National Geographic : 1989 May
THE LURE OF THE SEA loosens the apron strings. At Lenin grad's naval cadet school a class of 15-year-old recruits prepares to leave for summer boot camp. As Soviet warships and a patrol craft get ready for Navy Day inspection on the Neva River (left), a young recruitfrom Moscow, hands shaking, takes his final oral examination before a panel of naval officers (below). "Don't be so nervous," school com mandant Rear Adm. Lev Stoly arov says kindly from behind his desk. "Tell me, what is the population of Moscow?" "Eleven million, including foreigners," the boy answers. The panel erupts in laughter. A Ukrainian mother and her new-shorn son share the final awkward moments over ajar of preserved cherries from home (lower left). Next afternoon the recruits board a train at Finland Station (bottom). Parents push cookies through the windows and linger over the bittersweet moment when a boy becomes a man.