By Ksenia Bondal
ASTANA -- Officials and educators in Kazakhstan are working on a state planning document to shape the country's military-patriotic movement.
The movement runs the country's military-patriotic clubs, which are meant to inspire children to consider education and even careers in the military.
In an effort to bring together the heads of such clubs, the Religious Affairs and Civil Society Ministry September 10-14 in Aktobe conducted Jiger (Endurance)-2017, a camp for those club managers and for leaders of youth organisations. Eighty club managers, aged 18 to 50, from all 14 provinces, Almaty city and Astana city attended the ministry-sponsored camp.
The Aktobe event had two purposes: (1) bring together the club leaders to bond over shared physical exercise and to exchange ideas on educating youth and (2) have them work on a state planning document (kontseptsiia) for shaping the country's military-patriotic movement.
The club leaders lived together for all five days of the camp, socialising extensively and sharing their experiences in working with children, Qaisar (Valour) Military-Patriotic Club leader Jaslan Kojanov of Pavlodar told Caravanserai.
"Thanks to the camp, I developed close relationships with colleagues from the western and southern parts of Kazakhstan," said Kojanov. "We had candid conversations and learned new approaches to children."
The exercises were quite challenging, said Kojanov, mentioning the army triathlon of shooting, grenade throwing and an obstacle course that the participants all underwent.
The camp-goers even entered the generally restricted Air Defense Force Military Institute, Diana Gafsalimova, director of the Jas Ulan (Young Warrior) children's organisation of Aktobe, told Caravanserai. The institute turns cadets into officers, she said. They toured the school and exercised within its boundaries.
Improving children's perceptions of the army is critical, so that they will want to enter the Armed Forces Institute or a military school in the future, said Gafsalimova. Military-patriotic clubs do a good job of inspiring children, while gatherings like Jiger-2017 raise the morale of club managers, she said.
Jiger's second mission began September 15, after the club leaders' camp had ended. In Aktobe, the Youth Congress of Kazakhstan invited the camp attendees, military Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Mukhamedzhan Talasov, and Arman Kapezov, chief of staff of the chief military prosecutor's office, to public hearings.
During their dialogue with attendees, Talasov and Kapezov discussed the attendees' recommendations on military-patriotic upbringing of youth, Youth Congress manager Symbat Osen of Astana told Caravanserai.
"We will add these recommendations to the draft state planning document for the military-patriotic movement of Kazakhstan, which we are developing jointly with the Defence Ministry," she said. "At the end of the year, we will present it to President [Nursultan Nazarbayev]."
The Committee for Religious Affairs conducted a camp like Jiger-2017 in Shchuchinsk, Akmola Province in 2017. At the time the Religious Affairs and Civil Society Ministry did not exist.
The ministry plans to conduct Jiger annually.