Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law creating a patriotic youth movement that seeks to teach Russian children about national principles.
The Russian leader has been asked to lead the supervisory board of the youth movement, which the country’s parliament says will “prepare young people for a full life in society”. It is described as an “all-Russian social and state movement of children and young people”.
The development comes more than four months after Putin launched an invasion of neighboring Ukraine. According to Lev Gudkov, director of the Levada Center, Russia’s only independent public opinion agency, some 35 percent of high school and university students have a negative view of Putin’s war, CS Monitor reported.
Measures rolled out by the Kremlin to combat anti-war sentiment include flag-raising ceremonies, the singing of the national anthem and a Russian-focused modern history course for Russian students, starting in September.
Other goals of Putin’s youth movement include promoting the state police among children and young people, participating in their education and career guidance, organizing children’s leisure time and creating opportunities for their overall development and personal achievement, according to Russian news agency TASS.
Children aged six and over can join the movement on a voluntary basis, while adult mentors will organize their education and hobbies.
Russian lawmakers approved a law on July 6 to create the youth movement.
An annotation to the law, posted on the website of the Russian Federation Council, or Senate, says the move was developed to ensure a unified state policy on the education of children and young people in educational organizations. , associations, movements, communities and clubs, as well as to “build a continuous trajectory of their development based on the values of Russian society”.
Putin first considered creating the movement after Diana Krasovskaya, a student at a school in Sevastopol, suggested that he form a group that would unite children nationwide, TASS reported.
“It is necessary to think about this,” Putin said at the time.
“An all-Russian movement of children and adolescents is being created,” the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, said in a statement when approving the legislation earlier this month.
The movement will be funded by the state, and regional governors are expected to be closely involved in the work of the organization, AFP reported.
Aryom Metelev, who chairs the committee on youth policies in the State Duma, said youth camps and educational institutions will be handed over by the Kremlin to the organization to “facilitate the development of the child “.
“The state must create conditions that contribute to the full spiritual, moral, intellectual and physical development of children, to the learning of patriotism, civil responsibility and respect for adults,” the authors of the legislation said.
Children and young people studying in general, vocational and higher education programs can join the movement, according to the State Duma.
Soviet values were previously taught to children in the USSR through youth organizations: the Little Octobrists, the Young Pioneers and the Komsomol.
Newsweek contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry for comments.