Russian military troops take part in a military drill on Sernovodsky polygon close to the Chechnya border, some 260 km from south Russian city of Stavropol, on March 19, 2015.
SERGEY VENYAVSKY/AFP via Getty Images
Russia is teaching students the ways of war so that it can conscript more ready young men, UK intel said.
The senior student curriculum includes handling rifles, grenades, and drones.
Lessons on drone operation highlight the growing importance of the technology on the battlefield.
Russia’s new school curriculum includes lessons on the ways of war, specifically drones, rifles, and grenades — and intel suggests the goal is to prepare students for the front lines.
The curriculum serves three objectives, the UK Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday: “To indoctrinate students with the Kremlin rationale for the ‘Special Military Operation,’ instill students with a martial mindset, and reduce training timelines for onwards mobilization and deployment.”
The de facto military training will apply to senior teenage students — most in years 10 and 11, who will soon face military conscription — enrolled in a “Basics of Life Safety” course, which was approved by Russian government in 2022 and piloted in some classrooms earlier this year. The basic military training module of the class includes handling Kalashnikov assault rifles — something seen in occupied Crimean schools last spring — as well as grenades.
One major aspect of the course is learning how to operate and pilot unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Earlier this summer, intel suggested combat drone lessons would be focused heavily on “how to conduct terrain reconnaissance and ways to counter enemy uncrewed aerial vehicles.”
Initially, it was presumed that these classes are likely less of an effort to “develop genuine capability” in students than to “cultivate a culture of militarized patriotism.” Now, it appears both could be goals, as the class both indoctrinates students into war efforts and prepares them for potential fighting.
The presence of UAV lessons also speaks to their growing presence both in Russia’s current war against Ukraine as well as the central role they’re expected to play in future conflicts. Similarly, Russia training students in how to pilot drones could give them a leg up in recruiting new operators, considering the highly specialized and meticulously trained skillset required for flying drones, particularly first-person view (FPV) drones, and the important — and dangerous — role these operators play on the battlefield.