By Stanislav Aseyev for RFE/RL Ukrainian Service
(January 10, 2017) A powerful system of so-called “military-patriotic education” for Ukrainian youth that indoctrinates children with the ideals of the “Russian World” and teaches hatred towards everything Ukrainian, has been created in the so-called “DPR.” This re-education is carried out at all grade levels. However, there are many other institutions that are purposefully training new cadres for the military structures of the [DPR]
Among these military education institutions is a boarding school named after Soviet cosmonaut Georgy Beregovoy, that presently operates under the jurisdiction of the “DPR’s” so-called “Ministry of Defense.” The boarding school enrolls young men after the 9th grade, training them to replenish the ranks of the illegal armed formations.
It is worth noting that there is no lack of funding for this type of military education – even in comparison to the already established military units, which quite often lack the necessities needed to function. Students are provided with food and new uniforms, and are actively educated in the spirit of “anti-fascism,” with help from older Russian generations as the school invites World War II veterans to help formulate parallels between the Wehrmacht and Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The school organizes Military Balls, with students dressed in white uniforms with St. George’s ribbons and a Soviet star on the young men’s belt buckles. Since the fall of 2016, the school has been reorganized by and linked to another military institution – the “Donetsk Higher Combined Arms Command School.”
“On special occasions some of these youth are already training at roadside checkpoints.”
The so-called “Donetsk Higher Combined Arms Command School” is the next level in the ideological treatment of youth in the “DPR.” Recently, cadets from this school have been seen in large numbers across Donetsk, and their numbers are only growing. Which is not surprising, because for locals it is something like the Suvorov Military School [a Soviet-era military boarding school for high-school males]; even people from the so-called “LPR” [Luhansk People’s Republic] try to enroll at the school in Donetsk.
In addition, are preparing future command cadres for the militants in four areas: reconnaissance, tank forces, infantry, and political officers. As of today, cadets are paid a stipend in the amount of 1,500 Russian Rubles (approx. $23.60). Upon graduation, the cadets are awarded the rank of lieutenant. Ideological indoctrination here is a notch higher, as we are talking about those who, in the future, will themselves indoctrinate new recruits to combat the mythical “Ukrainian Nazism.”
Finally, one of the most selective institutions is the “DPR’s” so-called “Academy of the Ministry of the Interior,” currently located in one of the campus buildings of Donetsk University of Informatics and Artificial Intelligence, which has been taken over by the militants. Here, in addition to educating future prosecutors and policemen, they also prepare young men for service with the so-called “DPR Ministry of State Security.” Those who study here are under the patronage of those who already occupy important positions in the “DPR.”
In the “academy,” they not only prepare the leading cadre for the entire police system, but also teach methods of interrogation and information extraction, ensuring a new rotation of trained 17- to 20-year old recruits. Some youth are already practicing their skills at checkpoints on special days, when the “DPR” anticipates the arrival of Ukrainian spies or saboteurs. On these occasions, experienced security personnel are assisted by trainees who were just kids yesterday.