Voluntary Sports Societies

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Voluntary Sports Societies


(DSO), in the USSR, societies of workers and students interested in physical culture, sports, and tourism. Through their primary organizations, including physical-culture groups at enterprises, institutions, kolkhozes, sovkhozes, and educational institutions, as well as sports clubs, voluntary sports societies promote the development of physical culture, sports, and tourism among the masses by training future recipients of the badge Ready for Labor and the Defense of the USSR and the badge Tourist of the USSR, by training athletes to qualify for sports ratings and for certification as masters of sports, and by improving athletes’ skills. The DSO’s are organized on a territorial (in Union republics) or production-branch basis, encompassing the physical-culture groups of a raion, oblast, or republic, of enterprises, of construction projects, of one or several branches of the national economy, and of educational institutions. The work of the DSO’s is conducted in accordance with the regulations governing societies based on the principle of amateur activity.

In 1936-38, DSO’s were established in trade unions; in 1943 athletes in factory and trade schools were organized into the Trudovye Rezervy (Labor Reserves); and in the 1950’s rural DSO’s were established in the Union republics. In 1971 there were 36 voluntary sports societies in the USSR, including six all-Union DSO’s: Burevestnik, Vodnik, Zenit, Lokomotiv, Spartak, and Trudovye Rezervy. The 15 republic DSO’s comprising the physical-culture groups of industrial enterprises are Avangard (Vanguard, Ukrainian SSR), Alga (Forward, Kirghiz SSR), Ashkhatank (Labor, Armenian SSR), Gantiadi (Daybreak, Georgian SSR), Daugava (Latvian SSR), Enbek (Labor, Kazakh SSR), Zálgiris (Green Grove, Lithuanian SSR), Zakhmet (Labor, Turkmen SSR), Kalev (Estonian SSR), Krasnoe Znamia (Red Banner, Byelorussian SSR), Mekhnat (Labor, Uzbek SSR), Moldova (Moldavian SSR), Neftchi (Oil Worker, Azerbaijan SSR), Tadzhikistan (Tadzhik SSR), and Trud (Labor, RSFSR). The 15 rural republic DSO’s are Várpa (Ear of Grain, Latvian SSR), Jóud (Strength, Estonian SSR), Kairat (Strength, Kazakh SSR), Kolmerune (Kolkhoznik, Georgian SSR), Kolos (Ear of Grain, Ukrainian SSR), Kolkhoznikul (Kolkhoznik, Moldavian SSR), Kolkhozchu (Kolkhoznik, Kirghiz SSR), Kolkhozchy (Kolkhoznik, Turkmen SSR), Mekhsul (Harvest, Azerbaijan SSR), Nemunas (Lithuanian SSR), Pakhtakor (Cotton Grower, Uzbek SSR), Sevan (Armenian SSR), Urozhai (Harvest, RSFSR), Urozhai (Harvest, Byelorussian SSR), and Khosilot (Harvest, Tadzhik SSR).

As of Jan. 1, 1970, there were 114,000 primary DSO organizations, including 105,000 trade union organizations with a membership of 25 million. The DSO’s sponsored the work of 1,350 juvenile sports schools, numerous groups for upgrading athletic skills, and clubs for different types of sports, where instruction was given by 50,000 coaches. From 1946 to 1970 more than 60,000 masters of sports and about 2,000 honored masters of sports were trained in the DSO’s. Together with trade union organizations, enterprises, kolkhozes, and other organizations, the DSO’s participated in building sports facilities. In 1970, DSO’s had 2,490 stadiums, 59,000 soccer fields, 14,400 all-purpose athletic fields, 10,200 gymnasiums, 950 swimming pools, and about 270,000 sites for sports games. Most of the funds for the work of trade union DSO’s come from the trade union budget (in 1970, 355 million rubles). Every society has a flag, emblem, athletic uniform, and badges.

Trade union sports societies are supervised by the All-Union Council of Trade Union DSO’s, founded by the Ail-Union Central Council of Trade Unions in 1957. The council organizes competitions between sports societies, spartakiady (sports meetings) between trade unions of the USSR, physical-culture festivals, and training assemblies; ensures the participation of DSO’s in ail-Union and international competitions and championships; directs and supervises the work of juvenile sports schools and the upgrading of the skills of physical-culture specialists and the most active members of the public; guides the construction of sports facilities; confers the title of sports club on the best physical-culture groups; and maintains extensive ties with foreign workers’ and students’ sports unions. Federations based on types of sports, coaches’ councils, referees’ boards, and other bodies have been created under the council. The activity of the All-Union Council is directed and financed by the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions.

A significant contribution to the development of physical culture and sports is also being made by the ail-Union physical-culture and sports society Dinamo, sports clubs of the Armed Forces of the USSR, including the Central Army Athletic Club, and the technical-sports clubs of the All-Union Voluntary Society to Aid the Army, Air Force, and Navy.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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