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Youth Camps and Nationalism in Post-Soviet Russia.

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Presentation on theme: "Youth Camps and Nationalism in Post-Soviet Russia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Youth Camps and Nationalism in Post-Soviet Russia

2 Children at camp in Novosibirsk

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

4 Historical Background: The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union n Existed from 1922 - 1990. n A mass youth organization of the USSR for children ages 10-15. n 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. n From 1923 - 1975 the number of Young Pioneer members rose from 75 thousand to 25 million. n 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). n Membership optional (but almost every child was a Pioneer).

5 Symbols, Rituals, and Traditions of the Soviet era: n Main symbols of Young Pioneers: red banner, flag, red tie, badge. n Main attributes: bugle, drum, uniform. n Rituals: salute, parades, banner bearing, raising of the flag, elaborate closing ceremonies. n Traditions: youth rally (usually around a bonfire) and festivals. n Songs: various Soviet era songs which are still used today... n Portraits of Lenin (and other leaders) n Statues and memorials n Morning exercises n Regimented schedule

6 Young Pioneer pin

7 Artek closing ceremony: 1935

8 Welcome ceremony at camp “wave” in Anapa, August 2006

9 …camp “wave”

10 Aspects of Nationalism n Focus on the “glorious past” and tradition. n Educating youth in Russian history and culture. n Promoting patriotism and pride in one’s nation. n Importance of the national anthem and flag. n In regards to elite camps like Artek: notion of the “chosen people” as future leaders of country.

11 Case study: Artek n Prestigious international camp located in Crimea. n Created in 1925: originally aimed at boys. n State-funded camp for children of élites and children who earned academic success. n Uniforms were and still are required. n Very proud of camp history and currently very active in maintaining Soviet-style model of camp. n Numerous high-profile people have visited the camp: revolutionaries, generals, politicians, celebrities. n 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.

12 Artek comissar raising flag

13 Aspects of media in relation to youth camps n Advertisements of camps on television for summer season. n 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. n Promotion of camp newspapers which provide information on camp history (relating again to Soviet past) n Main point: children are cut off from outside media while at camp. Youth organizations and NGOs...

14 Nashi: Spreading their message to Russian youth

15 Conclusion n Summer camps in Russia exist in a variety of formats, yet they all promote nationalism in both banal and active ways. (implicit and explicit) n 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.

16 Presidents and Propaganda: the use of children in politics Artek: 1937

17 Sources n Radio Free Europe n Thomas J. Garza: “Conservative Vanguard? The Politics of New Russia’s Youth.” n BBC News n n n n n n n Interviews n n

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