Individual Pioneer Summer Camps: Artek


Figure 1.-- Here we see a seen at Artek photographed some time in the 1970s. I'm not sure just what is being staged here. Is this some kind of pagent at the camp?

One of these was access to a number of prestigious summer camps, such as the Artek Pioneer camp in Crimea. [Martin] Artek was founded in 1925. It may have been the first Pioneer summer camp, if not it was one of the earliest. Nikita Khrushchev apparently had some role at the camp, but it is not mentioned in Khrushchev Remembers. A major forces behind the foundation of the Camp was Dr. Simoneiv Solovow, an associate of LÚnine. They appeared to have theorized that Soviet and Communist ideals can best be implanted in youth because their minds were most maleable. They also reasoned that a camp environment where the children were away from home and their parents was an ideal location to indocrinate children. This is one of the primary difference with Scouting. The Scouting movement saw itself as a support to the family and sought to involve parents in leadership roles. The idea behind Artek was to help formulate the new Soviet man. From the beginning the camp was to also accomodate foreign children and provide them a favorable impression of the Soviet Union. A beautiful loction in the Crimea near Yalta was chosen for the camp. This is of course the most southerly location in Russia/the Ukraine and as a result has a wonderful climate. The camp is situated along the Black Sea with several kilometers of shoreline. The total area of the camp is 230 hectares.

Prestige Camps

One of the privliges of the Soviet elite was access to a number of prestigious summer camps, such as the Artek Pioneer camp in Crimea. [Martin]

History

Artek was founded in 1925. We have only limited information about the early history of the Camp. We have found some information because the Camp wa often featured in Siviet publications. Artek may have been the first Pioneer summer camp, if not it was one of the earliest. Facilities were at first very primative. Nikita Khrushchev apparently had some role at the camp, but it is not mentioned in Khrushchev Remembers. A beautiful loction in the Crimea near Yalta was chosen for the camp. This is of course the most southerly location in Russia/the Ukraine and as a result has a wonderful climate. The camp is situated along the Black Sea with several kilometers of shoreline. The total area of the camp is 230 hectares. The initial facilities were very primitive, mostly tents. A wooden construction canteen was built. The tents were replaced with military huts (1928). This made it possible to accomodate more campers, including some foreign campers. The Germans occupied the Crimea during world war II. The camp area was apparently occupied by German soldiers, but they did little damage and thus the camp was serviceable needing only few repairs after the War. The Camp was reborn after the death of Stalin and with Khrushchev's De-Stalinization program. A massive new building program was launched.

Philosophy

A major forces behind the foundation of the Camp was Dr. Simoneiv Solovow, an associate of LÚnine. They appeared to have theorized that Soviet and Communist ideals can best be implanted in youth because their minds were most maleable. They also reasoned that a camp environment where the children were away from home and their parents was an ideal location to indocrinate children. This is one of the primary difference with Scouting. The Scouting movement saw itself as a support to the family and sought to involve parents in leadership roles. The idea behind Artek was to help formulate the new Soviet man.

Foreign Children

From the beginning the camp was to also accomodate foreign children and provide them a favorable impression of the Soviet Union. The foreign children often only attended the camp which became their only view of the Soviet Union.

The Campers

Some of the first campers were sick chilkdren from Moscow.

Facilities

Soviet officials decided to significantly expand the Camp. Khrushchev appears to have been personally involved in this project. He is reported to have said that he wanted a new camp for a new generation of Soviets. The architecht Anatoli T. Polianski designed the buildings for the camp (1957). The new buildings were completed 5 years later (1962). They trippled the size of the camp. Artek became what the Soviets called a "town of Pioneers". There were now 250 buildings constructed from concrete, metal, and glass. The substantial buildings are in contrast to American summer camps which commonly have rudimentary buildings and seek to provide a nature experience.

Camp Experience

The camp experience at Artek were often important experiences for the Young Pioneers and future Komosol members. The program stresses group activities. A Russian television documentary explains, "The dormitories and transarency of the buildings are organized around the needs of the group. At Artek the individual disappears within the group." The documentary goes on to explain, "Artek is a place of collective life, but which emphasizes individual excellence and to place it in the service of the group." [Russie TV] The camp is run on a military basis. A reader writes, "I saw a Russian documentary about the Pioneers last night. It showed news reel footage both black/white and colour. Several elderly people were featured telling about their Pioneer days. It was mostly about Arken. The day started with a trumpet call. There were were lots of skits about being a good communist and singing songs. There were arts and crafts like making artistic pictures from sea shells. The final product included a likeness of Stalin. Other activites included sailing, rowing, camp fires, hikes, and sporting activities."

Murals and Slogans

Murals at the camp honor atheletes, chess champions and others. Slogans include, "Here is not the place for men who shirk work." The rule of the camp is, "Do all yourself and do not rely on a nursemaid." There are partriotic frescos in which Lenon is a major fixture.

Capacity

The campacity of the camp is about 10,000 children.

Children's Book

A children's book, A Journey to Artex describes many activities at the camp.

Current Status

The Camp after the disolution of the Soviet Union bcame the property of the Ukranian Government. The Camp continues to operate, but we know little about the current program.

Sources

Crankshaw, edward and Strobe Talbott, ed. Khrushchev Remembers (Little, Brown and Company: Boston, 1970), 639p. This is not an autobiography, but Crankshaw and Talbott believe that the text is essentially Khrushchev's words even though he may not hve intended them for publication.

Martin, J. Quin. "Camping for the New Pioneers", August 16, 2001.

Russie TV. "Artek, Camp Pioneer Ukrainen of Soviet Years, 1925-2005," June 16, 2005.






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Created: 10:59 PM 9/29/2005
Last updated: 2:25 AM 6/12/2007