Press, Radio, and Television

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Press, Radio, and Television


Before 1917. The first evidence of widespread Russian book production dates from the 11th century. Centers for the writing of manuscript books existed in Novgorod, Kiev, Pskov, Smolensk, and elsewhere in the 11th to 13th centuries. The oldest extant manuscript books are the Ostromir Gospel (1056–57), the Izborniki Sviatoslava (1073 and 1076), and the Archangel Gospel (1092). The high literary and artistic level of these works attest to the ancient tradition of Russian manuscript books. The first printshop, known as the Anonymous Press, appeared in Moscow in the mid-16th century (there are editions of seven works extant with no publication dates).

The first precisely dated printed Russian book is the Apostol (Acts of the Apostles and epistles), published Mar. 1, 1564, by Ivan Fedorov and Petr Mstislavets at the government press in Moscow—the Pechatnyi Dvor (State Printing Office). The book is an example of high printing excellence, and its design greatly influenced the development of book graphics. After the forced departure of Ivan Fedorov and Petr Mstislavets from Moscow, the printers Nikifor Tarasiev, Andronik Nevezha and his son Ivan Nevezha, Anikita Fofanov, and Anisim Radishevskii worked at the Moscow printshop. By the end of the 17th century, about 500 books had been printed there, including secular books, such as the primer of B. F. Burtsov-Protopopov (1634).

In the early 18th century, the Moscow printshop and the St. Petersburg printshop (founded 1711) issued publications that helped carry out the reforms of Peter I. The first printed Russian newspaper, Vedomosti (News), began publication in January 1703. In 1708 the Civil typeface replaced the Cyrillic in secular works, making reading easier for a greater number of readers. During the reign of Peter I, about 650 original and translated secular books were published. The Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, along with its printshop (founded 1727), was the publishing center in the 18th century. The works of M. V. Lomonosov, S. P. Krasheninnikov, and G. F. Miller, among others, were published by the academy and became world famous. In 1728 the first Russian journal—Mesiachnye istoricheskie, genealogicheskie i geograficheskie primechaniia v Vedomostiakh (Monthly Historical, Genealogical, and Geographic Comments in the Vedomosti)—appeared as a supplement to Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti (St. Petersburg News), formerly Vedomosti. That same year, Kommentarii (Commentaries), the first scientific periodical collection, was published, as well as works of fiction, dictionaries, calendars, and textbooks.

New printshops appeared in the second half of the 18th century at Moscow University, the Land Forces Gentry Cadet Corps, and a number of provincial capitals. The first privately published journal appeared in 1759 in St. Petersburg—Trudoliubivaia pchela (The Industrious Bee)—under the editorship of A. P. Sumarokov. The most important journals were N. I. Novikov’s satirical journals Truten’ (The Drone) and Zhivopisets (The Painter), which called attention to the abuses of serfdom for the first time in the history of Russian journalism. In the course of his 26-year career as an enlightened publisher, Novikov published more than 1,000 issues. He rented the Moscow University Press from 1779 to 1789 (known as the Novikov decade) and expanded it considerably.

The ukase On Free Printing Presses (1783) permitted private citizens to engage in publishing. However, Catherine II, frightened by revolutionary events in Western Europe, by the peasant uprisings, and by the increasing opposition of the Russian nobility, instituted repressive measures against progressive writers and publishers. In 17% a ukase closing free printing houses was promulgated, and strict censorship was instituted. In the 18th century, more than 9,500 book titles and about 200 periodicals were published.

In the 19th century, book publishing and the development of periodical literature were linked with social movements and the formation of capitalist relations in Russia. In 1802 prior censorship was replaced by successive censorship, that is, censorship after publication, and in 1804 the first censorship regulations were adopted. The opening of private printing houses was once again permitted. Patrons of literature from the nobility engaged in book publishing, although publishing gradually passed mainly into the hands of booksellers, who acquired the printing houses. The most prominent of these individuals were V. A. Plavil’shchikov, S. I. Selivanovskii, I. V. Slenin, and the Glazunovs. One of the most outstanding publishers of the first half of the 19th century was A. F. Smirdin, who published many of the works of A. S. Pushkin, N. I. Gogol’, I. A. Krylov, V. A. Zhukovskii, and many other Russian writers. He popularized contemporary Russian literature by decreasing book prices and increasing the size of printings; another major contribution by Smirdin was the distribution of books and journals and magazines in the provinces. V. G. Belinskii named an entire period of Russian literature after him. Smirdin published about 70 editions of the works of Russian writers.

