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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(formerly Khirochi), an urban-type settlement in Kholmsk Raion, Sakhalin Oblast, RSFSR. It is located in the southwestern part of the island of Sakhalin, on the Tatar Strait. Pravda has a fishing kolkhoz, a fur-breeding sovkhoz, a fish hatchery, and a container-manufacturing enterprise.



(Truth), a Slovak-language daily and the main organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovakia (CPS). Founded in September 1919 as the main organ of the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party (Marxist Left) in Slovakia, the newspaper became the organ of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in May 1921. It was called Pravda chudoby (Truth of the Poor) until 1925. Because it was frequently banned, the newspaper came out under various names or illegally. In September 1944, during the Slovak national uprising, the paper became the organ of the CPS. It is published in Bratislava. Circulation, 250,000 (1974).

Pravda was awarded the Order of Labor in 1960, the Order of the Republic in 1970, and the Order of Victorious February in 1973.



(Truth), a daily newspaper and the press organ of the Central Committee of the CPSU, published in Moscow. Founded by Lenin in 1912, Pravda is the largest and most popular newspaper in the Soviet Union. Together with the party, it has traveled a long road in the struggle for the victory of the socialist revolution and for the building of socialism. Performing the function of collective agitator, propagandist, and organizer of the working people, Pravda has become a newspaper of all the people of the USSR and is the most authoritative paper today.

Pravda was established by a decision of the Sixth (Prague) All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP in January 1912 in response to the workers’ desire to have their own daily paper. The first issue came out in St. Petersburg on Apr. 22 (May 5), 1912, and since Apr. 22 (May 5), 1914, this date was commemorated as the working-class press day. Since 1922, April 22 (May 5) has been officially observed as Press Day.

Pravda was simultaneously a legal workers’ daily with a mass circulation and the de facto press organ of the Bolshevik Party. (The main organ of the RSDLP from 1908 to 1917 was the newspaper Sotsial-demokrat [Social Democrat], published abroad and circulated in Russia illegally.) In starting Pravda the party relied on its experience in issuing many legal and illegal papers, notably Iskra (Spark), Vpered (Forward), Proletarii (Proletarian), Novaia zhizn’ (New Life), and Zvezda (Star).

The actual editor and guiding spirit of the newspaper was Lenin. He determined its orientation, carefully selected its writing and editing staff, and worked out the format. Between 1912 and 1914 alone, the paper published some 300 articles by Lenin. The paper’s publishers, as well as active contributors, were the Bolshevik members of the Fourth Duma—A. E. Badaev, M. K. Muranov, G. I. Petrovskii, F. N. Samoilov, and N. R. Shagov.

Among others who organized, edited, and contributed to Pravda were N. N. Baturin, A. S. Bubnov, A. I. Vinokurov, S. S. Danilov, M. E. Egorov, K. S. Eremeev, B. I. Ivanov, M. I. Kalinin, E. I. Kviring, N. K. Krupskaia, N. V. Krylenko, S. V. Malyshev, L. R. Menzhinskaia, V. R. Menzhinskii, L. M. Mikhailov, V. M. Molotov, S. M. Nakhimson, V. I. Nevskii, D. Ia. Odintsov, M. S. Ol’minskii, N. I. Podvoiskii, N. G. Poletaev, E. F. Rozmirovich, M. A. Savel’ev, K. N. Samoilova, Ia. M. Sverdlov, N. A. Skrypnik, J. V. Stalin, P. I. Stuchka, A. I. Ul’ianova-Elizarova, G. L. Shidlovskii, and E. M. Iaroslavskii. Several persons wrote regularly for Pravda from abroad, including A. M. Kollontai, I. F. Armand, F. A. Artem (Sergeev), L. N. Stal’, and Iu. M. Steklov. Another frequent contributor and the newspaper’s poet was D. Bednyi. M. Gorky headed the literary section from 1912 to 1914.

Pravda was financed by voluntary contributions from workers, many of whom were active contributors, correspondents, and distributors. Between 1912 and 1914 the paper published contributions from more than 16,000 workers. The newspaper’s daily circulation averaged 40,000, reaching 60,000 some months.

