The Young Guard and Revolutionary Culture in Russia

The Young Guard is a classic Soviet poem written by Aleksandr Bezymensky, who was a member of the first wave of Soviet poets and literary minds who came after the Revolution of 1917 occurred. The poem is about the men and women who led the Russian revolution, known as the Young Guard. The poem outlines their struggle to go from their “indentured servitude…ensnared in slavery’s net” to “join us in one family”. The Young Guard’s transition from abused and overworked peasants to free people was a bloody process and Bezymensky hints at this in the line that states “but that labor in the end forged fighters from us all”. The poem ended up becoming a national anthem of sorts to the Soviet people which signified their freedom and the dawn of a new age and a new culture, a revolutionary culture.

soviet russia

This poem has helped me to come to several conclusions about what revolutionary culture is. The culture in Russia after 1905 and especially after 1907 started to transition into one where a connection was established between all of the lower classes, whether peasants or factory workers, and became the most important part of a newly unified Soviet society. Bezymensky finishes off most stanzas of his poem with the line “of the peasants and the working class!” which signifies this newly discovered unity. Gone were the days of traditional Russian peasantry and tsarist rule, the revolutionary culture became about the importance of the lower classes and an established equality for all Russian citizens, under the banners of the new Soviet Union. This new culture was forged in the fires of the revolution that Lenin started, which saw the rise of Bolshevik political party through blood and violence . I also believe another tenant of revolutionary culture that is not mentioned in The Young Guard is the educational liberation of the masses, where now all had an opportunity to receiver formal education and attend schools of higher education, not just the wealthy and privileged. Finally, I believe that this revolutionary culture is one of perseverance. The Russian people had gone through so much pain and suffering before 1917 that they adopted this resiliency and The Young Guard calls for the Russian people to “go forward bravely, keep your step firm, loft the ensign of youth on high” and face the new struggles that came with the new government and new era. The Bolshevik Revolution helped to establish a new way of life for the Russian people, one that promoted equality for all and would give all a free chance, but it came at the cost of blood, sweat, and violence to achieve it.

Works Used:

Geldern, James. “The Revolution and New Regime.” In Mass Culture in Soviet Russia: Tales, Poems, Songs, Movies, Plays, and Folklore, 1917-1953. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.

3 thoughts on “The Young Guard and Revolutionary Culture in Russia

  1. I loved reading this. It definitely gave me a better appreciation for Revolution Culture in the early Soviet Union. You did a good job giving us details and examples of how the midst of the proletariat shifted and the understanding that was reached by the members of the Soviet society. The poem seems to be giving an idyllic call or anthem to the people of the Soviet Union. It gives voice to a common cry of patriotism, hard work, sweat, blood, tears and of course progress. Great job on the analysis!


  2. Your point about the focus shifting was really good. I also think that focusing on the lower class, the workers, was a big centerpiece in the new Revolutionary Culture. Good post!


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