Putin stirs Soviet memories with new schoolchildren movement

29th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday stirred memories of the Soviet-era Pioneer movement by setting up a state-backed organisation for schoolchildren.

The Kremlin strongman signed a decree establishing the Russian Movement of Schoolchildren to help "build characters based on the system of values of Russian society", according to the text published online.

Russian media immediately likened the new youth organisation to its Communist-era equivalent the Pioneers, which helped shape millions of schoolchildren throughout the USSR.

Putin -- himself a former KGB intelligence agent -- has restored numerous Soviet symbols during his 15 years in power, including the booming tune of the national anthem.

Known for their red scarves and straight-palmed salute, the pioneers were founded in 1922 and named in honour of leader Vladimir Lenin.

The organisation -- intended as a Communist version of the scouting movement -- was virtually compulsory for children from the age of nine to 14 but it disappeared with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Thursday saw Communists mark the 97th anniversary of the founding of the Soviet Union's youth movement for teenagers, the Komsomol, in October 1918.

© 2015 AFP

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