the school was signed back in October 2022, however, neither local media nor the school management reported on the matter at the time.
Also in October, the school website and the school constituent documents started featuring the phrase “named after Hero of the Russian Federation, participant of the special military operation in Ukraine, Yevgeny Orlov”. His name is also on the list of the Russian servicemen killed in Ukraine compiled by joint efforts of the BBC and Mediazona.
There are different points of view on who lobbied for this decision. According to ex-principal of the school Maxim Kilchevsky, the idea was initiated by the school and then brought before the city administration. The school representatives say the opposite — “the administration proposed it.”
Ukraine added Yevgeny Orlov to the sanctions list in 2021 as a recon sniper with PMC Wagner. HIs connection to the PMC is also confirmed by his grave at the Vladivostok cemetery. According to the BBC, who have the photo at their disposal, the Wagner flag is hoisted on the grave.
Furthermore, according to Orlov’s son Andrey, in 2022 his father fought in Ukraine as part of the Russian army. His father told Andrey that after the Syria War he no longer wanted to take part in unofficial troops.
Andrey Orlov referred to the school’s new name as “a bit wild”. “It doesn’t align with my position on what’s happening, although [everything] is clear when it comes to the state agenda. I’m against everything going on, from all sides. Everyone is just making the world go to hell, and our country was the one to start it. This was also not the recognition my father wanted,” he said, talking to the BBC.
According to the BBC, the practice of renaming schools to honour servicemen killed in Ukraine is quite popular. In particular, the media outlet has discovered such schools in the Amur, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Kaluga, Novosibirsk, Rostov, and Ulyanovsk regions, as well as in Bashkortostan, Dagestan, and Tatarstan.