Schoolchildren as young as nine were filmed parading in military uniforms while carrying replica machine guns and chanting war songs in
The primary school pupils carried ‘toy guns’ and chanted ‘there is no forgiveness to your enemies’ as they marched in the industrial city of Elektrostal, which lies 36 miles east of Moscow.
The parade coincided with a call from
It also comes as tension between Russia and the West is at the highest since the end of the Cold War.
Schoolchildren as young as nine were filmed parading in military uniforms and carrying replica machine guns in the industrial city of Elektrostal, Russia
During the event, the pupils chanted war songs which included the line ‘there is no forgiveness to your enemies’
Footage shows the nine-year-old’s marching in line and chanting the war song as parents and teachers watch on.
Other scenes showed pupils aged seven to 16 also marching in military attire while singing the war songs.
During their chants the schoolchildren said: ‘We are Russians, God is with us! We are Russians, Russians don’t sell out.’
The song also included the line: ‘There is no forgiveness to your enemies’ and ‘The last breath is for the Motherland.’
The scenes come after spymaster Nikolai Patrushev, head of the Kremlin’s security council, demanded a boost in Russia’s youth army, set up in 2015, which already numbers 803,000.
Critics have alleged the Young Army Cadets National Movement, also known as Yunarmia, resembles the Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany, and also alleged rising militarisation in Russia.
However Patrushev – who once headed the FSB security service – has called for ‘creating and developing training centres in regions for the military and patriotic upbringing of young people’.
This would help to combat extremism and ‘pro-Western liberal values’, he said.
A young girl walks towards members of staff while wearing a military-style uniform
Other scenes showed pupils aged seven to 16 also marching in military attire while singing the war songs
The parade came after a call from Vladimir Putin’s top security official for a boost to military training for children
While the parade in Elektrostal is not specifically linked to Yunarmia it has been criticised by a psychologist Elena Kuznetsova for glorifying war and death.
Children should not wear military uniform, and that the organisers portrayed war as a holiday, she said.
‘For most of our ancestors in the war years, these clothes were a posthumous garment,’ she told Takie Dela news outlet.
‘The military uniform is a dress for death.
‘To suffer an untimely death, to meet it yourself, prematurely.
‘Leaving traces of grief wherever such uniform boots step.
‘Children need to buy clothes about life, not about death.’
Organisers of the Elektrostal event said: ‘It was not a parade, but a school check of marching and songs.’
School deputy head Elena Karpacheva said children aged nine had carried ‘toy guns’, while others aged seven to 16 had only marched and sung war songs.
Defenders of the youth army and such events with children say it allows children to stay out of trouble while fostering patriotism.
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