Vladimir Putin has reached back to Joseph Stalin’s era for a plan to improve Russians’ physical fitness, appearing with the film actor Steven Seagal at an event aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles among young people.
In a meeting at a martial arts school on Moscow’s outskirts, Putin called for physical education rooted in a Soviet-era system.
“I think it would be quite appropriate to recall the positive experience of past decades when the so-called GTO, Ready for Labour and Defence, was in use in our country,” he said. The GTO mass physical training programme was introduced in the 1930s under Stalin.
All of the jokes that could be made about this aside (Steven Seagal? Really?), while we certainly support the idea of improving children’s physical health, we’re not sure why a new program couldn’t have been created to serve this purpose. Even if there’s nothing malevolent going on behind-the-scenes, reviving a program first created by Joseph Stalin just doesn’t look good.