Wednesday, March 22, 2023

This is how Putin is raising an army of young patriots

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Boys can join the Russian Youth Army from the age of eight.

At the Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad in Volgograd, Russia, dozens of children and youth stand in a circle to take the oath of allegiance to the Youth Army (Junarmiya). The Hall of Triumph is made entirely of white marble and decorated with symbols of the Red Army. “Do you swear eternal loyalty to the motherland?” a group leader asks the children in their beige trousers and red caps. “I swear,” they all reply in unison.

Patriotic education has been on the rise in Russia for years, but it has become even more important since the Kremlin sent troops to Ukraine almost a year ago. According to the Youth Army’s website, more than 1.2 million children and young people between the ages of eight and 18 have joined the movement since it was founded by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (67) in 2016 – “to get young people to support Russia with the To defend gun in hand », it was said at the time.

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