OSINT Dispatch: The Nature & Potential Reach of Putin’s “Sirius” Initiative

Sirius Education Center Born from Massive Investment in Sochi

In 2017, President Vladimir Putin spoke to resident youth at the Sirius Education Center housed in the Sochi Winter Olympic development and explained his inspiration for decreeing it in 2015:

But I really wanted that project to be expanded with something that would truly be worthy of the Olympic legacy..

Then it occurred to me: Why just sports? Why just sports for which we have developed an aptitude over decades? We have other abilities – for example, in science, education and the arts. We have always been proud of our musicians and our ballet, and the world admires them.

Then I remembered that we also have specialised educational institutions that were established back in the Soviet times and still exist. These are not only ten-year schools for future conservatory students but also physics and mathematics schools, chemistry schools, and biology courses that opened later.

The entire video of Putin containing the above quote and taking questions from the children at the Sirius Education Center is viewable on YouTube, here. The introduction of the video by an “anchorman” briefly describes Putin’s conversation with the children as focusing “..on education, the Internet, the main values in life, working in intelligence, and even about music.” The anchor used the noun разведка as used in the term intelligence services, or разведывательная служба. See the below screenshot or the video YouTube:

Asked by one Sirius student what event had the greatest impact on him, President Putin hedged a bit before answering (see below image): “The collapse of the Soviet Union.”

Putin’s description of his inspiration for decreeing the creation of the Sirius Education Center recalled “specialized educational institutions that were established back in Soviet times and still exist.” This would refer to the Young Pioneer Program for gifted children in Moscow in later Soviet times (1987) rooted in the historic, hardline program called the “Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization,” or Komsomol with origins in the pre-WW2 Soviet Union.

Historically, the Pioneers had inculcated communist mindsets, socialized, and brainwashed Soviet children in militant ways as in the below video. Gifted Russian youth today tend to be wealthier from the oil rich economy, have travelled more, and have been digitally savvy with the internet to learn of the outside world. Today’s Russian youth have still been socialized for a generation in the xenophobic fear of Putin’s KGB-influenced rule, however, they seem more skeptical of it under the surface. This is partly because Putin wanted them to be innovative, inquisitive, and curious, as foreign intelligence officers were trained to be, minus the affinity problem. That’s just it, the Soviets were never able to completely control the affinity factor.

And the 2017 video chatting-up the Sirius campus kids was seven years ago with many in that audience coming of military age since then. Many may not be a starstruck as they once were with the egoistic President. However, the program continues growing.

During WW2 the Young Pioneers took up farm jobs, scrap metal collection, and partisan resistance against Hitler’s forces. And they were thought to be a vehicle for spreading worldwide communist revolution abroad as noted by Gabe Paoletti and John Kuroski, at history blog All Things Interesting. An excerpt: The Soviet Young Pioneers were part of a larger Pioneer movement that sought to foster communist ideology within the youth. This larger Pioneer organization had chapters across the communist world and beyond, including Cuba, China, Mexico, and Finland. When contemporary leftist or rightist dictators in Latin America repeat old Soviet and new Russian propaganda points about the United States, remember the Young Pioneer club chapters in these countries. These disseminated Soviet propaganda the way that China’s Confucius Institutes across the world today promote communist Chinese beliefs.

Now, Russia’s elite youth movement at Sirius Education Center is partly ideological in remembering their Putin-approved Soviet history, yet more so centered on elite Russian students’ global interface through technology, scientific research, innovation, and cultural outreach through the Sochi campus.

In contemporary Russia, Putin seems to seek high yield infiltration and relationship networks with other countries through their gifted youth in the Sirius Educational Program. Stalin had exported the socialist Pioneers to socialist and communist countries in Soviet times, Putin reaches out as he dreams of reconstituting the Soviet superpower the free world thwarted at great cost last century.

In 2018, after Putin hosted Indian PM Narendra Modi at the Sirius Education Center, Modi said, “I was with my friend for the whole day today. When he spoke about the kids of the centre he was emotionally involved. I saw dreams in his eyes. I saw a different person. I saw a Putin who was different from the president.” Indeed, Putin seems energized with corrupting Russian children to support his militant agenda against the free world that he also seeks to emulate through the Sochi Sirius initiative.

