Cadet schools in present-day Russia began to re-appear 15 years ago, in the early 1990s. The first such school was set up in the city of Novocherkassk in Russia’s south which is believed to be the capital of Cossacks on the River Don. Later, the first cadet school appeared in Moscow. At present there are over 100 cadet schools in the country, and an ever greater number of children dream of becoming cadets. A prototype of the cadet schools was the Mathematics and Navigation School opened by Russian Tsar Pyotr I in the 18th century. The tsar, when he founded the Russian navy, realised it needed well-trained engineers and experts in navigation. That school gave rise to specialised engineer and artillery educational establishments. Those were the beginning of the cadet system of Russian education.
After the 1917 October Revolution, all cadet schools were closed down, and many of their students and graduates, who were mostly opposed to Soviet rule, emigrated abroad. In 1922, the number of cadets residing abroad was some 2,000. The president of the Russian Cadet Foundation, Boris Iordan, whose father was a cadet, believed that the cadets of the old school were guided by their instinct in their wish to return home without losing their traditions; the most important being honour and dignity in service to the Motherland. Finally, their dream came true.
Mr Iordan said, “At present, there are more than 100 cadet schools in Russia, more than in 1917. More children attend such schools, so, this undertaking is supported by the Federal authorities, by the president and governors. Earlier, we thought that cadet schools are an insignificant movement. Yet, it grew into a full-blooded independent part of the Russian system of education, part of the Russian culture, and part of the up-bringing of the younger generation”.
According to Mr Iordan, today, the Russian system of cadet education is one of the best in the world. Young people receive an excellent education. This summer, the best students from the Russian cadet schools made a trip to the city of Belaya Tserkov in Serbia. The cadets gathered here after the 1917 Revolution and the advent to power of the Bolsheviks. It is thought that a majority of the cadets emigrated there. Together with Serb teenagers, Russian cadets contributed to the restoration of the Russian cadet cemetery and made improvements to the Russian Cadets Square. This was not a one-time action.
Colonel-General Valery Manilov, the chairman of the Russian Cadet Society, said, “We maintain close relations with cadet organisations in 7 countries, including Byelorussia, the United States, France, and Israel. We cooperate with all serious cadet organisations everywhere; we take part in congresses and various cultural events”. With every passing year, the prestige of cadet schools in Russia is growing. At present the competition ratio is very high for cadet schools in Moscow, there are 25 applicants for every open slot.
22 July 2008
Voice of Russia World Service