Already in early April, the Internet was filled with ads "buy or sell military uniform for a child." So the mothers of the whole country began to prepare for the Victory Day celebrations. In recent years, it has become fashionable for parents to dress up the children for the parade in gymnastics.
However, the miniature soldier's harnesses, garrison caps and white kerchiefs with a red cross do not cause affection for everyone.
On the eve of the big holiday, a heated argument has arisen for the second year in a row in the Chashchins' family from Irkutsk. The young father of two sons, Maxim, does not share the desire of their mother, Alexandra, to dress the boys in military uniforms for the Victory Parade. Last year, the "battle" for the uniform was won by the spouse, but now, avoiding conflict, she decided to yield to her husband.
“Children and war are completely incompatible things,” says Maxim Chashchin. - We must teach them the world, and not dress up in miniature gymnasts and riding breeches.
The man admitted that he is a supporter of children learning about the horrors of war as late as possible.
“This year he is particularly serious, although a couple of years ago he was not so categorical. His opinion changed when he read an article on the Internet by some psychologist who talked about the dangers of military uniforms for the child's psyche and the general militarization of society,”says Alexandra.
There are indeed a lot of statements on this topic on the Internet. For example, psychologist Elena Kuznetsova writes on her social media page: “Children cannot be dressed up in military uniforms on May 9, because this is a romanticization and decoration of the most terrible thing in our life - war. And we, on the contrary, show them that this is great, this is a holiday, because then it ends in victory. But this is not so. The war ends in unlived lives on both sides. Graves - brotherly and separate. Children should not wear military uniform. For most of our ancestors who met the war years, this garment was a posthumous garment. Children need to buy clothes “about life”, not “about death”.
Despite such opinions and a convinced husband, Alexandra Chashchina continues to consider miniature caps and gymnastics to be integral attributes of the holiday and important components of patriotic education.
Joy to the old soldier
The family of Irkutsk woman Marina Sakhaltueva loves mini-uniforms. The eldest son, who is six years old, has long since grown up from his first gymnast; she was inherited by his sister. Now children go to the Victory Parade together - in their hands there are carnations and a portrait of their great-great-grandfather, a veteran.
“It was to take part in the procession of the Immortal Regiment that I began to dress up the children in uniform. This is how we show our gratitude to our hero grandfathers. As if we say that we and the children remember and will remember their feat, and if something happens - God forbid, of course - we will defend the Motherland, as they once did,”says Marina.
She is sure that it is gratifying for any veteran soldier to see the younger generation at the holiday in uniform. Her words are confirmed by the veteran of the Great Patriotic War, retired guard colonel Vasily Filippovich Dygai, who this year celebrated his 100th anniversary on April 20. In May 1941, he was drafted into the Red Army, where he was enrolled in the 545th separate sapper battalion, in the training group for junior commanders. However, it was not possible to complete the courses: the battalion entered into protracted battles with the Nazis on the border with Ukraine.
“The first battles were the hardest. Our troops retreated, as they had no experience of military operations. There was not enough ammunition and equipment, and the Germans outnumbered us several times in numbers and especially in equipment. In the first battles, most of the battalion was mowed down.It was a shame to retreat,”the veteran recalls.
Despite his age, Vasily Filippovich is still in the ranks: after retiring from the army in 1971, he devoted himself to working with children, passing on his life experience to the younger generation. Therefore, he does not see anything wrong with the fact that parents dress their young children in military uniforms once a year.
“I spoke a lot in schools, telling students about the Great Patriotic War. This is very important for patriotic education. When children learn about those terrible events, they treat the uniform with special trepidation, put it on with special pride, and we look at it with joy and love,”notes Vasily Filippovich.
Time of peace and celebration
Colonel Alexei Kolenov, chairman of the Irkutsk city organization of veterans (pensioners) of war, labor, armed forces and law enforcement agencies, notes that he and most of the veterans support the festive transformation of children into little soldiers.
“I have a positive attitude to this and am proud that young people remember something. It's not just that their parents dress them up in the same way,”says Aleksey Vasilyevich.
Indeed, it is not just that. Irina Semeny from Irkutsk region has been sewing military uniforms for her children for the third year already. So far, the two-year-old son in a tankman's suit does not realize what is happening, but the five-year-old daughter Alena listens with interest to the stories of her mother and grandmother about that time and about her great-grandfathers, soldiers. According to Irina, an inquisitive girl asks many questions, which adults try to answer directly and clearly. This year, for the third time, Alyonka, dressed as a nurse, will carry a portrait of her great-grandfather in the ranks of the Immortal Regiment. The child goes all the way with her head held high, because she knows what it all means.
“My daughter has become such an adult. Last year, when they were going to the parade, for the first time I asked what war was. When I told her a little about the Great Patriotic War, the child shed tears and replied: "Mom, I don't want there to be a war." At these words, and I shed a tear, - admitted Irina. - We put on a clean, ironed and elegant dress of a nurse, a white kerchief and went to the holiday. And let the child associate this form with the Great Victory of our people."
Educator-psychologist Tatiana Tuymanova:
“I don't see anything wrong with children wearing military uniforms. Dressing them in such costumes is nothing more than the education of patriotism and respect for memory. However, here it is very important to convey the correct meaning to the children. It is necessary to tell the truth about the war so that they do not have an understanding: "how beautiful it is." Every child should know, first of all, that war is scary and that our great-grandfathers experienced this horror. And one should not think that such stories only frighten immature minds. This is how we instill an interest in the history of the country and respect for ancestors.
As for the military uniform itself, this is a sign of community, cohesion and strength. For many, she is a symbol of duty to the Motherland. But, unfortunately, not for everyone. And it’s really sad when she’s not taken seriously. I know there are teenagers, and also adults, who can put on uniforms just for photography. This, of course, is wrong. And the whole problem is that often even those mothers who dress children in uniform for a holiday do not understand the meaning of this action and cannot answer the question of why they are doing it."
A good way to show gratitude
Colonel Ivan Kanyuk, head of the Patriot military-patriotic club:
“The tradition of wearing the attributes of a military suit at the Victory Parade is not new. We - children of war - also tried to put on a cap for the holiday. I so wanted to imitate our defenders. And God forbid that now this tradition has played in our favor - has contributed to the formation of patriotism. After all, it is no secret to anyone that stability in the world is now lame. And in a beautiful children's uniform, I do not see anything bad and I can say with confidence that my generation unanimously welcomes this tradition.Victory Day is a great holiday, the whole country rejoices, expressing its gratitude to the soldiers-liberators and victors, and the uniform is also a good way to show your gratitude."
By the way
In Irkutsk, children in military uniform can be found not only on Victory Day. On August 2, when the Day of the Airborne Forces is celebrated, many children or grandchildren of Irkutsk people who served in the landing force walk around the city with their relatives in blue berets and vests. In addition, on the day of the Airborne Forces, the paratroopers' companions flaunt in vests.