© 2017 elizabethcampbell. All rights reserved.

Smells Like Teen Angst


This picture is hyperlinked to a website showcasing Soviet Punk Culture. 

As young adults, I figured we could all relate to the topic of youth dissidence in late Soviet Russia. Seventeen Moments credited the rapid decline of success among the younger generation to the failure of the “declining authority” of the family, and even the failure of the school systems to appear legitimate in the eyes of the students. So, instead of dragging through the outdated education system and listening to their parents, the Soviet youth turned to a variety of different outlets, but the most interesting one I read about was motorcycle gangs.

These groups of motorcyclists were known by a variety of ways, but in this essay written by a student at Moscow State University, he credited the newspapers with naming the group “The Rockers.” He pointed out in his essay that many towns across the Soviet Union were home to these motorcycle groups. And it was not something the Taxi drivers were happy about either. The essay goes into detail about how these groups would harass the drivers, and that the drivers would take matters into their own hands to solve the dissidence.

These motorcycle gangs became so problematic that a law was passed prohibiting motorcycles from traveling in groups. However the law was fairly broad and hard to enforce since no one really knew who was a part of the “rockers” and when they were most likely to travel. There were some complications that the essay discusses in more detail.

I mainly thought this was cool because it’s kind of a trend across all decades that there is some form of teen angst that perpetuates through society. Kind of funny that in Soviet Russia the angst took form in motorcycle gangs. I tried to find more on the issue in the Current Digest but nothing came up about the law against traveling in groups, or even teenage dissidence.


  1. Joe Hulslander

    This is a cool post to read about. I agree that it is funny to think of the teen angst taking the form of motorcycle gangs. The fact that the government had to pass a ridiculous law forbidding their traveling in groups shows that the government was slowly losing control of it’s people. The picture also unmistakably shows the youth “sticking it to the man” with their American Confederate flag.

  2. Kevin Herrity

    This is an interesting post, I definitely liked the image you used for it. Funny how they were using the Rebel flag, I wonder how much they knew about the Confederacy. It’s interesting as well to think that the USSR had a problem with these bikers, one usually thinks of it as being a very repressed society. I suppose these bikers were just a natural response to it.

  3. Drew Snell

    I like how you pointed out that many of these young groups arose out of a decline in authority, particularly in family and schools. It is also interesting how “The Rockers” were popular in many towns, as there was not just a single motorcycle gang. Nice post!

  4. annadean

    I really like that we touched on the same thing but we both read differently into it. I focused more on the youth perspective so I didn’t come across the effects of the motorcyclists. So it was interesting to see that side of the story. Great job!

  5. You’ve got great comments here, so I’ll just note that i love the title of this post — and those motorcyclists. Nice.

  6. jshofi

    Teenage motorcyclists, who knew! that is pretty insane that High schoolers would turn to motorcycles instead of something else. Awesome post, and such a great find!

  7. Michael Kwamena Annan

    I’ve never really connected teenage rebellion to joining a motor cycle gang, but that’s probably because I’m not imaginative enough. I was laughing through out the post. The whole motorcycle gang thing seems ridiculous but I’ve done things that are in that ballpark, so I can’t fault them too much. Good post!!

  8. Fantastic website, thank you for the contribution

Leave a Reply