Student Construction Detachments

Student Construction Detachments


in the USSR, work collectives of students joining together on a voluntary basis during summer vacations to participate in national construction projects, to carry out propaganda campaigns, and to help provide cultural and other services to the population. The first such detachments were organized in 1959.

Student construction detachments are based on the principle of organically combining the processes of production work and of higher education. Participation in the detachments helps students—the specialists of the future—to apply the knowledge acquired in the higher educational institutions and to gain both organizational skills and experience in public and political activity, at the same time that it shapes a communist attitude toward labor. Some student detachments are specialized ones, corresponding or being closely related to a student’s future specialty; for instance, there are detachments in communications, power engineering, railroad construction, mechanical engineering, petroleum production, Pioneer training, medical work, and the service area; others engage in such activities as harvesting work, railroad services, and work in civilian aviation.

The detachments are made up of students whose academic work is satisfactory and who are fit for physical work. Each detachment, consisting of no less than 40 students, is divided into production brigades; members of the detachments are paid according to the amount of work done. The detachments’ management functions are carried out by staff at the detachment, raion (regional), oblast, and krai levels and at Central Headquarters. Student construction detachments participate in the installation of industrial, agricultural, cultural, and service facilities in all the Union republics. They work on the country’s major construction projects, such as the Kama Truck Plant, the Volga Automotive Works, the Baikal-Amur Main Line, the Saian-Shushenskaia Hydroelectric Power Plant, the Bilibino Atomic Power Plant, and the petroleum installations in Tiumen’ Oblast and in the Turkmen Republic. They also work on construction projects in the nonchernozem regions, on the Saratov and Crimean canals, in the Urals and Far East Scientific Centers, and on water management installations in Byelorussia and Kazakhstan.

Since the student construction detachments were first set up, more than 3.3 million persons have participated in their work. Their capital investments have exceeded 5.5 billion rubles, including 5 million rubles in the city of Gagarin, the working site of student construction detachments composed of the best students from all the Union republics. In 1974 more than 600,000 students in the construction detachments worked on 35,000 projects, 17,800 of which were put in operation; this accounted for capital investments of more than 1.16 billion rubles and a total output of production and services amounting to 115 million rubles.

In 1974 international student construction detachments included more than 7,000 foreign students attending higher educational institutions in the USSR as part of student exchange programs with 90 countries.


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