Young, Wild, and Free

Throughout the course many of us have talked about gender roles, particularly about abortion laws and gender norms. When Stalin’s regime ended, it seemed that women’s rights took a 180 turn on several issues. The government especially started focusing on the men’s role in the family. In reality, the idea of a nuclear family was declining and so were the youth–according to the older generations.

In 1985, this seemed to come to a peak. Part of this reason was the educational system. The Komsomol–which controlled post-school life–was becoming more and more discredited because of it’s subservience to  the Communist Party. [1]. This same group released also tried to control the social aspects of the Soviet Youth. In one article they released they claimed that certain songs would damage their ability to learn. [2] This particular article was titled, “Contraband Songs Can Damage Young People’s Education” [3].  This article was incredibly strong in their language against these “contraband” songs, which sentences such as, “You can smell the primitive and vulgarity in these songs a mile off. The heroes’ vocabulary is poor to the point of impoverishment, and the songsters prefer slang expressions, often peppered with “off-color” words. And there are more than enough unambiguous hints, too” [4]. The Komsomol was losing popularity with a lot of people for their seemingly outdated view–especially with the youth. The Soviet youth weren’t participating in events that had previously been a traditional part of the Soviet lifestyle.

In the video below, the youth is penalized simply for riding motorcycles. It is stated that, “there’s no place big enough for us to work on our motorcycles. No matter what we do, we’re guilty” [5]

video link: http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1985-2/1985-turbulent-youth/turbulent-youth-video/disaffected-youth-1984/ 

Edit: After reading Elizabeth’s blog, I wanted to add a little more to the video. In her blog, she talks about the fact that the motorcyclists, or “Rockers” were causing chaos to certain aspects in society, especially the taxi drivers, who they apparently harassed. A law was passed that prohibited groups of motorcycles in order to cut down on motorcycle gangs and unruliness. Since I focused more on the youth perspective, it was interesting to the perspective other other entities, in this case, the taxi drivers. As always, it interesting to see how people take the same thing different ways. The taxi drivers seeing the Rockers as hooligans, and the rest of the motorcyclists seeing targets on their back.

Personally, I feel as if the youth are overlooked. Yet they can play instrumental roles in the changing of a society. Youth can have an incredibly powerful voice, if they choose, and they can also have large numbers in their group.With the dissolution of the Communist Union, the Kosmomol also disbanded, leading to reforms within the educational society. [6]

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