Pioneer movement

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A pioneer movement is an organization for children operated by a communist party. Typically children enter into the organization in elementary school and continue until adolescence. The adolescents then typically join the Young Communist League. Prior to the 1990s there was a wide cooperation between pioneer and similar movements of about 30 countries, coordinated by the international organization, International Committee of Children's and Adolescents' Movements (French: Comité international des mouvements d'enfants et d'adolescents, CIMEA), founded in 1958, with headquarters in Budapest, Hungary.


Emblem of the Soviet Pioneer Organization with a silhouette of Vladimir Lenin and the inscription Always prepared!

During the Russian Civil War from 1917 to 1921, most of the Russian Scoutmasters and many Scouts fought in the ranks of the White Army against the Red Army. Between 1918 and 1920, the All-Russian Congresses of the Russian Union of the Communist Youth (Komsomol) decided to eradicate the Scout movement and create an organization of the communist type, that would take Soviet children and adolescents under its umbrella. This organization would resemble the Scout movement in its form but properly educate children with Communist teachings.[1]

On behalf of the Soviet Council of People's Commissars, Nadezhda Krupskaya (Vladimir Lenin's wife and the People's Commissar of State for Education) was one of the main contributors to the cause of the Pioneer movement. In 1922, she wrote an essay called "Russian Union of the Communist Youth and boy-Scoutism." However, it was the remaining scoutmasters themselves who supported the Komsomol and the Red Army, who introduced the name "Pioneer" to it and convinced the Komsomol to adapt the Scout symbols and rituals.[2]

The first Pioneer organization was founded in Soviet Russia in 1922. Later, similar organizations were founded in the countries of the Eastern Bloc and other Communist states.

The Pioneer movement was modeled in many aspects on the Scout movement. The two movements share some principles like preparedness and promotion of sports and outdoor skills. The motto Always prepared! was adapted by the pioneer movement from the Scout Motto.

Postal stamp of East Germany depicting young pioneers with red and blue neckerchiefs

A member of the movement is known as a Pioneer, with the name stemming from the pioneering activity in Scouting. A neckerchief—typically red, but sometimes light blue—is the traditional item of clothing worn by a pioneer. This tradition was adapted from the Scout uniform.

But there are some distinct differences between the two movements. Most notably, the Scout movement is independent of government control and political parties. In contrast, the Pioneer movement is controlled by the Communist Party and includes teaching of communist principles. Opponents of Communism claim that this is a form of indoctrination.

Pioneer movements have existed and still exist in countries where the Communist Party is in power as well as in some countries where the Communist Party is in opposition, if the party is large enough to support a children's organization. In countries ruled by Communist Parties, membership of the pioneer movement is officially optional. However, membership provides many benefits, so the vast majority of children typically join the movement (although at different ages)[citation needed]. During the existence of the Soviet Union, thousands of Young Pioneer camps and Young Pioneer Palaces were built exclusively for Young Pioneers, which were free of charge, sponsored by the government and trade unions. There were many newspapers and magazines published for Young Pioneers in millions of copies.

A national pioneer organization is often named after a famous party member that is considered a suitable role model for young communists, such as Vladimir Lenin in the Soviet Union, Enver Hoxha in Albania, Georgi Dimitrov in Bulgaria, José Martí in Cuba, Ernst Thälmann in East Germany, Damdin Sükhbaatar in Mongolia, and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.

Countries with current Pioneer movements[edit]

The Pioneer movement now exists in these countries:

Older children could continue in other communist organizations, but that would typically be done only by a limited number of people.

The communist parties in Russia and other countries continue to run a pioneer organization, but membership tends to be quite limited.

Pioneer movements of the past[edit]

Emblem of the Pioneer Youths of Burma

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lewis Stegelbaum and Andrei Sokolov, Stalinism As A Way Of Life, p374 ISBN 0-300-08480-3
  2. ^ (in German) Sebastian Waack: Lenins Kinder: Zur Genealogie der Pfadfinder und Pioniere in Russland 1908-1924. wvb, Berlin 2008. ISBN 978-3-86573-356-6
  3. ^ IFM-SEI list of members Archived 2009-02-21 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 2009-02-22
  4. ^ "Young Pioneers honoured on Brigade's 65th anniversary". Vietnam News Agency. Archived from the original on August 10, 2007. Retrieved June 29, 2006.
  5. ^ Ññī Ññī (1978). "7". မြန်မာနိုင်ငံအမျိုးသားမော်ကွန်း(၁၉၇၅) မျက်မှောက်ကာလမြန်မာနိုင်ငံမှတ်တမ်း [Mranʻ mā Nuiṅʻ ṅaṃ ʾa myui ̋sā ̋moʻ kvanʻ ̋(1975): myakʻ mhokʻ kāla Mranʻ mā Nuiṅʻ ṅaṃ mhatʻ tamʻ ̋, Volume 1] (in Burmese). Pugaṃ Cā ʼupʻ tuikʻ.
  6. ^ မောင်ကြီးလှ; ပန်းချီကိုဇော်ဝင်း (October 1984). "တို့တေဇလူငယ်" [Our Teiza Lu-nge / Our Glorious Youth]. ၁၉၈၄ခုနှစ်‌ အောက်တိုဘာလ တေဇ ရုပ်စုံ အထူးထုတ် [1984 October, Teiza Comic Magazine, Special Edition] (in Burmese). Myawaddy Publishing, Ministry of Information. p. 5.
  7. ^ "Lin San Tyna on Facebook". Facebook. Archived from the original on 2022-04-30.[user-generated source]
  8. ^ Decalo, Samuel (1997). Historical Dictionary of the Niger (3rd ed.). Boston & Folkestone: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3136-8.: 173–4, 171–2 
  9. ^ Anarchism in America

External links[edit]