Paramilitary: Join Voluntarily Or Else

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June 14, 2016: Russia has revived yet another Soviet era organization. This time it’s a youth (for 14-18 year olds) organization called Yunarmiya (“Yong Army”). This group is modeled on the Komsomol (All-Union Leninist Young Communist League) of the communist era. The new one leaves out all the communist stuff and stresses patriotism and supporting the military. Komsomol, founded by Lenin himself, lasted 93 years and at its peak enrolled nearly all eligible children. By the time it was disbanded in 1991 over half the adult population of the Soviet Union had been members. Komsomol concentrated on teaching kids how to be good citizens of the Soviet Union and the most promising Komsomol were allowed to join the Soviet Communist Party. With that came all sorts of privileges and access to the top jobs in the Soviet Union. Most of the current senior Russian leadership of Russia were Komsomol members.

Yunarmiya will put more emphasis on military training, mainly because most Russian young men avoid military service (legally or otherwise) and the government wants to end conscription as soon as it can afford to. Meanwhile it wants to expose teenagers to the new Russian armed forces, which are quite different from what existed during the Komsomol era. Another big difference from Komsomol is that joining Yunarmiya is voluntary while Komsomol was more along the lines of “join voluntarily or else.”

 


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