March 27, 2017

1943. New Soviet Academies Foster Emergence of Military Caste

Suvorov Schools
Red Army soldiers singing a hymn during a military ceremony in February 1943 (source)
In addition to serving as CBS' Moscow correspondent in 1943, Bill Downs submitted reports and occasional articles to Newsweek.

(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports.)

From Newsweek, September 27, 1943, pp. 34, 38:
Suvoroff Schools

New Soviet Academies Foster Emergence of Military Caste

One of the most important developments inside Russia since the start of the war has been the gradual emergence of the Red Army as a force that eventually may exercise more power, political and otherwise, than the Communist party itself. What amounts to a regular military caste is slowly being formed. One of the most significant indications of this has been the decision of the Soviet government to establish a chain of schools—called Suvoroff schools after the eighteenth-century military hero—which will train young boys in the profession of arms. The following dispatch from Bill Downs, Newsweek and CBS correspondent, is the first to describe these schools.

From Sept. 15 to Oct. 5 special regional commissions have arranged to receive applications for entry into the "Suvoroff schools," which were established last Aug. 22 in a special order by the Council of the People's Commissars and the Communist Party Central Committee.

Purpose: Since this announcement the Suvoroff schools have had wide publicity in the Russian press. Originally designed to "aid the education of the children of the Red Army soldiers, partisans, workers, collective farmers, government, and party workers, whose parents perished at the hands of the invaders," the schools will be replenished yearly by the application system.

The Red Star, the Red Army journal, explains them thus: "Cadets will get not only a secondary education but also an elementary military education so that upon graduating from these schools they will become Soviet officers. The entire system of education will be organized in such a way that military principles will penetrate into the flesh and blood of the explanatory article about the Czarist schools which the Soviet is copying, said: "Life in closed schools is far away from families and under hard conditions is not easy for the boys until they get accustomed to it. But this life in the schools makes for responsibility and independence from childhood and educates them in strong traditions and true comradeship. The education in these academies gives a wide knowledge, good physical training, will power, tenacity, and a sense of military duty and honor."

"The main defects of the old cadet education were the caste spirit, narrowness of opinions and disdain for all not wearing uniform . . . The new schools have taken the best traditions from the old, but should be free of their defects."