Sergei Arlanov: KidsCorps (Kadetstvo, 2006-2008)
reviewed by David MacFadyen© 2008
A group of fourteen-year old boys find themselves in a Suvorov Military School: some through family tradition, some because of their high ideals. A few of them come against their will! Having entered the school, they don't immediately realize the burden they've chosen or, more importantly, what a new responsibility this is. It'll have a huge influence on their lives. [After all,] for many years, in fact since the 18 th century, Russia's military schools have produced noble officers, the jewel of our nation, defenders of the Fatherland, the pride and very backbone of our society
Introductory blurb for promo-materials
The farm chairman bought himself a new TV and gave us the old one. It's got a remote, too. Gets four channels: 1, 2, 3… and STS!
The sights and sounds of Moscow (finally) reach the parents of a rural cadet
KidsCorps is the longest and most important TV series for Russian teenagers in many years. Over three seasons and 160 episodes filmed in the city of Tver', this “dramedy” follows the literal and metaphorical education of young boys at a present-day Suvorov Military School. These institutions were founded under Stalin in 1943 as a way of offering teenage (often orphaned) boys a pragmatic education as future officers. A related pragmatism can be seen in KidsCorps, the basic plot of which begins with Maksim Makarov, son of the local mayor, who has recently been found guilty of joyriding on a municipal trolleybus. The mayor, however, saves him from nasty legal proceedings and takes the law into his own hands. Parents and military academies have common goals.
Makarov (Aleksandr Golovin) is one of eight male characters who scribe the series' main storylines. Other cadets enter the school in a more voluntary fashion: Il'ia Sinitsyn (Boris Korchevnikov) is the son of a career officer; Aleksei Syrnikov (Kirill Emel'ianov) is the offspring of a Suvorov instructor; Andrei Levakov (Ivan Dobronravov) has no military family, but dreams of entering the school under his own steam. From furthest afield comes Stepan Perepechko (Pavel Bessonov), a tubby, naïve bumpkin who is constantly embarrassed by his parents' loud visits. In short, our attention is drawn either to misfits (working their way inwards) or “army brats” (trying to match paternal standards). Add to that the internal tensions or struggle for admission into the Suvorov School and KidsCorps is quickly established as a marathon tale of social networking: “You won't last a week here,” says one newbie to another in an early episode. After all, the initial intake cannot rest on its laurels: all recruits are quickly informed that twenty of them will be excluded after a probationary period.
Clear lines are drawn between the cadets and their commanding officers: friendship and trust develops only after thirty episodes or so. Parents, friends, and girlfriends are excluded from the school and enjoy no contact with the cadets, save rare visiting hours, the occasional in-house disco, or cherished trips by the school's “inmates” into town. Two key events start to blur these divisions between competitors and hierarchies: they are both fueled by charity and romance. Levakov's mother falls terribly ill as a result of chronic alcoholism. Only cooperation between the cadets (and between Makarov and his high-flying father) will save her. Levakov himself must swallow his pride and anger in order to accept this charity: he was abandoned by his mother shortly after birth—consequently he was raised in an orphanage.
The second affectionate linkage that starts to undermine initial hierarchies is a potential love affair between Makarov and his twenty-something etiquette teacher, Polina Sergeevna. Classes dedicated to courtship and modern-day chivalry allow Makarov to push his luck with gifts of flowers and stolen kisses on an unsuspecting cheek. Little by little, over countless episodes, a sense of cohesion develops among these boys, their teachers, and superior officers. Only by episode 32 is the relationship between the cadets referred to as a “secret brotherhood.”
It would serve little purpose to sketch the entire series, but a concise introduction to the early groupings of KidsCorps , as here, is useful. Equally brief video-summaries can be found online for the impatient. Those viewers who reach the end of Series One (forty episodes), will notice that Series Two (fifty episodes) begins a few months before graduation and, therefore, follows the basic chronotope of The Cadets (Kursanty; dir. Andrei Kavun, 2005). The Cadets was set a few months prior to the cadets' frontline dispatch and follows their final period of training:
The series takes place in the winter of 1942 in an artillery academy at the military rear, where new recruits are being prepared for dispatch to the front. This is the story of boys destined to become cannon fodder; as yet, however, they don't know so. Nonetheless, instinct tells them they don't have long to live. We follow the destinies of these young cadets over three months' study, before they're shipped off—young cadets whose remaining time on earth may be those very same three months. (Introductory blurb for promo-materials)
Indeed, towards the end of the very last episode we are shown these cadets one by one, in a documentary (or pseudo-factual) list reminiscent of Aleksandr Fadeev's classic Soviet novel The Young Guard (Molodaia gvardiia, 1941). Almost without exception, a narrator tells us, they will die at the front. Criminal, class, and political divisions are erased, presenting us instead with a universality that although emotionally persuasive, may not make for good or easy entertainment.
