Legacies of the Komsomol. Afterlife of the Leninist Communist Youth League and Contemporary State-Affiliated Youth Activism in Post-Soviet Russia and Belarus
Goverment-organized youth mobilization in an authoritarian political setting is subject to active debate in academia and the policy-making community, but knowledge of the mechanisms of "compliant" activism remains limited.
The dissertation addresses this empirical and theoretical gap by examining changes and continuities in the sphere of state-affiliated youth activism in post-Soviet Belarus and Russia. It explores the little-known afterlife of the republic-level organizations of the Leninist Communist Youth League of the Soviet Union, the Komsomol, and studies contemporary government-affiliated youth activism.
The dissertation is based on a diverse collection of qualitative source material ranging from archival material to interviews and ethnographic analysis. The data is utilized to develop novel analytical concepts pertaining to the complex dynamics of statesanctioned youth mobilization both from the perspective of the decision makers and the young people engaged in "compliant" modes of activism.
The dissertation further demonstrates that while legacies of the Komsomol remain operative in some spaces, the Soviet "stamp" on state-youth relations in both Belarus and Russia is becoming increasingly translucent.
Kristiina Silvan is a graduate of the Doctoral Program in Political, Societal and Regional Change at the University of Helsinki. This doctoral study was completed in 2022 in the discipline of political history at the Faculty of Social Sciences.