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20151023
In a playground outside a shabby warren of cinder-block apartments in north Moscow, children play on swings and climbing bars as Stepan Zotov instructs a squad of teens in knife-throwing nearby.

Read also Russian 'child troops' march in mock military parade

Thirteen-year-old Andrei Polivoi is aiming his knife at a foam cushion about the size and shape of a human chest that's propped up on a metal stair landing. Four of his five throws miss and clatter noisily onto the stairs.

"Not bad for your first try - attaboy!" Zotov proclaims with an encouraging clap on the disheartened boy's shoulder.

It's been five years since Zotov founded Our Army, one of thousands of "military-patriotic youth organizations" answering President Vladimir Putin's call for preparing the next generation of Russian soldiers as the Kremlin flexes its reinvigorated military muscle abroad....................

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