Putin pushes war history and patriotism in schools as he continues his campaign to militarize Russian youth
- Last week, Russian President
Vladimir Putinsubmitted amendments that would update Russia's educationlaw to emphasize military history and patriotism.
- In February, the president was reported telling a group of entrepreneurs that patriotism needed to be discussed "constantly... at all levels."
- In 2015, the government launched a youth army that now has about 700,000 members and runs patriotic re-education camps for young offenders. There are also plans for a $63 million military-themed amusement park.
President Vladimir Putin is looking to change Russia's education curriculum to include war history and patriotism, as part of his effort to militarize Russia's youth.
On Thursday, Putin submitted amendments to Russia's education law that aimed to expand the definition of "upbringing" to include "a sense of patriotism and citizenship, respect for the memory of the defenders of the Fatherland and the achievements of the Fatherland's heroes" according to The Moscow Times.
The amendments also include a provision that would let Putin extend his rule until 2036.
The measures will need to be approved by Russia's parliament, but when Putin first signed the education law in 2012 it was ratified with few changes, The Moscow Times reported, despite protests over new fees and a reduction in the number of schools.
Patriotism has been on Putin's mind a lot this year: "We don't have and there can't be any other unifying idea, apart from patriotism," he told a group of Russian entrepreneurs in February, according to The Moscow Times. "It is necessary to constantly talk about it, at all levels."
The law change is the latest move in a years-long campaign by Putin to militarize Russia's youth.
In 2015 he created a youth army, the Yunarmia, that's been described by supporters as Russia's answer to America's Boy Scouts but compared to the Nazis' Hitler Youth by detractors.
According to its website, the Yunarmia currently has more than 700,000 members between the ages of 8 and 18.
The group receives support from the Defense Ministry, according to The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, and members of the military are expected to enroll their children.
Yunarmia's young members wear red berets and meet several times a week to exercise, plan events, and discuss history, primarily about war.
"People around town have compared us to the Hitler Youth; we're not," Yunarmia instructor Alexander Oborotov told The Moscow Times in 2019. "It's not that I think there will be a war with the United States tomorrow, but we do need to be prepared."
Two officials told The Moscow Times that teen members would gather every year in a new $63 million military-focused theme park for a weeklong session focused on patriotism and war. The government announced last year that the Yunarmia would operate patriotic re-education camps for young offenders.
In April 2019, Russia's state television launched a 24-hour channel, Pobeda ("victory"), targeting Russian youths. The channel only plays programs related to World War II.
"It's a crime," Valentina Grebenik, the executive secretary of the Union of Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia, told The Moscow Times. "The militarization of childhood is banned by the [United Nations] Convention on the Rights of the Child. What is going on is an outrage against our kids and our society."Read the original article on Business Insider
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