In Russian high schools, all subjects continue through eleventh grade, the final grade before graduation. Only geography terminates after tenth grade, giving the general impression that it is of secondary importance. This seems to be a longstanding view. Even in The Minor («Недоросль»), an eighteenth-century classic comedy by Denis Fonvizin, Mrs. Simpleton (mother of the title character, Mitrofan) seems utterly confounded when asked whether her son is studying geography. The work is full of “speaking names” that make it crystal clear what each character represents.
Mrs. Simpleton (to her son): You hear, my sweet? What sort of science is that?
Mitrofan (quietly, to his mother): How should I know?
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