Soviet Union Table of Contents
To instill communist values into the younger generation, the CPSU employed a system of nationwide youth organizations: the Young Octobrists, the Pioneers, and the Komsomol (see Glossary). Of the three organizations, the Komsomol was, in the late 1980s, by far the largest and most active organization, with over 40 million members ranging in age from fourteen to twenty-eight. The Komsomol's structure mirrored the party's structure, from its primary units in schools and workplaces to its first secretary. The congress of the Komsomol met every five years and elected a central committee, which in turn elected a bureau and secretariat to direct the organization's day-to-day affairs between central committee meetings. Komsomol members were encouraged to take part in political activities of the CPSU and to assist in industrial projects and harvesting. Most important, its members received preference for entry into higher education, employment, and the CPSU.
The other two youth groups, the Young Octobrists and the Pioneers, were organizations devoted to the political indoctrination of children through age fifteen. The Young Octobrists prepared children ages six to nine for entry into the Pioneers, which in turn prepared them for entry into the Komsomol beginning at age fourteen.
Data as of May 1989