The origin of the Hippie movement in the USSR and the KGB provocation
The origin of the Hippie movement in the USSR and the KGB provocation

On June 1, 1971, hundreds of Moscow hippies gathered for an anti-American rally. The protest against US aggression in Vietnam ended badly for the Soviet pacifists.

A new youth subculture appeared in the USSR in a completely Soviet way. In the September issue of the magazine "Vokrug Sveta" for 1968, an article by Heinrich Borovik "Walking to the Country of Hippland" was published. An experienced propagandist, on the one hand, was glad that American teenagers were fleeing from their bourgeois parents, rejecting their false values, and on the other hand, he mocked the lack of spirituality and savagery of the teenagers themselves.

The article caused an unexpected effect - thousands of Soviet boys and girls became interested in the views of their overseas peers and wanted to be like them. In large cities of the country, companies of long-haired young people appeared in clothes of varying degrees of shabby. They did not bother anyone, just sitting in parks and squares, they sang with a guitar, most often something in English. In the evenings, hippies moved to someone's home, where they continued to have a cultural rest, drinking alcoholic beverages. They did not like the strong, preferring cheap port.

Fragment of an article by Genrikh Borovik

In the late Soviet Union, only scientific and technical progress was recognized. Conservatism prevailed in the social and cultural spheres. Those who did not like it had to deal with the defenders of traditions in uniform. It was with them that the first Soviet hippies had to face.

The overseas word "hippie" quickly became Russian. Children of flowers who grew up on domestic soil began to be called hippies, hippies or hips. In Sverdlovsk, a few Hip people gathered on the embankment of the city pond, where in the evenings they sang Beatles songs in a harmonious chorus. Those who liked chatting rather than singing gathered around the monument to Yakov Sverdlov, or simply "Yashki". These were mostly students from the nearby university.

Musical hip people in a whisper retelling terrible rumors that one of the "talkers", having sipped a little alcohol, wanted to saw off a metal finger to "Yashka". “In fact, everything was much more harmless,” recalled the writer Andrei Matveev. - We weren't any hippies, but we didn't know about it and tried very hard to be. We drank, listened to the Beatles, carried all kinds of nonsense, tried to experiment with some kind of pills, but instead of psychedelic visions we got only vomiting or diarrhea.

In general, the entertainment was innocent. " Young people in Siberia were engaged in similar pranks. “The hippies in Tomsk were not very ideological,” says photographer Igor Vereshchagin. "They were just lovers of having fun."


The public treated young people unlike her with clear condemnation. “I didn’t look like everyone else at that time: long hair, striped flares made of tarpaulin, instead of a jacket, a green military tunic, rag colored boots on a platform,” recalled Alexander Gasilov from Sverdlovsk. - For this he constantly endured the mockery of respectable Soviet citizens. About people like me, they often said: "Not a girl, not a guy, but it!"

At the military registration and enlistment office, the officer on duty, shouting that I am not worthy of the title of a Komsomol member because of my hairstyle, tore my certificate of the postponement of conscription. It happened that the policemen dragged me by the hair and tore my bellies … I had to experience a lot of things in my youth only because outwardly I did not look like it was customary in the USSR."

Hippies were clearly prejudiced by the authorities. It seemed strange: the children of flowers did not even think about politics, and their pacifism quite fit into the struggle for world peace - the main principle of the USSR's foreign policy. Nevertheless, the authorities did not like them for their dissimilarity to everyone. Student Matveyev was constantly dragged to the police: “They tried to plant some kind of drugs, but it was useless.Once they were taken directly from the break between the couples. The police held a preventive conversation and scared them in every possible way.

Estonia in the USSR was considered the most western republic not only geographically. “We were ruled by our own people, Estonians,” says Alexander “Sas” from Tallinn Dormidontov. - They told Moscow: "Don't bother, we will carry out all your instructions with German pedantry." Therefore, some youth unrest, which sometimes happened, were extinguished by the local authorities so that information about them would not reach Moscow …

In the late 1960s, we got a lot of hippies. There was no politics in this. We wanted to wear long hair, clothes the way we want, and listen to music. That's all. In 1970, my friends and I, for the first time, made a stop across Russia to meet similar lovers of music and long hair. In Moscow we met Yura "Solnyshko" Burakov and his Sistema. Now I almost don't remember the names, only clicks: Sergeant Sergeant, Saboteur, Zhenya-Scorpio. Together with them we decided to hold a congress of the entire System, of all hippans for the November holidays in Tallinn. Of course, this reached the gebuhi.

