Russian high school pupils to learn how to use drones

AFP , Monday 21 Aug 2023

Russian teenagers will learn how to operate and counter military drones in the upcoming school year, according to a curriculum published Monday by the education ministry.

Drone training center
The Aeromax drone training center in Moscow. Photo courtesy of The Russian News Agency (TASS).


Moscow announced last November it was re-introducing Soviet-style military training for children from 2023, as it presses ahead with its nearly 18-month offensive in Ukraine.

The drone course, which will be offered to pupils aged 15 to 17, comes as Russian territory is targeted by almost daily Ukrainian drone attacks and as their use becomes pivotal in the conflict.

According to the education ministry's website, pupils will gain "an understanding of the ways in which unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be used in combat".

They will also "perform practical tasks on drone piloting" as well as "learn the algorithm to counter enemy drones".

"The introduction of such a program in schools will make it possible to systematically prepare our citizens for a possible confrontation with the enemy," lawmaker Sergei Mironov said in November 2022 as he advocated for the reintroduction of the training.

The revised military program also includes a module dedicated to Kalashnikov assault rifles, hand grenades and shooting.

Since Moscow launched full-scale hostilities against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Russian authorities have led a sweeping campaign to boost patriotism at school.

Schools have been ordered to play the national anthem and hoist the flag at the start of each week.

The Kremlin also introduced classes, dubbed "important conversations", that teach World War II revisionism, Russian values and Moscow's official narrative about its troops "protecting" compatriots in Ukraine.

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