After the October Revolution and Russian Empire collapse there was a serious problem of street kids in Soviet Russia. It was estimated that there was as much as six million homeless kids in 1921 whose parents were killed, died from hunger, sent away in prisons, or fled the country. Here are some photos from that period.
The homeless kids moved around the country by climbing empty train cars. The youngest kids were as small as five years old.
All of them tried to survived, learned how to steal from street sellers and from markets, how to gamble, how to beg for spare change or food.
Some kids had travelled with their pets.
When they were caught by police they were usually sent to study in schools but a lot of kids ran away from the schools as they already got used to freedom.
Soviet authorities tried to solve this problem by creating foster cares all over the country.
They were given there free meals and clothes.
Also received medical help and got their health checked.
Some of the kids literary never washed before arriving to the childcare. They had no parents so nobody told them they had to wash their hands or face or hair.
And most of these homes had radios for entertainment. Also as you notice many of them were smoking.
They could have pets in the foster homes.
But also were forced to study as most of them couldn’t read or write.
And also were taught some basic trades, like a shoe repair.
But nevertheless a lot of them still ran away from foster homes and started wander on streets again, later often forming grown-up gangs.
During that times there was a famine in Russia because of the war and a severe drought. It killed over 5 million people. So many little ones came to foster care without even remembering their parents who died because of hunger.
So there were kids of different age affected by this situation in the country.
The ex-street boys march with mottos calling to end the homeless children situation in the country.
In some cities there were installed mobile points to give away food when possible to the street kids.
There are some books written and movies made on this period of Russian history. Some of them translated in English and if you got interested in the topic you might take a look.