Russia condensed notes topic 3

  • Created by: S_webb
  • Created on: 04-09-18 16:30


Newspapers -- In November 1917 Lenin issued the Decree on the Press, banning all non-socialist newspapers, and during the 1920s this ban was extended to a blanket ban on all non-Bolshevik papers. Meanwhile in November 1917 there was a state monopoly of advertising created, and the Petrograd Telegraph Agency, the main centre for electronic communication in the country, was nationalised. In January 1918 a Revolutionary Tribunal of the Press was founded, which had the power to censor the press, and the Cheka was empowered to impose fines, imprisonment, dispossession of property or even exile on writers going against “the people”.  Lenin himself personally saw control of all communications in the country as central to the planned triumph of Bolshevik communism. Under Lenin furthermore the All-Russian Telegraph Agency, or ROSTA, became totally responsible for the dissemination of news. By 1921 2,000 newspapers and 575 printing presses had been shut down, and the printing press itself was soon nationalised. All journalists, meanwhile, were made to become members of the Union of Soviet Journalists, hence effectively becoming employees of the government, and there was an expectation that they additionally be or become Party members. Even within this structure strict censorship was instituted via Glavlit, Dzerzhinsky suppression organisation instituted in 1922. Under Glavlit the GPU was placed in charge of policing all publications available in the Union, professional censors were employed and books officially disapproved of were condemned to “book gulags”, special libraries entry to which was verboten to all but trusted Party members. In the place of the suppressed newspapers, Pravda (Truth), Izvestia (News) and Trud (Labour) became ubiquitous in society, and were soon made remarkably cheap and in many cases were distributed in factories and even on the street for free. By 1983 Pravda had 10.7 million readers and Trud had 13.5 million. “Partiinost”, or “party-mindedness”, became far more important than the real facts of the story, and the newspapers prioritised details on the achievements of socialism, with those industries in which production had met or even better exceeded targets being repeatedly reported and those in which targets were not met ignored or even lied about, so tas to create an impression of success and comprehensive development under the guardianship of the Party. Under Stalin censorship of the newspapers was inevitably pushed to bloodier extremes, with Zinoviev, Trotsky and Kamenev having their own works suppressed and Lenin’s own books being politically edited or abridged. Meanwhile from 1928 access to economic data was firmly controlled by Glavlit, and vaguely-define “bad news” was also suppressed ,with news about natural disasters, famines, suicides, industrial failures and bad weather being suppressed so as to avoid anything which could suggest imperfections in Party rule. When these damaging reports were inevitably exposed, they were simply attributed to saboteurs and then at once dismissed. This continued under later leaders: in July 1972, for example, a month past before a mysterious blue haze over Moscow was explained, by which point the massive fire creating it was snuffed out,


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