One viewers' forum dedicated to Kadetstvo said it offered not a happy ending but a “shit ending… Life's hard enough as it is—and then TV comes along and spoils your mood even more. Watch any American film about the war and even though the ending may be sad, at least it won't spoil your mood. There'll be hope that life itself or some kind of better existence will go on, but here… that's the way it always is in our cinema: a shit ending.” This grimness, however, struck many as being closer to an admirable documentary potential. “I agree with the person who said it's hard to admit what actually happened. It's one thing if The Cadets is good moviemaking, pure and simple, or if there's a good screenplay, but this is all about life , too. It's our life, our grandfathers' lives… It's sad that things ended that way, but you can't rewrite life, like a movie scenario. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best possible present to mark the 60 th anniversary of the war! A big ‘Thank You' to those who made the series!”
Two of the leading actors here, recently famous from the mafia blockbuster The Brigade (dir. Aleksei Sidorov, 2002), are Pavel Maikov and Vladimir Vdovichenkov. Both play officers, yet make themselves into most unattractive characters: Maikov morally so and Vdovichenkov physically. Their modern-day glamour is negated. The series demanded a leveling of status. Similarly, female star Elena Iakovleva plays a sexually desperate and physically unattractive mother, struggling unsuccessfully with the charms of a cadet perhaps half her age. To what degree, however, the themes of friendship and loyalty in The Cadets reflect that same social leveling is moot.
After all, the boys in Tver' are hardly facing death: calmer times leave pecking-orders in place and allow for the unruffled, honorable traditions that we see, for example, among the cadets of Mikhalkov's Barber of Siberia (Sibirskii tsiriul'nik, 1998). The heroes of KidsCorps occupy a similar position of maturation between various possible trajectories. This liminal state, between places where these young boys “might find themselves,” is neatly reflected in a cinematic faux pas of Mikhalkov's camerawork. In one scene of The Barber , where the cadets are vigorously polishing a ballroom floor, the camera cuts away for a second to follow some peripheral action. When our attention returns to the laboring youngsters a few seconds later, they have magically been transferred on their knees to the other end of the dance floor.
Our modern heroes have been shuttled back and forth with equal speed. When Series Three of KidsCorps ended on 10 December 2007, the main actors (Aleksandr Golovin, Aristarkh Terekhov, Pavel Bessonov, and Kirill Emel'ianov) were taken by STS on a two week tour of major cities, prior to starting work on the continuation of KidsCorps in a different, more adult format, known thus far as Kremlin Cadets (Kremlevskie kursanty). The touring program was less than spontaneous: humorous outtakes from the series, video footage from the set, quizzes and games with audience members, massed songs, “poetry sessions,” ad-libbed rap competitions, onstage interviews… and much more, on each occasion for more than two hours.
These well-planned and stagy efforts appear to have paid off, in particular with a 2008 nomination for the Golden Eagle award (Zolotoi orel) coming hot on the heels of 2007's TEFI from the domestic press. One of the series' general producers, Viacheslav Murugov, was also lauded for creating the “Best New Heroes in a TV Series.” STS' heroes, week after week, episode after episode, soon corresponded so closely to a (desired) reality that when the Suvorov School's real-life cadets graduated in June 2007, seven of the series' actors were awarded graduation certificates, too. Makarov, Perepechko, and others had joined their real-life counterparts, just as STS was making novel and simultaneous use of WAP technology: news from the series' website could now be accessed directly through a cell phone, together with fresh images and ringtones. Real-life parallels coincided with a real-world interface.
This integration of genuine and faux soldiers had begun most clearly a month before, when the young actors had attended a WWII parade in Voronezh known as “Heirs to Victory” (Nasledniki pobedy): sixty thousand people attended. Military jeeps were needed to get the boys back to their hotel, since the huge and unruly crowds of fans threatened to overturn the minibus in which the “cadets” had arrived.
