Festival of Czechoslovakian and Soviet Youth Friendship in Lviv

During July 4-9, 1967, Lviv hosted the Festival of Czechoslovakian and Soviet Youth Friendship that attracted 400 Czechoslovakian young men and women. Hardly anyone remembers this event 45 years later, but the festival received a lot of attention at that time. It took place several months before the Prague Spring and a year before an event that shocked the entire world – to keep Czechoslovakia in the socialist camp, the Warsaw Pact troops (mainly Soviet ones) entered the country. Now it’s difficult to determine what categories of young people represented Soviet youth – most likely, those were Komsomol activists, students from Lviv, and youth from other cities of the Soviet Union.

The program of the First Festival of Czechoslovakian and Soviet Youth Friendship was full. As usual, the festival opened with a ceremonial meeting at Lviv Opera Theater. It was hosted by the Soviet Komsomol represented by First Secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League Serhiy Pavlov as well as Ukrainian and local Komsomol leaders. The festival’s honored guests included Soviet cosmonauts – ‘cosmonaut #1’, Soviet hero Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, the first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova, and Oleksiy Leonov. 

On July 7, the newly constructed Druzhba Stadium (now Ukrayina Stadium) hosted a large sports festival. The stands of the then new stadium in Lviv had a seating capacity of 41,700 and were packed during the festival. The big space around the stadium was turned into a park tapping into the natural landscape typical of Snopkiv. The park was also named Druzhba. In the 1990s, both the stadium and the park were almost destroyed because their territory was used for a flea market. In the 2000s, the sports building was reconstructed and resumed its original function. Due to the lack of systematic care, the park became overgrown and lost its original appearance for good. The same can be said of other parks in Lviv. 

The First Festival featured, among a multitude of other events, a seminar on youth sociology where Soviet and Czechoslovakian sociologists discussed the problems of youth. The Czech delegation included 7 participants most of whom were aspiring young researchers, while the Soviet one was represented by eminent scholars and associate professors from Moscow, Leningrad, Minsk, Lviv, Saratov, Sverdlovsk, and Kyiv.

The festival photographs published in the gallery were taken from the private collections of Mykhailo Tsimerman and Oleksandr Korobov.

The text was written based on Iryna Kotlobulatova’s materials.