Under the conditions of strict censorship existing after 1825, a special role was played by literary criticism, which, with the aid of the “language of Aesop,” was able to express the truth. In the 1820’s, a new type of book, the literary miscellany, gained popularity. With the intensification of the ideological struggle in the 1830’s and 1840’s, two literary journals acquired particular importance—N. I. Nadezhdin’s Teleskop (The Telescope) and N. A. Polevoi’s Moskovskii telegraf (Moscow Telegraph). The most important figure in Russian journalism at the time was Belinskii, who worked for Teleskop, Moskovskii nabliudatel’ (Moscow Observer), Otechestvennye zapiski (Notes of the Fatherland), and Sovremennik (The Contemporary).

The “seven years of gloom” (1848–55) in the history of publishing began with the formation of the special Buturlin Commission. A vital necessity for the Russian revolutionary movement was the creation of a free, uncensored press abroad. In 1853, A. I. Herzen founded the Free Russian Printing House in London. He “was the first to raise the great banner of struggle by addressing his free Russian word to the masses” and “founded a free Russian press abroad” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 21, pp. 262,258). The publications of Herzen and N. P. Ogarev—the literary miscellany Poliarnaia zvezda (The Polar Star) and the newspaper Kolokol (The Bell)—on the eve of and during the revolutionary situation of 1859–61 helped awaken Russian society to the revolution. The free Russian press was the forerunner of the Russian workers’ press.

With the exacerbation of class contradictions in the mid-19th century, the influence of the Revolutionary Democratic press increased. The journal Sovremennik, whose contributors included N. G. Chernyshevskii, N. A. Dobroliubov, and M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin, became the center of revolutionary propaganda in Russia. After the journal ceased publication in 1866, the democratic trend was continued by Otechestvennye zapiski, under the editorship of N. A. Nekrasov, Saltykov-Shchedrin, and G. Z. Eliseev. The satirical magazine Iskra (The Spark; 1859–73), published by V. S. Kurochkin and others, adopted Revolutionary Democratic positions. During the last quarter of the 19th century, such journals and magazines as the Narodnik (Populist) Russkoe bogatstvo (Russian Riches) and Slovo (The Word) appeared, as well as the bourgeois liberal Vestnik Evropy (Journal of Europe) and Russkaia mysl’ (Russian Thought). However, in the 1870’s, the bourgeois journals and magazines acquired a distinctly commercial nature, providing mainly light reading material. They included such magazines intended for family reading as Niva (The Field), Rodina (The Homeland), and Ogonek (The Beacon).

The first provincial newspapers, some of which were specialized, appeared in the early 19th century. Somewhat later, privately owned newspapers appeared, the most influential of which was Severnaiapchela (The Northern Bee), which expressed monarchist views. By the early 1860’s, a chain of official newspapers—referred to as the provincial gazettes—was established in the provinces. The number of newspapers increased after 1861 with the awakening of public consciousness. Whereas there were 15 sociopolitical newspapers published in 1860, there were 28 in 1865, 36 in 1870, and 83 in 1881. The first national information agency, the Russian Telegraph Agency, was established in 1866 to serve the newspaper press. Capitalist relations increasingly dominated the newspaper business during the second half of the 19th century. Newspapers catering to the average reader became profitable commercial enterprises. These included Petersburgskii listok (St. Petersburg Leaflet), Moskovskii listok (Moscow Leaflet), and the reactionary Gazeta-kopeika (Kopek Newspaper). A total of 125 newspapers was published in 1900.