The fundamental impetus to blur fact and fiction comes from Murugov himself, who has said in several interviews that the series is based upon his reminiscences. Murugov graduated from the same Suvorov School in Tver' before going on to further military education in Penza. His interest in generic social groups (“boys,” “cadets,” etc.), irrespective of locale, is profound: Murugov was the driving force behind several TV series that have kept REN-TV financially solvent in recent years: (the endless) Soldiers (Soldaty; dir. Sergei Arlanov, 2004-6; various directors, 2006-), Students (Studenty; dir. Ol'ga Perunovskaia, 2005-6), and Tourists (Turisty; dir. Aleksandr Zamiatin, 2008). In essence, his work prior to KidsCorps centered either around youth-oriented music shows, such as Morning Star (Utrenniaia zvezda) and Song of the Year (Pesnia goda), or military/family shows, like Army Store (Armeiskii magazin), which more than any other broadcast on Russian TV merges the military, the musical, and the mundane by presenting defense-related issues through the daily lives of soldiers.
Murugov's colleague at STS, Aleksandr Rodnianskii, is Russia's prime producer of lengthy series. His own achievements include over twenty projects that mark the most important tendencies in Russian primetime TV since the stock market collapse of 1998: length itself, comedy, and the successful adoption of Hollywood screenplays to Russia. In particular, one might note Poor Nastia (Bednaia Nastia; various directors, 2003), My Fair Nanny (Moia prekrasnaia niania; Aleksei Kiriushchenko, 2004), and If You Weren't Born Pretty… (Ne rodis' krasivoi; dir. Aleksandr Nazarov, 2005) as his greatest achievements.
Just as importantly, Rodnianskii produced last year's hit movie for teenagers, 1814 (dir. Anders Puustusmaa). Set in the regal surroundings of Tsarskoe selo, it combines the swashbuckling bravado of young Aleksandr Pushkin and his honorable male friends with a murder mystery. The title refers to the boys' age range (from 14 to 18), but it includes an additional historical significance in terms of Russia's military victory over Napoleon. Young Del'vig, as the film shows us, scribbles the first poem in celebration of Russia's Parisian triumph just after the young boys have sworn an “oath of eternal friendship” to one another. This is the same dovetailing of friendship and patriotic fidelity that we see in KidsCorps.
The end of 1814 also mirrors the same narrative device noted above from the conclusion of The Cadets : we are offered potted biographies of each young gentleman, a briefly sketched (and, therefore, assuredly mapped) trajectory into the established careers of future poets, councilors, soldiers, or diplomats. This bridging technique (youth to adulthood; private to public) was doing the rounds with great volume prior to Russia's general election this year. On 20 February 2008, Putin remarked that the “personal and professional achievements of young people decide the future of Russia.” The nation's fate, he said, is synonymous with the “younger generation's sincere desire to benefit their homeland.” In a related vein, Putin's United Russia party (Edinaia Rossiia) has recently given stately approval to the youth movement called United Russia's Young Guard (Molodaia gvardiia). This does not seem the happiest of parallels, especially when we remember that the “potted bio” device at the end of The Cadets or 1814 was used to horrifying effect in Fadeev's novel . The politicians and producers are employing the titles and techniques used by a Soviet classic novel to scare people into social cohesion.
So how do series like KidsCorps slip scariness into a so-called “dramedy” on primetime TV without upsetting the audience? They do so with the combined tools that Murugov and Rodnianskii developed in earlier TV-projects so successfully: with music, the military, and the mundane in ways not dissimilar to Aleksandr Sokurov's recent Alexandra (Aleksandra, 2007). A wise grandmother with direct experience of WWII goes to visit her weary offspring, a Russian army officer in modern-day Chechnia. Although she says virtually nothing of great importance (she spends more time grumbling), fragments of a prior and personal harmony can be heard on the soundtrack from time to time. They come from a song recorded by the heroine herself (Galina Vishnevskaia) at the end of WWII, specifically from 1946: “Near My Dear Rowan-Tree” (U riabiny rodnoi). This ditty, about one rural girl losing her lover to another lass, is also associated with the career of Zoia Rozhdestvenskaia—who was a famous frontline performer before dying an alcoholic. Vishnevskaia's song comes back as a sage, barely audible reminder of prior, tragically-learned lessons. It promises a heartfelt melody (“then”) that needs broad-shouldered protection (“now”).
