Today I had occasion, not for the first time, to go to the childrens’ summer camp just south of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk called Vostok (East) camp. In the winter, the place is used by companies as accommodation for some of the thousands of third country nationals who are working on the Sakhalin II LNG facility at Prigorodnoye. Hopefully these companies will all have their men out by the summer when the children arrive, unlike last summer when a hundred construction workers were found to be living amongst three hundred kids.
Nowadays the camp is decorated with lots of brightly coloured cartoon drawings of very uncontroversial scenes as would be found in any childrens’ centre worldwide, but there are still one or two of the murals dating from the Soviet times when this would have been a Pioneer camp.
The words beneath Lenin’s profile are Vsegda Gotov! (Always Ready!) which was the motto of the Young Pioneers, who can be seen on the left giving their salute and on the right doing, erm, something with an intercontinental ballistic missile.
This one, badly in need of refurbishment, depicts Pioneers sat around a large campfire, which relates to the Pioneer song Vzveites’ Kostrami, which I wrote about here. Vzveites’ Kostrami roughly translates to “Higher Rise Our Campfire”, and was one of the most popular Pioneer songs of the Soviet times (it can be heard being sung here).