Be Prepared to Kill or Die for Russia 3. «Eaglets» and Children’s Military Clubs of DOSAAF

Концерт до 9 травня. Фото:
Концерт до 9 травня. Фото:

The Center of Journalist Investigations continues a series of publications about children’s military units in occupied Crimea and their initiators and supervisors (see part 1 and part 2). Pseudo patriotic movement in Russia and on occupied territories of Ukraine is quickly developing. It trains children to hate anything non-Russian and be prepared to kill or die for Russia. Russian state propaganda justifies aggressive war against Ukraine. 

Eaglets of Russia, Crimea

«Eaglets of Russia» is All-Russian program for pupils of the primary school. It enrolls over 3 million children and 136 thousand teachers. «Eaglets» is part of broader project «Patriotic training of citizens of the Russian Federation» within Russian «Movement of the First», as the Center described in previous material «Be Prepared to Kill or Die for Russia 2. Who Trains Children’s Army of Russia in Crimea».

Though «Eaglets of Russia» has been presented as social project, it does have clear signs of military unit.

All pupils of the primary school are obligatory enrolled into «Eaglets». All parents are obliged to sign their consent for participation of their children in extra curriculum camp «Eaglets of Russia» at the beginning of tuition. Lessons are conducted once per week. Their topics are Motherland, health, family, nature. The main topic is «patriotic training». Teachers use the topic of «Victory in the Great Patriotic War». They present «Victory» as an exclusive achievement of Russia.

One of directions of «Eaglets» is «Eaglet as the guardian of historical memory». Teachers bring children to monuments of Soviet soldiers, tell about their heroism and compare with Russian «special military operation» in Ukraine. Teachers hold meetings with heroes of «special military operation», force children to assemble and send parcels to the front, write letters to Russian soldiers and make camouflage nets.   

Учні 2-А класу сімферопольської гімназії №8 плетуть маскувальні сітки. Фото: соцмережі

Students of class 2a of Simferopol gymnasium # 8 make camouflage nets. Photo: social media

The Russian Victory Day (the 9th of May) is celebrated in schools by conducting events called «Immortal Regiment» and «Windows of Victory». Children post on windows pictures with St George ribbons, stars and carnation. Teachers organize competitions of staged war time songs (like «Katusha» and «Legendary Sevastopol»). Children wear military uniform with St George ribbon.

Конкурс інсценованої пісні в Сімферопольському економічному ліцеї Фото:

Competition of staged song in Simferopol Economic Lyceum. Photo:

Russian citizen Alina Konstantinovna Yaremchuk is supervisor of «Eaglets of Russia» in occupied Crimea. She was born in 1990. She is the teacher of primary classes in Simferopol school # 4. Before 2022, she has been teacher in Krasnoyarsk.

Аліна Яремчук, екраторка “Орлят России” в окупованому Криму. Фото: соцмережі

Alina Yaremchuk, supervisor of «Eaglets of Russia» in occupied Crimea. Photo: social media

In Sevastopol, acquisition of membership in «Eaglets» is conducted as solemn consecration ceremony, reminding Soviets rites of acquiring the status of «pioneers». «Eaglets» are given ties; they read the text of oath.

Посвята в “Орлята России” у Севастополі

«Consecration» into «Eaglets of Russia» in Sevastopol 

Russian citizen Natalia Yurjevna Korakina (born in 1972) is supervisor of «Eaglets of Russia» in Sevastopol. She works as senior methodologist of Sevastopol «Palace of children’s and youth creativity». Before 2014, she has been HR manager in private companies in Russian city of Izhevsk.

Наталья Корякіна, кураторка “Орлят России” в Севастополі. Фото: соцмережі

Natalia Koryakina, supervisor of «Eaglets of Russia» in Sevastopol. Photo: social media

«Union of Border Guards of Crimea», Simferopol

«Union» has been registered in the Russian State Register of Legal Entities in October 2014 as non-profit organization. Before the Russian full scale invasion into Ukraine, «Union» has focused on military training of Crimean children. Since 2019, «Union» has actively applied for grants of the Fund of the President of Russia. It won 12 Putin’s grants for «patriotic training of children». «Union» conducts lessons of courage, initial military courses, military shooting and meetings with participants of Russian «special military operation» and border guards. They teach children to handle weapons and make trench candles. They also conduct consecration of pupils into the unit called «Young friend of the border guard».

«Union» won the grant to create the center of maritime and military training of children called «Defendant of Motherland» (total cost is one million Rubles). «Union» is going to build training ground near Simferopol with obstacle course, climbing wall and shooting gallery. Children will be trained to shoot, throw knives and operate drones. The Center covered this project in article «PutinJugend: Center for military training of children to be created in Crimea».

