24 April 2018

Putin's soldiers at the ball - Photos

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Russia's soldiers of tomorrow swapped the parade ground for the ballroom as they attended the annual International Kremlin Cadet Ball in Moscow.

Around 1,000 troops donned their finest dress uniforms as they accompanied partners in glamorous gowns at the Gostiny Dvor, the city's old merchant court.

Male and female cadets can be enrolled as young as eight, with many of the children looking far older than they are due to their sophisticated uniforms.

The ball began in 2012 and many of the cadets who attend are orphans who are encouraged to join up and pledge their allegiance to the 'Motherland'.

Cadets are mainly from Russia but are also from other parts of Europe as far as Spain and Greece, as well as Eastern Europeans closer to home.

There are cadet schemes in major cities throughout Russia and those who enroll can choose to pursue a career in the military or the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Young men and women danced the night away as they performed a series of classic routines while promoting patriotism and the continued development of Russia.

The event is a nod back to the lavish dances of Tsarist Russia where the elite of society would wear bejewelled costumes and perform dances alongside ballets and operas.

Although there was much censorship of some forms of music during the Soviet Union, including jazz, pop and rock, classical music was often encouraged, although evening dances such as these were few and far between for typical citizens.

Balls during the Soviet Union years were permitted, but much more tightly organised and supervised so there were no signs of 'hedonism'.

But these photographs show those restrictions appear to have disappeared alongside Communism, with young men and women seen laughing and engaging in public displays of affection.

This year's ball featured more modern entertainment in the form of Russian crooner Iosif Kobzon, 79, who was a favourite of Leonid Brezhnev's during his time as leader of the Soviet Union and has been performing concerts around Russia since 1959.

2016.12.09 / 10:24
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