At Ukraine Summer Camp, Cossacks Teach Martial Values, Love Of Country, To Kids As Young As 8

MOUNT ESKI-KERMEN, Ukraine -- To learn to be soldiers, some kids at this summer camp on the Crimean Peninsula start out young, ranging from age 18 to as young as 8.


In this Aug. 2, 2012 photo, participants in a youth military camp line up during training, 60 kilometers (38 miles) outside of Simferopol in the Ukrainian Black Sea Crimean Peninsula. To learn to be soldiers, some kids at this summer camp start out young, ranging from age 18 to as young as 8. The 100 boys from Russia and Ukraine are trained by Cossacks who bill it as a “military patriotic” camp. The organizers are the Union of Crimean Cossacks, descendants of a Slavic warrior caste that for centuries defended Russia’s borderlands against invasion.

The 100 boys from Russia and Ukraine are trained by Cossacks to climb mountains at night, survive in the woods, shoot rifles, navigate unknown terrain and conduct reconnaissance trips.

The tough physical exercises include being stomped on the belly by other boys.

Participants are taught to respect the Orthodox Christian religion by, for instance, crossing themselves before eating simple meals of buckwheat and bread.

The organizers, who bill it as a “military patriotic” camp, are the Union of Crimean Cossacks, descendants of a Slavic warrior caste that for centuries defended Russia’s borderlands against invasion.

Sergei Yurchenko, a camp organizer, said he and his colleagues have trained 2,000 youngsters over the past nine years, and that many of the graduates are now professional soldiers.

“For a Cossack, as for any other real man, the most important thing is to defend himself, his loved ones, his motherland, not fear difficulties, not abandon your comrade in battle,” he said.

Source: The Washington Post

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