Russian abbreviation of Vsesoyuzny Leninsky Kommunistichesky Soyuz Molodyozhi, English All-Union Leninist Communist League of Youth, in the history of the Soviet Union, organisation for young people aged 14 to 28 that was primarily a political organ for spreading Communist teachings and preparing future members of the Communist Party. Closely associated with this organisation were the Pioneers (All-Union Lenin Pioneer Organisation), for ages 9 to 14, and the Little Octobrists, for the very young.
The Komsomol was organised in 1918 in order to band together various youth organisations that had previously been involved in the Russian Revolution; many of these groups had fought in the Civil War. When the military phase ended, a new purpose was set in 1922-to engage the members in health activities, sports, education, publishing activities, and various industrial projects.
Komsomol membership reached its height in the 1970s and early '80s with a membership of about 40 million. In Soviet society, its members were frequently favoured over non-members in matters of employment, scholarships, and the like. Active participation in the Komsomol was also considered an important factor in gaining membership in the Communist Party. All Komsomol cells were federated at levels paralleling those of the party. Reflecting the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union (see Collapse of the USSR), the Komsomol disbanded itself in 1991.
Both the Pioneers and the Little Octobrists were preparatory organisations for providing politically directed education and recreation to children ultimately destined for Komsomol membership. The Pioneers were organised into brigades, each attached to a local Komsomol cell.