Since 2019, Ukrainian citizen Djachenko Oleksandr Grygorovych has been the head o «Union of border guards of Crimea». He was born in 1961. In 1980, he graduated from Simferopol High Professional School # 26 as wiring engineer.

Djachenko founded and manages a number of companies. One of them is called LLC «SOPTR» (specialized unit for underwater works), founded in April 2014.

Олександр Дьяченко, глава «Союза пограничников Крыма».

Collaborator and head of «Union of Border Guards of Crimea» Oleksandr Djachenko. Photo: social media

In 2016, Djachenko co-founded LLC «Medical center Lirei». He is also head of the board of non-profit «Center of maritime training «Varyag», founded in 2020 by a number of interconnected non-profits.

In April 2024, Djachenko founded non-profit «Krym-Gid» for the development of tourism and sports. His co-founder is Daria Vladyslavivna Gorokhova, born in 2002. She is deputy of Djachenko in club «Varyag» and participant of «Battalion Forpost» (the Center covered the activity of this «Battalion» in previous publications).

Дар’я Горохова та Олександр Дьяченко проводять урок мужності у сімферопольській школі 25 Фото:

Daria Gorokhova and Oleksandr Djachenko conduct «lesson of courage» in Simferopol school # 25. Photo:

Crimean office of Russian DOSAAF

Crimean office of Russian DOSAAF (Volunteer Society for Cooperation with Army, Aviation and Navy) trains soldiers for the Russian Armed Forces, runs several driving schools and earns money by leasing its premises.

It has also set up military patriotic clubs in Crimean cities: «Eltigen» in Kerch, «Kaskad-4» in Alushta, «Orlan» in Krasnoperekopsk and «Assault» in Yalta.

Clubs conduct recruitment trainings for teenagers to join Armed Forces, police or customs. They hold «lessons of courage», exhibitions of weapons, military sports games and military patriotic events «Following roads of liberators», «Sacred duty to defend Motherland», «In memory of heroes of Motherland», «There is profession to defend Motherland».

Акція "Есть такая профессия Родину защищать", Заняття "Памяти Героев Отечества", "Ворошиловский стрелок", Військово-патріотичний урок Фото: ВКонтакте

«Patriotic» military events for school pupils conducted by Crimean office of Russian DOSAAF. Photo: social media

Graduates of clubs participate in All-Russian festival for youth and children «Voroshylovksy shooter».

Clubs teach hand-to-hand combat, shooting, tactics etc. They launch long distance marches, with obstacle courses, mined fields, evacuation of wounded, shooting etc.

Since 2018, Crimean office of DOSAAF has been headed by Ukrainian citizen Andrii Oleksandrovych Popov, born in 1970 in Crimea. Electric welder by training, he has worked as director in several Crimean companies in 1990s.

Popov is the head of «Simferopol technical school of DOSAAF» and «Crimean Union of veterans of paratroopers «Uzhny rubezh», Crimean office of «Immortal Regiment of Russia». He is the deputy head of Crimean office of the Russian Union of Veterans of Afghanistan and deputy head of Crimean headquarters of «Young Army».

Popov has been an active participant of illegal paramilitary organization in Crimea in 2014. He has managed a group of collaborators from non-profit «Union of Paratroopers of Crimea». His group blocked Ukrainian military units and organized «self-defense units» in Krasnoperekopsk and Simferopol. He has been awarded a medal «For protection of Crimea».  

Андрій Попов Фото:

Collaborator Andrii Popov, Photo:

Collaborator Volodymyr Mykolayovych Babko, born in 1969, is the head of Yalta office of DOSAAF. From 1991 till 2009 he has worked in Yalta city military conscription office. In 1987, he graduated from Kanev School of Arts and Culture as musician.

Ukrainian citizen Oleksandr Mykolayovych Ryzhkov, born in 1979, is the head of military patriotic club «Kaskad-4» in Alushta. From 1997 till 2005, he has served in various military units of Ukraine (for example, in the 1st aeromobile division). In 2003-2004, he has participated in the peace keeping mission in Iraq, within the 5th separate mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In 2014, Ryzhkov has been commander of Alushta company of «self-defense of Crimea».

Володимир Бабко. Фото:

Collaborator Volodymyr Babko. Photo: VKontakte

In 2016, he has been participant of the case of so-called «Alushta burglars», i.e. local journalists who extorted money from him for the non-dissemination of negative information about local members of Russian political party «United Russia». Ryzhkov played the role of provocateur of the Russian Federal Security Service.

In 2017, he registered as an individual entrepreneur and sold food and cigarettes.

From 2018 till 2022, he has headed local office of DOSAAF in Alushta. Now he is the head of Alushta headquarters of Putin’s «Young Army» and local non-profit «Union of Veterans of Paratroopers of Russia».

Ukrainian citizen Udovychenko Denys Volodymyrovych, born in 1978 in Chelyabinsk, has been the head of military patriotic club «Eltigen» in Kerch before his recent death. He was trained as the cook and then served as paratrooper within Ukrainian peacekeepers in Yugoslavia.

