Could We Be Next To Try This?

John blueoval at SGI.NET
Wed Oct 11 18:30:47 MDT 2000

Children train as Russia's tax police

ISSUE 1960                  Friday 6 October 2000

By Ben Aris, in Moscow

AT a newly opened school in Moscow the children are studying extra subjects
on top of the normal reading, writing and arithmetic - they are taught
hand-to-hand combat and how to strip a machine gun.

Set up last month, the Third Moscow Cadet Corps of Tax Police school is
training the next generation of the elite tax corps. Best know for storming
company offices, Russia's tax police wear black ski masks and carry
Kalashnikov rifles. But the children at the school are convinced that they
will be serving the public good.

Vanno, 13, the class leader, said: "I want to enter the tax service as life
under the law is the best for Russia. We want to help Russia as there are
financial problems. The world runs on money. Here no one pays their bills."

There are 142 pupils. Unusually for what is effectively a military school,
the roll includes 20 girls aged 11 to 16. "I'm a good fighter," said Stacy,
13, who enjoys the hand-to-hand combat classes. "I can beat some of the boys."

Stacy believes that they are following in the traditions of Robin Hood -
taking from the rich to give to the poor. After only a month of lessons
the children are already convinced that paying taxes is for the common
good. Having to carry guns and learning to fight are part of the process.

The cadet school is a throwback to Russia's Tsarist past, when there were
about 30 cadet schools that supplied employees for the imperial
bureaucracy. It was a popular way for middle class families to ensure jobs
for their children. The tax pupils are expecting full uniforms later this

3 September 2000: Pupils learn to shoot at school for Russian tax

2 March 2000: Russians fear return to authoritarian rule

24 March 1999: Police raid Kremlin as corruption net widens

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