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Young Pioneers of Vietnam at 2003 Southeast Asian Games.
Pioneer's neckerchief (red)

A pioneer movement is an organization for children operated by a communist party. Typically children enter into the organization in elementary school and continue until adolescence. The adolescents then typically join the Young Communist League. Prior to the 1990s there was a wide cooperation between pioneer and similar movements of about 30 countries, coordinated by the international organization, International Committee of Children's and Adolescents' Movements (French: Comité international des mouvements d'enfants et d'adolescents, CIMEA), founded in 1958, with headquarters in Budapest, Hungary.


Young Pioneers of China, School Opening

Pioneer movements exist in countries where the Communist Party is in power as well as in some countries where the Communist Party is in opposition, if the party is large enough to support a children's organization. In countries ruled by Communist Parties, membership of the pioneer movement is officially optional. However, membership provides many benefits, so the vast majority of children typically join the movement (although at different ages). During the existence of the Soviet Union, thousands of Young Pioneer camps and Young Pioneer Palaces were built exclusively for Young Pioneers, which were free of charge, sponsored by the government and trade unions. There were many newspapers and magazines published for Young Pioneers in millions of copies.

The Pioneer movement was modeled on the Scout movement, but there are some distinct differences. Most notably, the Scout movement is independent of government control and political parties. Some features, however, are reminiscent of the Scout movement. The two movements share some principles like preparedness and promotion of sports and outdoor skills. The pioneer movement also includes teaching of communist principles. Opponents of Communist states claim that this is a form of indoctrination.

A member of the movement is known as a pioneer, and a kerchief or necktie — typically red, but sometimes light blue — is the traditional item of clothing worn by a pioneer. The pioneer organization is often named after a famous party member that is considered a suitable role model for young communists. In the Soviet Union it was Vladimir Lenin; in East Germany, it was Ernst Thälmann. The Thälmann pioneers were taught the slogan "Ernst Thälmann is my role model. We wear our red scarf with pride." Albania, which severed diplomatic relations with the USSR in 1961, also had a variant of Pioneer organization, called Pioneers of Enver, named after the communist ruler of Albania, Enver Hoxha.

Countries with Pioneer movementsEdit

The Pioneer Movement now exists in these countries:

Older children could continue in other communist organizations, but that would typically be done only by a limited number of people.

The communist parties in Russia and other countries continue to run a pioneer organization, but membership tends to be quite limited.

Pioneer movements of the pastEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ IFM-SEI list of members Archived 2009-02-21 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 2009-02-22
  2. ^ "Young Pioneers honoured on Brigade's 65th anniversary". Vietnam News Agency. Archived from the original on August 10, 2007. Retrieved June 29, 2006. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ Decalo, Samuel (1997). Historical Dictionary of the Niger (3rd ed.). Boston & Folkestone: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3136-8.:173–4, 171–2
  4. ^ Anarchism in America

External linksEdit