Copyright © 2024

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Pro-Russian military instructors bring rifles to Belarus schools to prepare children for war against EU

Concerns rise over the “Lessons of Courage” program, militarizing children in Belarus.
russian zapad training
Russian troops parade ahead of the opening of the Zapad 2021 joint Russian-Belarusian drills on the Mulino training ground in the Nizhny Novgorod region, Russia, on Sept. 9, 2021. (Russian Defense Ministry/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
Pro-Russian military instructors bring rifles to Belarus schools to prepare children for war against EU

Belarus is forming military brigades from children in schools, orphanages, and camps, where the smallest ones are being brainwashed and taught to hate the Baltic states and Poland, according to Texty

The situation appears especially dire if look through the Yale University study, which found that 2400 Ukrainian children aged six to 17 were deported by Russian troops to Belarus since the onset of Russia’s all-out war, Reuters informs.

In these brigades, children are taught how to handle weapons, including grenade launchers and rifles, and are forced to swear oaths in a solemn Soviet-style ceremony.

Children in Belarus are enrolled in the “Lessons of Courage” official program aimed at the total militarization of the younger generation.

“They believe that the military training they receive from adults, dressed in uniform, preparing them for war, is normal,” Texty wrote.

One of the Belarusian military units, the 5th Special Forces Brigade, is actively involved in the mentioned state program. It is mandatory and encompasses all educational institutions in Belarus under a “voluntary-compulsory” framework.

This brigade visits Russia to receive instructions and has significantly expanded its activities in Belarus. They conduct their lessons by visiting Belarusian schools, orphanages, summer camps, lyceums, and vocational schools. Military personnel bring rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, and other combat equipment with them. They distribute these weapons to children and instruct them on how to use them.

At the “Lessons of Courage,” children are encouraged to join the armed forces in the future. In Belarus, these organizations emerged after the start of Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine. They are established according to Alexander Lukashenko’s Decree “On the Development of Military-Patriotic Clubs” of May 2022. To motivate parents to send their children there, the Belarus government promises that graduates of military-patriotic clubs will have privileges when entering military schools and academies.

Children of various ages – from elementary school students to teenagers – are accepted into these clubs. Boys and girls are taught to shoot, disassemble, and assemble weapons, overcome obstacles, provide medical assistance, use military equipment, build shelters and trenches, and fold parachutes during classes. They are taken to military units and firing ranges, where they are shown combat vehicles and are trained on weapon simulators. Literally, military instructors force them to train almost at the same level as adult soldiers.

Apart from the military courses, Belarus schoolchildren are told about the heroism of Soviet troops during World War II and the alleged aggressive policies of neighboring states.

At the same time, government officials and propaganda Telegram channels are conducting information campaigns to frighten Belarusians. Among those countries that Belarus perceives as a threat, Ukraine is usually mentioned last, with Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland taking tops.

“Columns of military equipment are moving towards the Belarus border. The Defense Ministry has urged Poles to avoid taking images and posting them on social media,” says the Western Operational Command of the Belarusian troops in one of the propaganda posts. 

In the light of numerous messages designed by pro-Russian channels, Belarus youth seem to be groomed for potential conflict with NATO nations. But why is there a focus on instilling fear and directing attention westward? It likely stems from Russia’s failed attempts to involve Belarusian troops in the battle against Ukraine, a move widely opposed by both military and civilian Belarusians.

Now, de facto under Russian control, Belarus authorities are adopting Russian tactics, including establishing their version of the “Young Army” and implementing similar indoctrination lessons. It indicates Russia’s intention to prolong and intensify tensions and perpetuate the conflict with Europe.

Read also:

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!

    Related Posts