White collar Russians are signing up for week-long survival courses because they feel Russia is increasingly under siege from its military posture in Ukraine and Syria, The Washington Post reports.
Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian Crimea in 2014, and ongoing military campaign to support Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad have significantly increased tensions between Russia and the West. These survival courses seek to prepare anxious Russians “in case of a war or total collapse of modern society,” according to an instructor’s comments to ThePost.
“This is similar to the phenomena of militias and doomsday preppers around the world,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies Russian expert Boris Zilberman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Zilberman elaborated that Russian authorities “probably keep a close eye on them but probably do not present a threat and could be even useful in some instances.”
“Authorities are tolerating it, because they simply want it, this is a reserve of Putin’s support,” Senior Associate at the Carnegie Moscow Center Andrei Kolesnikov told TheDCNF. Kolesnikov elaborated in a June 2016 paper that “peddling threats, external and internal, including the threat of war, to the Russian people is a key tool of the Putin regime’s political strategy.”
“The storm clouds are gathering,” one attendee told ThePost. He said he was primarily motivated by his fear of a terror threat and instability in Ukraine.
The instructor of the paramilitary course echoed similar sentiments saying “we’re all Russian people and in the coming war we are all going to have to come together — Communists, pagans and Orthodox together.”
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