Youth of Russia

“Youth, according to Communist ideology, was destined to live under Communism”(Seventeen Moments). The Communists targeted the younger generation as the future of the Communist party, while the older generation were seen as tainted by capitalism. With an aim toward organizing youth, the Communists believed in establishing a youth organization. The organization, known as the Komsomol, was established in 1918, but  “the organization was formally known as the Russian Communist Union of Youth” (Seventeen Moments).

Following Lenin’s death in 1924, “the Central Committee launched a recruitment campaign, the Lenin Enrollment, to ‘proletarianize’ the party by admitting more actual industrial workers” (Freeze 312). Enrollment brought greater numbers which “reached a million after the “Lenin Levy” recruitment drive of that year. By 1927 it stood at approximately two million” (Seventeen Moments).

Always Prepared! The Next Shift Comes In (1924)

Always Prepared! The Next Shift Comes In (1924)

The image above states: “Be prepared to fight for the workers’ cause. “”I, a young pioneer of the USSR, here before my comrades do solemnly swear : 1) to stand firm for the cause of the working class in its struggle to liberate workers and peasants of the whole world 2) to honestly and unswervingly fulfill the testament of Il’ich (Lenin), and the laws and customs of the young Pioneers”” (Seventeen Moments). The image shows how the Communist Party was able to utilize the energy of youths to promote their ideology within society. Another image, posted below, also shows how Lenin’s cause was committed to the youth’s responsiblity “to study, study, and study” (Seventeen Moments). The image, “To the Light and to Knowledge! (1920),” states, “Young Proletarians – To the Light and to Knowledge! “All worker-peasants into the ranks of the Russian Young Communist League!” (Seventeen Moments).

"To the Light and to Knowledge! (1920)

“To the Light and to Knowledge! (1920)

The Bolsheviks navigated unsteady waters following the height of the Civil War and the death of Lenin. The future of the party depended on youth, but the future of youth organizations fell victim to desire for numbers. In order for the Bolsheviks to maintain power as rulers, the party needed significant backing from society. The “Russian Communist Union of Youth” allowed the Bolsheviks, and Stalin, to find devoted followers in both military and society roles. This is reflected in the “Komosol March” song located on the Seventeen Moments website. The site describes the song as: a “highly militaristic song” which “reflected the new agenda of the Stalin era, in which the Komsomol was no longer an independent force in Soviet politics, but the training ground for military and state workers devoted to the platform of the central party organs” (Seventeen Moments). With support, the Bolsheviks could hope to maintain power, while lack of support would surely have led to definitive demise and continued political chaos within the Russian state. The Komsomol disbanded in the late 1980s/early 1990s with the fall of the communist state of Russia.


Cited Sources:

Always Prepared! The Next Shift Comes In (1924):

  1. Leah Dickerman, ed.: Building the Collective: Soviet graphic design, 1917-1937. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. 1996.

Seventeen Moments: Young Communists:

Seventeen Moments: Young Communists: Images:

Seventeen Moments: Young Communists: Song: