As time goes by, the years of late socialism begin to attract attention of historians, sociologists and cultural studies scholars. Simultaneously, the range of documents that communicate something of substance about those years is dwindling. This concerns especially the so-called people’s documents: letters, diaries, personal photographs, which are thrown out every day as people move houses, do renovations and clean out their attics.

This site preserves a particular kind of documents: the letters written by the Soviet school kids to their parents from pioneer camps, and the letters they received in turn from their family. You can browse the letters and the images of pioneer camp life here, as well as donate your own. We are not looking for any particular ‘take’ on pioneer camps, just snapshots of an individual child’s perception and experience on a given, long-gone moment.

If, after looking at this collection of snapshots, you discover that it complicates some preconceived notion you might have had of the pioneer camp experience and of the Soviet era more generally, then we will think that this site has reached its goal.