Soviet Young Pioneers: Summer Camp Uniforms


Figure 1.--These boys ar the Artek All-Union summer camp in 1980. This was the formal dress uniform at the camp which was loacted in the Crimea. We had thought these were all boys, but a Russian reader tells us that the second child in first row was a girl. Note the look of determination in the face of the boy with the flag pole.

HBC at this time has little information on what type of uniforms were worn at Soviet Young Pioneer summer camps. We have few first hand accounts , but can deduce some information from avilable images. Most of the images we have seen show the children wearing uniforms at the camps. A Russian reader tells us, however, that mostly the children wore a variety of cassual clothes. TApparently for formal photographs, the children put on their uniforms. The uniform was for special occasions such as concerts or meeting guests and was usally worn about twice a week. The children were not issued special uniforms for these camps. They wore their normal Pioneer uniforms from school. This explains why there are some differences, such as short and long sleeve shirts. Also some boys wore shorts tucked into their short pants while other boys had shirts without tails that were not tucked in. The children's parents bought the uniforms, but they were very inexpensive, heavily subsidized by the state. Most of the available images are from the 1970s and 80s. We do not know what the uniforms were like earlier or indeed even if they had uniforms. Most of the children we have noted wear red campaign caps, red scarves, white shirts, and blue short pants. The official color was sunflower blue. They were worn with white socks with non-uniform sandals or sneakers. Available images suggest that the boys and girls wore essentially the same uniform. The only basic difference was that the boys wore short pants and the girls skirts. While this appears to have been the customary uniform. We have notice boys wearing different uniforms such as berets and dark shirts. We believe this may have been the uniform at one of the specialist camps. Idealized pictures also show the boys wearing red caps and white kneesocks. I'm not sure how common this turn out was. Hopefully our Russian readers will provide us some details.

Limited Information

HBC at this time has little information on what type of uniforms were worn at Soviet Young Pioneer summer camps. We have few first hand accounts. Hopefully Russian readers will provide us more information, including their camp experiences. We can deduce some information from avilable images.

Regular Camps

Most of the images we have seen show the children wearing uniforms at the camps. A Russian reader tells us, however, that mostly the children wore a variety of cassual clothes. Apparently for formal photographs, the children put on their uniforms. The uniform was for special occasions such as concerts or meeting guests and was usally worn about twice a week. The children were not issued special uniforms for these camps. They wore their normal Pioneer uniforms from school. This explains why there are some differences, such as short and long sleeve shirts. A Russian reader tells us, "In the USSR there was no special uniform for Pioneer summer camps. In the list of clothes which it was necessary was to take with itself in camp usual street clothes and pioneer uniform. In 1970-2000 among other clothes, the children always brought: white shirts, shorts, white ankle or knee socks, and a red scarfe.

Prestige Camps

The Soviet Union where eveyonewas theoretically equal had in fact a few prestigious cmps located at very nice sites and with particularly good favilities. I am not sure what children went to these camps, but I believe that they were mostly the children of ranking Party and state officials. The two most prestigious camps were Artek and the Orlyonok. The camps did in fact have special uniforms. The uniform was given out to all children. It was: white shirt, dark blue short pants, brown belt, and red scarfe. At Artek white socks were worn, kneesocks (1970-1985) or white ankle socks (1985-1990). At Orlyonok ankle socks were more popular than kneesocks. The activities at these camps were extensively photographed and used in Soviet publications. This gives the impression that the uniforms worn at these camps were generally worn throughout the Soviet summer camp system.

Specialized Camps

Here we have little information. Our understanding is that that Artek and possibly Orlyonok were actually camp complexes made up of a number of smaller individual camps. Ther apparently were ome differences in the uniforms worn at the individual camps. Some camps had blue shirts and blue kneesocks. We note a beret at the Artek "Marine" or sailor camp.

Conventions

Some boys wore shorts tucked into their short pants while other boys had shirts without tails that were not tucked in.

Purchase

The children's parents bought the uniforms, but they were very inexpensive, heavily subsidized by the state.

Chronology

we have limited chronolgical information at this time. Most of the images that we have ben able to obtain are from the 1970s and 80s. We do not know what the uniforms were like earlier or indeed even if they had uniforms.

Garments

Most of the children we have noted wear red campaign caps, red scarves, white shirts, and blue short pants. The official color was sunflower blue. They were worn with white socks with non-uniform sandals or sneakers. We have notice boys wearing different uniforms such as berets and dark shirts. We believe this may have been the uniform at one of the specialist camps. Idealized pictures also show the boys wearing red caps and white kneesocks. I'm not sure how common this turn out was. Hopefully our Russian readers will provide us some details.

Gender Differences

Available images suggest that the boys and girls wore essentially the same uniform. The only basic difference was that the boys wore short pants and the girls skirts. This appears to have been the customary uniform. This appears to be the case in almost all of the images we have noted. We are unsure if the girls were allowed to wear shorts or if many wanted to do so.

Photogrphic Archive

Almost all of the photographs that we have found on Pioneer uniforms are professionally taken photographs that that have been published in Soviet magazines like the image here (figure 1). The other images we have found are camp group portraits like school class portraits. We see none of the snapshots taken by ciunselors and campers that re so common at Scout camps. We are unsure at this time why this was. Perhaps cameras and film were too expensive to intrust with children. We suspect, however, other factors may have been involved.






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Created: October 2, 20021
Last updated: November 9, 2003