From 1912 to 1914, Pravda played a major role in disseminating Bolshevik slogans and promoting the tactics of combining illegal and legal party work among the masses, in combating the Menshevik Liquidators, Trotskyists, and other opportunists, and in organizing the working class and educating it politically. Pravda published reports on the proletarian struggle in various cities throughout the country, as well as so-called factory exposés—letters about working conditions and the everyday life of the workers. All this helped strengthen the mass movement of the proletariat. Pravda also included articles about the life of the village, wrote about the need to confiscate all landlords’ estates in the interest of the peasantry, and called upon all strata of the working people to unite under the leadership of the working class in the struggle against autocracy and social and national oppression.

The tsarist regime relentlessly harassed the newspaper. Out of the 645 issues that appeared from 1912 to 1914, 190 were suppressed. The government closed down the newspaper eight times, but Pravda continued to appear under other names. In 1913 it was issued as Rabochaia pravda (Workers’ Truth), Severnaia pravda (Northern Truth), Pravda truda (The Truth of Labor), and Za pravdu (For Truth), and in 1914 it came out under the name Proletarskaia pravda (Proletarian Truth), Put’ pravdy (The Path of Truth), Rabochii (Worker), and Trudovaia pravda (Labor Truth). On July 8, 1914, on the eve of World War I, the tsarist government banned the paper and arrested its staff.

After the overthrow of the tsarist regime, Pravda resumed publication on Mar. 5 (18), 1917, as the organ of the Central Committee and the St. Petersburg Committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik). After his return from abroad on Apr. 5 (18), 1917, Lenin joined the editorial board. From March to July 1917 the editorial board included, at various times, Eremeev, Kalinin, Muranov, Ol’minskii, and Stalin, and its secretary was M. I. Ul’ianova. The newspaper promoted the strategy and tactics of the Bolshevik Party and performed a vital ideological and educative function. It consistently exposed the essentially antipopular policies of the bourgeois Provisional Government, unmasked the opportunism of the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries, and mobilized the masses for the socialist revolution. Pravda published major party documents and materials and Lenin’s writings (207 articles by him between March and Oct. 25, 1917). Its circulation rose to 85,000–90,000.

On July 5 (18), 1917, Pravda’s editorial offices were destroyed by military cadets, and from July to October the paper, persecuted by the Provisional Government, again came out under other names: Listok “Pravdy” (Leaflet of Pravda), Rabochii i soldat (Worker and Soldier), Proletarii (Proletarian), Rabochii (Worker), and Rabochii put’ (Workers’ Way). On Oct. 27 (Nov. 9), 1917, the paper, now the main organ of the Central Committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik), reassumed the name Pravda. Since Mar. 16, 1918, Pravda has been published in Moscow. Prior to 1925 it was first the organ of the Central Committee and Moscow Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik), from 1925, the ACP (Bolshevik). In October 1952 it was designated the organ of the Central Committee of the CPSU.

After the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution, Pravda published the most important resolutions of the Communist Party and Soviet government, as well as articles and reports by Lenin setting forth the tasks involved in building the world’s first socialist state. (Between Oct. 25 [Nov. 7], 1917, and mid-January 1928 the paper published 345 of Lenin’s works.)

During the Civil War (1918–20), Pravda’s main task was to mobilize the masses to resist the united forces of domestic and international counterrevolution. After the war the newspaper appealed to the masses to counteract the economic dislocation and to work for the reconstruction of industry and agriculture. At all stages of the development of Soviet society Pravda was an instrument of the party in its struggle to carry out its strategic, tactical, and organizational tasks, to maintain the purity of Marxist-Leninist doctrine, to put into practice the economic development plans, and to raise the workers’ material and cultural level.

During the prewar five-year plans (1929–40) Pravda did a great deal of organizational work in developing socialist emulation, promoting shock-work methods and the Stakhanovite movement, and fostering a communist attitude toward labor among workers. Editorial “field offices” were established at the largest construction sites, for example, the Stalingrad Tractor Works, the Gorky Automotive Plant, and the Dnieper Hydroelectric Power Plant. During the collectivization of agriculture, Pravda made a most important contribution to the strengthening of the kolkhozes, machine and tractor stations, and sovkhozes. The paper disseminated the great principles of Soviet democracy, urging all working people to participate in the governing of the country.

Pravda played a significant part in carrying out the cultural revolution in the USSR, systematically discussing questions relating to the development of public education, literature, and art and publishing the best works by Soviet writers. Among the prominent Soviet scientists and scholars who contributed to Pravda were I. V. Michurin, S. I. Vavilov, O. Iu. Shmidt, D. N. Prianishnikov, and I. M. Gubkin. The works of such famous writers as M. Gorky, V. V. Mayakovsky, M. A. Sholokhov, A. A. Fadeev, A. S. Serafimovich, V. V. Vishnevskii, and A. A. Surkov were published by the paper, and essays and feuilletons by A. I. Kolosov, M. E. Kol’tsov, and D. I. Zaslavskii appeared regularly.

