Russia’s Policy of Militarising Teenagers: New Casualties and Shelling

Children in Donbass

The militarisation of Russia and Kremlin-favoured military-patriotic upbringing bear fruit. However, the consequences are very far from those desirable. Instead of love for the homeland, teenagers are instilled only with aggressive moods and illusions of all-permissiveness, especially when they have weapons in their hands.

Only about two months have passed since the tragedy, the 11 May mass school shooting in Kazan. It had the gravest consequences since the attack on a college in Kerch (21 people were killed) in 2018. Back then, Ilnaz Galyaviev, 19, shot dead seven children and two adults perceiving himself as a “God.” Twenty-three more children were wounded. But it seems that the Russian authorities are not drawing any conclusions. And if they do, their conclusions are wrong and far from common sense. After the tragedy, some government speakers began to urgently revise the laws on gun ownership, while others highlighted the dangers of mass military-patriotic games, which instil interest and even love for guns in young people. However, those talks have not improved the situation.

The so-called “training” of All-Russia “Young Army” National Military Patriotic Social Movement Association members in the Novosibirsk region could have ended tragically. On 5 July, the shooting occurred in the Bolotninsk area, in a tent camp in the village of Kornilovo where about 50 children from the entire district, accompanied by experts of the Bolotninsk Youth Centre arrived for two-day outdoor recreation. Several teenagers broke into the camp and started firing machine guns and automatic rifles.

The “attackers” turned out to be representatives of a local military-patriotic club led by their mentor Sergey Kosmovsky. Thus, they conducted training in extreme conditions. Without any arrangements or warnings, they opened fire from blind-loaded though resembling real combat weapons. Sort of “innocent” entertainment…

Most children were cleaning the shoreline near the river at the time of the shooting, but at least six people remained in the camp, including staff and children. It is difficult to imagine the condition of adults and children who found themselves in the center of this “entertainment” and who came under machine gun and automatic rifle fire. Adults got a scare, children had hysterics. It is difficult to say what impact this situation, labeled “harmless” by the Bolotninsk Youth Centre management, will have on the further development and life of adults and children.

As Kosmovsky explained, such a “spectacular” appearance had to mark the beginning of classes for children on how to disassemble and assemble a machine gun and on service in the army.

“He did not expect their appearance to have such an effect on people. He said that the adults in the camp attacked him and were about to lynch him,” the Vesti news story says.

I wonder what reaction the hodden “Rambo” expected? Flowers and applause in response to shots and smoke bombs? This time all went well. There were no casualties, so the district and regional authorities are trying to soft-pedal this incident. Of course, the occupational aptitude of that lame mentor and those who gave a permit for weapons, though blind-loaded, will be checked. But these checks will not lead to anything and will not produce a result. The entire system of military-patriotic training in Russia is built upon the aggression and neo-imperial sentiments of the Kremlin authorities.

Is this what children need to be taught? By manipulating “bonds” and imaginary “external threats,” children are taught to be thoughtless soldiers of Putin’s government. But the Russian government does not seem to understand that it depends on the younger generation to determine what the Russia of the future will be like. Although, that is not so. Putin understands everything! The Kremlin is purposefully guiding Russia towards the path of aggression and militarism, practically dooming the country to alienation from all traditional world values. Towards the path of weapons, blood, and death…

And this path starts from with such “upbringing” of youth.

Yuri Fedorenko, Head of NGO “Agency for Development of Democracy and Information Freedoms”

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