Since the Ukraine invasion in February 2022, Russia has been dedicated to enhancing its military arsenal, from cutting-edge weaponry to seeking military support from other nations.
Russia’s public schools have seen an accelerated militarization, a change driven by the Moscow government rather than a sudden increase in patriotism.
The country’s transformation is evident in its playgrounds, gradually becoming spaces for military practice. Even children at the kindergarten level are seen marching in military outfits, while older students are getting trained in activities like trench digging, grenade throwing, and real ammunition shooting.
Preparing the Youth for Defense
Russia is redefining its approach to education by magnifying the importance of military service. Introducing “voluntary companies” and an adjusted curriculum to defend the homeland showcases this shift. CNN highlighted this rise in militarized teaching.
The influence of these “military-patriotic” clubs is growing, with the Education Minister Sergei Kravtsov, revealing that about 250,000 people are involved in the activities of nearly 10,000 such clubs in Russian educational institutions. This shift includes compulsory classes on military-patriotic values and revised history lessons that shed light on Russia’s military successes.
In recent developments, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a law in August which mandates a course called “Fundamentals of Security and Defense of the Motherland” in schools. This was followed by the education ministry endorsing programs like military excursions, military-themed sports games, interaction sessions with military professionals, and even drone lessons.
The ministry plans to teach high school students how to handle live ammunition, ensuring it is done “strictly under the supervision of seasoned military officers or instructors, and only at designated firing ranges.”
A document from the Education Ministry, unveiled by the independent Russian media source Important Stories, elaborates on the program’s goal. It aims to foster “an appreciation for the aesthetics of military uniforms, rituals, and combat traditions.” As per the document, the program is currently in its trial phase and is set to be fully launched in 2024.