At the end of October, I noticed a tail behind me, and a few days later I was taken straight from home to the KGB. Maybe they screwed someone else up, but it turned out that everyone pointed to me as the leader of the local hairy crowd. I was more free than the rest of the people. I made a good living by sewing, lived separately from my parents and could afford all sorts of nonsense. The KGB officers were looking for the leader, who for some reason they called "the president", and I was a wonderful match for them. From their words it became clear that all my mail was read.

Few had telephones, and we almost did not communicate with calls. A lively KGB officer came from Moscow on purpose. I immediately turned on the fool with him. He looked at me and realized that our entire gathering was just a game in the sandbox, that there was nothing political behind it. The only thing that could be sewn on to me was a non-Soviet way of life. They began to dig up to me that I did not officially work anywhere, and they threatened to jail me for it. But they had their own red tape, they had to fiddle with some kind of people's commissions such as parental committees for a long time. During this time, I managed to get a job, and they had to lag behind me. So I turned out.”

Sas Dormidonts at the Elva Rock Festival, Estonia, 1972

Despite all the efforts of the KGB, a small gathering of hippies in Tallinn did take place. “The Lithuanians were able to come to us,” Dormidontov continues. - We broke away from the tail in courtyards, some kind of wooden nooks and went to the house of culture, where a friend worked as a watchman. Wormtail didn't even know where we had gone. About fifteen people gathered."

By Moscow standards, such a small number was clearly considered frivolous. Even the local hippies could not hang out without the capital's scope. In Moscow, they gathered at Pushka (Pushkinskaya Square), at Mayak (Mayakovsky Square, now Triumfalnaya), at Psychodrome (a public garden at the entrance to the Moscow State University building on Mokhovaya), walked along Gorky Street.

Alexander “Doctor” Zaborovsky was a regular at the Mayak parties: “There was nothing particularly“antisocial”in our gatherings. They even drank infrequently. The main place was occupied by communication: talking about music, about the Beatles, about Morrison … Often someone played the guitar …

From time to time they caught us: they came, gathered everyone into cars of the "goat" type and took us to Sovetskaya Square to the headquarters of the Beryozka opera detachment. And they did not know what to do with us there. The Komsomol operatives did not understand who the hippies were and what they could talk to about. Basically, they were ashamed: "Well, how did you, a working guy, get in touch with" these "? But why it was impossible to "get in touch", they could not explain. There was not enough intelligence and knowledge … ".

Many of the capital's hippies were children of difficult parents and lived in the center, so in the evenings the party moved to someone on the flat, where they immediately turned on the music. “The main thing for us was not flared, not jeans or long hair,” said the cultural expert and musician Alexander Lipnitsky.“We didn’t believe in God then, and rock and roll was our religion, and first of all, the Beatles.”


Yuri Burakov was the son of a KGB colonel, although, according to him, he hardly communicated with his father. For his smile, he was nicknamed "the sun", or "the sun", and he himself called his get-together the Solar system, or simply the System. This word stuck to the whole community of Soviet hippies, the informal leader of which in the early 1970s was considered by many to be Solnyshko. His authority was greatly shaken by the events of June 1, 1971.

There are several versions of their background. According to one, in the last days of May, young people in neat suits approached the hippies sitting at the Lighthouse and Psychodrome, and offered them to hold a demonstration against the Vietnam War at the walls of the US Embassy. The young people allegedly did not hide that they were KGB officers, promised patronage of their office and assistance in delivering buses from hippie hangouts to the walls of the embassy.

