Studia Historica Septentrionalia 67


Karli Kelk & Heikki Roiko-Jokela, Pioneer Activities in Finland and Soviet Estonia in the early years of thaw

“The bridge-building” across the Gulf of Finland between the two “progressive” early youth organizations took place at first through correspondence between Pioneers. It also laid the foundations for longstanding and permanent interaction between the Pioneer organizations. It developed into a particularly significant branch of activity for the Soviet Estonian Pioneers, the majority of whom could only dream of travelling to Finland or to the West in general.

The opening of twin city activity between Finnish and Soviet Estonian towns from the 1950s on promoted the interaction of the Pioneers in the countries. This could be seen particularly well in the exchange of delegations between the local branches of Pioneers of the towns as well as in organizing joint events.

A nominated group of Finnish Pioneers or Pioneer leaders travelled to Soviet Estonia yearly in order to get acquainted with local Pioneer activity. Pioneer leaders looked for educational models and principles for their own activities whereas Pioneers tried to familiarize themselves with local conditions and colleagues.

Only very few trips were made from Soviet Estonia to Finland. The Estonian organization concentrated primarily on educating followers in their homeland. Western practices and principles could be studied only by the Pioneer leaders and members of the Komsomol, not the young Pioneers themselves as the Soviet Union took a very negative attitude towards sending its school-children to Western countries.

Takaisin Studia Historica Septentrionalia 67