Do all young people join the Komsomol?

Grigori Reznichenko ::: Young people in the USSR. Answers to questions

No, not all join. Only half of the young people in the 14 to 28 age group are members of the Komso­mol. It is a voluntary organisation and it unites the vanguard of Soviet youth. A youngster has to prove that he is worthy of membership not only by work­ing or studying well, but by having high standards of behaviour. He or she must be honest, modest, responsive to the needs of others and active in so­cial work.

The lofty aims and principles of the Komsomol are the guidelines for the admission of new mem­bers. It's not enough to say simply "I want to join the Komsomol." A would-be member has to submit together with his application two recommendations from Komsomol members or one from a member of the Communist Party. And the question of member­ship will be decided by a general meeting of the primary organization at his place of study or work.

Membership brings no privileges. What prompts youngsters to apply is something else: the oppor­tunity to participate in all the affairs of the country as part of an organisation of young people sharing the same outlook.

Vladimir Solodchenko, a young worker, puts it this way: "The Komsomol can be likened to a school that teaches you to work in a collective, to participate in social work, and to attain your chosen goal, and it fosters in you the ideological awareness and loyalty to the people, that mark the older gen­eration.

"The most important thing about the Komsomol, as I see it, is that it helps youngsters to become good, active builders of a new society."

Leonid Ovchinnikov, a serviceman, says: "The Komsomol taught me to evaluate properly not only my own life, but that of others as well, to find what is best in others and follow their example. To fight for the good of all is another thing I learned from the Komsomol. To fight apathy and indifference, to

help others, to think of others, of all who surround you, and not only think of what is best for your- self-these are the things that the Komsomol taught me."