Food standards in the cadet corps of the Krasnoyarsk territory will be revised to reach those of the Suvorov military schools, a type of boarding school in the former Soviet Union and in modern Russia and Belarus for boys of 14–18, named after the renowned 18th century military commander Alexander Suvorov. At present, they are at the level of general schools. However, this diet for teenagers who live practically in army conditions is clearly not enough.
For a long time already, concerned parents have been trying to draw the attention of the regional deputies to the issue. In September last year, a scandal around wormy foodstuffs detected at one of the schools, also added oil to the controversy. The situation showed that the cadets get insufficient meals consisting of God only knows what. Then inspections began. In their wake, the prosecutor's office that visited by the Nutrition Centre state enterprise and the Zheleznogorsk cadet corps vocational training school received remedial action orders from the Prosecutor’s Office. However, the fact did not solve the problem of a poor food ration.
At long last, the regional legislative assembly finally announced that the problem of food standards would be addressed. “Even though they are set by law, they do not fully meet the standards of good nutrition. The children complained about insufficient meals and poor quality food. A letter to the Minister of Defense and the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Federation was drafted. It called for a revision of sanitary regulations and norms with regard to the catering of students of cadet corps. It proposed to establish the same food standards for cadets as for students of the Suvorov military schools, rather than general education schools, said the press service of the legislative assembly.
According to the committee on education, culture and sports of legislative assembly of the Krasnoyarsk territory, three “nutrition” bills have been drafted at a time. They concern not only cadets, but also standards of nutrition of children in foster families and boarding schools. The increase of the rations will cost about 41 mln rubles ($525,345,300.) The laws should come into effect as of the beginning of the new school year – September 1, 2020.
However, public activists developed some doubts. First of all, in Russia, the deadline always comes abruptly. In addition, there is a requirement to confirm the menu, to find suppliers and to hold bidding contests. Secondly, many people are embarrassed by the fact that the regional Ministry of Education takes credit for increasing cadet rations. After all, everything started with it.
The cadet schools of the Krasnoyarsk territory appeared in 1998. They were established on the initiative of Governor Alexander Lebed, who is known to be a career military man. The corps was originally created in the image and likeness of the Suvorov military schools. Meals were at an appropriate level there.
“This was the situation before 2016, when the then Governor Viktor Tolokonsky summoned the regional minister of education into his office and instructed him to look for internal reserves in the budget,” said Igor Zakharov, head of the Krasnoyarsk Public Organization for Assistance to Development of the Cadet and Mariinsky Northern Cross Movement, in an interview with wek.ru. “So, for the officials it was a way to save money. Cadets' food rations by 40% at once.
And why is it really unclear their ration cannot be the same as that of schoolchildren? They live there. They cannot just run to their parents' place for lunch. They have much higher physical activities. It has been a problem for four years. There are children from all over the [Krasnoyarsk] territory which is large. Parents did the best they could. They used all opportunities to pass foodstuffs to the kids for keeping. There have been many children with underweight all the time. One of the graduate students had a weight deficit of 11 kilos. How could he be drafted into the army with this weight? And now our ministry says proudly that it has solved the problem. They just should not have created it. The budget of the Krasnoyarsk territory measures in hundreds of billions of rubles. They could have found something else to save money on.”
Moreover, child nutrition has provoked another scandal with n in Krasnoyarsk. The contest for the supply of hot lunches for 40 schools in the Oktyabrsky district was won by a firm from the Krasnodar region. It offered the lowest price and, therefore, surpassed the local food factories that had proved their worth. But then it turned out that the winner had nothing at all in Krasnoyarsk. What it had was only the registered capital of 20,000 rubles ($256.27) and 3 mln rubles ($38,439,900) of official losses at the end of last year. If we follow the official norms and break down the price of one hot lunch as specified by the company, it will look pathetic. Krasnoyarsk schools began refusing en masse to sign a contract with the new supplier, referring to the law on protection of children's rights. The Krasnodar company had only to recuse itself.
However, it does not seem to give up completely. “The scandalous company from Krasnodar has sent complaints to the office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service about the schools' refusal to sign contracts with it,” said Sergey Volkov, chairman of the Public Chamber of Krasnoyarsk. “The Public Chamber of Krasnoyarsk has already received a proposal to hold a meeting with the heads of the department of municipal orders, the department of social development and the main department of education on the current situation, which is causing public tensions.”