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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Russia, the Peaceful Nation of Warmongering Maniacs

As one who spends her time waste deep in the raw sewage of modern Russian politics, it takes a lot to surprise and disgust La Russophobe these days, but the photograph at the left from the Moscow Times has managed it. What more, she wonders, can Russia possibly do before the West will see it for what it is: The Neo-Soviet Union. How neo-Soviet can you get? So much for the notion that Russia is a peaceful nation with benevolent intentions!

The MT reports:


Clack clack clack. Polished nails run over tiny pins and latches. Suddenly, the deadly Kalashnikov rifle is deadly no more, its stock and barrel and sundry springs strewn across a spotless tablecloth.

"Good, take your seat," the instructor said, and the 15-year-old female student sporting a simple dark uniform sat down, surrounded by her peers.

Training for underage guerrillas? No. Just a recent lesson from the Basics of Military Service class at a run-of-the-mill Moscow high school.

The class is part of the Fundamentals of Safety of Vital Activities program that students -- from first grade through graduation -- are now mandated to attend.

Eliminated in the 1990s in the wake of the Soviet collapse, the basic military training course returned to schools across the country in 2004. The major differences between then and now?

"This course is much less demanding and less ideological," explained Oleg Maslennikov, a teacher at Moscow's School No. 1571 who instructs students in small arms, air warfare and other areas.

As a dozen 10th-graders in Maslennikov's class assumed formation, one of the students bellowed: "Attention!"

Over the course of the following 45 minutes, Maslennikov lectured students on the design of a rifle cartridge and hand grenade and what happens when these weapons are fired or detonated.

Students assembled and disassembled a fake Kalashnikov rifle, discussed what it takes to be a good soldier, and watched a short movie about the Russian Ka-50 Black Shark attack helicopter.

The class also touched on the major challenges facing the Russian armed forces and the possibility of war with neighboring Georgia.

Maslennikov noted what the class did not include that was part of the Soviet curriculum -- for instance, marching drills and timed assembling and disassembling of Kalashnikovs.

Still, critics say the course instills an unhealthy military instinct in teenagers and is a waste of time.

"This course is a part of the state-backed strategy to improve the image of the Russian Army in the eyes of young citizens," said Alexander Shishlov, a senior member of the liberal Yabloko party who headed the State Duma's Committee on Education and Science from 2002 to 2003. "The brainwashing does not solve the problems facing the Russian Army."

The Army's image has taken a beating with reports of brutal hazing and neglect at the hands of senior officers. Anger spiked this year with the torture of private Andrei Sychyov that led to the amputation of his legs and genitals.

Dmitry Badovsky, a researcher at the Institute of Social Systems at Moscow State University, insisted that, the Army's problems notwithstanding, the military basics course is essential to identifying future military personnel and helping them develop fundamental skills.

Just as in Soviet times, all 10th grade boys are required to spend five days in the field as part of their training. At School No. 1571, boys spend this time in the barracks of military units stationed in the Moscow region.

"Boys need to see with their own eyes what the army life is," Maslennikov said. "And they see that many fears of the Army are overblown."

One student, Slava Ustselemov, sporting a fresh crew cut, said the course had strengthened his desire to join the army.

Badovsky acknowledged that for those who have no desire to become professional military officers, the military preparedness course might be little more than a burden.

In Maslennikov's class, there were few complaints.

"I would even add more stuff on how to deliver first aid," student Alexei Chekmarev said.

Maslennikov said the course had provided instructors with a lot of latitude.

Herein lies a real danger, said Alexander Tarasov of the Feniks think tank, who worries army personnel will bring "brutal habits" into the classroom.

He cited the 2003 case of a 16-year-old student in Surgut who died after his instructor ordered the class to run a cross-country race wearing gas masks.

Tenth-grader Dmitry Pirogov seemed unfazed. "A man should be a patriot, and this course provides knowledge that helps develop patriotism," Pirogov said.

Marina Vargamyan, School No. 1571's principal, said the course should be viewed in the context of the larger fundamentals program. "This course not only arms students with knowledge about how to behave in critical situations, ranging from fires to rape threats, but also helps them integrate socially after school," Vargamyan said.

8 comments:

penny said...

The class also touched on the major challenges facing the Russian armed forces and the possibility of war with neighboring Georgia.

Of course.

What garbage. "State trained skinheads" should be the subtitle. Expect to see wholesale attacks on ethnic Georgians residing in Russia followed by whatever external "enemy" becomes politically convenient. Fascism is on the move in Russia.

This miserable uncivil wasteland will run out of oil and gas in a few decades which is good. It can't even sustain a replacement birth rate which is good. My prediction, Russia gets annexed to China in 50 years through further internal decay and hubris.

17 ugly raccoons said...

A pity your rotten corpse wouldn't be blamed for your prediction turned false.

La Russophobe said...

UGLY: A pity you aren't man enough to put $10,000 into an escow account to be paid to her when it proves true, along with giving a commitment to a published apology.

17 ugly raccoons said...

LR, I don't like beggars.

La Russophobe said...

UGLY, I must say I'm surprised and disappointed. Don't you want to explain/justify/rationalize the little Russian girl holding the AK-47? Or do you find it better to try to change the subject? Poor dear, defending the Neo-Soviet union is hard, depressing work, isn't it? There there, don't you worry, the thing will explode soon just like it did before and then you won't have to bother about it at all.

17 ugly raccoons said...

Don't you want to explain/justify/rationalize the little Russian girl holding the AK-47?

It is not AK-47, to start with. And what harm is here? Girl just learning some new things. Maybe it'll come handy, maybe not. So what? And she is not 'little'. Tenth grade, AFAIK, means 15 years age.

defending the Neo-Soviet union is hard, depressing work, isn't it?

I don't know. What is 'Neo-Soviet union'? It is some kind of political term or just a couple of scores of malfunctioning cells in your brain?

There there, don't you worry, the thing will explode soon just like it did before and then you won't have to bother about it at all.

Then I'll send flowers to your funeral. Maybe.

La Russophobe said...

Neo-Soviet Union means that the main features of the USSR (restriction of liberty, failing economy) are in place with different window dressing (updated). It means making the same mistake twice.

Thanks for saying there's noting wrong with children learnign about automatic weapons. Proves just exactly how peaceful Russian people are, doesn't it? Maybe now you understand why the rest of the world doesn't like you, and why small countries that border you are terrified and want to join NATO.

17 ugly raccoons said...

Neo-Soviet Union means that the main features of the USSR (restriction of liberty, failing economy) are in place with different window dressing (updated)

Then it is exceptionally inadequate term, I suggest you to change it, you cannot be taken seriously with such words, and your agenda suffers (it is not joke or some provocation, I honestly think so).

Thanks for saying there's noting wrong with children learnign about automatic weapons. Proves just exactly how peaceful Russian people are, doesn't it?

It does. Reliable peace might be achieved in two ways. You could be so weak that you inevitable submit to any whim of other, and there is no war. Or you could be so strong that no one is risking wage war against you.

Maybe now you understand why the rest of the world doesn't like you

Yeah, all these billions have no business except not to like Russia. Dream on.

and why small countries that border you are terrified and want to join NATO.

Yes, I understand. Their elites just think they are paid better by their Western masters (and it is so indeed). All poses of 'our people terrified of evil Russian monsters' are comic play for Western sugar-daddies, no more. You bought it? Your problem.