Military classes for Russian teenagers. Photo: Youth Army (Yunarmiya) in Arkhangelsk

Soon compulsory in Russian schools: military theory and drone flying

"The school program always has to meet the challenges of our time," Russian Minister of Enlightenment Sergei Kravtsov says.
November 16, 2023


Russia is taking new steps towards the militarisation of its schools. From 1st of September 2024, all high schools in the country are to start compulsory classes in so-called Basics of Security and Protection of the Motherland.

Minister Kravtsov shortly presented the new subject during his recent visit to Chechnya. In his meeting with strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, Kravtsov said the new school subject takes inspiration from Chechnya.

“It is of key importance that patriotic upbringing is developed and next year we will introduce a new subject called the Basics of Security and Protection of the Motherland, which uses experiences from the Chechen Republic, experience that will be useful also on the federal level,” he underlined.


Sergei Kravtsov meets with Ramzan Kadyrov and his men in Grozny in November 2023. Video published on the VK page of Kadyrov



Kravtsov was clearly nervous and uncomfortable in the company with the militant Chechens. The state official had gone to the north Caucasian region following his ministry’s publication of a history textbook that initially described Chechens as collaborators with Nazi German forces during 2WW, for which they collectively had been sent in exiled to Siberia. It stirred an outcry in Grozny and a revised version of the book soon had to be published. As compensation, Kravtsov’s ministry not only re-wrote the book in a more patriotically friendly manner, but also donated a big number of brand new school buses to the region.

In the meeting, Ramzan Kadyrov called the authors of the initial textbook “unpatriotic” and “traitors.” He also demanded changes in another textbook. Minister Kravtsov loyally nodded and quickly responded that “yes, we will edit it.”

Russian schools are getting not only revised and more patriotic textbooks. School kids are also to get practical military training as part of the curriculum.

The new subject on the Basics of Security and Protection of the Motherland is to include military theory and training with drones.


Learn to fly a drone. Photo: Tsentr Arkhangelsk on VK


Not everything is clear with the new subject, a representative of the Enlightenment Ministry says to newspaper Kommersant. But it is decided that the study program for the 10-11th grade students must reflect “the formation of knowledge about basic military preparedness, such as general military statutes, combat formations, armament, engineering, military-medics and technical preparedness, as well as learning about security requirements when using guns,” the person says.

According to the newspaper, the new classes will also include training with drones. According to the ministry planners, soldiers with experiences from Ukraine could serve as teachers in the classes.

The new subject is part of an increasingly patriotically-oriented Russian school system.

“The main task is to raise a patriot. We are rewriting all of our textbooks in all subjects,” Member of the State Duma Nina Ostanina said in 2022.

Ostanina is Chair of the Committee on Family, Women and Children. Her deputy chair of the committee, Oleg Smolin, added that “patriotism should not be not only the subject of individual lessons, but rather the theme of the entire education system.”

In 2022, Russian schools started to teach a subject called “Discussions about Important Issues” (Разговоры о важном).

The first published manuals and textbook highlighted so-called “traditional spiritual and moral values,” and described “NATO bases in Ukraine.” It was claimed that the “Kiev regime bullies residents of the Donbass region,” and that the “collective West” is seeing the destruction of Russia.

The Barents Observer published a comprehensive story about the new study program.

According to Enlightenment minister Kravtsov, the new curriculum is absolutely necessary.

“The school program always have to meet the challenges of our time. It is regularly updated so that our kids get the best up-to-date knowledge,” he said in spring 2022, according to Kommersant.



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