Russia’s government is set to spend four times more on “patriotic education” in 2024 than in 2022, the RBC news website reported Monday, citing a draft budget proposal.
A total of 45.85 billion rubles ($450 million) will be allocated toward various youth movements, school officials engaged in “patriotic” education, state insignia, and monitoring of youth online.
Spending on “patriotic education” in 2022 — the first year of Russia's war on Ukraine — went over its initial budget of 4.9 billion rubles ($48.5 million) and ultimately stood at 11.4 billion rubles ($113 million). The money was partly spent on state insignia for schools and on engaging schoolchildren in youth movements.
This year, Russia’s government allocated 39.7 billion rubles ($395 million) on similar projects under the “patriotic education” banner.
President Vladimir Putin enshrined patriotic education as part of Russia’s school curriculum in 2020 amid the growing militarization of young Russians.
Russian schools have experienced a series of transformations since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, including the adoption of daily flag-raising ceremonies, singing of the anthem, and weekly classes that teach “patriotic” lessons.
This summer, Putin ordered “extra measures” to teach the “causes and goals” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to school and university students.
As part of 2024 spending on “patriotic education,” RBC said nearly half of the funds (20.5 billion rubles, or $204 million) will be directed toward the recently created youth movement called Dvizheniye Pervykh (“Movement of the First”).
Putin had proposed renaming the organization to the Pioneer movement — a Soviet rite of passage for children that had sought to instill patriotism among Soviet children.
Another 20 billion rubles ($200 million) will go toward “patriotic advisers” to school principals for their engagement and cooperation with youth movements, according to the draft budget cited by RBC.
Russia’s spending on “patriotic education” is four times higher than the amount of funds allocated toward the digital transformation of schools.