When Modi asked the Russian students which had wanted to visit India, ‘All raised their hands, bringing a smile on the face of PM Modi who invited them to visit India and interact with Indian students. He also promised that he will spend time with them in India.‘ I’m sure he will. And to avert dramatic comparisons, maybe the author of the Alex Rider series took some inspiration from what is happening with Sirius through Sochi and elsewhere.

Given his asymmetric war on Ukraine from 2014 and his war of aggressive invasion of Ukraine in 2022, bombarding cities where civilians live, and causing hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides, the most stunning answer Putin gave to a Sirius Educational Center student in 2017 was when Irada Zeinalova asked him the following:

Irada Zeinalova: ..Could you please name three main values in your life? Three main things in your life?

Vladimir Putin: In life?

Irada Zeinalova: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: Why three? Why not five?

Irada Zeinalova: Because preparing for this conversation we conducted a poll of Vkontakte users. We asked them what is important to them. In other words, these unmeasurable things can only be compared. It is important for us adults to see how well we understand those who will supersede us.

Vladimir Putin: All right, I gained some time to think about it while you answered. What could I say? If I had to name three values in life they would be: first, life itself, it is the greatest value, then love, and freedom. It is possible to write treatises on each of these values. They have already been written and can be written without end.

Speaking about life, which is so valuable, is it possible to define it – is it a purely biological condition or is it intellectual? It is possible to talk at length about the nature of love. There are relations between a man and a woman, but there is also love for parents, and love for the Motherland. But, let me repeat that these are all separate things. What is freedom? Where is it? How far does it go? And where does it end? It ends where we start transgressing on the freedom of other people. How to compare one’s own freedom with the freedom of another person?

It is possible to think endlessly on each of these positions but in my mind, these are the most important values – life itself, love and freedom.

Source: https://russialist.org/transcript-putin-meeting-with-students-from-sirius-educational-centre/

The Federal Territory of Sirius as Tech Hub and 21st Century Russian Elite Development Enclave

The growing Campus in Sochi has become a potential recruitment base for Olympic, Sports, Space, Business, Intelligence, and military talent.

Images of the Sochi campus show how much investment there was in it. It was largely overseen by Putin oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Now the Russian Olympic village has turned into the new Sirius Federal Territory dedicated to Russia’s future via elite training, education, sports, and perhaps military and intelligence skills for Russian children who can also travel abroad as students enthusiastically volunteered to do to Indian PM Modi.

Also in Sochi: the Sirius Park of Science and Art:

And the Sirius Planetarium:

The Sirius focus on recruiting talent for Russia in future Olympics, is shown here:

Putin is serious about the 2015 Sirius initiative considering its proliferation across Russia’s national sectors, endeavors, and parlance. Yet it is also becoming its own international influence and networking operation.

Sirius Education Center Hosts World Youth Festival March 2024

The Sirius Federal Territory formed from the Black Sea’s Sochi development was the host site for the 2024 World Youth Festival (WYF), serving as a global outreach and influence operation of the Russian regime. It convened in Sochi from March 1st-7th with a projected 20,000 young people attending from around the world, and 2,000 staying for an extensive tour of Russia afterward.

Sirius’ hosting of the WYF has generated a top Kremlin propaganda talking point, that the United States was a unipolar hegemon after the USSR collapsed, and that the Sirius is a “guiding star” for a future multipolar world. This, while Russian forces and FSB were kidnapping tens of thousand of Ukrainian children displaced by Putin’s war of aggression of February 2, 2022.

Observe in the below 3 images how a pro-Putin regime X-profile called “The Sirius Report” disseminates aggressive Russian agitation and war propaganda also focusing on the “multipolar” talking points of Moscow and Beijing as discussed in the soft influence piece above about the 2024 WYF in Sochi by ‘Bayern-Nachrichten,’ writing on Medium (replicated at other blogging outlets):

Sirius FutureMoscow, Russia

Serius Education Center has a Moscow counterpart named Sirius Future on the map which is also the name of a Russian software developer online based in Dubai which sells online classes, apps, games, products, and franchises for buyers everywhere. While the PRC’s Confucius Institutes on campuses worldwide are considered centers of communist statist influence and intelligence operations in the name of teaching language and culture, few see the parallel of the Sirius Future program associated with Putin’s Sirius Education Center outreach online, via international conferences, and student exchanges. In Moscow, here is where Sirius Future, the educational institution near the elite corridors of power, appears to be:

Is the above Moscow’s Sirius Future’s front door? By the map and address and the street view image, it is suggestively close to the mark.