After the peasant reform of 1861, the book trade took on features typical of capitalist enterprises. The largest firms in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries were those of M. O. Vol’f, A. F. Marks, and A. S. Suvorin in St. Petersburg and I. D. Sytin in Moscow. None of the firms had a clearly defined specialization, all publishing books on a variety of topics. There were also a number of commercial firms that specialized in the publication of works in specific branches of knowledge; for example, K. L. Rikker’s firm published medical books, while A. F. Devrien’s firm published works in the natural sciences and geography. In addition to the commercial publishing houses, there were publishers-enlighteners who sought to disseminate knowledge among the people. Such was K. T. Soldatenkov’s firm in Moscow, which for 50 years published primarily books on history, sociology, the history of literature, and art. The most popular such firm in St. Petersburg was F. F. Pavlenkov’s publishing house, which flourished in the 1880’s and 1890’s; its most successful publication was a one-volume encyclopedic dictionary, which went through six editions. Such educational printshops somewhat altered the nature of literature for the masses; thus, during the years of its existence, the Posrednik Publishing House (established 1884) published more than 1,000 titles of works of fiction, history, medicine, and agriculture. Revolutionary Democratic publishing houses, such as those of N. A. Serno-Solov’evich and N. P. Poliakov, appeared in the 1860’s. In the 1870’s and 1880’s, illegal presses of the Narodnik organizations Land and Liberty, People’s Will, and Black Partition were active in a number of Russian cities. The publication of sociopolitical Marxist literature (by M. N. Vodovozova’s and M. Malykh’s publishing houses) increased. The first All-Russian illegal political Marxist newspaper—Iskra (The Spark)—founded abroad by V. I. Lenin in 1900, was circulated in Russia; it played a crucial role in the effort to establish a Marxist party in Russia.

The Revolution of 1905–07 forced the tsarist regime to proclaim a number of civil liberties, including freedom of the press. More than 350 publishing houses appeared, including about 60 that published large printings of Social Democratic literature. In 1906 the legal Bolshevik publishing houses Vpered and Zerno were founded in St. Petersburg. A new phenomenon emerged—the legal mass political pamphlet. According to V. I. Lenin, “millions of inexpensive publications on political subjects were being read by the people, the masses, the crowd, the ’lower ranks,’ as avidly as no one had ever read in Russia until then” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 22, p. 83). The total number of copies of political and economic pamphlets published in the period 1905–07 is estimated at 200 to 220 million. Legal Bolshevik organs, such as the newspapers Novaia zhizn’ (New Life), Volna (The Wave), and Ekho (Echo), appeared. Also published were legal Bolshevik journals, such as Vestnik zhizni (Journal of Life), trade union journals, and the satirical magazines Zhalo (The Stinger) and Pulemet (The Machine Gun).

During this period, bourgeois parties also organized their own publishing houses. The Cadets founded Narodnoe Pravo and Svobodnaia Mysl’, while the Social Revolutionaries founded Molodaia Rossiia and Seiatel’.

During the years of reaction (1907–10), the publishing houses of the Bolsheviks and other progressive publishers were closed down, and censorship was increased. At the same time, decadent publishers, such as the Skorpion Publishing House, the Shipovnik Publishing House, and the Musaget Publishing House, started to publish. Democratic writers banded together around the Znanie Publishing House, headed by M. Gorky.

The publishing efforts of the Bolsheviks increased with the new upsurge in the revolutionary movement. The Bolshevik newspaper Zvezda (The Star) was published from 1910 to 1912. The first issue of the newspaper Pravda (Truth) appeared on Apr. 22 (May 5), 1912, which subsequently was designated a holiday—Press Day (first observed in 1914 and observed annually since 1922). Briboi, the publishing house of the Central Committee of the RSDLP, was established in June 1913, but it was shut down at the end of 1914. A number of magazines, including Prosveshchenie (Enlightenment), Voprosy strakhovaniia (Problems of Insurance), and Rabotnitsa (The Woman Worker), were published.

On the eve of World War I (1914–18), Russia was the second largest publisher of books, after Germany, publishing 30,079 titles in 1913. Books were published primarily in Russian.

The development of publishing among other nationalities that later became part of the USSR is linked with the history of book publishing and periodical literature in Russia. Book printing in the Ukraine, Lithuania, and Byelorussia in the 16th and 17th centuries is an example of the fraternal interaction of the cultures of related nationalities.

