They are between the ages of 7 and 14 and come to learn how to fight in the ranks of paramilitary groups

. These organizations, supported financially by the government, have multiplied in number since Putin came to power.

Putin's child soldiers
Author:©Fabrice Dimier/Libre arbitre/Lightmediation
Contact: Thierry Tinacci Lightmediation agency +33 (0)6 61 80 57 21 thierry.tinacci@lightmediation.com

395-17: Barehanded fight.

395-01: Kaskad paramilitary association s premises, Moscow s suburb. Dima, 13 years old, is getting ready for the summer teaching camp in which he will take part in for the first time.

395-02: Start to the summer teaching camp Kaskad.

395-03: In the bus to the camp, Tula area. Each summer camps are moving in isolated forests. Set-up conditions must be as close as reality as possible.

395-04: Encampment under the Russian flag. Captain Korotaev is managing his new troops with a firmly hand.

395-05: Paramilitary camp Kaskad. Camp paramilitaire Casacade.

395-06: Set up of the camp. Children paramilitary camp Kaskad.

395-07: Propaganda posters will be set up around the encampment. Slogans are singing the obligations and the duty of Russian citizen to military service for the rise of the country.

395-08: Uniform must always be spotless.

395-11: Physical training is constant during the summer camp. The physical capacities of the kids are pushed with end. But the main aim is to learn them to submit themselves to orders.

395-09: Shaving of hairs is imperative even if teens dont really appreciate it.

395-10: 06.30 am. The captain is bursting in the dormitory. Children have one minute to be outside in a line and standing at attention.

395-11: Physical training is constant during the summer camp. The physical capacities of the kids are pushed with end. But the main aim is to learn them to submit themselves to orders.

395-12: Pain. Paramilitary camp Kaskad

395-12: Pain. Paramilitary camp Kaskad

395-13: Night patrol. Children are taking turns all night long. Up to the Kalachnikov, a bayonet is placed. Real alerts are given when there is something special.

395-14: Gennadi Korotaev is the captain, manager and founder of Cascade s organization. The aim of the camp is to form children to discipline and to prepare them to army war and fight.

395-15: Free learning of automatic weapon s use.

395-16: Feminin group, in line, in front of the capitain Korotaev.

395-26: Standing at attention.

395-17: Barehanded fight.

395-18: Barehanded fight s technique. Paramilitary camp Kaskad.

395-19: Surprised assault against an enemy guard nominated as a Chechen soldier.

395-20: Surprised assault against an enemy guard nominated as a Chechen soldier.

395-20: Surprised assault against an enemy guard nominated as a Chechen soldier.

395-21: The captain is showing how to slit the throat of the guard after having overpowered him.

395-22: River exercise

395-23: River exercise.

395-24: Sacha, 12 years old. His father is a military. He is proud of using Kalachnikov. Later, he would like to become a Spetznaz soldier (Russian elite troop).

395-25: Trainings are extremly realistic.

395-26: Standing at attention.

395-27: Little soldiers are eating classical russian military meal. Rice or rice flour 3 times a day with sometimes an ounce of tinned meat.

395-28: In the dormitory, children are taking a break between 2 trainings. They must never part with their numbered Kalachnikov.

395-30: Rest after a night patrol.

395-29: Vania, 9 years old, is a Cascade pupil for 5 years. He wants to become soldier. He is keeping the captain at bay. He considers him as a good teacher, attentive and strict as a good soldier.

395-30: Rest after a night patrol.

395-31: Little soldiers have a rest. Dormitory. Children paramilitary camp Kaskad.

395-32: During a party in next village, Vania is profiting from attractiveness of military uniform.

395-33: Tatjana, 13 years old, with her father. He is a former Military man in the russian navy. Tatjana was participated to her first Kaskad camp at 11 years old. She goes now to the camp each year forced by her father.

395-34: Girls section

395-22: River exercise

Putin's child soldiers.
They are between the ages of 7 and 14 and come to learn how to fight in the ranks of paramilitary groups. These organizations, supported financially by the government, have multiplied in number since Putin came to power. Created in 1982 by veterans from the war in Afghanistan Cascade is Russia's largest paramilitary organization for children. More than 8,000 child soldiers have already passed through the ranks of this organization. Officially, their objective is the education of "new Russian youth". To create men of tomorrow by instilling real values in them: patriotism, and loyalty to the military. Their training is based essentially on a month of intense non-stop physical activity during the summertime. They train for more than 8 hours a day, stand watch at night, and have nocturnal drills and exercises. Severe and repetitive punishments reinforce the program and are designed to break any resistance. The military education of the children is modeled after the formative system of the Spetznatz (Russia's elite troops). Their courses: Shooting range, handling of grenades and Kalashnikovs, hand-to-hand combat, diving, strategy, parachuting, etc. A tough schedule for children. "It's really too hard here. I like the weapons, but the whole day you get orders and punishments. I can't take it anymore. Yesterday, they woke us up at 5 AM and we walked 40 kilometers for a maneuver. My feet are still bloody", complains Dina, 11, floating in the excess of his uniform. Which doesn't stop half of them from living at a military rhythm all year round. Three times a week after school they are under the guidance of Cascade's trainers. "When they leave, they are ready. The Ministry of Defense drafts our cadets. So far, not a single one of our kids was killed in Chechnya after joining the army" brags Andrei Samatoïne, spokesman for the camp. For the past two years, a reduced military and patriotic inculcation of the youth has once again become obligatory at Russian schools, just like in the heyday of Stalin's regime. At the same time, the subventions granted to the paramilitary camps have doubled, causing the number of

camps to grow substantially (there are now more than 60 camps in Russia). The Russian army provides these camps with all the equipment necessary to run their training program. Measures which are the result of Putin's educational program to promote patriotism, adopted in 2001, and which has the objective of restoring a disgraced army to its former glory. Because those who choose the army as a career are becoming more and more rare. For the past three years the number of draft dodgers has reached record heights. Poor treatment, murderous hazings, and the specter of Chechnya frightens away the draftees.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful