44 Lenin Avenue

A researcher's journey to Siberia

Young Technicians

Filed under: Late-Soviet Period,Methodology — Wilson Bell at 6:52 pm on Monday, June 3, 2019  Tagged , ,

Komsomol stamp, on occasion of the 16th Congress of the Komsomol, 1970 (via Wikimedia commons)

One of the difficulties for this project, in terms of the public record, is the period between 1944 and 1989, when 44 Lenin Avenue was mostly residential space. The website of the NKVD Remand Prison Museum contains a 9.5 minute interview with Valida Grigorievna Khairulina-Ivanova, who helped run a “Young Technicians Station” in the basement of the building in the 1970s. In this 2014 interview, Khairulina-Ivanonva mentions that there were several youth clubs (kruzhki) that operated in the basement, including her youth group for radio-technicians. These were part of the Tomsk city Komsomol. She describes these clubs as providing activities to keep young people from getting into trouble. Apparently, there was even a temporary discotheque in the basement, on occasion! She also mentions that one of her friends, who was the daughter of an NKVD officer, grew up in the building. It was from this friend that she learned that there had been a remand prison in the basement. Other clubs seem to have included an astronomy club and a photography club, although from the interview it is clear that Khairulina-Ivanova does not remember all of the details. In any case, some of these avenues might be worth exploring, for a story for the late-Soviet period. Such a story could fit within the growing literature on the Komsomol, for example, or on Soviet youth in general (for one example, see Margaret Peacock’s recent book, Innocent Weapons). It could also link back to stories about the building earlier in the century, when it was an educational institution. In any case, if anyone knows anything about the Young Technicians Station (Станция юных техников) as they existed in the late-Soviet period, please let me know!

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