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PUTIN'S TINY ARMY 

Some parents would gasp at the thought of their children playing with a toy gun, but these Russian children are actually encouraged to take up real arms. Military sports club, ‘Berkut’, (meaning golden eagle), trains up tiny Vlads and Boris’, who dream of joining the elite units of the Russian army and fighting under the command of President Vladimir Putin. Pictured on their website brandishing a hand gun, is a young boy, dressed in military fatigues with his finger over the trigger. Children as young a five are sent on forced marches, given battlefield training, taught hand to hand combat, and how to use military equipment. 12 year olds are also taught to fire Kalashnikov assault rifles and other small arms. During the clubs regular camps some children are given the opportunity to parachute jump during their paratrooper training. The club based in Zhukovsky, Russia, claims to provide military training designed to develop the younger generation of the “motherland” - a term synonymous with the former Soviet Union and the communist rule of the last century.

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