Socio-Political Identity of Youth in the 1920s Epistolary Heritage

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УДК 930.2:329.78+94(47)

DOI 10.28995/2073-0101-2020-1-72-86

Roman V. Rybakov

Omsk State Technical University, Omsk, Russian Federation

Socio-Political Identity of Youth in the 1920s Epistolary Heritage


The article is devoted to the problem of studying Soviet identity in the 1920s. The object of the research is letters of youth from the fonds of the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (RGASPI). Epistolary heritage is an important source for studying daily life of the young generation, their inner world. The content of the letters with their assessments and characteristics of the moment allows scientific understanding of socio-political identity of the young people, their value orientations and moral ideals, and also answer the question of the effectiveness of identification processes in the 1920s. There is great discrepancy in terminology and approaches, when discussing “identity” in modern humanities. The author proceeds from classical understanding of “identity” as awareness of unity, of “identification” as a set of mechanisms and means of consolidation. In the 1920s the authorities used traditional means of printed and oral propaganda to form Soviet identity. Susceptibility of the youth to the official ideology was higher than that of the adult population, which facilitated nurturing of the generation of loyal Bolsheviks supporters united in a single organization, the Komsomol. The found sources confirm that the youth readily assumed the role of the main builder of the socialist society. However, most letters in addition to devotion to the propagated ideals offered some alternative assessments and opinions. The 1920s everyday life was wrought with socio-economic contradictions. According to the author, the subjectively experienced identity often did not coincide with that propagandized officially. Individual identity of the young was built gradually through dialectical interaction of external identification imposed by the authorities and self-identification rising from personal experience. Discrepancy between realities and expectations brought disappointment and resulted in a crisis of the emerging socio-political identity.


Historical sources, Komsomol, Russian Young Communist League, Russian Leninist Young Communist League, All-Union Leninist Young Communist League, Soviet everyday life, youth non-conformism, Soviet identity, identification, epistolary heritage.

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About author

Rybakov Roman Valerievich, PhD in History, associate professor, Omsk State Technical University, department of history, philosophy, and social communications, associate professor, Omsk, Russian Federation, +7-903-982-83-88, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Grant information

This article has been prepared with financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and the Ministry of Education of the Omsk Region (research project no 18-49-550004).

Submitted 13.02.2019, published (for citation):

RYBAKOV, R. V. Sotsial'no-politicheskaya identichnost' molodezhi v epistolyarnom nasledii 1920-kh gg. [Socio-Political Identity of Youth in the 1920s Epistolary Heritage. In Russ.]. IN: Vestnik arhivista / Herald of an Archivist, 2020, no. 1, pp. 72-86. doi 10.28995/2073-0101-2020-1-72-86

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