NewsRussian student exchange with North Korea raises eyebrows

Russian student exchange with North Korea raises eyebrows

Russian children are going to a camp in North Korea.
Russian children are going to a camp in North Korea.
Images source: © TG
Mateusz Czmiel

1 July 2024 21:06

Commissioned by the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, the new "pioneering" organisation "Movement of the First" will start sending Russian students to the children's camp in Sondowon in North Korea. This information was confirmed by Grigoriy Gurov, chairman of the organisation's board.

Many pieces of information provided by Russian media or government representatives are elements of propaganda. Such reports are part of the information war conducted by the Russian Federation.

"Russian children will go to the Sondovon camp in North Korea, while children from North Korea will go to Russia's Artek, Orlyonok, Smena and Ocean camps," as quoted by NEXTA.

Absurd activities for children

The first group of Russian children will go to Songdowon at the end of July and preliminarily stay in North Korea until 2 August.

Earlier, the travel agency Vostok Intour, based in Vladivostok, announced its intention to send Russian students to the Sondowon children's camp for the holidays. The company's director, Inna Mukhina, said that "more than a dozen children, accompanied by two adults," would participate in the trip.

The Sondowon camp is located near the port city of Wonsan on North Korea's eastern coast. There is an amusement park, water rides, a beach, a game room, and air hockey tables.

One of the Russians who visited Sondowon as a teenager in 2015-2016 said that the camp experience included strict movement restrictions and daily propaganda events. Children were forced to sing songs praising Korean leaders and clean their monuments as part of the latter. School-aged children were also shown a cartoon in which the characters bombed the White House in the USA.

According to the Russian whose account was reported by "The Moscow Times," they were fed the same food – "tiny pieces of chicken, almost no other meat, sometimes squid with rice and a roll". At the same time, the North Koreans freely sold the students rice, vodka and cigarettes.

All-Russian movement of children and youth

The last time Russian children were at the camp was before the coronavirus pandemic. After the start of the war in Ukraine, the Governor of Primorsky Krai, Oleg Kozhemyako, repeatedly proposed resuming such trips. However, the initiative did not find much support among the country's citizens.

In 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law creating the all-Russian movement of children and youth, later known as the "Movement of the First." Association branches were opened in all schools across the country. The authorities also decided to admit 500,000 students into the organisation. In 2023, approximately £238 million was allocated from the budget for the new "pioneer," and in 2024, it was already £257 million.

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