Subbotnik

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For the Jewish-identifying community, see Subbotniks.
V. I. Lenin at the All-Russia Subbotnik in the Kremlin grounds. Moscow. May 1, 1920

Subbotnik and voskresnik (from Russian: суббо́та, IPA: [sʊˈbotə] for Saturday and воскресе́нье, IPA: [vəskrʲɪˈsʲenʲjə] for Sunday) were days of volunteer work following the October Revolution. The tradition is continued in modern Russia and some other former Soviet Republics.[1] Subbotniks are mostly organized for cleaning the streets of garbage, fixing public amenities, collecting recyclable material, and other community services.

The first subbotnik was held on April 12, 1919, at the Moscow-Sortirovochnaya railway depot of the Moscow-Kazan Railway upon the initiative of local bolsheviks. The subbotnik was organised by Bolshevik party members, and it was stated in the Resolution of the General Council of Communists of the Subraion of the Moscow-Kazan Railway and Their Adherents that "the communists and their supporters again must spur themselves on and extract from their time off still another hour of work, i.e. they must increase their working day by an hour, add it up and on Saturday devote six hours at a stretch to physical labour, thereby producing immediately a real value. Considering that communists should not spare their health and lives for the victory of the revolution, the work is conducted without pay."[2]

The first all-Russian subbotnik was held on May 1, 1920, the one participated by Vladimir Lenin who took part in removing building rubble in the Moscow Kremlin, an episode portrayed in a famous painting by Vladimir Krikhatsky, Lenin at the First Subbotnik, of Lenin carrying a log. Lenin was excited by the idea of subbotniks, regarding them as seeds of free labour of communism.

Subsequently "communist subbotniks" and "voskresniks" became obligatory political events in the Soviet Union, with annual "Lenin's Subbotnik" being held in the vicinity of Lenin's birthday.

Subbotnik was also promoted in the 1950s in the Eastern Bloc countries and in particular in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), as the USSR sought to build up the GDR as the westernmost outpost of socialism in Europe.

In Czechoslovakia, a similar kind of work was known as Akce Z ("Action Z"), from Czech word zvelebování, "improvement", referring to the typical activities from garbage removal to housing construction. Folk wit claimed that "Z" stood for zdarma, i.e., "without pay".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Riga Subbotnik". Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  2. ^ Kaplan (1968) p.359

Bibliography[edit]

  • Kaplan, Frederick (1968). Bolshevik Ideology and the Ethics of Soviet labor. Philosophical library, New York. 

External links[edit]