Russian teachers are being placed on the front lines of a push to turn Russian children into loyal, militarized nationalists at younger and younger ages. Radical changes are being made to the educational system, and the Education Ministry is taking a back seat to hard-line propagandists.
Schools must now conduct “patriotic” classes teaching the Kremlin’s views on the war. Teachers that refuse are being fired. Textbooks are being rewritten and purged of information regarding Ukraine and its capital, Kyiv. The Russian Parliament overruled the Education Ministry’s plan on how they wanted to revise the textbooks stating that it was a matter of “national security.”
Nikolai Patrushev, chief of the Russian Security Council and close Putin ally, is including this educational reform as part of a government-wide push to create loyal citizens from the cradle to the grave. The Young Army is a Russian military youth group that was founded by the Defense Ministry in 2015 following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. There are those who are quietly drawing comparisons between this program to the Hitler Youth of World War II.
Anton Litvin used to be a happy Moscovite with a nice house, a good job, and a growing young family. When his local schools began to be used for propaganda purposes in the war against Ukraine, he pulled his kids out of school, sold his house, and moved out of the country. He was sickened by the idea of his kids being what he called “brainwashed” with Putin’s new take on patriotism. He realized he had had enough when his eight-year-old son’s teachers began sending home literature encouraging Litvin to enroll his child in the Youth Army summer camp.