Youth Delegates at the Moscow World Fair

Youth and children in general are widely known for being easily influenced and moulded. So why then, did the Soviet Union choose this particular demographic to represent the face of the nation? Was it because the party wanted to ensure delegates would only spout Soviet propaganda? If that it true, then the 1957 World Moscow Festival did, in fact, completed some of the goals it set out to accomplish. As Peacock notes in her article, The Perils of Building Cold War Consensus at the 1957 Moscow World Festival of Youth and Students, there were no organized protests during this particular festival. Delegates routinely answered questions with the same responses, presenting the unified, joyous front imperative for both Soviet propaganda and ideology. More importantly, perhaps, was the exchange of cultures that occurred between delegates of different nationalities. Soviet delegates, and those from other communist nations, were exposed to the capitalistic lifestyle normative of most of Europe and the West. In return, delegates from Europe and the West received a look into life in the Soviet Union, albeit a carefully constructed and falsified one. Although the majority of delegates were probably already members of a communist organization within their home country, the Moscow World Festival allowed them unprecedented access to the actual application behind Marxist theory. The festival may not have completely accomplished its political agenda, but it provided a cross-cultural exchange that laid the groundwork for future interactions between the world’s youth.

One thought on “Youth Delegates at the Moscow World Fair

  1. I think you provided a concise synopsis of Peacock’s article, though I would push back on your suggestion that the demographic simply because the government deemed them easy to mould. Since Lenin, the Soviet Union viewed youths as the next generation–the generation which might finally solve the problems within communism and help the USSR enter a kind of ‘golden age’.

    Though it would be easy to dismiss this as propagandistic, I think it’s more realistic to see the decision to host the World Festival of Youth and Students as one where the Soviet government had an opportunity to show the progress of its people and ideology.

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