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Soviet girl power sees resurgence in Moscow cadet school

Among ordinary Moscow schools there is a special one where girls are not only getting a basic education, but are also learning how to match the boys in almost every skill, both domestically and militarily.

It is Moscow's Female Cadet Boarding School No. 9. Since its opening in 2004, the school’s aim is to bring back cadet education abandoned in Soviet times.

Deputy Headmaster Aleksey Zhukov says that his girls are perfectly capable of defending themselves after they complete their education:

“After they finish our school most of them want to pursue a career in law enforcement, and so far everybody has managed to take up command posts,” Zhukov says.

Their classes are not just limited to military practices. They also learn languages, law, history of art, as well as life skills like sewing and cooking. In addition, a medical education is an important part of the school's program. The girls spend at least four hours a month in a class learning all types of first aid, including how to stop bleeding, applying bandages and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

The school currently educates 161 students, all of them girls. Most of them are allowed to go home only for the weekend and on school nights everyone has to be in bed by 10 pm.

Student Maria Korchagina’s parents work in the civil service and she wants to continue the tradition. At the age of sixteen she's already a senior sergeant, albeit in the school.

“Life here is very saturated,” Korchagina says. “If ordinary students just have lessons, we get to travel, perform in shows and take part in parades. We never sit down to relax!”

The rules at the boarding school are strict – especially for seniors – but the girls say they still have a relatively normal social life, as the boys' cadet school is just around the corner.

Additionally, the school's museum is dedicated to some of the most influential women in Russian history, from Empress Anna of Russia, who established the cadet movement in the 18th century, to Valentina Tereshkova – the first woman in space. Everything in the confines of the school is aimed at developing a well rounded character.

“The image of our graduate is a practical, advanced, intellectual woman who is ready to serve her country and be a loving mother, loyal wife, friend and a skillful hostess,” concludes Viktoriya Silenskaya, the school’s headmaster.