According to another version, Burakov himself tried to persuade the hippar to make an anti-war noise, who had recently been caught buying drugs and was recruited by the KGB. German researcher of hippie history Juliana Fuerst claims that she got access to Burakov's archive and found the motivation for these persuasions in his notes: “I want to show that our“hairy”people are also good people, also worthy citizens of the Soviet Union.” According to her, the Sun went to the Moscow City Council and agreed on a demonstration there in a suspiciously short time.

Square in front of the Moscow State University, early 1970s

Be that as it may, hundreds of Moscow hippies gathered to protest against the American military. On May 31, some of them were approached by acquaintances from the Komsomol operative detachments and told in secret that it was impossible to go to the embassy, ​​that a provocation and mass arrests were being prepared. Few believed the agreements.

At noon on June 1, 500-600 people gathered at the Psychodrome. Posters for Hands Off Vietnam, Make Love, Not War and Give Peace A Chance were visible in the crowd. As promised, buses arrived. Suddenly, militiamen and operatives, who suddenly grew out of the ground, began to fill vehicles with confused hippies. Detentions also took place at Mayak and elsewhere. Random people, including a musician and future filmmaker Maxim Kapitanovsky, were also caught up in the distribution:

“I worked at a military plant, was a Komsomol organizer of a shop, studied at the university in the first year of the Faculty of Law. On this day I came to take the test. It was doubly insulting: people gathered to demonstrate their beliefs, I would also be with them if I knew in advance. But they began to load everyone en masse on buses and deliver them to the departments. I was dressed in a suit, neatly combed, and generally had the image of a provincial Komsomol member who dreams of crawling into the bureau. I looked so Soviet that only “USSR” was not written on my forehead.

In my hands I was holding a briefcase with all the documents that can be found in nature: a passport, a Komsomol ticket, a Komsomol voucher, up to the donor's ID. At the police station, this package of documents made a great impression on the police: "Well, you bastard, disguised yourself." Most of the hippies were let go home when their proletarian parents with belts came for them, but for many of us this story came back to haunt later."

Maxim Kapitanovsky, early 1970s

During interrogations, the hippies were told that they were not just pacifists, but participants in the largest anti-Soviet demonstration in the history of Moscow. No one listened to the babble about the USA and Vietnam. The dispersal of the canceled march received a socio-political resonance. On the same evening, foreign "voices" spoke about him. The main dissident publication, the typewritten Chronicle of Current Events, also paid attention to the hippies: “A few days before the planned demonstration, someone nicknamed“The Sun”(an authority among Moscow hippies) told them that the demonstration was authorized by the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions …

According to rumors, during the detention of the children in the university courtyard, the Sun himself was on Pushkin Square, where a demonstration of long-haired people was also supposed, but the Chronicle does not know anything about it. The Chronicle cannot report on what kind of repressions the hippies were subjected to - it is known only about a number of cases of the application of the December 1963 Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the year "On petty hooliganism", about cases of forced psychiatric hospitalization, about haircuts of the most hairy, about preventive conversations with hippies of the KGB officers ".

Some of the detainees remembered how the police entered their data into a thick notebook with the inscription "HIPI" on the cover. This ledger was reopened a year later, when Moscow was purged of questionable elements on the eve of the visit of US President Richard Nixon. Some hippies were sent to psychiatric hospitals, others were jailed for drug possession. Kapitanovsky was suddenly expelled from Moscow State University and dismissed from the factory, deprived of his armor from the army. Two days later, the newly minted conscript was already flying to his duty station on the Chinese border, and there were too many hairy people in his team.


The failed action dealt a heavy blow to the Moscow hippies. For a while, they disappeared from the cityscape and began to gather again in old places only after a few years. A rumor spread, perhaps not without the participation of the authorities, that Burakov was the main provocateur. Not everyone believed this, but the authority of the Sun fell sharply. “After the events in Moscow, the KGB lost interest in hippies,” says Alexander Dormidontov. “They realized that the phenomenon had become widespread, that these were purely youthful jokes and there was nothing so terrible.”

Soviet flower children remained loyal to their System even decades after the events at the Psychodrome. Until now, a significant part of long-haired Russians celebrate not only International Children's Day on June 1, but also a hippie holiday.

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