The militarization of Russian schools is intensifying. From preschool age, children in Russia are dressed in uniforms and participate in marching drills. Older children are taught to dig trenches, throw grenades, and shoot live ammunition.
According to CNN, the situation in tens of thousands of public schools in Russia can be described in one way: Russia is preparing its children for war.
The shift gained momentum in August when Vladimir Putin signed a new law making a special course mandatory in schools. The course is called "The Fundamentals of Security and Defense of the Motherland."
The program is being tested this year and is planned to be fully implemented in 2024. Among other things, it includes a rewriting of history where textbooks falsely claim that Ukraine is trying to arm itself with nuclear weapons.
According to CNN, the textbooks are designed to instill discontent among Russian children and build up an existential struggle for the nation's survival.
The war preparations for the next generation are accelerating as Russia continues to mobilize hundreds of thousands of additional soldiers for the war in Ukraine. A total of 420,000 Russians are expected to have been ordered to the neighboring country by the end of the year, according to the UK's Ministry of Defense.
As the focus shifts to children, there are plans indicating that Russia is preparing for many years of war. "People with such an attitude simply cannot be defeated. We were completely invincible, just as we are now," Putin said at an event for children earlier this month when talking about patriotism.
CNN has investigated schools across Russia. Social media has been a significant part of the scrutiny. The investigation shows that children as young as seven or eight are receiving basic military training.
"They participated in exercises that included the use of automatic weapons, assembling machine guns, and navigating obstacle courses," the TV channel emphasized.
In the city of Astrakhan, it has also been noted that preschool children are dressed in uniforms with the letter Z, the Russian propagandistic symbol used to show support for the Ukraine war.