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pravda.ru, October 13, 2003

Militarisation of Russia is Underway

By Dmitry Chirkin

The RF State Duma approved the first reading of a draft law on mandatory military training at schools and professional colleges, stipulating that students must also attend mandatory regular training. On Friday October 10, Russian deputies adopted amendments to the law "On Military Service and Military Duty" and the law "On Education" which in their turn remove any contradictions that existed between both documents.

In particularly, the law "On Education" stipulates that military education at schools is only possible if approved by students themselves and their parents. At the same time, the law "On Military Service and Military Duty" stipulates the mandatory teaching of basic knowledge about defence and the teaching of the fundamentals of military service at schools and professional colleges. The law states that only additional educational programs on military training are voluntary. The amendment to the law adopted by Duma deputies makes clear that the clause concerning the law "On Education" must be abolished and a new one referring to the law on military service must be introduced.

What is more, in the first reading the deputies adopted an amendment on regular training as part of the military education of students. It is expected that regular military training will be conducted not for school-leavers, but for students in their penultimate year of studies. This will allow school leavers to devote more time to their finals.

Thus, Russian education will once be again militarized as it was during the Soviet era. In response to the harsh criticism of the project by several Duma factions, RF presidential spokesperson Alexander Kotenkov said that schools needed the mandatory military education. He added that the law might be adopted, provided that the clause on mandatory regular military training is removed from the law before the second reading in the Duma.

In all 338 deputies voted for adoption of the law, 42 against and nobody abstained. Now it is the turn of the Federation Council and the RF President to consider the document.

Chairman of the Duma Science and Education Committee, Yabloko deputy Alexander Shishlov says that following approval of the law on mandatory military education at schools, the Duma majority is pushing society towards militarization.

Shishlov strongly objects to the law developed by the military. The deputy asks: "What do we want to have: militarization or a high-tech society based on educational economics?" The Yabloko deputy insists that students and their parents must still have an alternative. "What the law "On education" says in this respect absolutely agrees with the RF Constitution, the legislation and common sense. There is no need to change the wording."

Shishlov suggests that if the RF Defence Ministry has spare money, it would be wiser to spend it on implementing military reforms and on the transition to a contract-based army. If the ministry does not need the money, it should send it to schools for spending on education.


See also:

Reform in education

Alexander Shishlov: the State Duma Committee for Education and Science pposes the introduction of mandatory military training at school. Press release. October 9, 2003

pravda.ru, October 13, 2003

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