Toy Soldiers

“Toy Soldiers” documents organizations directly related to patriotic education and military training for youth functioning in Russia. Over 200,000 youth are currently enrolled in clubs with 10,000 in Moscow alone. Each club functions independently with their own structures and philosophies. In 2015, a proposed program from the Russian government entitled the “Patriotic Education of Russian Citizens in 2016-2020” calls for an eight percent increase in patriotic youth within the next ten years, and a ten percent increase in new recruits for the Russian armed forces.

Cadet students perform at a local theater in Sergiyev Posad, Russia.
Students from School #18 perform a show at the local theater in Sergiyev Posad, Russia, 15 Dec 2016. The show promotes the cadet school at School #18.
Orthodox Warrior Camp, Diveevo, Russia.
"Orthodox Warrior" camp takes place in Diveevo, the center of pilgrimate for Orthodox Christians in Russia, 31 July, 2016. The relics of one of the most revered saints, St. Seraphim, is celebrated on the 1 of August, attracting pilgrims from all across the country. The participants of the camp train not only in martial arts and tactical training, but unite under their Orthodox faith. Various competitions are held throughout the week, including Cossack dagger training and military tactical training. Attendees come from all across Russia, including regions like Stavropol.
The Historical War Camp in Borodino, Russia.
A unit dresses to re-enact Soviet Russia during WWII as part of their historical education at the Historical-War Camp, in Borodino, Russia. 26 July 2016. The camp offers reenactments of historical periods of war. Borodino is famous for a battle fought on 7 Sep 1812 - the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars. The project statement of the camp says: "To awaken in the younger generation a keen interest in the history of the Fatherland, the glorious deeds of our ancestors, to facilitate the expansion of military-historical knowledge."
The Historical War Camp in Borodino, Russia.
Students train horse-back riding at the Historical War Camp, in Borodino, Russia. 28 July 2016. The project statement of the camp says: "To awaken in the younger generation a keen interest in the history of the Fatherland, the glorious deeds of our ancestors, to facilitate the expansion of military-historical knowledge."
Students train in firearms with a group called the Survivalists, Diveevo, Russia.
Artyom Baklashkin (17), a student of the local secondary school in the village of Diveevo, stands guard in an abandoned building with a group known as the "Survivalists", 6 Apr 2016, Russia. Survivalists train young adults to survive future wars and post-apocalyptic life and meet weekly for tactical drills. They are using air-soft guns for the practice and competition.
Cadet students perform at a local theater in Sergiyev Posad, Russia.
Students from School #18 perform a show at the local theater in Sergiyev Posad, Russia, 15 Dec 2016. The show promotes the cadet school at School #18.
The Historical War Camp in Borodino, Russia.
A fake grenade is launched, setting smoke in the atmosphere as students practice a drill with air-soft guns at the Historical-War Camp, in Borodino, Russia. 29 July 2016. They are using air-soft guns for the practice and competition. Borodino is famous for a battle fought on 7 Sep 1812 - the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars. 350 adolescents are in attendance, ranging in ages from 11 to 16, and lasts throughout the summer.
Class in session at School #7, Dmitrov, Russia.
A class is in session at School #7, 05 Apr 2016, Dmitrov, Russia. School #7 is a public school but offers cadet classes for those who wish to participate. The benefit of participating in cadet classes includes free lunch, while other students have to pay.
Interior classroom of School #7, Dmitrov, Russia
A wall is decorated with legacies from Russian history, starting with Vladimir Putin on the far left, 4 Apr 2016, School #7, Dmitrov, Russia.
Cadet drills at School #7, Dmitrov, Russia.
As part of a cadet course, students stand ready as a teacher observes how quickly they can dress in gas masks, 4 Apr 2016, School #7, Dmitrov, Russia.
Students at the Inspection of Singing and Marching competition in Dmitrov, Russia.
Students compete at the "Inspection of Singing and Marching" competition at the gymnasium of School #6 for students in the Dmitrov region, a suburb of Moscow, Dmitrov, Russia, 14 Dec 2016.
Students at the Inspection of Singing and Marching competition in Dmitrov, Russia.
Students compete at the "Inspection of Singing and Marching" competition at the gymnasium of School #6 for students in the Dmitrov region, a suburb of Moscow, Dmitrov, Russia, 14 Dec 2016.
Cadet students perform at a local theater in Sergiyev Posad, Russia.
Students from School #18 perform a show at the local theater in Sergiyev Posad, Russia, 15 Dec 2016. The show promotes the cadet school at School #18.
Orthodox Warrior Camp, Diveevo, Russia.
