2008/10/29

Lenin Jugend is 90

So, komsomol, aka VLKSM, is 90 years old. This time I will not write about history. I will leave this task to Sean's Russia Blog. Sean will do it better, he's not burdened by recollections. I have never been in komsomol. I can't say it was obligatory in mid-1980s, but not being a komsomol member was uncommon, not to say more. It usually brought an unpleasant surprise and suspicion. Like, if he's not in komsomol, he must have done something very bad. I didn't. On the contrary, I was a "political observer" in school. Worse than that, I was one of the best ones (I think I mentioned it before). To a certain degree, I was a problem for the school's administration. They pressed me to join VLKSM, but I kept kicking over the traces. Once, they lured me to a komsomol meeting. "It's an open meeting, and we've got something we want to discuss", they said. Okay. So, I came there and fifteen minutes I found out with surprise that they are talking about admitting me! Frantically, I tried to think something up to avoid it. And then a lucky star shone on me. A girl decided to ask me: "Tell us, why do you want to join the komsomol?" "Do I?" "Ah, so, he doesn't want to be with us, so let him go!" everybody shouted.

That was the end of my career in komsomol. Sometimes I think that that girl was too smart to make this mistake. I think she knew very well what I thought about komsomol and simply gave me a chance. If so, I thank her.

Some years later, when I graduated from school, I learned that a whole gang of the school's komsomol leaders were detained for robbing freight trains. I have no idea what happened to them, but I thought there was some logic in it.

On the other hand, my beloved wife was also a komsomol leader in her school. And I believe she was a good leader, fair and honest.

In the meanwhile, Lenin Jugend enjoy themselves: Russians remember Soviet youth organization on anniversary. And a blogging lady, one of the higher officials of modern komsomol, wrote about the convention:

On this day, all they gather in one hall: governors and ministers, former governors and former ministers, oligarchs and pensioners, functionaries and managers, bankers and scientists, cosmonauts and engineers, left and right, red, white and blue polka dotted, and all they extol the organization that made them real people.

...

There's something mystical when bankers and oligarchs, highest officials and people of power come to the stage and with fiery eyes, in a voice trembling from tears, talk about the battles for the Soviet power, about feats of labor, about the tents on the construction site of the Bratsk power station... Today all they are the veterans of komsomol.

I assume, some of those gonzels from my school might shed their tears on this feast, too. They would feel at home.

2 comments:

W. Shedd said...

Aversion to such groups is something I'm also familiar with. I'm always reminded of this saying ... that people or professions organize in groups in order to figure out how to steal from others.

Dmitri Minaev said...

Exactly. Andrei Sinyavsky used to say that his discrepancies with the Soviet power had an aesthetic nature rather than ideological. And the aesthetic disagreements, he continued, are more vivid and implacable than ideological ones.