Putingjugend: Putin’s youth army [updated: 6/15/2018]

Hitler Youth members performing the Nazi salute at a rally at the Lustgarten in Berlin, 1933Historical note: The Hitler Youth (German: Hitlerjugend) was the youth organisation of the Nazi Party in Germany. From 1933 until 1945, it was the sole official youth organisation in Germany and was partially a paramilitary organisation; it was composed of the Hitler Youth proper for male youths aged 14 to 18, the German Youngsters in the Hitler Youth for younger boys aged 10 to 14, and the League of German Girls.

Putin restored Soviet Union paramilitary organization DOSAAF (Volunteer Society for Cooperation with the Army, Aviation, and Navy) in 2009 [link], then created Russian Movement of Schoolchildren in 2015. These organizations has been used as a base to create The Youth Army (Russian: “Yunarmia”, Young Army) in 2016 [link]. The Youth Army is supported and funded by the Government of Russia through the Ministry of Defence of Russia. This paramilitary youth organization share a lot of common characteristics with Hitlerjugend, so it’s already know as Putinjugend (Putin Youth). The Young Army claims to have  [June 2018 data] more than 238 thousands of 8 to 18 years old members [link]. It’s growing fast, had about 192 thousands of members in February 2018.

The Youth Army. Lipetsk city. June 2017.

There were a few articles in international media about The Young Army, for example:

Daily Mail: Putin’s youth army: Russian strongman sets up Soviet-style pioneer scheme for schoolchildren but faces web claim it’s echo of HITLER [30 May 2016]

Daily Mail: Putin’s ‘youth army’ swells from 40,000 recruits to 190,000 in just one year as Russia continues to strengthen its military ahead of elections next month [1 Feb 2018]

But The Young Army it’s just a part of the entire system of military education for children in Russia. The real Putinjugend is much bigger then just The Youth Army. I’ve tried to consolidate information about all kinds of military education for children in Russia.

Military education in Russia is managed by different government and non-government organizations: Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Education and Science (in collaboration with Ministry of Defense,  Ministry of Emergencies , Ministry of Internal Affairs, The Investigative Committee, Paramilitary Russian Cossacks organizations), Russian Orthodox Church and multiple paramilitary organizations.

Actually Putinjugend include the following organizations and activities: DOSAAF, The Young Army (under The Ministry of Defense), two important types of full boarding military schools: cadet corps under Ministry of Defense and cadet schools under Ministry of Education and Science, cadet classes in regular schools, cadet groups in kindergartens, military education withing so called Environment, Health & Safety school lessons, other military activities in regular schools and kindergartens (e.g. war games), military clubs under The Russian Orthodox Church, other military education activities under The Russian Orthodox Church and military education for children sponsored by multiple adult paramilitary organizations.

The cadet corps exist in many countries as well as they existed in Russia. But Russian Government (Ministry of Education and Science in collaboration with Ministry of Defense,  Ministry of Emergencies, Ministry of Internal Affairs, The Investigative Committee) went further and opened thousands of cadet classes in regular schools. Cadet classes are specialized military classes in regular schools (for kids from 7 to 18 years old). Children in cadet classes wear military uniform, have regular school lessons before noon and military education and training afternoon on daily basis. Cadet classes starts from 1st grade(7 years old) or from 5th grade (11 years old) depends of the school. [link]

This kind of military education in Russia is growing very fast, the Russian government allowed schools in regions to open cadet classes and only then they started to think about centralization and unification, that is why It’s hard to say how many children are already involved.

There were 177 cadet corps (61846 children) [under the Ministry of Defense] and 7000 cadet classes in regular schools [under the Ministry of Education and science] in 2014 [link]. Usually they claim to have 20-25 students in a cadet class, so there were about 140000-175000 children in cadet classes in 2014. But since 2014 a lot of new cadet classes have been opened. First cadet class was opened in Moscow in 2014 and in 2017 they already had 168 cadet classes [link].

Russians claim that they have 12500 cadets in cadet classes in Moscow in 2018 [link].

There were 22000 children in cadet classes in 2012 and 41000 in 2017 in Volga Federal District (about 20% of population of Russia) [link] and 49000 in 2018 [link].

