With joyful step and merry song: Pioneers’ Day in contemporary Russia


May 24, 2015

With joyful step and merry song: Pioneers’ Day in contemporary Russia

By Tipolog

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

May 19 represented another anniversary of creating the All-Union Lenin Pioneer Organization. 

I am neither among its admirers or opponents, but am only analyzing facts. Looking at news reports from various celebrations, I noticed that the most recent Pioneer anniversary was celebrated on a bigger scale and with the participation of more children in all of Russia’s cities. What can be said in this regard? 

On the one hand, the Pioneers in their Soviet form represent an overly ideologized left-over from the past, but on the other they are a useful organization which helps teach the youth discipline, patriotism, and various other useful habits. The visible expansion and upswing in the Pioneer movement shows that in principle the country needs an organization like that very much. But it needs to find new forms of activity and depart from the old organizational principles. As they say: less ideology and more variety when it comes to sports, creativity, and learning habits, as well as the spirit of collectivism. 

No need to reinvent the wheel. The US and many other countries continue to develop their Boy Scout movements (in fact  the Pioneers were established using them as an example). The continue because, unlike the Pioneers, they never alienated themselves from reality and always attempted to stay in step with societal changes. If Russia’s current Pioneers are to reacquire their former popularity, they need to, while preserving much of their customary symbology, develop substantive content similar to that of the scouting movement. And then perhaps the organization will become useful to the country in the changed circumstances.

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