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Russian Kids Learn Patriotism Through Paintball

"Po dorogam predkov" Press Service

Hundreds of schoolchildren in the Russian Far East took part in a boot camp organized to instill in them a love for their motherland.

In 2016, President Vladimir Putin declared patriotism Russia’s only national idea, a concept that has permeated the country’s education system and state-run mass media. A national “Patriotic Education of Russian Citizens program” for the years 2016-2020 calls for an 8 percent increase in the number of Russians who are “proud of their country” and a 10 percent surge in new military recruits.

Friday marked the end of inter-city games organized by the Primorye region administration as part of “Patriotica,” a project designed to shore up patriotic fervor. Some 450 children, aged 14-16, competed in events such as weapons assembly and disassembly, paintball marksmanship, and tent pitching, the Ussurmedia.ru news website reported Monday.

“We saw that kids barely know how to shoot, but there is unmistakable interest,” team chaperone Yevgeny Kovalenko said, Ussurmedia.ru reported.

“Patriotic education is undoubtedly an important element of becoming a citizen, which must be present in various formats,” Ussurmedia.ru reported, citing Alexander Kaidanovich, the regional administration’s youth affairs department head.

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