Russia- Theme Three

State control of mass media and propaganda

Newspapers

  • Lenin removed freedom of the press
  • In November 1917 non-socialist papers were banned and in the early 20s non-bolshevik papers were also banned.
  • All articles had to be approved by the censorship office- plane crashes & natural disasters were not covered as this would of been seen as mother nature winning. 
  • In local papers, local officials could be criticised, as well as local issues. On the other hand, higher level officials were off limits.

Magazines

  • Off limit topics included; sex, ***********, crime and religion.
  • Mostly aimed at groups of workers, like farmers or teachers
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State control of mass media and propaganda (contin

Radio

  • 1917 Radio was new and uncontrollable.
  • News of the October revolution was transmitted in Morse Code
  • Radios were expensive so loud speakers were set up in workplaces and clubs.
  • Helped get messages across as 65% of the country was illiterate.
  • News and Propaganda was made more intertesting with the addition of classical music in '20s
  • Helpful in WWII as it reassured people.
  • Control took place through jamming.

Television

  • 1950- 10,000 TV sets in the USSR and by 1958 there were 3 million.
  • 1960s- mass production meant most of the population could have a TV
  • Capitalism presented as joyless, full of homelessness and crime.

Results

  • Soviet people got used to reading around censorship and propaganda.
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Personality Cults

Cult of Stalin

  • Stalin and Lenin's links were highlighted- 'Stalin is the Lenin of today' was promoted.
  • Huge portraits portrayed him as 'the leader' or 'the boss'.
  • Protector of Socialism, with achievements of the Five-Year plans attributed to him.
  • Official biographies had Stalin's life embellished or lied about.
  • All of the above worked- even Gulag prisoners wept when the heard of Stalin's death.

Cult of Khrushchev

  • Always met with Soviet citizens- good photo oppourtunities.
  • Became desperate as his plans began to fail.

Cult of Brezhnev

  • Brezhenv enjoyed the trappings of power.
  • Awarded over 100 dubious medals.
  • Cult took a practical use later on- during the last six years of his life Brezhnev was clinically dead.
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Attacks on religious belief and practices

The Russian Orthodox Church

  • Bolsheviks saw religion as a threat to socialism. Bolsheviks= athiets
  • Christianity's focus on supremacy of God challenged both Soviet leadership and collective basis of socialism.
  • Measures were introduced to limit the power and influence of religion.
    • Decree on Freedom of Conscience 1918 separarted church and state.
    • Church was deprived of its land.
    • During the civil war famine, valuable church positions were taken to pay for food supplies.
    • Priests were deprived of the right to vote, denied rations and were victims of the red terror (1921-22).
    • Baptisms replaced with Octoberings.
  • Mid 50s- 55% of peasants were still christians.
  • End of 1930- four fiths of village churches were destroyed.
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Attacks on religious belief and practices (continu

Changes to religious policy under Stalin

  • Religious repression accompanied collectivisation. Priests were labelled as Kulaks and even more churches were shut down.
  • Great Purge ('36-'39) saw more attacks- by '39 only 12 out of 163 bishops were still at liberty.
  • German invasion of the USSR saw relaxation. Church supported war effort- new churches were set up & training centers for priests.
  • Church repression was reintoduced afer the war.

Khrushchevs anti-religious campagin

  • Anti-religious and persued repression similar to Stalin.
  • The campagin launched in 1958-59 lasted until his removal from office.
  • Priests were limited to spiritual advice only, and parish councils were placed under control of Party Officials.
  • Within 4 yrs, 10000 churches were closed. 
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Attacks on religious belief and practices (continu

Brezhnev's policy towars the Church

  • Active persecution went down, and allowed them to operate within the defined limits.
  • The orthodox church was expected to support soviet policy , especially in areas of social policy where they could provide for the poor.
  • Some church members hated the submissive attitude.
    • 1976- group of orthodox priests set up the Christian Committee for the Defence of Believer's Rights which drew attention to human rights abuse.
    • Brezhnev responded by sentencing its leader to five year in prions.

Influence of Islam 

  • Central Asion regions of the USSR contained many Muslims
  • A poblem for the Bolsheviks- religion was far more ingrained into their lives than most people in the Soviet Union.
  • In the first instance, Bolsheviks did not make any attempts to end Sharia law.
  • By the mid-20s they were confident enough to attack islam by, closing down most Mosques and on international womens day a campaign anist veils was launched.
    • Large number of women threw off their viel into a bonfire.
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Attacks on religious belief and practices (continu

Brezhnev's policy towars the Church

  • Active persecution went down, and allowed them to operate within the defined limits.
  • The orthodox church was expected to support soviet policy , especially in areas of social policy where they could provide for the poor.
  • Some church members hated the submissive attitude.
    • 1976- group of orthodox priests set up the Christian Committee for the Defence of Believer's Rights which drew attention to human rights abuse.
    • Brezhnev responded by sentencing its leader to five year in prions.

Influence of Islam 

  • Central Asion regions of the USSR contained many Muslims
  • A poblem for the Bolsheviks- religion was far more ingrained into their lives than most people in the Soviet Union.
  • In the first instance, Bolsheviks did not make any attempts to end Sharia law.
  • By the mid-20s they were confident enough to attack islam by, closing down most Mosques and on international womens day a campaign anist veils was launched.
    • Large number of women threw off their viel into a bonfire.
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Attacks on opponents of government

  • The Cheka was created by Lenin in 1917, working against sabotage and counter-revolution.
  • During the civil war, the Cheka worked with little interference from other legal bodies, so it could act quickly against possible enemies.
  • During the Red Terror or 1921 & 22, actions against the SRs and Mensheviks were stepped up. Up to 200,000 were shot.
  • 1922- The secret police were reorganised after the civil war and became the OGPU.
  • 1934- Power of the secret police increased and it was merge with the Interior Ministry and named the NKVD.
  • The NKVD deportd Kulaks and arrested plan wreckers.
  • After the trial of Zinoviev and Kamanev (1936), the number of political opponents grew.
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The roles of Yagoda, Yezhov and Beria

Yagoda- head of the secret police from 1934

  • Yagoda was keen to show his loyalty to Stalin, and build up a power base.
  • Saw the Gulag grow in size and be transformed into slave labour camps.
  • He used his influence to ensure that the secret police could deal with opponents without the courts becoming involved.
  • Empahsis changed from ideology (reform camps under Lenin) to economic resources.
  • Yagoda's influence grew as the Gulag grew during the Great Purge of 1936.
  • Stalin had Yagoda shot in 1936 after he was removed from office for being a Trotskyite.

Yezhov

  • Loved to personally torture suspects.
  • He sped up the arrest, trial, imprisonment process. By September 1937 the courts were dealin with 231 prisoners each day.
  • Believed that the Gulag was underused and increased the number of inmates.
  • Introduced execution orders within the Gulag camps.
  • Plain clothed officers were introduced and the number of detectives increased.
  • Stalin accused him of being responsible for excesses of purges and he was dismissed in 1938.
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The roles of Yagoda, Yezhov and Beria (continued)

Beria

  • Went round the streets of Moscow looking for young women to ****.
  • Good organisational skills and energetic.
  • Felt that indiscriminate arrests were a waste of manpower.
  • Conventional methods of working were reintroduced and courts were evidence based.
  • Surveillance continued, but only led to arrests when there was evidence.
  • Oversaw the murder of Trotsky.
  • Improved the Gulag and food rations were increased to get prisoners to work harder.
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The role of the secret police during WWII

  • 1941- given powers of supervison over the Red Army.
  • NKVD gievn control over deportations of minorities who were not 100% loyal to the USSR.
  • Beria set up special departments in ex-german occupied areas. Anyone suspected of working with the Germans was shot or sent to the Gulag.
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Beria's removal and the impact on terror

  • After the death of Stalin, Khrushchev moved to remove him from the politburo. he had immense power and needed removing.
  • The Politburo moved to limit the independence of the secret police. They were brought firmly under party control.
  • Khrushchev dismantled the Gulag amd forced labour was not seen again in the soviet economy.

Responsibility for the apparatus of terror 

  • Gulag roots began in the Lenin era, however the growth was under Stalin. Terror was the part that Stalin was interested in.
  • Evidence of Stalins responsibility;
    • He personally signed many death warrants.
    • Gave the NKVD targets to meet
    • Colletivisation required terror.
  • However, the secret police also played a role;
    • All three leaders had sadistic tendancies
    • All three added to death lists 
    • Gulag was heavily influenced by all- & conditions were terrible.
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Andropov's suppression of the dissidents

  • 1953- KGB job was to monitor people
  • 1967- this was the work of Andropov

Dissidents= intellectuals

  • Often went against the thoughts of the Soviet Union
  • Their thinking was limited by political restriction
  • Political dissidents
    • Tried to hold the government to account of its own laws
    • Often concerned human rights
    • groups were set up to monitor if the government was abiding by UN declaration on human rights
  • Nationalists- often Ukranians, Latvians or Lithuanians
    • Wanted greter protection of their language and custom
    • Some wanted their rpublic to formallly withdraw from the Soviet Union
  • Religious Dissidents
    • Baptists and Catholics
    • Faced worship and practices restriction
    • Baltic republics had many Catholic dissidents
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Actions taken against the dissidents