Олександр Рижков

Collaborator Oleksandr Ryzhkov. Photo: social media

Then, he worked as cook at commercial ships. In 2017, he joined «Union of Paratroopers of Crimea» and worked as trainer on military patriotic education in Kerch office of DOSAAF. In September 2022, he left Kerch fish processing factory «Prolyv», signed contract with the Ministry of Defense of Russia and went to the «special military operation». He fought against Ukraine within the 810th separate brigade of marines during eight months. In May 2023, he was killed.

Денис Удовиченко

Collaborator Denys Udovychenko. Photo:

Collaborator Artamonov Oleksandr Oleksandrovych is the current head of «Eltigen». Before Russian occupation of Crimea, he has been individual entrepreneur and conducted trade. In April 2023, he became director and founder of LLC «Flex-neo», registered in the Republic of Adygea of the Russian Federation.

Олександр Артамонов

Collaborator Oleksandr Artamanov. Photo:

Sevastopol office of Russian DOSAAF is headed by collaborator Shevchuk Natalia Dadadjonivna. Our Center highlighted her activity in article «Courses of killers for adults and teenagers. Drone operators are actively trained in Sevastopol for the war against Ukraine».

Natalia Shevchuk is also the head of «Maritime innovation center», founded by Sevastopol office of DOSAAF. This center launched project «Young drone operator» by winning grant of Putin’s Fund of presidential grants for training children from occupied Crimea and Southern Ukraine to operate drones.

Наталя Шевчук. Фото: соцмережі

Natalia Shevchuk. Photo: social media

«Military patriotic youth of good will», Alupka

Organization has been created in 2006. The Russian State Register of Legal Entities lists the following people as its founders: Mikhalevych Zenovii Volodymyrovych (individual entrepreneur registered in Moscow but with activity covering Crimea) and Boichuk Mykhailo Mykhailovych. The last person has been the head of organization until May 20, 2024. Current head is Russian citizen Fateev Viktor Nikolayevych. He has business in Belgorod oblast.

Before the Russian occupation of Crimea, Mykhailo Boichuk has been the head of the Fund of municipal property of Alupka City Council. He registered two limited liability companies in Russian jurisdiction. One is «Milimitan» (tourist agency) and another is «Ikhtidar» (cargo transportation).

He is also the head of Yalta headquarters of Putin’s «Young Army», member of Yalta office of DOSAAF and member of All-Russian non-profit of families with many children.

«Parks of culture and leisure» is indicated as the main activity of «Military patriotic youth» but the name of organization demonstrates other streams of activity

Колаборант Михайло Бойчук (праворуч).  Фото: соцмережі

Collaborator Mykhailo Boichuk (right). Photo: social media 

In 2018, organization won Putin’s grant for the field military patriotic training (almost 1.3 million Rubles). The purpose of the project is «to stimulate the youth to become defendants of Motherland and not to abstain from military service».

In 2019, organization received new grant for project «Training for military service in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation» (over 1.5 million Rubles). Children were trained to overcome obstacles, assemble weapons, to throw grenades, provide first medical aid etc. They examined armored intelligence vehicle, underwater works and actions under emergency situations.

In 2019 and 2021, «Military patriotic youth» received grants for project «Luch» [Ray] (Training camp Black Sea museum) (3.4 million Rubles). These projects were also aimed at training children and 10-18 years old teenagers for the service in the Russian Armed Forces. 

Військово-польові збори дітей  із залученням бронетехніки. 2019 рік. Фото:

Military patriotic training children with armored vehicles. 2019. Photo:

«Young Sevastopol people», Sevastopol

Occupied Sevastopol demonstrates the extreme experience of militarization of children. Local collaborators launched new patriotic movement for children in kindergartens «Young Sevastopol people». The movement has not yet received legal status and acts within Putin’s «Young Army». It seems the next step will be «patriotic» organization of new born babies…

Consecration into «Young Sevastopol people» is the Soviet style show. Children have to make an «oath of patriots». Then, older members of «Young Army», soldiers of the 810th brigade of marines of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and veterans from «Combat brotherhood» provide them with blue ties. 

Прийом у «Юные севастопольцы» в дитсадку №92 Севастополя. Фото: соцмережі

Consecration into «Young Sevastopol people» in the kindergarten # 92 of Sevastopol. Photo: social media

It was reported in the middle of March 2024, that four thousand children of city kindergartens became members of movement «Young Sevastopol people».


According to the data of the Ministry of Education of Russia, 24% of Russian citizens will be involved into project «Patriotic training of citizens of the Russian Federation» by the end of this year. They will also cover people on occupied territories of Ukraine where Russia develops multi-level system of «patriotic» training to change the identity of Ukrainian children.