Step inside the Russian school where children train with AK-47s as a reward for academics

source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

In Russia’s Southern city of Stavropol, children can attend a school that rewards academics with military-style field exercises like overnight camp-outs, weapons training and maintenance, and even parachuting.

The General Yermolov Cadet School, named after Alexei Yermolov, a former Russian general and hero of the Caucasus War, teaches boys and girls a normal curriculum mixed with patriotism, military discipline, and maneuvers.

In the pictures below, see how the cadet school molds Russian youths into soldiers.


On overnight trips, the kids bunk together.

caption
Students from the General Yermolov Cadet School sit on bunk beds during a two-day field exercise.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

The school includes boys and girls.

caption
Students from the General Yermolov Cadet School brush their hair.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Students, or cadets, are responsible for their gear, including rifles.

caption
Training rifles in a classroom.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Here an adult demonstrates rifle form.

caption
Weapons training in a gymnasium.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

The enthusiasm around the military aspects of the school is palpable.

caption
The school follows traditional Russian middle-school syllabus as well as extra lessons on military education and physical training for its pupils.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

The cadets spend a good deal of time outdoors on treks.

source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

But even surrounded by military training, the cadets are not so different than kids elsewhere.

caption
A student plays with her mobile phone.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Physical training is a big part of their schooling.

caption
Students from the General Yermolov Cadet School perform fitness exercises during a two-day field exercise near the village of Sengileyevskoye, just outside the south Russian city of Stavropol, April 13, 2014.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Here we see simultaneous team building and physical training.

caption
Russian servicemen perform an exercise with a weight throw at the General Yermolov Cadet School in the southern Russian city of Stavropol, September 12, 2014.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Adults and other cadets look on as a child takes aim with a pistol.

caption
A student takes part in weapons training.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Here cadets practice firing rifles from behind cover.

caption
Students take part in weapons training.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

They seem to enjoy it.

caption
A student from the General Yermolov Cadet School holds two rifles during a two-day field exercise near the village of Sengileyevskoye, just outside the south Russian city of Stavropol, April 13, 2014.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

The cadets practice with not just small arms, but rockets too.

caption
A cadet of General Alexei Yermolov Cossack School, a comprehensive military institution named after the 19th-century Russian general, takes part in a drill in a snow-filled forest in Russia’s southern city of Stavropol, February 15, 2011.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Despite the olive drab, students find a way to bring their own flair to the outings.

caption
Students take part in weapons training during a two-day field exercise near the village of Sengileyevskoye, just outside the south Russian city of Stavropol April 13, 2014.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

The cadet school doesn’t solely focus on fighting, there is also a religious, patriotic aspect.

caption
A student prays in a chapel.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Here we see cadets digging up discarded munitions from World War II.

caption
A young man holds a case of a large-calibre bullet of World War Two era as students take part in an all-Russian search operation to find and rebury the remains of Red Army soldiers killed during World War Two, in the village of Bezzaboty, southeast of Smolensk in western Russia May 4, 2014.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Remembering World War II is very important to the Russians. They turned the tide against Hitler’s Nazi army in the East, and lost around 20 million soldiers and civilians during that time.

caption
A participant holds bombshells from the World War Two era, which were found as students from the General Yermolov Cadet School take part in an all-Russian search operation to find and rebury the remains of Red Army soldiers killed during World War Two in the village of Vava, southeast of Smolensk in western Russia May 3, 2014.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Here cadets take part in a burial of Soviet war victims.

caption
People bury coffins with remains of Soviet war victims during a funeral ceremony at a cemetery.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

And here they are praying for those lost.

caption
People attend a prayer service to commemorate Soviet war victims.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

The children are trained to resist and survive during harsh conditions. Here they don gas masks, useful in the case of a chemical attack. They also train against radiation attacks.

caption
Fifth-grade students, instructed by a 10th-grader, take on gas masks during their first military tactical exercise on the ground, which includes radiation-resistance classes, forest-survival studies, and other activities.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

The training doesn’t stop with ground warfare.

caption
Students of the General Yermolov Cadet School board an airplane for a parachute jump at an airdrome in the village of Novomaryevskaya outside the southern city of Stavropol, Russia, May 13, 2016.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Cadets even have a chance to practice parachuting.

caption
Students of the General Yermolov Cadet School are seen after jumping with parachute from an airplane in the village of Novomaryevskaya outside the southern city of Stavropol, Russia, May 13, 2016.
source
REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko