Aside from the being the closing years for the Soviet Union, the late 1980s brought a strange culture movement to the streets of Moscow. The city youth were perplexed as to where they fit into Soviet society and the once largely homogenous culture was being challenged. This culture change sparked into life a group of teenagers with the will to hold onto their waning Soviet traditions. These teens came from the suburb Liubertsy and were known simply as Liubers. The Liubers seemed to want to fight an ideological battle as they wanted to keep western culture out of Moscow. However, instead of using words and speeches to accomplish this, they used their homegrown muscles to enforce their will on others.
The Liubers were strong. They built themselves up by using weights and equipment that were stored within their homes and apartments. As with most bodybuilding aficionados, these boys had an idol to which they based their standard of excellence on. Ironically enough, the idol the Liubers used, Sylvester Stallone, was heavily associated with western culture having starred in several box office hits. I have to wonder if those who idolized Stallone had seen him star in Rocky IV. In another stroke of irony, Stallone takes on and defeats Ivan Drago who is a physical monster trained by the Soviet Union’s best scientists and is depicted as the most powerful striker in the world. The more I think about it, the odder the Liubers infatuation with Stallone seems.
The Liubers picked their victims based almost solely on their appearance. “We don’t just beat up anyone, as some people say, only those who we don’t like … break dancers, soccer fans, heavy metal fans, new wave, and so on … We’re just lads from Liubertsy.” They truly worked with hopes to purge the city of these people with western ideology. “Liubers” consider themselves normal, what everyone should be like. “Punks” are different. “Hippies” and “metalheads” are different.- That’s quite enough from the “firm’s” point of view, to ask the basic question: why are they like that? Do they have the right to exist? That’s enough to be able to answer with a stern consciousness of their own rightness: no! Down with uncertainty! Not every person can be considered a person. Beat up anyone who thinks otherwise! Because anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong and guilty!”
The Luibers would never be successful with their mission. However, their movement did show that there was some resistance to the westernization that was happening. The traditional Soviet way of life was being overrun and these Luibers fought it the way they knew how to, with brute force.