Soviet Young Pioneers: Filmstrips / Diafilms

Figure 1.--This text of this 1967 diafilm pannel read, "You, pioneer, have a uniform also. What is it? Here, look. A dark blue flight-cap with a USSR coat-of-arms. Knee-socks are checked, gray and dark-blue. Grey shirt. For boys - dark-blue long trousers or shorts."

In addition to Young Pioneer movies were filmstrips. The Russians called them diafilms. As in American and I assume Europe, they were widely used in Soviet schools as an audio visual aid. They were made for many different subjects an age levels. Some appear to have been made for home use. We note fairy tales and other children stories. We are not sure how common this was. We note a Young Pioneer diafilm. It was entitled "Your Pioneer uniform". This diafilm was released in 1967 and oriented for young pioneers 9-12 years old. We are guessing it was made to be used in Pioneer meetings. A group discussion may have followed. A Russian reader tells us, "Yes, I suppose this film used for Young Pioneers meetings. May be on Octobrists meetings just before their enlist to young Pioneers. Some of the uniforms look more elaborate than those we have noted in the photographic record. We are not sure how common these uniforms actually were. For example, we have never seen Soviet Young Pioneers wearing checked knee socks. Here are filmstrip pannels with the Russian text and the English translation. We see a variety of different uniforms, age levels, and activities. Note the number of frames devoted to security.

11. Boys' Standard Uniform

The diafilm text read, "You, pioneer, have a uniform also. What is it? Here, look. A dark blue flight-cap with a USSR coat-of-arms. Knee-socks are checked, gray and dark-blue. Grey shirt. For boys - dark-blue long trousers or shorts." Note the campaign caps are called flight caps in the Soviet Union. We are not sure just why, perhaps this was a Red Air Force cap. Both boys and girls wore them. (This was not very common in the West.) Apparently the grey shirt was rarher like the British grey school shirt, designed fore everyday war because it did not show the dirt like a white shirt. This is not a uniform we have seen in the photographic record, especially the checked knee socks. We are not sure to what extent it corresonded with the school uniform. This was important because the Pioneers were a school based program. We also do not note a lot of boys wearing the short pants uniform except at camp or for special occassions. A Russian reader tells us, "I have noted that Soviet authorities several times tried to make one standard uniform for all Pioneers. But everytime such attempts failed." This is interesting. American Scouts in a much more open society had no trouble establishing a standard uniform.

12. Girls' Standard Uniform

The diafilm text read, "And for girls - also shorts or dark-blue skirt. On the shirt are buttoned shoulder-marks. On the sleeve there are a chevron. A colour of the chevron is yellow for olders and dark-blue for juniors. Above it there is a ribbon. Stars on it are signs of a pioneer activity: a leader of the squad, member of the coucil of the troop, chairman of the council of druzhina and so on." The girls uniform was just like the boys' uniform except for the skirt. Girls could wear short pants (but not long pants) with this uniform. But we do not think they would have worn shorts to school. This may have been more for camp. We are not sure if they were to wear the checked knee socks like the boys.

13. Girls' Parade (Dress) Uniform

The diafilm text read, "And this is your parade uniform. A shirt is white and kneesocks are white as well". Parade uniform meant a dress unifirm. This term was used in Scouting as well, at least British Scouting. British Scouts did not wear white knee socks, but we have seen Cubs wearing them for special occassions. American Scouts used the term "Class A uniform". We do see Pioneers wearing white shirts and white kneesocks as akind of dress uniform. Both boys and girls did this. The uniform would have been the same, except the girls wore skirts. The girls often wore white socks, stockings, or tights to school. This was less common for the boys unless they were wearing the parade uniform.

14. Flag Bearers

The diafilm text read, "And now forward, flag bearers!" Pioneers were chosen to bear the flags and banners of the group at meetings and special occassions. Both boys and girls were chosen. This was considered an important hnor and responsibility. They were expected to wear smart uniforms. Note that they are wearing the dress uniform. The other Pioneers might be only wearing the standard uniform. Notice the Pioneer insignia in their sleeves.

15. Assistants

The diafilm text read,"Take your places, assistents. Here they are, in dark-blue blouses with a white belt. With a shouldre-marks. With red ties. With white gloves. With red flight-caps. And witha scarlet ribbons across a shoulder". I am not sure just who the assistants were. They seem to be some of the younger children who assist the leaders. We are not sure just what their responsbilities were. Note a;so the white belts and white gloves.

17. Leaders

The diafilm text read,"Where are our leaders? Here they are - smart, well-dressed". Apparently the leaders were boys and girls from an older year class who were working with the younger children. . Note that they are wearing pants and skirts the same color as their shirts. The boy here wears long instead of short pnts. The girl wears long stockings rather than knee socks. Tights were not yet common in the Soviet Union, although they may have been obtained for an official photograph like this.