In Khabarovsk Krai federal district (1% of population of Russia) they claimed to have 4500 children in cadet classes in 2016, 5 times greater then in 2011 [link].

They claim to have 100,000 of children in Russian Cossack classes (in regular schools) in 2018 [link] but cadet classes supported by Russian Cossack paramilitary organizations is just a part of cadet classes under Ministry of Education and Science, supported by Ministry of Defense,  Ministry of Emergencies , Ministry of Internal Affairs, The Investigative Committee and  Russian Cossack organizations.

So the total number of children in cadet classes of regular schools in 2018 seems to be greater than 250000.  Again, we’re talking about children in military uniform, with daily military training in regular schools. There are a lot of articles in Russian internet about new cadet classes opened in regular schools in different cities and in small towns and villages during last years.

Cadets in Russian schools:

Cadet classes is the scariest part of the school military education because this is what we don’t expect to see in regular schools. But not only cadet classes are involved into military training. All schools classes are involved. All other classes just don’t wear military uniform daily and have no military training every day, but they still have a lot of military education and training.

The system of military education for children in Russia used to use days like May 9 Victory Day and February 23 Defender of the Fatherland Day for the most intense military propaganda. But last years they went further. Now they have two months of “military-patriotic education”: a month in April-May and a month of “military-patriotic education” in January-February. During these two months children conduct war games, visit military museums, sing military songs, have thematic lessons and so on. And there are a lot of other days during a year when they do the same (for example, every significant for Russia historical date from WWII is used as an occasion to have military lessons and other military activities in schools) .There are thousands of photos and videos from Russian schools with kids involved into military education:

Novocheboksarsk city, Chuvash Republic.

But not only number of kids involved into military education is growing. The schools in Russia are getting new specialized class rooms, shooting galleries, shooting simulators, guns, training grenades, mines and other military equipment.

“… gymnasium and lyceums must have if not shooting gallery then at least shooting simulators, otherwise prosecutor’s office will insistently ask the school to buy them …” Russian TV, 2014

School in Khimki city, Moscow oblast. October 2016.

Scary? Not really, compare to the following.

In Russian kindergartens during the same two months of “military-patriotic education” as well as for other occasions children play war games, play with military toys, sing war time songs, wear military uniform, learn military basics.There are a lot of photos and videos from Russian kindergartens with kids involved into this kind of activity.

Stavropol city, may 2016.

Russian kindergarten. Soldier to kids: “Our country is the biggest and the strongest country in the world because we’re strong and our weapon is the best. We’re never f*cking never losing any war.”

Russian kindergarten. Kalashnikov rifle Disassembly/Reassembly.

Kingisepp town, Leningrad Oblast. April 2015. Cadets visited a kindergarten.

Children in military uniform sing war time songs in a kindergarten. Obninsk city, Kaluga Oblast. May 2014.

War game in a kindergarten. Polevskoy town, Sverdlovsk Oblast.

Military dances and games in a kindergarten in Orekhovo-Zuyevsky District, Moscow Oblast. March, 2015.

War game in a kindergarten. Syktykvar city, Komi Republic.

Military game in a kindergarten. Organized by the army (Ministry of Defense) and The Federal Agency of Youth Affairs (under the Ministry of Education and Science).

Kids in a kindergarten are dancing with toy assault rifles. Song about Russian army.

A kindergarten. Putin. Tanks. Military uniform.

War game in a kindergarten.

Web site for school and kindergarten teachers contains 4 categories with articles, photos and videos about military-patriotic education:
Military professions, military vehicles and equipment.
Military vehicles and equipment. Handmade models.
War game “Zarnitsa”.
Patriotic education.

Scary enough? They went further. Rusian TV: “We already have a lot of of patriotic [cadet] classes in schools, it’s time for kindergartens”.

So now they’re opening cadet groups in kindergartens, similar to cadet classes in schools. Kids, starting from 3 years old, are getting military education and wearing military uniform on daily basis.

“It’s hard to talk with 3 years old about ethical things, so we’re starting from physical training, but we work and we believe that when the kids will be in school preparation group [5-6 years old] they already will know that they must serve in the military and they must love our fatherland. We hope we will succeed [in military education for 3-6 years old].”

