As relations with the West get rockier, Russia wants its youth to learn about warfare—in a very hands-on way. At the “Patriot” theme park outside Moscow, the Russian military is constructing a mini replica of the Reichstag, historical headquarters of the German parliament, for the purpose of giving schoolchildren something to attack as they learn guerilla tactics.
Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said the model is being built so that children can “storm a specific location, not something abstract,” the Associated Press reported. Specifically, the edifice is designed for members of the Young Army, or Yunarmia, a government program launched by Shoigu in 2015 to train Russian youth in rudimentary military skills.
“There’s a training course for demolition experts, a kitchen, cooks, a guerilla sauna and even an officer’s dugout,” Shoigu said, according to Russian state news agency Interfax. There’s also a fake submarine and fake trenches, where children can prepare for their attacks and experience life at war… with little regard for the subtleties of diplomacy or the politics of history.
During World War II, the Soviet Army took Berlin after a brutal battle, the last in the European stage of the war. A famous image shows Red Army soldiers planting a hammer-and-sickle flag on top of the Reichstag. The Kremlin often references World War II to shore up patriotic feelings in the Russian public.