On one of the posters carried by participants of the sports parade on Red Square on July 6, 1936, the following phrase was written: "Thank you father Stalin for our happy childhood!" Later this slogan could be heard in many songs and seen on posters depicting healthy and happy pioneers under the protection of the state, which was supposed to guarantee them a carefree childhood.
Although the state assumed the role of supreme protector, it also exercised the right to judge who was worthy of such a carefree childhood and who was not. The state was responsible for causing immense suffering and distress. Millions of children became direct or indirect victims of the totalitarian regime of the Soviet Union. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Civil War, famine, unemployment, collectivization, dekulakization (raskulachivanie), repression, and the Second World War were tough trials for many. All of these events also affected the most vulnerable members of Soviet society—children. Without the opportunity to change or determine their destinies, children were probably the most powerless and forgotten victims of the Soviet regime. Many of them lost their childhood, parents, real names, dates of birth, and often their lives.