“People will divide into “parties” over the question of a new gigantic business model, or the distribution of oases in the Sahara (such a question will exist too), over the dangerous the weather and the climate, over a new theatre, over chemical substance hypotheses, over two contending tendencies in music, and over a best system of sports. ”
– Leon Trotsky, Literature and Revolution ryder cup live
In the beginning of the twentieth century sport experienced not flourished in The ussr to the same level as in countries such as Britain. The the greater part of the Russian populace were peasants, spending several hours daily on back-breaking farming labour. Leisure time was difficult to come by and even then everyone was often exhausted from their work. Of course people did still play, taking part in such traditional games as lapta (similar to baseball) and gorodki (a bowling game). A smattering of sports golf clubs existed in the much larger cities nonetheless they remained the preserve of the more potent members of society. Ice cubes hockey was starting to increase in popularity, and the top echelons of contemporary society were fond of fence and rowing, using expensive equipment most people would never have had the opportunity to afford.
In 1917 the Russian Revolution turned the earth upside down, uplifting millions of folks with it is vision of a contemporary society built on solidarity and the fulfilment of individuals need. In the process it unleashed an huge increase of creative imagination in fine art, music, poetry and literary works. It touched every area of people’s lives, including the games they played out. Sport, however, was just not a priority. The Bolsheviks, who led the trend, were confronted with municipal war, invading armies, wide-spread famine and a typhus epidemic. Survival, not leisure, was the order of the day. However, during the early part of the 1920s, before the desires for the innovation were crushed by Stalin, the debate over a “best system of sports” that Trotsky had expected did indeed take place. A pair of the groups to tackle the question of “physical culture” were the hygienists and the Proletkultists.
Because the name implies the hygienists were a collection of doctors and health care professionals whose perceptions were informed by way of a medical knowledge. Generally speaking we were holding critical of sport, concerned that its emphasis on competition put participants at risk of injury. They were equally disdainful of the West’s preoccupation with jogging faster, throwing further or jumping higher than in the past. “It is completely pointless and unimportant, ” said A. A. Zikmund, mind of the Physical Lifestyle Institute in Moscow, “that anyone set a new world or Russian record. ” Instead the hygienists advocated non-competitive physical hobbies – like gymnastics and swimming -as ways for folks to stay healthy and relax.
For a time frame the hygienists inspired Soviet policy on questions of physical culture. This was issues advice that certain sports were forbidden, and football, boxing and weight-lifting were all overlooked from the programme of events at the Initial Trade Union Games in 1925. However the hygienists were far from unanimous in their condemnation of sport. V. V. Gorinevsky, for instance, was an advocate of playing rugby which he saw as being an excellent physical activity. Nikolai Semashko, a doctor and the People’s Commissar for Health, went much further arguing that sport was “the open gate to physical culture” which “develops the sort of willpower, strength and skill that should distinguish Soviet people. ”
In compare to the hygienists the Proletkult movement was unequivocal in its rejection of ‘bourgeois’ sport. Indeed they denounced anything that smacked of this society, be it in art, literary works or music. They noticed the ideology of capitalism woven into the cloth of sport. Its competition set personnel against one another, dividing people by tribe and national identities, as the physicality of the game titles put unnatural strains on the bodies of .