In the Ukraine, the foundations of the printing industry were laid by Ivan Fedorov, the first Russian printer. Fedorov printed a second edition of the Acts of the Apostles and a primer in L’vov in 1574. In 1616 the printshop of the Kiev-Pecherskaia Laura was founded; here in 1627 the printer Pamva Berynda published the Slavonic-Russian Lexicon and Interpretation of Names, an encyclopedic dictionary and the first work in Eastern Slavic lexicography. Other works published there included the first historical work in Ukrainian, Synopsis (1674), which discussed the idea of the unity of the Russian and Ukrainian people. Periodical literature in the Ukraine became established in the first half of the 19th century with the publication of the newspapers Khar’kovskie izvestiia (Kharkov News), Odesskii vestnik (Odessa Herald), and Kievskie ob”iavleniia (Kiev Announcements) and the magazine Khar’kovskii Demokrit (Kharkov Democritus). In the 1890’s the revolutionary proletarian newspapers Vpered (Forward; 1896) and Rabochaia gazeta (Workers’ Gazette; 1897) appeared in Kiev. During the Revolution of 1905–07, the Bolshevik newspapers Rabotnik (The Worker; Kiev, 1906) and Donetskii kolokol (The Donets Bell; Lugansk, 1906) appeared. The Bolshevik newspapers Proletarii (Proletarian; Kharkov), Zvezda (The Star; Ekaterinoslav), and Donetskii proletarii (Donets Proletarian; Lugansk) were founded after the February Revolution of 1917.

The foundations of book publishing in Byelorussia and Lithuania were laid by the Byelorussian enlightener Frantsisk Skorina, who founded the first printing house in what is now the USSR in Vilnius in the first quarter of the 16th century. He printed books in the Slavonic language, including the Acts of the Apostles and the Small Psalmbook, supplying his own afterwords. The printshop in Nesvizh, where Szymon Budny published a catechism in Byelorussian in 1562, was important for the development of book publishing in Byelorussia, as was the printshop in Zabhidów, an enterprise of the Moscow printers Ivan Fedorov and Petr Mstislavets. Periodical literature, dominated by the provincial gazettes, appeared in the 1830’s and, for the most part, was semiofficial in nature. The first illegal revolutionary newspaper in Byelorussian, Muzhitskaia pravda (The Peasant Truth), was published in 1862–63. Newspapers of the soviets of workers’, peasants’, and soldiers’ deputies appeared in 1917 in a number of cities, including Minsk and Vitebsk. The Bolshevik newspaper Zviazda (The Star) was first published on June 27 (Aug. 9), 1917, and is still published today.

The first books in Lithuanian were the Protestant Catechism, which also included the first Lithuanian primer, published by M. Mažvydas (1547; Königsberg) and the Catholic Catechism published by M. Daukša (1595; Vilnius). The Mamoniches press in Vilnius was especially important in the 1570’s, when the Moscow printer Petr Mstislavets worked there. Until the beginning of the 20th century, periodical literature was published in German. The first newspaper in Lithuanian—the Vilniaus žnios (Vilnius News)—was published in 1904, and the first Lithuanian magazine Vaivorykšte (Rainbow)—in 1913. After the February Revolution of 1917, the first Lithuanian Bolshevik newspaper—Tiesa (Truth)—appeared and is still published today.

The oldest printed Latvian works are the Catholic Catechism of P. Canisius (1585; Vilnius) and the Small Catechism of M. Luther (1586; Königsberg). The first printshop in Riga was established in 1588. Until the 1760’s, primarily theological books were published. The first magazine in Latvian was Latviska gada gramata (Latvian Yearbook; 1797–98). The first newspaper was Latvieiu avizes (Latvian Newspaper; 1822–1915). The newspaper Dienas lapa (Daily Bulletin; published 1893–1897 by P. Stucka and J. Rainis) advocated Social Democratic ideas. Beginning in March 1904, the Social Democratic newspaper Cīņa (Struggle) was published illegally. The first legal Latvian Social Democratic newspaper—Pēterburgas Latvietis (St. Petersburg Latvian)—was published in St. Petersburg in 1905–06.

The first book in Estonia, The Sixth Dispute by H. Boismann, was printed in 1631 in Tartu by the academy press, which published books mainly in Latin. More significant for the development of the Estonian culture was the work of the Gymnasium press in Tallinn (founded 1633). The first newspaper—Revalsche Post-Zeitung (Revel Postal Newspaper)—was published in Tallinn in 1689 in German. The first magazine-type periodical in Estonian—Lühhike öppetus (Brief Information)—appeared in 1766. In the 19th century, the publication of newspapers and magazines in Estonian expanded greatly. The first Estonian Bolshevik newspaper—Kirr (Ray)—was published in Narva from 1912 to 1914.

