Russian Orthodox Church Now Giving Military Training to Kids

Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends the Orthodox Christmas liturgy at a cathedral on the territory of the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, January 7, 2024. Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Kremlin via REUTERS

A recent report has revealed that the Russian Orthodox Church is providing military training to children as young as 12 at the Elisabeth Church in Opalikha.

The training which is free and open to anyone age 12 and older, and conducted by veterans of the Ukraine war, is held every weekend in the forested area near the Elisabeth Church in Opalikha.

According to the Kyiv Post, the Moscow Times reported on an earlier announcement posted on the website and Telegram channel of the Krasnogorsk city administration in the Moscow region promoting these military survival courses.

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The courses aim to establish a team well-versed in weapons handling, military affairs and tactical medicine. The training is conducted by experienced instructors, including those who served in the Northern Military District zone, which refers to the war in Ukraine, according to the Kyiv Post.

The ROKOT “Shoulder to Shoulder” organization sponsors the courses. Alexey Naumov, the regional head of ROKOT, was quoted as saying, “Future defenders of the Fatherland will master in practice not only military affairs, but also the history of the Moscow region, our Motherland. Now more than ever, it is important to unite our efforts and study well the glorious traditions of our fathers and grandfathers.”

Promotional material for these courses use enthusiastic language, particularly in sections describing the training on small arms and light weapons. The curriculum includes safety precautions, weapons disassembly and assembly, proper firing stances, forest maneuvers, attack, retreat, defense, map reading, landmine operations and casualty evacuation.

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A significant portion of the training is dedicated to medical instruction.

Archbishop Thomas of Odintsovo and Krasnogorsk, head of the Administrative Secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchate, has given his blessing to the program. Priests are involved to impart lessons on patriotism and the history of Russia, reinforcing the moral and cultural dimensions of the training, according to The Christian Post.

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