Russia’s Putin pushes for ‘war history,’ ‘patriotism’ courses in schools

Russian President Vladimir Putin has submitted legislation that would add “patriotism” and “war history” to Russia’s required education.

The proposal was submitted Thursday but requires approval in both houses of Russia’s parliament before becoming law. The amendments would seek to add “a sense of patriotism and citizenship, respect for the memory of the defenders of the fatherland and the achievements of the fatherland’s heroes” to the current education requirements, as translated by The Moscow Times.

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The move is just the latest in a series of attempts to militarize Russia’s youth. In 2015, Putin established the Yunarima, or “Youth Army,” a “youth military-patriotic movement” that the country’s Defense Ministry supports, according to the report.

“People around town have compared us to the Hitler Youth; we’re not,” said Alexander Oborotov, 26, a Youth Army instructor. “It’s not that I think there will be a war with the United States tomorrow, but we do need to be prepared.”

Around 416,000 children between the ages of 8 and 18 had joined the Yunamira as of April 2019. The organization’s official website claims that the number may have nearly doubled in only a year.

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The government also instituted a policy in 2019 that enrolls juvenile offenders in military reeducation camps, which aim to instill them with “discipline and patriotic values.”

“Juveniles prone to committing offenses will be sent to military-patriotic camps in 2019,” Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev was quoted as saying last year by the state-run TASS news agency.

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Observers said Friday that Putin’s proposal cites an article in the country’s constitution that is yet to take effect due to a postponed vote on new amendments.

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