youth camps and nationalism in post soviet russia l.
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Youth Camps and Nationalism in Post-Soviet Russia

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Youth Camps and Nationalism in Post-Soviet Russia. Children at camp in Novosibirsk. Introduction. Why analyze youth camps as a subject of post-Soviet nationalism?. Historical Background: The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union. Existed from 1922 - 1990.

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Why analyze youth camps as a subject of post-Soviet nationalism?

historical background the young pioneer organization of the soviet union
Historical Background: The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union
  • Existed from 1922 - 1990.
  • A mass youth organization of the USSR for children ages 10-15.
  • N. Krupskaya (Lenin’s wife) played a significant role in the Pioneer movement, advocating a combination of Communist values with games, sports, tourism, and survival skills.
  • From 1923 - 1975 the number of Young Pioneer members rose from 75 thousand to 25 million.
  • Thousands of Young Pioneer camps were established where children went for summer vacation and winter holidays - this was free (funded by the government and trade unions).
  • Membership optional (but almost every child was a Pioneer).
symbols rituals and traditions of the soviet era
Symbols, Rituals, and Traditions of the Soviet era:
  • Main symbols of Young Pioneers: red banner, flag, red tie, badge.
  • Main attributes: bugle, drum, uniform.
  • Rituals: salute, parades, banner bearing, raising of the flag, elaborate closing ceremonies.
  • Traditions: youth rally (usually around a bonfire) and festivals.
  • Songs: various Soviet era songs which are still used today...
  • Portraits of Lenin (and other leaders)
  • Statues and memorials
  • Morning exercises
  • Regimented schedule
aspects of nationalism
Aspects of Nationalism
  • Focus on the “glorious past” and tradition.
  • Educating youth in Russian history and culture.
  • Promoting patriotism and pride in one’s nation.
  • Importance of the national anthem and flag.
  • In regards to elite camps like Artek: notion of the “chosen people” as future leaders of country.
case study artek
Case study: Artek
  • Prestigious international camp located in Crimea.
  • Created in 1925: originally aimed at boys.
  • State-funded camp for children of élites and children who earned academic success.
  • Uniforms were and still are required.
  • Very proud of camp history and currently very active in maintaining Soviet-style model of camp.
  • Numerous high-profile people have visited the camp: revolutionaries, generals, politicians, celebrities.
  • In 2000, Artek celebrated their 75th anniversary. Though the camp claims to be a non-political children’s sanctuary, astronauts, journalists, and the President Kuchma attended the celebration.
aspects of media in relation to youth camps
Aspects of media in relation to youth camps
  • Advertisements of camps on television for summer season.
  • Internet: The more elite and state-funded camps have sophisticated websites, including history of camp, extensive photos, and promotion of their own children’s books and songs.
  • Promotion of camp newspapers which provide information on camp history (relating again to Soviet past)
  • Main point: children are cut off from outside media while at camp. Youth organizations and NGOs...
  • Summer camps in Russia exist in a variety of formats, yet they all promote nationalism in both banal and active ways. (implicit and explicit)
  • Political youth organizations are targeting children and young adults by bringing their message to the camps through training sessions and through the internet and advertising.
  • Radio Free Europe
  • Thomas J. Garza: “Conservative Vanguard? The Politics of New Russia’s Youth.”
  • BBC News
  • Interviews