orlandofiges.infoclick to download a high resolution copy

Making the New Soviet Man

Cult of Lenin, Lenin corner, Soviet schools
Lenin corner

The Bolsheviks saw education as the key to the creation of a socialist society. Through the schools and Communist youth leagues they aimed to indoctrinate the next generation in the new collective way of life.

The dissemination of Communist values was the guiding principle of the Soviet school curriculum. In the United Labour Schools there was an emphasis on teaching children science and economy through practical activities. Progressive schools were organized as miniature versions of the Soviet state: work plans and achievements were displayed in graphs and pie-charts on the walls; children were encouraged to set up councils to monitor the pupils and teachers for 'anti-Soviet' views. Children were encouraged to play at being 'revolutionaries'.

Politically, the education system was geared towards producing activists. Children were to be indoctrinated in the practices, cults and rituals of the Soviet system so that they would grow up to become loyal and active Communists.

At the age of ten they joined the Pioneers, established in 1922 on the model of the Scout movement, where they swore an oath 'to stand firmly for the cause of our Communist Party' and did a lot of organized activities, mainly marching and singing, gymnastics and sport.

© 2014 Orlando Figes | All Rights Reserved