Svetlana Gouzenko – Before Igor: My Memories of a Soviet Youth

Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization“For the October Revolution our class produced a small play in which a group of young Pioneers expelled the heroes of Russian fairy tales as ‘non-Soviet elements’.  The curtain opened on this drab little group of Pioneers.  Their appearance brought no response from the audience.  Then the group leader . . . got up and made an introductory speech.  She explained that the old fairy tales, about princes and princesses, exploiters of simple folk, were unfit for Soviet children.  As for fairies and Father Frost [~Father Christmas/Santa Claus], they were simply myths created to fool children.

“After her speech the colorful crowd of ‘non-Soviet elements’ appeared on stage.  A sigh of delight passed through the hall and grew into a wave of applause . . . .

“The Trial began.  Cinderella was dragged before the judges and accused of betraying the working class . . . .  Next came Father Frost, who was accused of climbing down chimneys to spy on people.  One by one we were condemned to exile.  The only exception was Ivan the Fool, because he belonged to the common people and so was no traitor of his class.  He was renamed Ivan the Cunning.”

Svetlana Gouzenko, Before Igor: My Memories of a Soviet Youth (1961)

Gouzenko was the wife of Soviet defector/traitor Igor Sergeyevich Gouzenko, a key figure in the start of the “cold war”.  The passage quoted above sneers at the Pioneers, and sympathizes with betrayers of the working class, but wasn’t that play great?  Children should put it on again.