These propadeutic intentions are heard more often than they are seen, being better suited to the ubiquitousness of cinematic sound (in the whole theater) rather than to vision (on one wall). In their intent to universalize a given message, these sonic cues may resort to the well-funded tools of Pinewood, as in Fedor Bondarchuk's Company 9 (Deviataia rota, 2005) or Vadim Shmelev's Apocalypse Code (Kod apokalipsisa, 2007). The latter, spinning tales of universal, globalized terrorism and financed by the Foundation for Patriotic Cinema, shrouds its audience with Dolby Digital Sound (5.1) in what is sometimes called a “sonorous envelope.”
In a related, audible metaphor from KidsCorps , one of the Suvorov officers takes his cadets to see Sergei Bondarchuk's WWII Soviet classic, They Fought for the Motherland (Oni srazhalis' za rodinu, 1975). The epigraph alone of the movie makes it a fitting tool of social cohesion or the enveloping of generations with a “uniform” message, so to speak. Bondarchuk's movie was made “In the name of those still alive, those who are no longer, and those who are yet to be…” Despite this predictable message from a well-known film, offered to well-behaved boys on a military timetable, there is still a mix-up: the cadets find themselves watching an erotic feature instead. Surrounded by the sounds of wayward, disorderly desire on screen, they squirm nervously, uneasy at the Major's presence.
We do not see the screen: we simply hear the noises that subvert any attempt at an enveloping, collective significance. The Major immediately drags the boys out of the cinema and goes looking for a copy of Bondarchuk's film around many pirate kiosks (where he is offered more DVD pornography by cheeky salesmen). Finally, in a town of disrespectful, petty traders, he unearths a forgotten copy of the film and shows it to the boys at school. Once again in a small space (a nighttime TV room near their lodgings), we observe the cadets reacting to the sounds of massed military cohesion. The camera watches their faces, now framed by a new sense of inclusion. The cadets are then inspired to construct new narratives about “those who are no longer,” plus their connection to “those who are yet to be.” Their teacher is stunned at this transformation:
Teacher: Comrade Major! You've got to read this!
Major: What is it?
Teacher: It's the essays from your detachment. I… To be honest, there are some things in here that almost made me weep…
Major: What? They're that bad again?
Teacher: No, no, not in that sense! Here, take a look. Listen to this: “War isn't just fear. It's not some throwaway heroism. It's extreme situations that reveal the truth in each and every person.” That's a 15-year old boy who wrote that! Do you see what I mean?… It's worth publishing these! As a separate collection, even—all on their own. For the first time in my long career, I gave everyone an “A+.” An “A+”!
Major: What? There weren't any mistakes?
Teacher: Yes, there were. But I didn't notice them.
The sounds of “cognitive-affective capital,” to quote Aram Sinnreich, continue to be invested in increasingly conservative patterns, thus stabilizing significances in the face of any semantically destabilizing capital that wanders between pirates and porn. The fact that such investment is often made sonically, for example, by the “universal” meaning of non-diegetic harmonies all around and beyond the screen, has led Sinnreich to reinvestigate Plato's contention that “musical innovation is full of danger to the whole State, and ought to be prohibited… When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the State always change with them.” Tongue in cheek, Sinnreich also draws upon a related notion from The Yellow Submarine (dir. George Dunning, 1968): “The Meanies captured everything that maketh music.” Conservative, stabilizing values are, therefore, best expressed by conservative, non-innovative sounds that are everywhere at once.
The boldest reclamation of inclusive, conservative capital comes in a late episode when one of the cadets (Sinitsyn) is inspired to sing a number on behalf of his platoon at a talent show. Sinitsyn's friend (Sukhomlin) jokes that he could sound like Aleksandr Rozenbaum, the gruff and balding troubadour who has so successfully maintained an odd balance between the acoustic sounds of the (Soviet) 1960s and the patriotic politics of 2008. Whenever today's military holidays roll around, Rozenbaum and his guitar are ubiquitous on state TV and in major concert halls.
In the same spirit, Sinitsyn takes to the stage and strums away. He moves from stage fright to stately pride in a matter of seconds. A prose rendition of his “Cadet Song” (Kadetskaia pesnia) might read as follows:
We said goodbye to our schools and sewed on our scarlet epaulets. We knew this wouldn't be like home, but dreamed of getting in [to the Suvorov School]… and did! I'm leaving my childhood behind and starting the most important journey. We've gone through the school of adulthood and learned our lessons all by heart. We've learned about an officer's honor, about his black greatcoat. About the friendship of cadets and a childhood dream. About old traditions and the harsh years of the past. All in order to proudly bear the name of a Suvorov officer! As the sunset grew scarlet, like rowan berries, as only two stars shone in the night sky, we already were looking ahead, like real men. We put the stars on our epaulets. Things may be tough in life sometimes; we're traveling a tough road. If we're sad, though, we can turn to a friend. An officer's friend won't let you down!
