Figure 1.--Sviet Young Pioneers are shown here in 1965 participating in a ceremony at a World War II memorial. The boys wear red scarves, white shirts, and blue long or short pants. One boy wears white kneesocks. Notice the boys on the left who seems to be carrying his school jacket. Also notice that none of the boys seem to have their Pioneer sleeve badge.
I do not yet have any detailed information on Soviet Young Pioneer uniforms. Some rough assessments can be made from available photographs. Photographs suggest that the boys usually wore a simple white shirt, red kerchief, and dark trousers--I think blue trousers. There does not seem to have been a pioneer cap, at least one that was commonly worn. I'm not sure if boys had short sleeve shirts for summer wear. I think that the pioneer uniform was basically the same as their school uniform, which included a jacket. The boys always seem to wear long pants with their school uniform. At summer outings boys seem to wear both long and short pants. Presumably it was up to the boys. All of the boys would have had blue long pants for winter schoolwear. I do not know if they all also had short pants for summer Pioneer activities. During the summer, especially at camps, the boys often wore short pants. They may have also had short sleeve shirts for camp wear. At camp there have been a required uniform, although HBC at this time has few details. HBC has noted boys wearing more elaborate uniforms, but I'm not sure how common it was for Young Pioneer members to have the more elaborate uniforms. Sometimes it appears to have been a small group or honor guard of some kind. HBC also has no information on how the Young Pioneer uniform changed over time. Hopefully some Young Pioneer members will provode some information on the uniforms.
The early Pioneers did not have a formal uniform, but rather only wore a red neckerchief. As the Pioneer movement evolved, forma uniforms were adopted. We have collected some information here about the uniform over time. Here we have encountered some difficulties because Russian readers have provided some varying accounts. To an extent linguistic difficulties mave have complicated the ability of HBC to accrately interpret these reports.
HBC at this time has not details on chronolgical changes in the Pioneer uniform. We are not sure to what extent boys wore elaborate uniforms in the Soviet Union. We believe that red scarves were wxtensively worn, but are not sure about complete uniforms. Russia was a very poor country in the 1920s and 30s. One image from the 1930s suggests that the boys had a khaki uniform. We are not sure when this uniform was first adopted and presisely when thePioneers changes to the white shirt and blue pants uniform. World War II (1941-45) devestated the country. Thus many Russians would not have had the money to purcase elaborate uniforms. It is likely, however, that there were official uniforms that selected boys and girls wore for ceremonial occasiions. Children at elite schools in Moscow and other major cities were porobably more likely to have Pioneer uniforms. As conditions improved in the 1950s and 60s, more boys were likely to wear basic uniforms. Our information, howevr, is still very limited. Most of our images of Soviet Young Pioneers date from the 1960s, but we have begun to aquire some earlier information.
I do not yet have any detailed information on Soviet Young Pioneer uniforms. Some rough assessments can be made from available photographs. Photographs suggest that the boys usually wore a simple white shirt, red kerchief, and dark trousers--I think blue trousers. There appears to have been a white belt worn with the formal uniform. There was a pioneer cap, but it does not seem to have been commonly worn. Boys wore a variety of socks. Some boys wore white kneesocks with the formal uniform.
As in Scouting there were different levels to the Young Pioneers. The younger children were members of the October Children movement (Oktyabryenok), rather like Cubs in Scouting. I am not sure yet how their uniforms differed from the older Pioneer boys. One difference was the red scarfe. The children were not given the carves until they became Pioneers. The note in Cuba the younger children wore blue scarves, but in the Siviet Uniin the younger Oktyabryenok seem to have no scarves at all.
The Soviet Union was composed of 16 different republics. The largest was Russia, but there were several small republics such as the three Baltic republics. each of the republics are now independent states. Russian readers report, however, that were no destinctive Pioneer uniforms in the different republics. There was one single uniform for the entire Soviet uniform.
Parents could purchase a formal uniform kit for their children going to camp. The "formal attire" included: white/light blue shirt, cornflower-blue shorts (this is official description of the shorts color), scarlet-red neckerchief, white knee-socks, and side-cap. The total cost for all of this was about 20 roubles ($4.00 in 1970). A belt cost more and was optional. These prices were heavily subsided by the state of course. They could be bought anywhere and for all sizes, all packed in one plastic bag.
While the Soviet Union had one country-wide uniform. There were some regional differences based primarily on climatic zones. The Soviet Union was primarily a northern country. Therefore most of the year, children wore long trousers and jackets, commonly dark blue colour. The one indispensable garment throughout the Soviet Union to designated a Pioneer was the red scarf. Boys during the summer, especially at Pioneer camps more commonly would wear short pants.
A Russian reader describes the formal uniform that was worn bt some boys. He indicates that little effort was made to sttrictly control the Pioneer uniform worn by most boys. He says that some care was taken for a special group of boys. HBU is not sure how they were chosen. They wore a more elaborate formal uniform. A Russian reader writes, "The smart form was especially regulated only. It consist
of a special white shirt with superimposed pockets and chevrons on the sleeve. With the shirt they wore short short pants, wither light blue or light green, but never khaki), white belt with metal buckle, shoes, red scarf and red and white field-cap (Ispanka).
The Young Pioneers did not always parade in their standard uniform which appears ti have been essentially the school uniform. Children participating in major celebrations might be issue special uniforms juust for the parade or other special occassion. This normally would be just the pants and skirts as the children would wear their own white shirts. The pants/skirts might be done in a bright color to make an impression in the parade. The children afyer the parade would be expected to turn this uniform back in after the parade.
I'm not sure if the boys had a summer uniform. There were, however, clearly uniform garments adopted to war amd cold weathr. We have noted some boys wearing both short and long sleeved shirts and short and long pants. This may have been a choice up to the boy and his parents rather than a strict uniform established by the Pioneer unit. The shorts were probably the pre-packaged Pioneer camp uniforms. Shorts were very common for primary school children. Some boys even wore shorts in the winter, often with long ober the knee stockings. The shorts were also worn at summer camp. Many Soviet children went to summer camp, so many boys had them despite the fact that Russia is known for its cold weather. Thus many boys wore the Pioneer short pants uniform to school and and on special school occassions when the weather was warm.
I think that the pioneer uniform was basically the same as their school uniform, which included a jacket. The boys usually seem to wear long pants with their school uniform, perhaps because the Winter is very long in Russia. We have seen younger boys wearing short pants to school.
At summer outings boys seem to wear both long and short pants. Presumably it was up to the boys. All of the boys would have had blue long pants for winter schoolwear. I do not know if they all also had short pants for summer Pioneer activities. During the summer, especially at camps, the boys often wore short pants. They may have also had short sleeve shirts for camp wear. At camp there have been a required uniform, although HBC at this time has few details. As Russian reader describes his camp uniform, "the summer daily uniform
in pioneer camps consisted of short shorts (any colour), white shirts with short sleeves, and of course a red scarf".
HBC has noted boys wearing more elaborate uniforms, but I'm not sure how common it was for Young Pioneer members to have the more elaborate uniforms. Sometimes it appears to have been a small group or honor guard of some kind.
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