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Voluntary Sports Societies (VSS) of the USSR ( ) were the main structural parts of the universal sports and physical education system, that existed in the USSRmarker between 1935 and 1991, together with Dinamo and Armed Forces sports societies. VSS united working people and students going in for sports, physical culture, hiking, mountaineering and boating. Their goals were to develop mass physical culture and sports and to provide facilities and conditions for sports training and improvement in athletes' skills. Most of the VSS were governed by the Trade Unions, 25 million athletes were members of such societies in 1970.

One of the most important features of VSS were Children and Youth Sport Schools ( ), which numbered 1,350 in the 1970s and 7,500 in 1987. There were also specialized sport clubs, groups of improvement athletes' skills, etc. More than 50,000 trainers and instructors worked there.


The first society, VSS Spartak, was created in 1935. Between 1936 and 1938 VSS of the Trade Unions were established throughout the country. Athletes from factory schools and vocational schools were united into VSS Trudovye Rezervy in 1943. The formation of the kernel of the system was finished in the 1950s, when village VSS were established in Soviet republics.


The main structural units of VSS were physical culture collectives by the enterprises, public-service institutions, collective farms (kolkhoz), State farms (sovkhoz), educational institutions, etc. These collectives were primary organizations of VSS and numbered 114 thousands (including 105 thousands under Trade Unions), united into 36 VSS (29 of them were Trade Unions' ones) as of 1971. There were six All-Union VSS ( ); 15 republican VSS, uniting physical culture collectives of industrial enterprises; 15 republican village VSS.

The best physical culture collectives were awarded the title Sport Club.

All-Union VSS

Republican VSS of industrial enterprises

Republican village VSS

Reorganization in the 1980s

In 1982 the Presidium of the VTsSPSreorganized 33 Trade Unions' VSS. None were abolished, just governing organization of most of them was changed from VTsSPS to another one. Eight largest Trade Unions' VSS remained under VTsSPS leadership: Burevestnik, Vodnik, Zenit, Lokomotiv, Spartak, Trud, Urozhai, FiS ( ; English:physical culture and sports). On January 1, 1983 these eight VSS united 48.365 million members. VSS, that did not belong to Trade Unions, were not reorganized.

In February 1987 republican and village VSS were abolished. On the basis of eight Trade Unions' VSS, one All-Union Trade Unions Physical Culture and Sports Society ( ) was created.

Governing body and its functions

Governing body of Trade Unions' VSS was the All-Union Council of Trade Unions' VSS ( ), established and governed by VTsSPSsince 1957.

Council's main activities were:
  • to hold competitions between VSS, Spartakiads of Trade Unions, to arrange physical culture holidays
  • to support the participation of VSS in All-Union and international competitions
  • to control functioning of Children and Youth Sport Schools and other institutions
  • to lead construction of sports facilities
  • to award the best physical culture collectives the title Sport Club
  • to maintain relations with foreign workers' and students' sports unions

Under the Council federations of various sports disciplines, Coach Councils, Judging Boards were functioning.

Financing, facilities and symbols

VSS were financed mostly by the Trade Unions (e.g. 355 million roublein 1970). There were a lot of sports facilities constructed throughout the country using this means by 1970: 2,490 stadiums, 59,000 football grounds, 14,400 complex sports grounds, 10,200 artistic gymnasticshalls, 950 artificial swimming pools, 270,000 grounds for sport games.

Each VSS had its own flag, emblem, sports uniform, pin. Societies, which were awarded orders (e.g. VSS Spartak - Order of Lenin) had their images on the flag and other symbols.

VSS at the Olympics

The most represented VSS at the Olympics usually were Spartak, Burevestnik, Trud, Zenit, Avangard. For example, from 409 competitors for the USSRmarker at the 1976 Summer Olympics 58 were from Spartak, 48 from Burevestnik, 28 from Trud, 13 from Zenit and 11 from Avangard.

See also


External links

Trudovye Rezervy
Труд (Trud, Labour) Russian SFSR 1957
Авангард (Avangard, Advance Guard) Ukrainian SSR 1958
Чырвоны сцяг (Сhervony stsyag, Red Banner) Byelorussian SSR 1958
Мехнат (Mekhnat, Labour) Uzbek SSR 1958
Енбек (Enbek, Labour) Kazakh SSR 1958
განთიადი (Gantiadi, Dawn) Georgian SSR 1958
Нефтчи (Neftchi, Petrolman) Azerbaijan SSR 1958
Žalgiris (after the Battle of Žalgirismarker) Lithuanian SSR 1944
Молдова (Moldova) Moldavian SSR 1958
Daugava (after the Daugava River) Latvian SSR 1944
Алга (Alga, Forward) Kyrgyz SSRmarker 1958
Тоҷикистон (Tajikistan) Tajik SSRmarker 1958
Աշխատանք (Ashkhatank, Labour) Armenian SSR 1958
Захмет (Zakhmet, Labour) Turkmen SSRmarker 1958
Kalev (after Kalev) Estonian SSRmarker 1944
Урожай (Urozhai, Harvest) Russian SFSR 1956
Колос (Kolos, Grain ear) Ukrainian SSR 1956
Ураджай (Uradzhai, Harvest) Byelorussian SSR 1956
Пахтакор (Pakhtakor, Cotton farmer) Uzbek SSR 1956
Қайрат (Kairat, Strength) Kazakh SSR 1956
კოლმეურნე (Kolmeurne, Kolkhoznik) Georgian SSR 1956
Мәһсул (Mekhsul, Harvest) Azerbaijan SSR 1956
Nemunas (Nemunas Rivermarker) Lithuanian SSR 1956
Колхозникул (Kolkhoznikul, The Kolkhoznik) Moldavian SSR 1956
Vārpa (Grain ear) Latvian SSR 1956
Колхозчу (Kolkhozchu, Kolkhoznik) Kyrgyz SSRmarker 1958
Хосилот (Khosilot, Harvest) Tajik SSRmarker 1956
Սևանա (Sevan, Lake Sevanmarker) Armenian SSR 1956
Колхозчы (Kolkhozchi, Kolkhoznik) Turkmen SSRmarker 1956
Jõud (Strength) Estonian SSRmarker 1956

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