Lords of the guns

Shortlist 2018

Eduard Korniyenko

Born in Stavropol, Russia, in 1974, Eduard Korniyenko became a professional photographer in 2000. In 2002 he joined the Russian Union of Journalists. At present Korniyenko is a full-time photo correspondent for the regional newspaper Stavropol Pravda and freelances for the news agency Reuters. His work as a photojournalist has focused on developments in the Northern Caucasus, which experienced ethnic and intercultural conflicts and political and economic instability. Displayed at group and personal exhibitions, Kornienko's work has won awards from numerous Russian and international photography contests.

The Compromise

Lords of the guns

In Russia so-called military-patriotic education has become a part of the schooling system. From an early age children study Russian history, practice tasks and skills appropriate for their age, train at patriotic military clubs. In the Caucasus region in particular, where worship of arms and military traditions run strong, specialized cadet schools have been opened. Their programs reach beyond the standard curriculum to spiritual instruction, extended field exercises where students spend the nights outdoors as well as parachute jumping and weapons training. The cadets go through intensive boot camp programs at a base located near the southern city of Stavropol on a regular basis.

These kids approach their soldierly regimen in a very grown-up manner. Many of the children dream of a military career. One of the cadets, Dmitry Pavlov (17 years old) told us: “I enjoy going on field trips in all the gear, siting by the campfire and singing to a guitar, wearing the uniform, working with younger cadets. Communication with officers is also very valuable to me. Everything I was taught at the cadet school I would not have been taught at an ordinary school.”