A school in central Russia has been filmed instructing its pupils to perform a raised right arm and clenched fist gesture that some have likened to a Nazi salute, independent student news outlet DOXA reported.
Video footage published with the report shows a group of children seated in an auditorium being instructed by a woman to raise their fists during a patriotic song by the singer Shaman that includes the lyric “Ya russky” (“I’m Russian”).
“You need to thrust it up to the sky, to NATO,” the woman can be heard saying.
DOXA said Tuesday that the video had been filmed in Kazan during a rehearsal in the run-up to Defender of the Fatherland Day, which is celebrated in Russia on Feb. 23.
The instructor, who comments on the students’ lack of patriotism, at one point asks if all the pupils are Russian citizens. When one replies that they aren’t, she tells them they’d “better emigrate.”
Independent Russian media outlets made visual comparisons between video and a salute performed by the Hitler Youth.
“This reminds us of something,” the ChTD Telegram channel wrote.
The students were also reportedly made to learn poems about the eastern Ukrainian territories partially captured by Russian forces during the invasion, as well as how to assemble Kalashnikov assault rifles and to put on gas masks.
DOXA said that this was just one of a series of increasingly militarized events put on in schools across Russia as the country entered its second year of war in Ukraine.
DOXA also said it predicted that schools across Russia will step up the “patriotic” indoctrination of pupils ahead of Victory Day celebrations on May 9.