Youthful internationalism in the age of ‘Socialism in One Country’: Komsomol'tsy, pioneers and ‘world revolution’ in the interwar period

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This article examines the complex and multifaceted engagement of young Soviet communists with the idea of revolutionary internationalism and international solidarity in the interwar period. In spite of the introduction of the official doctrine of ‘Socialism in One Country’ and the ritualization of internationalism in in the 1920s, youth activists continued to encounter the powerful charismatic idea of ‘world revolution’. Moscow’s central role in the Communist International and developments in Asia and Europe meant that the members of the Pioneer organization and the Komsomol had to engage with revolutionary events abroad through the official discourse as well as through their league’s practices. The article seeks to reveal the interplay and tensions between the Komsomol’s official rhetoric and policies concerning its leading role in the international communist youth movement and the idiosyncratic revolutionary identities and beliefs of young activists. By examining the shifting rhetoric and realities in expressions and enactments of international solidarity by young communists, the paper will question the potency of the idea of ‘revolutionary internationalism’ amongst the communist youth movement and its significance in the intergenerational discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-303
Number of pages25
JournalRevolutionary Russia
Issue number2
Early online date3 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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