Military preparation training should be reintroduced in all Russian schools to increase patriotism in youth, the country's chief military prosecutor said in an interview with a Russian government daily to be published on Thursday.
Military preparation training was part of school education during the Soviet era, but was abolished as a mandatory discipline in the 1990s. Instead of military courses, life safety training was introduced in schools across the country, which is seen by most school students as an unnecessary discipline.
"I believe that such a school discipline [principle military preparation] is certainly needed," Sergei Fridinsky told Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
The statement came amid calls by many Russian public figures to consolidate the nation following deadly terrorist attacks that hit Moscow and Russia's North Caucasus republic of Dagestan this week.
Fridinsky said patriotic education beginning in youth would train people to live a healthy lifestyle and help them overcome difficulties during their entire life, "including during military service."
A one-year military service is mandatory for men in Russia, but many try to evade conscription in the Army by bribing military officials and doctors to get medical exemption certificates. Military hazing and severe conditions during service contribute to the youth's unwillingness to enlist in the Army.
Dozens of Russian servicemen die annually as a result of crimes and non-combat-related incidents, including a large number of suicides.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, more than 270 Russian servicemen died in the Army in 2009, with about half of them committing suicide. In 2008, there were about 430 deaths registered, again half being suicides.
Following a range of resonant deaths in the Army in the past few years, Russian authorities have moved to boost the safety of servicemen and improve the image of the military.
Military preparation courses have been introduced in some Russian schools, Fridinsky said. However, the lack of necessary equipment and high-qualified teachers has made them less effective than they could be. In some schools, female teachers, who have never served in the military, teach children military training, he said.
"I am convinced that all ministries and [government] agencies should be involved in preparing [the youth] for conscription within their competence, particularly, the Education Ministry and the Health Ministry," he said.
MOSCOW, March 31 (RIA Novosti)