In the closing years of the Soviet Union the popular mass culture was under-attack. The years of togetherness and and the one-size fits all culture was coming to a close. But like all habits this one would die hard. With such big changes it is normal for there to be resistance and in this case the boys of Liubertsy were this resistance. The boys of a poor worker suburb of Moscow soon found themselves in a position were it was there job to defend Soviet culture. In this rapidly shifting world were western popular culture was bearing down on Moscow, maybe these young men thought they could beat the change back. However in this case literally. Driven on by Soviet ideals and a hate for foreign “alien” ideals and lifestyles, these workers’ sons formed clans in their small apartment buildings and built up their bodies for cultural warfare.
Liubers posing for a picture in a homemade basement gym
These cultural warriors strangely built themselves up like a western idol: Sylvester Stallone. Although they adamantly opposed anything western they idolized a western movie star for his strength and fight for whats right. These young mean would build there bodies to not only look a certain way but ultimately for cultural combat. These young men would travel to the heart of Moscow and seek out fringe groups like bikers, metal fans, rockers, and those who idolized the west and beat them up. There battle for Soviet culture took place in the union’s heart and maybe the Liubers thought this was the place to save it but in reality they were likely beating the sons of high government officials.
Although this movement never was successful in driving out western influences, it serves as a reminder that not all wanted communism to end. The Liubers serve as an example to resistance to cultural change in the 80’s. Although their methods were crude and their beliefs confusing at times the Liubers were an embodiment of the civil strife Russia experienced in the last days of the Soviet Union.