Russian company building replica concentration camp for kids near Finnish border; plans for ‘patriotic weekend’ school trips
A Russian organization is constructing a replica World War 2 prison camp, as part of the country’s drive to include patriotic education in the curriculum, enabling schoolchildren to explore what forced detention was like.
As shown on local TV in the northwestern Karelia region, the construction is a portrayal of special internment camps built in the USSR by occupying Finnish forces in the early 1940s.
Located in the village of Vatnavolok, the prison camp includes observation towers and wooden barracks buildings. The outdoor museum, which is not yet completed, is being created by the Open Opportunities Fund, which intends to bring children to experience a “Patriotic Weekend.” Visitors to the open-air museum will watch documentaries about the life of concentration camp prisoners and participate in military games.
The first children are expected to arrive in December.
The East Karelian concentration camps were built from 1941, after being ordered by Finnish Defense Force chief Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. By 1942, over 20,000 Soviets were interned. Although the true death toll is not known, estimates put the number at above 4,000.
In July, Russia’s parliament approved a law to include patriotic education in the curriculum, aimed to instill children with respect for the memory of those who fought to defend the country.
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