Russia’s Education Ministry has pushed back on reports that it plans to introduce military training into its curriculum from next school year, insisting the module will be “extra-curricular”.
Russian media reported that the ministry planned to set up a military training module as part of the curriculum that would appear in schools. The ministry quickly seemed correct and clarified that the module would only appear as extracurricular, according to RIA Novosti.
“An extracurricular module on basic military training will be prepared for Russian schools and will be introduced into educational programs from the next school year,” the ministry said in a statement.
The proposed module allegedly includes 140 hours of military training over the last two years of study, with seasoned veterans teaching the course. The ministry did not say whether the module would be compulsory for all students.
The Russian Defense Ministry said education served a necessary function as the “special military operation” in Ukraine continued to ensure that soldiers had “experience necessary to participate in hostilities.”
“Introducing such a subject in schools will systematically prepare citizens for a possible confrontation with the enemy,” said First Deputy Defense Minister Valery Gerasimov.
The module indicates that Russian military officials expect the offensive last longer than originally thought – or that new offensives could occur as the war with the West continues.
Rebekah Koffler, president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting and a former DIA intelligence officer, noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have fallen back on Soviet-era tactics. She recounted her own experiences growing up in Soviet Russia and the type of military training she received in high school and college, which she said was “the norm”.
“We had emergency drills at school, where we put on gas masks, ran outside a shelter in a nearby location,” Koffler told Fox News Digital. “A retired colonel taught us basic military training, which included timed exercises to assemble and disassemble an AK-47. No live fire though. He was always angry and constantly scolding us.”
The real purpose of this training would aim to “normalize war”, she said, saying the type of training he tries to implement is “unlikely to improve combat readiness.”
“There’s so much more to warfare than walking in a straight line with your toes pointed and shouting responses to commands, but what this training does is it normalizes warfare,” Koffler explained.
“War in the Russian mentality, given its history, is the normal state of affairs – you always prepare to repel an aggressor – peacetime is always temporary,” she continued. “This indoctrination makes it easier for Russian leaders to convince the younger generation to make sacrifices for Mother Russia.”