Organization in the former Soviet Union for young people aged 14–28 years. Primarily a political organ for spreading Communist teachings and preparing future members of the Communist Party, it was organized in 1918. Members participated in health, sports, education, and publishing activities and various industrial projects. They were frequently favoured over nonmembers for employment, scholarships, and the like. Its membership reached its height, about 40 million, in the 1970s and early 1980s. It disbanded with the collapse of Soviet communism in the early 1990s.