  • Harrased by the secret police and monitored by them.
  • Intellectuals had the threat of being sacked from their job.
  • Houses were searched
  • The label of 'dissident' would result in discrimination- this meant they were denied places at university and often failed to recieve job promotions
  • Criminal Code 1960- abolished night-time interrogations
  • In all cases a court of justice had to be used and all records were kept.
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Psychiatric Hospitals

  • 1967- Politburo made the decision that leading dissident Bukovsky should be put in a mental hospital
  • This became common.
  • The 'hospitals' were run by the NKVD and 'patients' were held until cured. A cure usually reffered to subscribing to Soviet socialism.
  • Patients who refused treatment were 'treated' with elctro-shock therapy.
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The impact of the dissidents

  • Court case records were smuggled into the West and used by human rights groups.
  • International condemnation sometimes led to the release of dissidents.
  • Little public support- collection of people not a group
  • No threat posed to the Soviet State
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The continued monitoring of popular discontent, 19

  • 1982- Andropov became leader
  • Adminent that popular discontent could lead to an uprising.
  • New technology created advanced ways of spying with the use of video and audio tapes.
  • Andropov was aware that discontent was most likely to be based on economic circumstances.
  • Used the secret police to clamp down on alcoholism and absenteeism.
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The New Soviet Man

  • Ideal socialist who thinks and acts according to socialist values.
  • Governemnt wanted to create this through the use of art and culture.
  • A new culture would have to be developed.
  • Then was looked at seriously after the civil war
  • Many artists and writers were not willing to work within restrictions and they were repressed.
  • 70s- distinct Soviet culture was created 
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Bolshevik attitudes towards the arts and popular c

  • For Lenin, culture was important.
  • Lenin's cultural tastes were conservative and he had a love for classic Russian culture 
  • Lenin created the Commissariat if Enlightenment, a ministry of culture, to support and encourage artists.
  • Aritsts welcomed this idea because it ended censorrship that had taken place during thr Tsarist regime.
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Prolekult

  • Second strand of culturl policy.
  • It was argued that the state should us its resources to create a new 'Proletarian Culture'- prolekult.
  • He felt that art should be created by a new group which served a cultural and political purpose.
  • Key strand of the group= 'constructivists', who wanted to create a culture based on the worker and industrial technology.
  • Emphasis= workers class, not individualism.
  • Workers and peasants would be given the encouragement to make their own culture, through writing books and theatre productions.
  • Socialist festivals set up- extra food rations were given to those who attneded in order to attract larger crowds.
  • 1920- anniversary of the revolution was celebrated 
  • Prolekult= direct challenge to high culture.
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Avant-garde

  • Wave of experimentation 
  • Modernism- focus on abstract art, with futurism.
  • Visual arts were prioritised as the country was mostly illiterate.
  • Jazz was introduced and it recieved mixed reviews.
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The Cultural Revolution

  • Late-20s the freedom allowed by Lenin was reigned in.
  • Fellow Travellers were replaced by genuine socialists.
  • The Russian Association of Proletarian Writers (RAPP) made attacks on the Fellow Travellers and condemned any new innovative individualistic techniques.
  • RAPP preferred works which showed the achievements of the workers- wanted to create a 'cult of the little man'.
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Socialist Realism

  • 1932- RAPP closed down and replaced by Union of Soviet Writers.
  • This ended the cultural revolution.
  • The Union of Soviet Writers rewarded those who complied and restricted those who did not.
  • For example; Zoshchenko (a writer) conformed but the levels of quality went down. On the other hand, others refused and emigrated.

Art

  • No anstract art
  • ideal images of life under the Five-Year plan was promoted.

Literature

  • Moved away from the 'cult of the little man' to heores of the party.
  • Books were subsidised and widely available.

Music

  • Militray songs preffered over jazz
  • in the 40s the saxaphone was banned.
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Socialist Realism (continued)

Architecture

  • Classic lines were used

Film

  • Revolution was glorified in Eisenstien's October.
  • During WWII, the focus was socialism.
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Nonconformity in the 1950s

Culture during Stalins's last years

  • After the second world war there was some freedom.
  • Zhadovschine campaign launched- attacked western artists.

The impact of de-Stalinisation on culture.

  • Khrushchev did allow work which was critical of Stalin.
  • Work previously censored under Stalin was allowed.
  • Some focus on previous taboos- adultery.
  • Some groups listened to pop music from the west in the 60s.
  • Anyone who wore new Western fashions were labelled stilyagi by the authorities. They were described as rude and ignorant freaks.

Non-conformity under Brezhenv

  • No return to socialist realism, however there were more restrictions.
  • Emphasis was on the achievements of the party and socialism.
  • Non-conformity did exist- Russian nationalism was allowed by the governemnt.
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