Bratsk city, Irkutsk Oblast. February 2015. “First cadet group in Irkutsk Oblast has been created. Roman Kuramshin, Army veteran, decided to teach kids. The main goal of the kindergarten is military patriotic education. Kids want to become soldiers and they must know more about army.”

Guryevsk town, Kaliningrad Oblast. “First group of patriotic education has been created in a kindergarten… We already have cadet classes in schools and already started this work in kindergartens.” 

Novokuybyshevsk city TV channel, November 2017. “Our Kindergarten is implementing cadet [military] education program. We remember words of Putin and words of our governor about how important is patriotic education, so we developed a program [for kindergartens] called “youth friends of cadets”.

UPD Feb 27, 2018 Because of a ‘month of military patriotic education’ (that take place in all Russian schools and kindergartens twice per year during last years) a lot of of new cadet kindergarten groups and cadet school classes have been opened during last weeks, for example:

New cadet group in a kindergarten has been opened.
Kogalym town, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Russia [Feb 25, 2018]

4 new cadet groups in a kindergarten has been opened.
Yamal, Russia [Feb 26, 2018]

2 new cadet classes have been opened in a school (50 seven years old children).
Kopeysk city, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia. [Feb 22, 2018]

New cadet classes opened in a school. 7 years old children.
Taganrog city, Rostov Oblast, Russia [Feb 20, 2018]

One of the new types of the military education for children is military clubs in Russian orthodox churches. During just a few minutes of googling I found tens of web pages of Russian churches with information about military clubs opened during last years. Russian priests are teaching children to kill people. Also Russian orthodox churches use Sunday schools for military education and organize military summer camps for children.

Do you still think ISIS is the worst terrorist organization in the world?

Background: WWII time Russian propaganda poster “Homeland-Mother Is Calling!” (“The Motherland Calls”).

Military game (combat tactical and medical training) organized by veterans of The Border Guard Service (under The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) for children from orthodox military patriotic club “Russians” (under The Trinity Church in Ozyory city) and military patriotic club “Viatichi” (under a school in Ozyorsky District). Moscow Oblast. June 2017.

The other important element of the military education system in Russia exists under different paramilitary organizations, such as Registered Cossacks of the Russian Federation, Union of Donbas Volunteers, Union of Afghanistan Veterans, Russian Military Historical Society, Brothers in arms and many more. Adult members of the paramilitary organizations usually already have combat experience (in the Chechen Republic, Georgia, Ukraine, Syria) and they organize military clubs and summer camps for children.

Military summer camp near Yekaterinburg. July 2014.

Military summer camp. Leningrad Oblast. November 2014.

Military summer camp. Pskov Oblast. August 2016.

UPD Feb 27, 2018. Military club for children under Ministry of Defense. [Feb 22, 2018]

In April 2017 there were 5.5K+ military clubs in Russia [link].

It’s hard to find consolidate statistical data about how many Russian children are involved into all forms of military education together, because military education system in Russia is being developed very fast, it’s managed by multiple government and non government organizations with very complex cooperation between them. Russian Parliament was discussing [in 2007] the lack of military education laws and regulations caused by very fast grow militarily education for children [link], but 11 years since that time it seems like the military education system is growing much faster, new forms of military education and new forms of cooperation between different government and non government organizations are being created and tested.

Russian media often claims that new military education units (kindergarten groups, cadet classes and clubs in churches) have been created because parents and parish requests, by initiative of schools and churches. So, militarization of an education in Russia seems to be two directional process: it’s ordered and managed by Putin and the government, and at the same time Russian people want to give military education for their kids because propaganda brainwashing.

