Putin to add military training to school lessons, Education Ministry insists lessons are ‘out-of-school’


Russia’s Education Ministry has pushed back on reports that it plans to introduce military training into its curriculum from next school year, insisting the module will be “extra-curricular”.

Russian media reported that the ministry planned to introduce a military training module as part of the curriculum that would appear in schools. The ministry quickly seemed correct and clarified that the module would only appear as extracurricular, according to RIA Novosti.

“An extracurricular module on basic military training will be prepared for Russian schools and will be introduced into educational programs from the next school year,” the ministry said in a statement.

The proposed module allegedly includes 140 hours of military training over the last two years of study, with seasoned veterans teaching the course. The ministry did not say whether the module would be compulsory for all students.

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The Russian Defense Ministry said education served a necessary function as the “special military operation” in Ukraine continued to ensure that soldiers had “the necessary experience to participate in hostilities”.

At a school in Khartsyzk, eastern Ukraine, on June 17, 2015, teenagers learn the basics of warfare, as the conflict with Ukrainian forces continues.
(Andrey Borodulin/AFP via Getty Images)

“Introducing such a subject in schools will systematically prepare citizens for a possible confrontation with the enemy,” said First Deputy Defense Minister Valery Gerasimov.

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The module says Russian military officials expect the offensive to last longer than originally thought – or that new offensives could occur as the war with the West continues.

Schools of the Soviet Military Academy on January 1, 1989 in Leningrad, USSR.

Schools of the Soviet Military Academy on January 1, 1989 in Leningrad, USSR.
(Photo by Patrick Aventurier/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Rebekah Koffler, president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting and a former DIA intelligence officer, noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have fallen back on Soviet-era tactics. She recounted her own experiences growing up in Soviet Russia and the type of military training she received in high school and college, which she said was “the norm”.

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“We had emergency drills at school, where we put on gas masks, ran outside a shelter in a nearby location,” Koffler told Fox News Digital. “A retired colonel taught us basic military training, which included timed exercises to assemble and disassemble an AK-47. No live fire though. He was always angry and constantly scolding us.”

Inside the facility, children learn to shoot a rifle March 5, 1999 outside Moscow.  Russian children's units are made up of children who have been abandoned by their parents.

Inside the facility, children learn to shoot a rifle March 5, 1999 outside Moscow. Russian children’s units are made up of children who have been abandoned by their parents.
(Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Liaison)

The real purpose of this training would be to “normalize warfare”, she said, saying the kind of training he is trying to implement is “unlikely to improve combat readiness”.

“There’s so much more to warfare than walking in a straight line with your toes pointed and shouting responses to commands, but what this training does is it normalizes warfare,” Koffler explained.

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“War in the Russian mentality, given its history, is the normal state of affairs – you always prepare to repel an aggressor – peacetime is always temporary,” she continued. “This indoctrination makes it easier for Russian leaders to convince the younger generation to make sacrifices for Mother Russia.”


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