In the nets of doubt – Militarization of children?

In the nets of doubt – Militarization of children?
© Young Army Press Service

In the territory of Transbaikalia (which, by the way, is a little smaller than France), the members of the Young Army set up a workshop for weaving camouflage nets for the soldiers of the special military operation. They come to weave after school. And their friends, who have not yet tried on the beige uniform with the red cap, are there too. Instead of playing games on the computer. Instead of surfing social media.

With teenagers, the echo of the propaganda of the television set is over: it is the Internet that reigns supreme. Is he ruling badly? Let’s go! Forced? Well, try to force two-meter guys to do patchwork, if they don’t want.

Why do they want to do it, that’s the question.

I recently visited the Suvorov School of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. My first thought: if the future doctors and teachers of the country are educated in the same way, the shortage of personnel will remain in the conspiracy books. Modern sports complexes, shooting ranges, training machines, relaxation rooms. Everything is new and shiny. The education is free of charge.

– “Is it possible not to enter the Ministry of Internal Affairs later?” – asks one of the mothers.

– “Of course, no one will force you to,” the guide in epaulettes smiles. “But you can’t cheat with the system: the children themselves will want to go there: we are raising patriots.“

And indeed, we looked around: everywhere – on the territory, in the canteen, in the dormitory, in the classrooms the portraits of Suvorov and Bagration are watching. The school banner and the tricolor flag are almost on the iconostasis. In the museum hall there are medals and orders of graduates who participated in military operations. In the most spacious and sunny classroom – the hero’s office….

We really can’t cheat with the system. And in the districts where they make protective nets, they know a lot about military-patriotic education. In the Borzinsky district of the Transbaikalia region, in 2005, on the basis of the Department of Internal Affairs, they organized the first junior army detachment “Alpha”. Then there was the “Vitaly’s post”, cadet classes. The children of the first members of the Young Army are already in the ranks of the volunteers!

I ask Nikolai Sergeyevich, an old journalist, if this is good or bad, if it is a question of militarization of children or a simple circle of young people. He was among the Pioneers and the Komsomol, shook hands with the builders of the Baikal-Amur line, cut wood for veterans with a bunch of exemplary pioneers. And his father went to the front of the Great Patriotic War when he was sixteen years old – there were no TVs then, but that’s how it was.

Patriotism is the love of the motherland. It has been widely and effectively maintained by children’s organizations in the Soviet Union and beyond“ Nikolai Sergeyevich begins to tell us, but he is silent with a wave of his hand: “We have dismantled it“.

But he is fair, memorable and wise. Are there no scouts in America (and there were in Russia before the revolution), the Organization of Ho Chi Minh Pioneers in Vietnam (it has 12 million people), the Union of Hartzers in Poland? There are in all countries. So let’s build bridges between the Pioneers and the members of the Young Army, between grandfathers and grandchildren. They don’t just parade in front of monuments. They study history, communicate with interesting contemporaries, plant trees, after all. And the rumors that Russia has been raising soldiers since childhood are just rumors.

The company has long had a request for volunteering. For decades, young people have been gathering in teams, searching for missing children, extinguishing fires, helping the elderly. The energy, like the springs in the ice, is looking for an exit route.

I understand the concerns about military organizations (I am a parent myself, and my tenth-grade son registered in the military register just yesterday). But they can teach children to “pull the trigger” in an alley. For us adults, it’s about cultivating a critical mind, learning to be a friend, to be there for others, to be a “team leader”.

And the nets, woven by children’s hands, can certainly save someone’s life.

Elena Slastina especially for International Reporters
Translation by Christelle Néant

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