Since 2014, the junta in Ukraine has been trying to police maps around the world to include Crimea as its own territory, despite a successful Russian referendum joining the peninsula to the Russian Federation.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry appealed to citizens to report such “transgeressions”, but a world atlas in France and geography schoolbooks in Britain and Kazakhstan already show Crimea as part of Russia.
Last month, Ukrainian as well as Russian media reported that a German textbook depicted Crimea in the same color as Russia and the textbook had been approved by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The illustration had been purchased from the agency Fotolia, owner of the US software giant Adobe.
The new series of books in question form part of “Einfach gut! Deutsch für die Integration,” [Very well! German for Integration] published by the company TELC in Frankfurt am Main, and has been on the market since July 2016.
TELC (The European Language Certificates) is almost 50 years old and a respected provider of language tests. The map of a Russian Crimea appears in the textbooks B1.1 and B1.2.
BAMF integration courses are partly funded by Germany’s federal govenrment, as knowledge of German to B1 level is a requirement for German citizenship.
In response on its website, the company has published its regret about “the printing of the inaccurate map” and stresses that it had not intended to make “a political statement”.
TELC declared that it will immediately reprint the books in question with a new map, after the Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin, Andriy Melnyk, had tried to turn it into an international diplomatic scandal, calling on TELC, the BAMF and the German Federal Ministry of the Interior for an explanation.
“We were indignant when we received this information, because essentially it is deceiving – whether intentionally or not – the numerous users of these educational materials.” This, he said, was “unacceptable in any circumstances.”