Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Putin backs Stalin's child PE tests

Russian leaer Vladimir Putin wants to re-introduce school PE lessons started by Stalin (AP)

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has called for the revival of a Soviet-era physical evaluation program that required all schoolchildren to pass fitness tests.

Putin, a judo enthusiast and a regular swimmer, said that the restoration of GTO, the Russian acronym for Ready for Labour and Defended would teach children to "to stand up for themselves, their family and, in the final run, the Fatherland."

GTO, which was introduced in 1931 under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's rule, required all schoolchildren to regularly pass physical training tests. Those managing to qualify would receive silver- or gold-coloured badges.

The program gradually lost its scope and prestige over the years and ceased to exist with the 1991 Soviet collapse. Since then, schools largely have been left on their own regarding physical training standards.

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