18. Komsomol Badges

The diafilm text read,"On the chest - a Komsomol badge. The Komsomol is older brother of young Lenin kids." The Young Pioneers, especially the Lenon Kids as described here were a mass prganization. All children were expected to join and participate in the proigram. The Komosol was a different matter. They had to be selected to join the organization. It was considered a kind of proving ground for future members of the Communist Party. One way of earning good marks was to help with the younger children. It is difficult to make out the badge. I think it is right above the girl's pocket.

22. Border Guards

The diafilm text read,"A state border. Quiet. Not a single twig snapped .... But don't believe to quietness, young border-guard. You are on the guard now. Look around! Dont miss an enemy." There was a constant search for "enemies". This focus on looking out for enemies was something completely absent in Scouting. It was a central matter during the stalinist era and eventually led to Stalin's dreadful purges. But even after Stalin's death, the Soviet state coninued its emphasis on security. This is a mock up of the children helping to watch the border. The Soviet state devoted a huge effort to security. Soviet citizens spied on each other and submitted reports to the KGB (there were other names in earlier periods). There was also a considerable effort at the border.

23. Border Guard Friends

The diafilm text read,"Young friends of border-guards! - Here we are! - Here they are, green flying-caps. And ribbons on shoulder-marks of young friends of border-guards are green too." A Russian reader tells us, "Young Pioneers - a "green patrol" members, who kept an eye about forests and plants. They wore green flying-caps too." The whole uniform looks to be olive green rather than the grey and black uniform which seems to have been the standard uniform. They are wearing the checked knee socks.

24. Rocket Launches

The diafilm text read,"This space ship doesn't have a big weight. But what's in that? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - start!!! Fly higher, pioneer's dream, from hands of a young astronaut." This looks to be a camp activity, at least the children look to be wearing camp uniforms. Apparently an activity at this unidentified camp was building model rockets. We are not sure how common this was. This seems to have been quite an elaborate facility.

25. Young Friends of Aviators and Astronauts

The diafilm text read,"Young friends of aviators and astronauts! - Here we are! - Here they are, light-blue flying-caps. And ribbons on shoulder-marks are light-blue too." The Soviet Union launched Sputnik (1957). It resulted in a great deal of interest in space around the world, especially in the Soviet Union. Apparently there was a special Young Pioneer program. We note the term "Young Friends" used with several Pioneer programs. A Russian reader writes, "Young Pioneers also had a "blue patrol", who kept an eye around lakes and rivers. They wore light-blue flying-caps too."

26. Young Friends of Militia: Assistance

The diafilm text read,"Here you can see a young friends of militia (Soviet police - A.). For them anybody's sorrow is their own. And they are ready to fight for a friend, know they him or not, as like as for themselves." This is another scene to make Young Pioneers conscious of security. This seems an obviously staged photograph. We are unsure if youbg children really rode along with the police as shown here. It seems a little unrealistic. Hopefully our Russian readers will be able to tell us more about this.

27. Young Friends of Militia: Uniform Accessories

The diafilm text read,"Ribbons on shoulder badges of young friends of militia are dark-blue. Flying-caps are dark-blue as well." The image here doesn't seem very well chose to show off the ribbons and shouder badges.

29. Marine Young Pioneers

The diafilm text read, "It is unfair! Here and there - "seaman", "seaman". No, our girls can't let boys to be ahead. And they look even better in a marine young pioneer uniform." Another special unit was Marine Young Pioneers, rather like Sea Scouts. There would have been a similar uniform for the boys, but with pants rather than skirts. We are not sure how popular the Sea Scouts and other specialized programs were, nor do we know much about the actual program. Geography restricted access to the ocean, at least for Russians. There was the Black Sea in the south, which gave some Russians and Ukranians access tp the Black Sea and a more benign climate for sailing. The Baltics Republics of course had the Baltic Sea. A factor here c have been that after World War II, the Soviets set out to build a substantial blue water navy. Thus marine skills were badly needed.

39. Young Automobilists

The diafilm text read, "Young pioneers are always ready to show their skills on the Red Square. Young automobilists report." There is a large celebration and parade on Red Square honoring the Revolution. The military parade was the best known aspect of the parade, but much more was involved. This looks to be part of that celebration.

40. Young Firemen

The diafilm text read, "Copper helmets" are showing their skills - young firemen. They can step into the fire without any fear." This looks like another part of the Red Square Revolution celebration.


Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Chronology Pages:
[Return to the Main chronologies page]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s] [The 1990s] [The 2000s]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web Site:
[Return to the Main Soviet Pioneer page]
[Activities] [Biographies] [Chronologies] [Countries] [Essays] [Garments] [Organizations] [Religion] [Other]
[Introduction] [Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Questions] [Unknown images]
[Boys' Uniform Home]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web organization pages:
[Boys' Brigade] [Camp Fire] [Hitler Youth] [National] [Pioneers] [Royal Rangers] [Scout]

Created: 7:07 PM 4/18/2009
Last updated: 7:07 PM 4/18/2009