Soviet Young Pioneers: Chronology

Figure 1.--This is a Soviet poscard with a photograph of the Young Pioneers. We do not know precisely when it was taken . The card is not dated, but it looks to have been taken in the late 1920s or early 30s. The boys do not appear to be wearing uniforms, except for the scarves. on this pic.

We do not yet have details on just when the Young Pioneer movement was founded or about its operations in the early years. More attention was given to the movementment in the 1930s and by the 1950s after World War II it became a major youth movement. We note little attention to uniform, except for the red scarfe, until after the War. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism, the movement evaporated.

The 1910s

The Russian Revolution occurred in October 1917. The Pionner Movement was, however, not founded until after the Civil War in 1922.

The 1920s

Shortly after the Russian revolution in 1917, the communist government took serious steps to break down the strength of other social institutions. The government took control of the economy by establishing a command model economy. It closed churches and burned as many religious books as it could find to keep the ideas from being further circulated. It tried to break down the family by requiring parents to send their children to state-operated boarding schools controlled and staffed by communist party members in which students were not only educated according to party principles but also taught that the state was the entity they could count on to care for them. While students in the state-run boarding schools were not required to join the party's youth group, the Young Pioneers, they soon learned that membership was rewarded and non-membership subtly punished by both teachers and fellow students. Thus, the government gradually gained control over both people and nearly all aspects of their lives while at the same time reducing or eliminating the influence of social institutions it could not control. Some information is available on the uniform during the 1920s.

The 1930s

Soviet authorities begin giving more attention to the Pioneetr movement in the 1930s. A Russian reader writes about the photograph here, "There is a probability, that the photograph of the Pioneers here (figure 1) was taken in Moscow or Petrograd (later Leningrad, now St. Petersbourg). I think so, because clothes of these chidren is very good (for that times) and has a "big town-style" - the photos of young pioneers from province or country areas show bare-feet boys in very bad clothes, just with a red scarf. I know a few facts about Young Pioneers organization of that times. Boy Scout groups weren't sitll forbidden in USSR (it was made in 1925), and YP organization taken a lot of symbols from Boy Scouts, although always considered scouts as "class enemies" and "contr-revolution spies". Young pioneers taken some uniform elements - short pants, stockings (in cold Russia long over-the-knee instead of traditional scouts' just below the knee socks), attributes like trumpets, drums and traditional camp-fire from scouts. But there were some differences also. YP didn't used scout staffs and hats. The Scouts tied their scarves with a knot, it had a symbolic meaning: if scout didn't do any good thing during the day, he couldn't tie his scarf off when he go to sleep. Young Pioneers didn't use knots, they plugged a scarf with a small red sign with a portrait of Lenin. Much more later, in the 190's, when even a memory about Boy Scouts vanished in USSR, young pioneers began to wear these signs on their shirts, on the heart-side, and to use a knot for a red scarf."

The 1940s

Soviet children's literature has accounts of brave actions by Young Pioneers during World War II. We do not yet have a clear picture, however, concerning the role the Pioneers played in the War. We note little attention to uniform, except for the red scarfe, until after the War.

The 1950s

The Pioneers by the 1950s after World War II it became a major youth movement. We note quite a bit of attention to summer camping.

The 1960s

The 1970s

Some information is available on the uniform during the 1970s.

The 1980s

The 1990s

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism, the Young Pioneer movement appears to have virtually evaporated (1991). We do not note any mention of the Pioneers in the 1990s, but our information is very limited. A Russian reader tells us that this is not a completely accurate statement of what occurred in Russia during the 1990s. He writes, "Неверно думать, что все пионерские организации в начале 1990-х годов были распущены. Право самораспуститься или продолжать свою деятельность дальше было предоставлено самим ребятам. В некоторых школах (большинство) пионерские отряды перестали существовать сами собой когда дети просто выросли." This means, "t is erroneous to think that all Pioneer organizations disappeared in the early 1990s. Actually the right to samoraspustit'sya or to continue activities was given to the children themselves. In most schools the Pioneer movement ceased to exist. But in some schools Pioneer units exist because of the interest of the children and the enthusiasm of some teachers who knew how to work with the children". The Communist Party after the attempted coup was banned for a few years. I'm not sure how that affected the Pioneers.

The 2000s

Our Russian readers further tells us, "Но в некоторых школах они существуют и сегодня благодаря энтузиазму некоторых учителей, сумевших заинтересовать ребят. Существуют без какой либо финансовой поддержки со стороны государства или коммунистической партии г-на Зюганова. Г-н Зюганов любит только когда его встречают современные пионеры в городе где он бывает с визитом, но ни одного рубля на поддержку ребят не дает. Пионерское движение сейчас стало не таким идеологизированным как было в СССР. Лозунг современных пионеров "За мир, добро и справедливость" и основным направлением деятельности таких отрядов является в настоящее время патриотическое воспитание. This means, "These units exist without either financial support from the government or Communist Party of Mr. zyuganov. Mr. Zyuganov loves to appear with contemporary Pioneer units in the city, but offers not one ruble of support. The Pioneer movement is today much smaller than it once was and receives no government support. It is also not as ideologically oriented as it was during the Soviet era. The slogan of the contemporary Pioneers is "for the peace, the good and the validity". The basic direction of Pioneer activities is at present patriotic training."


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]
[Return to the Main Soviet Pioneer uniform chronology 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: April 16, 2004
Last updated: 7:45 AM 4/28/2007