To satisfy parents requests and to make sure parents will prefer military education for their kids, cadet classes in schools offer higher level of non-military education (for example in mathematics) and additional free ballroom dancing lessons and so on. [link]

Since Russia annexed Crimea and invaded a part of Ukrainian Donbas region, the system of military education for children is spreading to the territories occupied by Russia, for example:
-first (supervised by The Investigative Committee) cadet class in annexed Crimea [link]
-first (supervise by The Ministry of Internal Affairs) cadet class in annexed  Crimea  [link]
-first cadet corps/classes in Donetsk [link] and occupied by Russia Lugansk [link]
-military training for children in occupied by Russia part Dontetsk Oblast [link]
-Russian cadets from Yamal in annexed Crimea. 2014.
-military summer camp in Crimea organized by Russian Orthodox Church of Novosibirks in August 2015. [link]

The following sounds absolutely insane but makes clear that Russian Orthodox Church is just a branch of FSB: “New military patriotic club has been created in Chelyabinsk city under The Holy Trinity Church by an orthodox priest with a close cooperation with The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). The club is used by FSB as a school of FSB Special Purpose Center (also known as “Alpha Group” special forces unit). The head of the church is considering possible cooperation with local mufti within the military patriotic club.” [link] May, 2005.

Russian military education is a scary mix of children (from 3 to 18 years old) wearing different types of military uniform, singing wartime songs, performing orthodox rituals, with Russian and soviet flags, orthodox icons, Stalin and Putin portraits on the background.

The video published [January 2018] by The Press Center of Orthodox Metropolis of Kurgan City. Promo video of the orthodox military patriotic airsoft club “Peresvet” under The Church of the Epiphany, Kurgan City. A mix of children military training images/songs with Christmas images/songs.

The video of published by The Youth Center of Orthodox Culture “Umilenie” (“Tenderness”), Zaplavnoye village, Volgograd oblast. A mix of orthodox rituals with children military combat training.

“To make sure our country is alive,
anyone understand [our] army can’t be weak,
[because] it’s deadly dangerous,
remember testaments and oaths of our fathers,
remember their glory wins,

remember we are orthodox,
we are orthodox…”

The Video https://ru.krymr.com/a/video/28922058.html from Crimea, Ukraine (occupied by Russia). December 2017. Soviet flags, soldiers, soviet pioneers, a man with a speech about how great Russia was during Stalin’s time, “Stalin” with “the wind of history will blow away all trash from my grave” speech and the song:
“Return Stalin back,
another opinions don’t matter,
he is our generalissimo,
you can’t take off people’s hero,
return Stalin back,
he is our generalissimo,
he will stay on The Red Square,
return Stalin back,
he is our generalissimo,
he will observe [our] victory parade!”

Irkutsk, Russia, 2017. Weapons maintenance training for children. Veteran of Russian Army, children (wearing Soviet Pioneer Organization and Russian military uniform). Complete with a large portrait of Stalin. The image is a screenshot from this video. A girl in military uniform (from 35:45s to 36:50s): “Young people [in Russia] want this [military training]. They [we] think that a war is coming soon and we must to protect our country somehow, we must go to the war. If we won’t study [military courses], then who will protect [our country]? … Yes, I also think that the war is possible soon. United States receives [our] oil and gas. If we will stop sending [oil and gas to USA] because we… because they want [a war], then they will start a war to conquer our land and to have everything [land, oil and gas].”

The Putinjugen is a great threat for future peace in the world. It’s a threat for children of Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Syria and a lot of other countries including United States. And the threat is developing. Russia involves more and more children into military education. The kids are growing. The World waited before North Korea got nuclear bombs and ICBMs. Russia already has a lot of nukes and rockets and now it’s building the scariest army – the army of kids that played with rifles instead of toys and listened war propaganda instead of fairy tales. The last time when something similar happened (when Hitler created The Hitlerjugend) the World lost from 50 to 85 millions of lives. But The Hitler’s children had no nukes and ICBMs.

UPD Feb 27, 2018.
Feb 2018. Kindergartens:



Розширена версія статті Українською мовою (4 частини). Ukrainian language version (in 4 parts), contains much more information. Open it for photos and videos even if you don’t understand Ukrainian and Russian languages:

Путінюгенд: дитяча армія путіна  Putinjugend: Putin’s Youth Army

Путінюгенд: військова підготовка дітей дошкільного віку – Putinjugend: military education for preschool children)

Путінюгенд: роль РПЦ в системі військової підготовки дітей – Putinjujend: Russian Orthodox Church role in military education for children

Путінюгенд: кадетський клас на заняттях (відео) – Putinjujend: Cadet students military training (video)