A Soviet Solution to Capitalist Games


The Spartakiad was the name of an international sports event that the Soviet Union invented in the late 1920s to both oppose and supplement the Olympics.

The name, derived from the name of the slave rebel leader,Spartacus, was supposed to symbolize proletarian internationalism because Spartacus’ revolt united slaves from diverse ethnic backgrounds within the Roman Empire. As a Classical figure, Spartacus also stood directly in contrast to the aristocratic nature of the Ancient Olympic Games on which the modern “capitalist” Olympics were, according to the Soviet hierarchy, supposedly based.

The first Winter Spartakiad was held in February 1928 in Oslo, and the first Summer Spartakiad was held in August 1928 in Moscow.  In 1952 the Soviet Union decided to join the Olympic movement, and international Spartakiads ceased. However the term persisted for internal sports events in the Soviet Union of different levels, from local up to the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR. The latter event was held twice in four years: Winter Spartakiad and Summer Spartakiad, with international participation.

The first Soviet Spartakiad was held in 1956. These events were of huge importance for Soviet sports. Everyone could participate in them - from ordinary people to top-level athletes. The number of participants, for example, in the 6th Summer Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR, was 90 million people (twice the number of athletes in the USSR in that time). 

Watch on radiofreeandrew.tumblr.com

This is is a video of a 1980s-era Spartakiad, which was the Czechoslovakian Communist Party’s version of North Korea’s Mass Games. It was less colorful (and less insane) than the Pyongyang version, but the basic message was the same:  The group is everything, the individual matters only as a (barely noticeable and completely replaceable) constituent of the group;  what really matters is the choreography, direction, coordination, synchronization — i.e., the things the Communist Party did.  Even in its gentler Czechoslovak form, this was a truly noxious and detestable event staged to bolster a dehumanizing ideology of obedience.

I fervently hope I live long enough to see the death of collectivism in all its forms — political, religious, ethnic, and racial.

(Video h/t Minnesotastan).

We went up to the #Petrin hill to take a picture of the #Great #Strahov #Stadium for you. With the capacity of around 220,000, it is a #largestStadium in the world. It’s no longer in use for #sport events, but during the #communist era it was used for huge #spartakiad displays -> celebration of the #soviet “liberation” of #Czechoslovakia in #prague (v místě Velký strahovský stadion | Strahov Stadium)

Watch on hanebuechen.tumblr.com

Dance like nobody’s watching!