The youth during the 1930s were much different than their elders were during their upbringing. This generation grew up with nothing but socialism and embodied all of the qualities of society during this time. While there were many parts of this group that shook the status quo, they were also the generation to build and industrialize much of Russia. They also looked up to Stalin as if he were their father, saying “Thanks to Comrade Stalin for our happy childhood.” The image below is of the “young pioneers” of Stalin’s communist regime, who were happy with their governing and appreciated Stalin.
Long Live Young Pioneers! (1939) Source: New Gallery. 2000.
The reason I chose this topic was because I stumbled upon a primary source from the Communist League of Youth and thought it was interesting how much they relied on education to create this sense of community and equality among this generation in Soviet Russia. The Program of the Komsomol even stated that one goal of the League of Youth was to explain the “harm” that comes from “superstitions and religious practices,” which is a continuation of Stalin’s attempts to overcome the church and get rid of its practices. This education wasn’t a technical one, but a political one.
This push to really ramp up the education in the Soviet Union must have worked well since the youth were the most educated body of people. However, this education did not stop them from being delinquent. Another primary source in the Seventeen Moments blog was about criminal penalties for minors in the Soviet Union. Some of the punishments included being tried in criminal court and facing five years imprisonment.
This generation was known not only as the “generation of sins” but also the “generation of accomplishments.” It is interesting that while this generation was promiscuous and apparently criminal, assumed from the need of an amended policy on charging minors for crimes. It is kind of similar to our generation except for the criminality. While we are seen as some of the most educated in the country, we replace the criminal/sinful side of Soviet youth with being stigmatized as lazy and entitled.