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Russian Student Schools Putin on Military History

Putin held a lesson with schoolchildren at the Ocean children’s center in the Far East city of Vladivostok on the first day of school

President Vladimir Putin just wanted to teach young students about the history of an 18th-century battle — but would ultimately get schooled himself.

The president had been lecturing schoolchildren at the Ocean children’s center in the Far East city of Vladivostok on the first day of school. “History isn’t just an interesting and important subject, but also the foundation of all humanitarian knowledge,” he told the students. 

During his televised address, Putin described the 1709 Battle of Poltova — which saw Peter the Great claim decisive victory against the Swedish Empire — as an event during the “Seven Years’ War.” 

He was swiftly corrected by Nikanor Tolstykh, a high-school student from Vorkuta, who said the war was not the Seven Years’ War but the Great Northern War and that it lasted from 1700-1721.

“Yes, of course, 21 years,” Putin said to save face. 

The boy's principal reportedly reprimanded him for “insolence” after he challenged Putin’s knowledge of military history. 

Asked about the exchange the next day, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he categorically disagreed” with the principal's opinion that Tolstykh had shown insolence by correcting the president.

“We are convinced that no one would expel this child, especially such a talented and knowledgeable child,” he said.

Why should this offend me? On the contrary, it can only please me: Young guys know the history of the Fatherland well — that's great," Putin said Friday.

At the same session, a 10-year-old student had asked Putin to subscribe to his YouTube channel, visibly confusing the president as the Russian words for “subscribe” and “sign” are the same. 

He can be seen asking the student several times where he wanted him to sign. The student then explains to him that YouTube is a social network where one needs to subscribe to follow content.

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