The Communist Revolution in Russia occured during 1917, before the Scouting movement could be established to any extent. Scouting has always been a middle-class movement. The Communists instead set up the Young Pioneer movement to involve all children. The Communist Party (CPSU) was the most important organization in the Soviet Union. The Party used youth groups like the Young Pioneers as part of its overall program to inculcate Communist ideology. Other potentially competing youth groups were outlawed. The first Pioneer groups were founded at industrial plants (1922). Membership was at first resticted to socilly acceptable groups, especially workers. We do note the Pioneer camp "Artek" was opened in 1925. The first All-Union Pioneer Rally, I think that this was something like a Scout Jamboree, took place in Moscow during 1929.
The Communist Revolution in Russia occured during 1917. The turmoil of the Revolution was followed by the Civil War. The focus of Lenin and Bolshevik leaders was on the Revolution and winning the Civil War . Only after the Civil War was won could the Bolsheviks begin to set about reshaping Russion society.
The Revolution occurred in Russia before the Scouting movement could be established to any extent. Scouting was founded in Tsarist Russia during 1909. Scouting has always been a middle-class movement and the Russian middle class was relatively small. The Bolsheviks outlawed potentially competing youth groups. They outlawed Scouting, but I am not sure just when this action was taken. The Bolsheviks persued the membership of groups like the Boy Scouts and Moscow Lawn Tennis Club who were likely to have middle or upperclass backgrounfs. [Rayfield] While persuing the Scouts, the Bolsheviks adopted many outward features of Scouting, such as uniforms, activities, and camping. What was not adopted was the involvement of the family and the acceptance of political and social diversity.
The Pioneer movement was not created at first as a national group. Rather units were set up at work sites. The first Pioneer groups were founded at industrial plants. The first plant to establish a Pioneer unit was "Red Presnya" (May 19, 1922). Much was drawn from Scouting to form this first unit. Membership was at first resticted to socilly acceptable groups, especially workers. Units were soon organized in other plants and factories. The early program was for children 10 to 15 years old. The parents had to be from the "working people". The children to enter the Pioneer movement could not have fathers who were the owner's of factories or rural estates or officers in the Tsarist Army. The same was true for mother's with similar family backgrounds. The Bolsheviks looked on such people as class enemies.
The Communists eventually set up the Young Pioneer movement to involve allchildren. The Communist Party (CPSU) was the most important organization in the Soviet Union. The Party used youth groups like the Young Pioneers as part of its overall program to inculcate Communist ideology, training the young eneration in the spirit of faithfulness to Communist ideals. We are not sure when national Pioneer organizations were established and when the movement was ntroduced to the other Soviet Republics. Nor do we know who oversaw the movement.
Leaders for the Pioneer groups were assigned from the Komosol organization. The Komosol was organized in plants and factories. The Komosol subsequently became the ALL-UNION LENIN YOUNG COMMUNIST LEAGUE (VLKSM). The Komosol was organized along the same line as the Communist Party but for youths and young adults 14 to 27 years of age.
As the Soviets began building a national youth movement, organization shifted from industrial plants to the schools. I'm not sure precisely when this began or who oversaw the organizing process. This was seen as a better way of organizing the children. Pioneer groups were established in every school. The school organization was called the "pioneer guard". They then organized a Pioneer unit in every class beginning with the Year 3 children (9-10 years).
[HBC note: We have used a computer translator facility to translate the Russian language test submitted by one of our readers. We then edited it as appropriate. We think the English language text on this page is close to the Russian text (with some information added by HBC). We had, however, considerable difficulty with this paragraph. Any suggestions readers may have as to how to edit the English text here would be most appreciated.] Each force was selected from its composition of its commander - it was called by the chairman of the council of force. Force was divided into the components (as a rule in the force was three zvena)i in the component it were selected his flight commander. In the school it was its "scout- leader" - this is senior pioneer leader - as a rule youth or girl graduated from school and obtained for its work wages. It was in turn subordinated to the council of the pioneer of the organizations of city, which entered into the composition of the urban committee OF VLKSM - ALL-UNION LENIN YOUNG COMMUNIST LEAGUE. CPSU - COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION achieved its "leading and guiding" activity by pioneer organizations through VLKSM - ALL-UNION LENIN YOUNG COMMUNIST LEAGUE.
A HBC reader suggests the following, "Each Group selected its commander. The Youth committee is called together by its chairman to select the commander. As a rule the Pioneer force was divided into 3 units called ‘zvena’ Each elected its commander. The Zvena was under the command of the Poineer Force Commander.
The Pioneer Groups established in schools selected their youth leader. This was often a former student who had graduated and worked voluntary. They earned wages from their full time job.
All the pioneer group in a city was under over all command of the Council of the Pioneers. This governing body existed in every major city. It was part of the Union of the Young Communist League (VLKSM). This committee planned the leadership policies and the activities of the Pioneer groups. The VLKSM was a unit of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU)." A reader writes, "THis seems to be a very rigid structure. The Pioneer groups at local level would have been unlikely to involve the pioneers in activities of their own choosing. Rather the activities would be those approved by VLKSM.
We do not know when the Pioneer summer camp program began. Nor do we know who was placed in charge of the program. We do note the Pioneer camp "Artek" was opened in 1925. This is the first reference we have noted concerning Pioneer summer camps. We have since found some informatin about the Young Pioneer Summer camp program. It appears to have been a very lasrge program involving millions of children. Most of the available information, however, is about the show-case camps like Artek.
The first All-Union Pioneer Rally, I think that this was something like a Scout Jamboree, took place in Moscow during 1929.
Rayfield, Donald. Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him (Random House: 2005), 542p.
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