Russian children are being compelled to produce components for the conflict in Ukraine, with President Vladimir Putin overseeing this distressing effort. The tasks involve crafting parts used in the creation of aerial grenades launched by kamikaze drones. In order to enhance the accuracy of VOG-17 grenades targeting Ukraine, video footage has surfaced depicting young students in Tatarstan meticulously sorting pre-fabricated plastic orange “tails” intended for attachment to the grenades. This represents just the latest occurrence of Putin’s authoritarian regime exploiting minors as instruments and participants in wartime activities.
Since the commencement of the conflict in February last year, numerous youth organizations and extracurricular programs have manufactured camouflage netting and tourniquets to support the troops. As an integral facet of the increasing militarization within Russia’s education system, students as young as nine years old in another Tatarstan school are manually crafting crutches and canes for injured troops deployed on the front lines.
Aleksandro-Slobodskaya School’s carpentry classes held after school have crafted more than 60 pairs of crutches, with 40 of them dispatched to hospitals along with handwritten “get well” notes for each recipient. Additionally, the school has produced over two thousand trench candles, all of which have been sent to the front lines.
In Mozhga, Udmurtia, students have been tasked with knitting stump stockings destined for hospitals, aimed at aiding those injured in the conflict. This initiative coincided with Putin’s endorsement of a bill restricting students from using mobile devices in classrooms.
This development coincides with the grim acknowledgment that Russia has witnessed casualties amounting to 315,000 soldiers, equating to nearly 90% of its active-duty army since the commencement of the war. Additionally, on Tuesday, Putin endorsed a bill mandating elementary and middle schools to incorporate Soviet-style “labor lessons” starting from the upcoming school year. These lessons are designed to impart fundamental skills such as wood cutting, sawing, and basic repairs to students.