Priests arrive to prepare food at the "Orthodox Warrior" which camp takes place in Diveevo, the center of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians in Russia, 2 August 2016. The relics of one of the most revered saints, St. Seraphim, are celebrated on the 1 of August, attracting pilgrims from all across the country. The participants of the camp train not only in martial arts and tactical training, but unite under their Orthodox faith. Various competitions are held throughout the week, including Cossack dagger training and military tactical training.
Orthodox Warrior Camp, Diveevo, Russia.
Dmitri (Dima) Antonets (17) escapes the heat during an afternoon off at the lake. 31 July 2016, Diveevo, Russia. He wears a Russian Orthodox cross for safety during his travels from Stavropol to Diveevo. "Orthodox Warrior" camp takes place in Diveevo, the center of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians in Russia. The participants of the camp train not only in martial arts and tactical training, but unite under their Orthodox faith.
Orthodox Warrior Camp, Diveevo, Russia.
A group from Stavropol escapes the heat at a lake in Diveevo during an afternoon off. 2 August 2016. "Orthodox Warrior" camp takes place in Diveevo, the center of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians in Russia. The relics of one of the most revered saints, St. Seraphim, are celebrated on the 1 of August, attracting pilgrims from all across the country. The participants of the camp train not only in martial arts and tactical training, but unite under their Orthodox faith.
Orthodox Warrior Camp, Diveevo, Russia.
Nastya Gobritskaya (L, 15) from Moscow and Alina Klikova (R, 16) from Medin at the Historical-War Camp, in Borodino, Russia. 26 July 2016. The project statement of the camp says: "To awaken in the younger generation a keen interest in the history of the Fatherland, the glorious deeds of our ancestors, to facilitate the expansion of military-historical knowledge."
The Historical War Camp in Borodino, Russia.
Nastya Gobritskaya (L, 15) from Moscow and Alina Klikova (R, 16) from Medin at the Historical-War Camp, in Borodino, Russia. 26 July 2016. The project statement of the camp says: "To awaken in the younger generation a keen interest in the history of the Fatherland, the glorious deeds of our ancestors, to facilitate the expansion of military-historical knowledge."
The Historical War Camp in Borodino, Russia.
Students train in firearms at the Historical-War Camp, in Borodino, Russia. 24 July 2016. Borodino is famous for a battle fought on 7 Sep 1812 - the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars. 350 adolescents are in attendance, ranging in ages from 11 to 16. They are using air-soft guns for the practice and competition. The camp teaches information about the basic kinds of weapons, bases and firing rules, sniper rifles, and different type of weapons.
Orthodox Warrior Camp, Diveevo, Russia.
Students from Stavropol rest in their tent before sleeping at camp, 3 August 2016, Diveevo, Russia. "Orthodox Warrior" camp takes place in Diveevo, the center of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians in Russia. The participants of the camp train not only in martial arts and tactical training, but unite under their Orthodox faith. Various competitions are held throughout the week, including Cossack dagger training and military tactical training.
Orthodox Warrior Camp, Diveevo, Russia.
A group of students dance to traditional Cossack music during the evening at "Orthodox Warrior" camp, 4 August 2016, Diveevo, Russia. The participants of the camp train not only in martial arts and tactical training, but unite under their Orthodox faith.
The Historical War Camp in Borodino, Russia.
Students escape the heat and watch war films at the Historical-War Camp, in Borodino, Russia. 26 July 2016. Borodino is famous for a battle fought on 7 Sep 1812 - the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Historical War Camp in Borodino, Russia.
Students dressed in traditional hats and shirts of the Russian air-force pose for a portrait during a firearm drill at the Historical-War Camp, in Borodino, Russia. 25 July 2016. They are using air-soft guns for the practice and competition. Borodino is famous for a battle fought on 7 Sep 1812 - the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Historical War Camp in Borodino, Russia.
A unit dresses to re-enact Soviet Russia during WWII as part of their historical education at the Historical-War Camp, in Borodino, Russia. 26 July 2016. The camp offers reenactments of historical periods of war. Borodino is famous for a battle fought on 7 Sep 1812 - the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars. 350 adolescents are in attendance, ranging in ages from 11 to 16.
Cadet drills at School #7, Dmitrov, Russia.
Schoolchildren line up for drill on a Monday afternoon at School #7, 4 Apr 2016, Dmitrov, Russia. Drill is not mandatory at School #7. School #7 is a public school but offers cadet classes for those who wish to participate. The benefit of participating in cadet classes includes free lunch, while other students have to pay.