Artek Pioneer Camp the Pioneer

But as for the modern version of ARTEK, the writer claims “…the camp has little in common with the ideology that reigned at ARTEK in Soviet times… [and] is similar to boy and girl scout camps in the West.”

Indeed, Bransten writes that during the 80th anniversary of ARTEK (August 18, 2005), show business stars like soccer player Andrei Shevchenko and pop music star Ruslana along with movie star (of Ukrainian origin) Milla Jovovich arrived for the celebration. Also attending: Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, and Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus.

Tim Jackson, a British electronics professional and technical programmer visited ARTEK Pioneer Camp in August 1965, when the camp was still under the control of course of the Communist Soviet Union authorities. On his Web site Jackson write poignantly about his stay at ARTEK. He remembers boarding a bus in Simferopol and saying goodbye to his parents, much as hundreds of thousands of Soviet youths did in the years between 1925 and 1965. “We sand pioneer songs all the way,” Jackson writes (

There were five separate and distinctly different camps as part of ARTEK when Jackson was there; they were “Mountain camp,” “Sea camp,” “Cyprus camp,” “Seaside camp,” and “Azure camp.” Jackson went to Sea camp, named after Palmiro Tolyatti, founder of the Italian Communist Party. Breakfast was served (it was early in the morning) and the new campers were given a medical examination and a shower. They all dressed in the ARTEK uniform – blue shorts, blue T-shirts, and white sun caps, he writes. He was showed to his room, a big, “light” room with “a huge French window.” Eight boys stayed in each of the large rooms.

That evening a concert was given by children from Switzerland, welcoming the new arrivals.

On August 4, 1965, Jackson participated in a Festival of Neptune out on the sea, and later a talent show where children “sang, danced, recited poems…” And Jacksons group came in third in the voting.

On the 5th of August, his group had a “military landing” which was in effect a sweeping of the road to the “Mountain camp” and tidying up the beach. That evening the children sang Russian songs and English songs, a blending of cultures that made him feel good. On the 12th of August it was time to leave, which was quite emotional. “Nearly all the girls wept, especially English,” he explained, and when the English were in the bus “they were still holding hands [out the windows] with the children who were staying in the camp.” Jackson said everyone had such a good time “…it was not possible to keep the tears back any longer, they were just pouring down and could not be helped.” For a young boy to cry like that, it certainly seems that the experience was memorable, even in Communist Soviet Union in 1965, with the Cold War very much on the minds of adults around the planet.

Works Cited

Berman, Nathan. (1943). The Place of the Child in Present-Day Russia. Social Forces, 21.4,

Bransten, Jeremy. (2005). Ukraine: Artek Celebrates Its 80th Anniversary. Radio Free Europe /

Radio Liberty. Retrieved Feb. 7, 2008, from

Historical Boys Uniforms. (2001). Individual Pioneer Summer Camps: Artek. Retrieved Feb. 8, 2008 at

Jackson, Tim. (1965). The Artek Pioneer Camp. Retrieved Feb. 8, 2008, at

Specter, Michael. (1997). Where Stalinist Youth Roared, Limousines Purr..

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