Sirius Future Online Educational Student and Teacher Apps, Classes, and Games

Sirius Future is also an online education, education app development, teacher resources, and game developer partly based in Dubai, UAE. Below are listings of the Sirius Future software and educational exports via online schooling, apps, games, and teacher resources sold on Google Play and via the Apple App Store in English language:

Sirius Future has a Google app for students and teachers to download and help them manage their busy schedules, as well as a video game designed by its developers in Dubai, UAE. Note that below buyers are advised that data cannot be deleted, and will collect location, personal information, and two other forms of data. See all details in screen grabs:

Sirius Future is on LinkedIn showing its international outreach in English to foreign teachers, parents, schools, educational businesses, and students. See the detailed description of the online teacher-student learning platform below:

Apple App store also carries Sirius Future apps. Here is Apple’s App store Preview While data may not be collected according to the Apple App store, may it be viewed in real time without collecting it? Do updates risk introducing malware or exploits?

Sirius Federal Territory Development

The Sirius Education Center is overseen by the Talent and Success Foundation, whose director Elena Shmeleva presented future Sirius development plans to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. She announced plans for an innovation hub, Sirius Lyceum, and three new laboratories: Genetics and Life Sciences, Information Technologies, and Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Research in Education. She also projected that the Sirius High School, a STEM-heavy elite academy would be built out within the year. The idea is, with China to corral talent from the developing world and make Russia and China the clearing house for innovation and technology.

A number of “Sirius” companies in Russia have military contracts or are subsidiaries of the Russian state military industrial complex, or Rostec, such as Konstern Sirius OAO. Rostec has a training, mentoring, and support role in the Sirius Federal Territory.

As Strategy Shelf recently noted, similar Russian and Chinese outreach to young inventors globally is occurring via U.N.’s WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). Who will have rights of access and credits to the intellectual property developed by young minds funded by and going through this program? It is likely that Russia and China seek to use the World Youth Festival to develop relationships among future innovators among nations that Russia and China wish colonize technologically, economically, and for global strategic access. The long game continues and the free world must play it better.

China is already announcing to the world’s youth that “Russia is Your Friend.”


Free nations will recognize autocratic adversaries pursuing programs and initiatives our own leaders have implemented in the past to stay ahead of dictatorships and autocracies, only today in the reverse, to bring autocracy in control of the once free world’s basic operating architectures for trade, security, travel, and individual freedom. Past free world leaders collaborated to stay afloat until the containment and collapse of the Soviet Union ended a terrible, totalitarian nuclear weapons and surveillance state that posed an immense threat in the 20th Century.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but with the international programs and focus on the sort of traditional cultural renewal emerging nations want to hear, even if it is not deliverable by either Xi or Putin, free nations and emerging are attracted to the messages the dictatorial alphas with money and advanced weapons are selling.

By awakening from our stupor of division, and investing in our own young people, encouraging families to thrive and grow, and renewing leadership in which leaders at all levels and sectors endeavor with sweat, tears, and blood if necessary, to walk softly and carry a big stick we can recover. By selecting leaders who lead by example without egoistically posturing about it in basic, common morality, decency, and honesty, free nations including the United States can come together and right themselves. We don’t need extremists. We don’t need to pass laws that require and enforce morality. We all need to walk in exemplary leadership whatever our level, wherever we are; to walk the line like Johnny Cash with regard to each other, our country, and our allies:

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you’re mine, I walk the line

I find it very, very easy to be true
I find myself alone when each day is through
Yes, I’ll admit that I’m a fool for you
Because you’re mine, I walk the line

As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep you on my mind both day and night
And happiness I’ve known proves that it’s right
Because you’re mine, I walk the line

You’ve got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can’t hide
For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide
Because you’re mine, I walk the line…

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