January 29, 2024

Schoolchildren Forced into Youth Movement


Schoolchildren Forced into Youth Movement
Students face political propaganda in the classroom.  Elena Harrison, CC0, Wikimedia Commons

Schoolchildren from across Russia report being compelled by teachers and school administration to join state-sanctioned youth organization The Movement of the First. Verstka reported that teachers have made registration for the youth movement mandatory and that students who fail to register were told they would face consequences.

Stories of students being pressured to join have been reported from Moscow to Siberia, and from small rural schools to elite urban lyceums. Students from Novosibirsk, for instance, described being told by teachers that failure to register would result in retribution for their entire classes, such as being excluded from school trips or contests. One parent reported that his son faced extra pressure to register because he was the best student in the class.

Movement of the First intends to instill state political ideology, recalling the prevalence of Komsomol and Pioneer camps in the lives of Soviet youth. These movements have been gaining traction in Russia as the Kremlin has sought greater support from younger generations, especially in the wake of Russia's War on Ukraine.

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