Audio files can be found on a multitude of military websites, especially in their “ Youth Forums.” This totalizing “word of an officer” has a universal, ineffable value, as we are reminded at the end of Mikhalkov's recent film 12 (2007). Once uttered, its significance is everywhere and not open to the noisy sounds of disrespectful debate. Likewise, as young Makarov says in another episode: “a word of honor [or promise: dogovor ] is more important than money.”
There's a limit, however, to how much these old metaphors and manners can be hoisted onto today's youth. Given that STS wishes to promote this show as an “affective-cognitive” form of social network, it needs (in the terms of social networking theory) to allow at least for some interplay between its nodes and ties—that is between the individuals of that network and their degrees of interdependency. That, in turn, leads us to research from USC's Institute for Multimedia Literacy and some recent, relevant observations on cultural agency among today's young teenagers, the same age group engaged and targeted by KidsCorps :
The tools for cultural production and distribution are in the pockets of 14 year olds. This does not guarantee that they will do the hard work of democratic self-governance, [but] ask yourself this question: Which kind of population seems more likely to become actively engaged in civic affairs—a population of passive consumers, sitting slackjawed in their darkened rooms, soaking in mass-manufactured culture that is broadcast by a few to an audience of many, or a world of creators who might be misinformed or ill-intentioned, but in any case are actively engaged in producing as well as consuming cultural products?
And indeed, some concessions are made to our youthful heroes and viewers in manners that suggest a relative interdependency between our nodes and ties (the ways in which affective-cognitive capital is successfully invested). The most significant of these comes very late in Series Two, when one of the more cantankerous, troublesome cadets (Sobolev) dares to suggest that Soviet revolutionary hero Shchors may have died at the hands of his own troops. A single fifteen-year old tries to renegotiate the sounds of “culturally productive” ties in a shaky voice. He stands up in class and breaks the silence of presumed, universal respect. The “word of a [future] officer,” of “one who is yet to be,” questions that presumption:
Sobolev (giving a school report): “Everyone knows about Nikolai Shchors, a hero of the Civil War. Streets and schools were named in his honor. There was even a film made about him. But that's all fake. Back in those times, the people needed heroes, and Bolshevist propaganda—needing its own famous figure—made Shchors into a hero. But he wasn't a hero. All he did was oversee a partisan band. He didn't die heroically, either. He died in some crossfire. One version says he died from his own soldier's bullets.”
Teacher: Sobolev! Hold on a second. We know that Shchors' heroism is debatable, but where did you get the idea that he was killed by his own men?
Sobolev: I read it in the library.
Teacher: Hold on, young man. Are you sure you're not getting it mixed up? Things like that need to be checked…
Sobolev goes off to the library, but is stopped in the corridor by an officer, who does not believe him, either. Together the officer and teacher head for the library, eager to discover the truth themselves:
Librarian: Is this the book you asked for?
Major and Teacher: Yes, that's it.
Major (flicking through the volume): “Shchors”… Here we are: “He was born,” blah… blah…. “Headed a division,” blah…blah… “Died in crossfire!”... Oh… “The bullet entered the back of his head. It was probably fired by one of his Red Army soldiers.” Hm… (to Teacher) You should buy the Cadet some lemonade.
Teacher: And you?
Major: What about me?
Teacher: Well, you didn't believe him, either.
Major. Hm… I'll buy him a bun.
This is cultural production, Suvorov style. A minor variation or node in a major scheme (Soviet iconography) leaves the fundamental structure or ties intact in that the truly subversive potential here (the new truth that Shchors was murdered) is handed over to accident (to tragic “friendly” fire). This apologetic technique is especially clear in the credits to all episodes of KidsCorps, orchestrated to the sounds of modern boyband Roots (Korni) and their hit, “Racing with the Wind” (Naperegonki s vetrom). The song merges, once again, the military, the musical, and the mundane (that is, the apolitical metaphors needed by politics). The lyrics read: “You're still green, with spring in your heart every day. The whole world lives [seemingly] by your rules. Racing with the wind, your love is somewhere down the road. [Now, though] all of us play the main role here [in school]. See? We're sitting in the same row. Even if we follow different paths, you and I will be together…” The Suvorov emblem fills the screen for a split second: we barely notice the inclusion of “USSR” as 50% of a fleeting logo. Color footage of the cadets is interspersed with black-and-white scenes both from Soviet newsreels and the photo albums of erstwhile graduates, many years ago. The use of filters and very soft focus even blurs the distinction between Soviet and post-Soviet images. Midway through the credits another Soviet emblem pops up (a large red star) and, in conclusion, the minor actors used for schoolroom and romantic scenes are introduced: officers, girlfriends, and parents altogether. The three severed categories of Bondarchuk's tragic epigraph are back together.
