Kupriianov Boris

First experience of romantic feelings and relations of soviet teenagers in pioneer camps in the 1960s — 1980s

Kupriianov Boris (2018) "First experience of romantic feelings and relations of soviet teenagers in pioneer camps in the 1960s — 1980s ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia IV : Pedagogika. Psihologiia, 2018, vol. 51, pp. 82-94 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIV201851.82-94


This article, based on the study of ca. 150 informants aged 43‒65, gives a socio-pedagogical reconstruction of the experience of romantic feelings and friendship of Soviet schoolchildren in pioneer camps of 1960s – 1980s. The analysis and interpretation of interviews with persons who went to summer pioneer camps allows us to state that romantic feelings and relations are diff erentiated by the respondents and are defi ned as “aff ection” (emotion or feeling), “romantic friendship of a boy and a girl” (relationship and interaction as a couple), love (mutual or non-mutual). In a pioneer camp, an evolution of romantic feelings and relations could take place (from mutual aff ection to romantic friendship, from romantic friendship to aff ection of one or both teenagers). The situation when romantic feelings and emotions were non-mutual was not always seen by teenagers as negative, sometimes the romantic feeling was selfcontained. Romantic feelings arose among a small proportion of teenagers, romantic relations even more seldom, the majority of pioneers fi rst experienced romantic feelings at the age of 14‒16. Aff ection, romantic friendship and love could connect two teenagers staying at a pioneer camp; a girl at the camp and a boy from a settlement nearby; a teenager at the camp and the older student responsible for the group of schoolchildren. In their romantic feelings and in their relations, teenagers demonstrated various strategies that were diff erent as to the determination to gain positive response. In terms of their duration, romantic feelings and relations of Soviet teenagers in pioneer camps were brief and ended with the camp shift, exceptions were quite rare. The repertoire of the expression of romantic feelings included interaction during slow dances at discos, sitting together at events, taking part together in games and entertainment, exchange of letters by the camp toy post, romantic dates (going for walks). Romantic feelings and relations were not verbalised by teenagers. With regard to couples whose relations were known in the group, there was created a supporting and caring environment.


children’s summer camp, childhood in USSR, teenage friendship and aff ection, history of extracurricular everyday life of schoolchildren, teenage romantic relations, memoirs about childhood in USSR


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Information about the author

Kupriianov Boris

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in Education;
Academic Rank: Professor;
Place of work: Institute of Pedagogy and Psychology of Education, Moscow City Pedagogical University;
Post: Professor;
ORCID: 0000-0002-1041-6056;
Email: boriskuprianoff2012@yandex.ru.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.


thanks to Irina Demakova, who supported the idea of anthropological research Article is executed with financial support of RFBR, the project No. 18-013-00890a.