While focusing primarily on problems of economic development, Pravda also called for the strengthening of the defense capabilities of the USSR. It educated the Soviet people in patriotism, proletarian internationalism, and political vigilance, exposed fascism, and campaigned against the imperialist warmongers.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), Pravda was the fiery agitator and organizer of the nationwide struggle against the fascist aggressors. Through Pravda the party Central Committee addressed the people and the army, confronting them with the most urgent tasks relating to the war. The newspaper made the masses aware of the Leninist idea of defending the socialist fatherland and disseminated the current slogans of the party. It published the speeches and articles of party, government, and military leaders. Some of the oldest party activists spoke out through the pages of Pravda—V. A. Karpinskii, F. Ia. Kon, G. M. Krzhizhanovskii, D. Z. Manuil’skii, N. A. Semashko, E. D. Stasova, and E. M. Iaroslavskii. Prominent leaders of the international communist and workers’ movement also contributed to the paper, among them G. Dimitrov, K. Gottwald, D. Ibarruri, W. Pieck, P. Togliatti, M. Thorez, and W. Ulbricht.

During the war Pravda published communiques issued by the Soviet Information Bureau, information about domestic and international events, and articles about the heroism of Soviet soldiers and guerrillas, the heroic feats of labor by workers and collective farmers, and the patriotic acts of Soviet citizens. It also published documents revealing the brutality of the Hitlerites. The paper’s circulation increased by 150 percent. Field editorial offices of Pravda were set up at a number of defense plants, and dozens of contributors worked at the front lines as special correspondents, including P. A. Lidov, V. M. Kozhevnikov, B. N. Polevoi, and S. A. Borzenko. Among famous Soviet writers whose articles and literary works appeared in Pravda were A. N. Tolstoy, M. A. Sholokhov, K. A. Fedin, A. A. Fadeev, V. P. Stavskii, K. M. Simonov, A. E. Korneichuk, B. L. Gorbatov, A. T. Tvardovskii, S. Ia. Marshak, and I. G. Ehrenburg. Political cartoons were contributed by the Kukryniksy group (M. V. Kupriianov, P. N. Krylov, and N. A. Sokolov) and by B. E. Efimov.

After the victory of the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War, Pravda gave extensive coverage to the Soviet people’s efforts to restore and further develop the national economy. The newspaper devoted considerable space to questions concerning the establishment of the world socialist system, the national liberation movement, and the peace policy of the USSR. Speeches by famous fighters for peace were printed in Pravda, including F. Joliot-Curie, J. Bernal, A. Seghers, P. Robeson, P. Neruda, and N. S. Tikhonov. The newspaper was active in disseminating the ideas of the CPSU program adopted at the Twenty-second Party Congress in 1961. Nearly 16,000 readers of Pravda participated in a discussion of the draft of the new program and party rules, and a number of special issues were devoted to detailed discussions of various provisions in the CPSU program.

Today, Pravda focuses on the tasks of creating the material and technical basis for communism, perfecting socialist relations in the society, and educating the new man. It is working for the practical realization of the economic and social policies of the CPSU and for the implementation of the Soviet policy of peace in the international arena.

One of the most important areas of Pravda’s activity is theoretical and propaganda work. The newspaper reveals the scientific principles underlying the party’s policies and explains the reasons for its growing role in a developed socialist society. It also elucidates problems relating to Marxist-Leninist theory and to the scientific and technological revolution and discusses the current objectives of increasing the efficiency of the Soviet economy, improving management in production, and developing socialist democracy. Pravda widely publicizes the proceedings of party congresses, Central Committee plenums, and sessions of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and publishes decrees and resolutions issued by the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Soviet government, and international conferences of communist and workers’ parties.

Series of articles are published commemorating noteworthy events in the life of Soviet society, for example, the 50th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution (1967), the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s birth (1970), the 50th anniversary of the formation of the USSR (1972), and the 70th anniversary of the party’s Second Congress (1973). Pravda exposes the attempts of bourgeois propagandists, as well as right-wing and “left-wing” opportunists, to distort Marxist-Leninist doctrine and the practical experience of building socialism and communism in the USSR.

