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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Schools Revive Tsarist Military Tradition

In an attempt to boost the morale and standing of the officer corps, the Defense Ministry and the St. Petersburg government are planning to restore a number of elite military academies closed down by the Communist government in 1918, a spokesman for the Leningrad Military District said Tuesday.

Yury Klyonov said that existing military education was outdated and in severe need of reform, and that the new academies could provide the necessary means to improve standards among future officers by drawing on traditions from Russia's tsarist past.

"In the last few years the prestige of the military profession has been falling and we must do everything to raise it. Otherwise in 10 years there will be no one left in the Russian Army," he said.

The first cadet academy was opened in 1732 in St. Petersburg as an elite military school for young men from noble families. By 1917 there were 29 cadet academies in the Russian empire.

Traditionally standards were high. In addition to military subjects the future officers studied physics, chemistry, mathematics, art history, music, and two foreign languages.

"Russian officers used to be the best-educated people of their time and we want to restore this tradition," Klyonov said.

He said the first army cadet academy would open in Tsarskoye Selo, 24 kilometers south of St. Petersburg. This was the former residence of the Russian royal family, and the site of a pre-Revolutionary academy. Another academy will open at the Kronstadt naval base near St. Petersburg.

"The program of study will be very close to that in the old academies and many old traditions will be restored," Klyonov said.