Class pictures of young Russian kids posing with mock Kalashnikov rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and a gas mask have sparked a raging controversy among infuriated parents. The photos were taken at a kindergarten in Saint Petersburg with children ages 4- 6.
Most of the parents and social activists have deemed the incident as unacceptable, although some defended it as patriotic education.
As it appears, the class was observing a “patriotic day” ahead of the “Defender of the Fatherland Day” – a national holiday in Russia, when the photos were taken.
The school administration had called upon “Red Star” – a club that stages battle reenactments and military-style sporting events for St. Petersburg youth – for a special presentation. The club member, who came in for the briefing, brought mock weapons, military helmets and berets along him.
“Why can't children hold a weapon?” said Yury Dorozhinsky, deputy head of Red Star. “It's silly to teach children patriotism using layman's terms. Telling without showing would not be right.”
He further said that children’s parents, one of whom is a member of the club, approved of the event.
The director of the Saint Petersburg kindergarten, Margarita Ivanova, has not commented on the story yet.