Questions relating to the party have an important place in Pravda. There are analyses of the experience of party organizations in directing economic, cultural, and ideological work. Other articles deal with such intraparty concerns as raising the level of ideological awareness among Communists and strengthening their vanguard role, putting into practice the Leninist norms of party life and principles of party leadership, improving the techniques and style of party committees’ work, and developing criticism and self-criticism. Discussions and debates on both theoretical and organizational subjects appear in the pages of Pravda.

Pravda’s treatment of problems of economic construction, of agricultural and industrial development, is closely linked with practical analyses of socialist emulation at various plants, kolkhozes, and sovkhozes, with promoting advanced methods of work, management, and administration, and with inculcating in Soviet citizens a conscious and creative attitude toward labor and a responsible attitude toward society. Through Pravda the masses participate in people’s supervision by revealing shortcomings at enterprises and institutions in their letters to the editor and contributing articles.

The material published in Pravda deals with the economic and cultural life of all the Soviet republics, the achievements of Soviet science, and questions relating to public health and education, literature and art, environmental protection, physical training, and sports.

Every issue of Pravda includes detailed information about world events. Speeches and articles by leaders of the Communist and workers’ parties and by progressive public figures abroad are published regularly. Much attention is given to further strengthening and developing world socialism and economic integration, to life in the socialist countries, and to the implementation of the Peace Program of the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU. Pravda sheds light on every aspect of the present-day world revolutionary process and systematically examines questions relating to the international communist and workers’ movement and the national liberation struggle of various peoples.

In 1975, Pravda’s circulation averaged 10.6 million. It was printed simultaneously in 42 cities from pages transmitted by phototelegraphy or from matrices delivered by plane. The paper has subscribers in more than 120 foreign countries.

The editorial staff is headed by a board approved by the Central Committee of the CPSU. Among its former editors in chief were M. A. Savel’ev, L. Z. Mekhlis, P. N. Pospelov, M. A. Suslov, L. F. Il’ichev, and M. V. Zimianin. In 1976 the position was taken by V. G. Afonas’ev. The staff consists of 22 departments and the Press Bureau, which prepares material for local papers. Pravda had 105 full-time correspondents working within the country and abroad. In addition, hundreds of nonstaff correspondents contribute to Pravda. The editors daily receive more than 1,300 letters, totaling more than 450,000 annually. Letters are used in almost every issue—for example, in surveys of events or in sections of related news items (podborki)—and serve as an extremely important source of information and as an expression of public opinion. To render theoretical and methodological assistance to those who work for or contribute to the Soviet press, Pravda publishes the magazine Raboche-krest’ianskii korrespondent (The Worker or Peasant Correspondent), as well as the magazine Zhurnalist (Journalist), the latter jointly with the Union of Journalists of the USSR.

Pravda has been awarded two Orders of Lenin (1945 and 1962) and the Order of the October Revolution (1972).


Lenin, V. I. “Itogi polugodovoi raboty.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 21.
Lenin, V. I. “O reorganizatsii i rabote redatsii gazety Pravda.” Ibid., vol. 22.
Lenin, V. I. “Rabochii klass i rabochaia pechat’.” Ibid., vol. 25.
Lenin, V. I. “K itogam dnia rabochei pechati.” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “K desiatiletnemu iubileiu Pravdy.” Ibid., vol. 45.
“Gazete Pravda.” In Pravda, May 5, 1972.
Kovalev, S. M. Bol’shevistskaia “Pravda,” 1912–1914 gg. Moscow, 1941.
Ol’minskii, M. S. Iz epokhi “Zvezdy” i “Pravdy” (Stat’i 1911–1914 gg.). Moscow, 1956.
Stranitsy slavnoi istorii: Vospominaniia o “Pravde,” 1912–1917 gg. Moscow. 1962.
Andronov, S. A. Boevoe oruzhie partii: Gazeta “Pravda” v 1912–1917 gg. Leningrad, 1962.
Epokha—gazetnoi strokoi: “Pravda,” 1917–1967. [Moscow, 1967.]
Lenin v “Pravde.” Moscow, 1970.
Berezhnoi, A. F. Lenin-sozdatel’ pechati novogo tipa (1893–1914 gg.). Leningrad, 1971.
Loginov, V. T. Leninskaia “Pravda” (1912–1914 gg.). Moscow, 1972.
Kuznetsov, I. V., and E. M. Fingerit. Gazetnyi mir Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 1, Moscow, 1972.
Dorogami druzhby. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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