The lines here between love affairs and loyalty, between TV and actuality, are invisible. They constitute a comforting vagary for audience members horrified at the impending end of KidsCorps and have now engendered two marked tendencies. They help viewers to deal with what STS itself calls (somewhat cynically) “ an event we've both waited for and feared ”—the end of the last episode. Firstly, the long, maudlin discussions on fan forums about a post- KidsCorps future have inspired countless “fan-fics,” imagined continuations of the plot by the viewers themselves. This is what Henry Jenkins recently called a shift from “DIY” video on YouTube (reedited amateur footage) to forms of more interdependent networking that lead us to talk instead about “DWO (Doing It With Others) or DIT (Doing It Together),” thus turning the rationale of YouTube into WeTube. STS is well aware of this cohesive, centripetal force among empathetic viewers and uses it for promotional purposes. The pain felt at the end of KidsCorps is dramatized in a promo-slot: a young girl sits weeping, at her bedside a framed picture of Sinitsyn, and she writes a letter to him. She tries to keep the story going—and STS is there to help. Having prompted the need for fan-fiction, STS will now happily provide the next narrative dose.
This clever production and singular satisfaction of an initially democratic impulse (myriad amateur stories beyond the last show) is reflected on another, grander scale: the increasing tendency at STS to politicize this series with a singular, centripetal (Musocentric) emphasis. Not only has each series grown in length: initially 40, then 50, and now 70 episodes in each season, but the location of the drama now moves slowly from Tver' to Moscow with the forthcoming Kremlin Cadets.
STS, founded in 1996, is a station based wholly on entertainment: it shows no news. Judging by the recent development of KidsCorps , however, it does not need to. It is coming so close to the emphases of, say, primetime news on ORT and Rossiia that in June 2007 Viacheslav Murugov was given the honorary status of “Major” by the Russian Defense Ministry. This complete dovetailing of the apolitical and the political is what makes KidsCorps the most entertaining, addictive, charming, and unnerving series on Russian television today.
As the series' own PR division noted: “This is the first time in Russia that the Defense Ministry has given an award for a TV series. Even though KidsCorps is not broadcast on a state channel, it shows characters with clear-cut ideals. They know what it means to love one's Homeland, to have honor, a sense of civic duty, and courage, too. These are heroes that young people can look up to. Thanks to them, young viewers will get a good impression of army life.” And so, the day after Series Three finished its concluding, 160 th episode, the whole thing began all over again. Video clips ran on STS starring Makarov, Sukhomlin, and others. Each clip is full of quotes from the young actors who play those characters. A series designed to map the sure and lofty trajectory of young careers in the style of 1814 is tending, due to its growing conservatism, towards increasingly centripetal, circular movements. That's less of a trajectory than a holding pattern.
University of California, Los Angeles
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KidsCorps, Russia, 2006-2008
Color, 160 episodes, 45 minutes each
Director: Sergei Arlanov
Scriptwriters: Leonid Kuprido, Aleksandr Bulynko, Sergei Olekhnik, Aleksandr Tykun, Viacheslav Murugov
Cinematography: Pavel Ignatov, Anatolii Ivanov, Maksim Belousov, Pavel Zurbitskii
Art Directors: Aleksandr Giliarevskii, Il'ia Iovu, Anton Gvozdikov, Tat'iana Khlopikova
Music Producer: Nadezhda Isaeva
Cast: Aleksandr Golovin, Ivan Dobronravov, Boris Korchevnikov, Aleksandr Barinov, Vladimir Steklov, Georgii Martirosian, Aleksandr Porokhovshchikov, Elena Zakharova, and others
Producers: Viacheslav Murugov, Aleksandr Rodnianskii
Production: Kinokonstanta and STS
Sergei Arlanov: KidsCorps (Kadetstvo, 2006-2008)
reviewed by David MacFadyen© 2008