The first books in Transcaucasia appeared in ancient times. The Armenian alphabet was created by the early fifth century. Book printing in Armenian appeared at the beginning of the 16th century abroad, in Armenian settlements in Venice, Rome, and Constantinople. The first printshop in Armenia itself was established in Echmiadzin only in 1771. After Eastern Armenia became part of Russia in 1828, books and periodicals in Armenian were published in Yerevan, as well as in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Astrakhan, Tbilisi, and Baku. In the mid-19th century, the progressive forces of the Armenian intelligentsia grouped around the magazine Iusisapail (Northern Lights), which was published in Moscow from 1858 to 1864. Of the periodical literature of the second half of the 19th century, the newspaper Megu Aiastani (Bee of Armenia) was also outstanding (published in Tbilisi from 1858 to 1886). The first legal Bolshevik newspaper in Armenian—Kaits (The Spark)—was published in Tbilisi in 1906.

The first printed books in Georgian were also published abroad, in Rome in 1629. In Russia, the first printed book in Georgian appeared in 1705 in Moscow. The first Georgian printshop was established in 1709 in Tbilisi, where Sh. Rustaveli’s book The Man in the Panther’s Skin was printed in 1712. About 6,000 books in Georgian were published between 1629 and 1921. Periodical literature in the Georgian language appeared at the beginning of the 19th century. The first newspaper—Sakartvelos gazeti (Newspaper of Georgia)—appeared in 1819. The magazine Tsiskari (Dawn) was published from 1852 to 1875, and the newspaper Droeba (Time), from 1866 to 1885. Iveriia appeared as a magazine from 1877 to 1885 and as a newspaper from 1886 to 1906 under the editorship of I. G. Chavchavadze. The first illegal Georgian newspaper of the Leninist Iskra trend—Brdzola (Struggle)—appeared in 1901 in Baku. The first legal Bolshevik newspaper in Transcaucasia—Kavkazskii rabochii listok (Leaflet of the Caucasian Worker)—appeared in 1905.

Printing in the Azerbaijani language in Russia dates to the second half of the 18th century. The first books in Azerbaijan were published in Tabriz in the 1820’s. The first printshops appeared in the second half of the 19th century in Baku, Giandzha, and Shemakha. At the beginning of the 20th century, printing was concentrated in Baku. Periodical literature in the Azerbaijani language appeared in the 1830’s. Social Democratic publications appeared in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first Bolshevik newspapers in the languages of the peoples of Transcaucasia appeared in 1901 in Baku. The illegal party printing house Nina was in operation from 1901 to 1906.

Bukhara and Khwarazm were centers of manuscript production in Middle Asia from the tenth to 12th centuries. In the 14th century, Samarkand was the center in one of whose palaces the famous library of Tamerlane (Timur) was located. Books printed in Arabic were brought in from other countries. Print-shops in Russia publishing works in Arabic appeared in the 18th century in Astrakhan (1723) and at the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences and Moscow University. The publication of Arabic-language works was begun in 1801 in Kazan and in 1832 in Orenburg. Literature in local Arabic-alphabet languages was published by the lithographic method. Tashkent became the center of book publishing in Middle Asia in the 19th century. The first printed book in Uzbek—Calendar by Sh. Ibragimov—appeared in Tashkent in 1871.

Periodical literature appeared in Middle Asia in the second half of the 19th century, mainly in the Russian language [Turkestanskie vedomosti (Turkestan Gazette; from 1870)]. During the Revolution of 1905–07, the publication of Bolshevik publications, such as the newspapers Russkii Turkestan (Russian Turkestan) and Samarkand, began.

After the October Revolution of 1917. With the establishment of Soviet power, the country embarked on the creation of a truly popular multinational press. However, it was first necessary to overcome the resistance of the bourgeois press and to create the material conditions necessary for the development of Soviet publishing. A decisive role in this was played by the Decree on the Press of Oct. 28 (Nov. 10), 1917, which ended the possibility of the printing of counterrevolutionary publications. V. I. Lenin inspired and directed the country’s publishing efforts. His ideas and concrete instructions on various aspects of publishing were embodied in the work of publishing houses, journals and magazines, newspapers, and all organs of mass propaganda and agitation. The Communist Party directed and continues to direct the development and daily work of the press, considering it “a powerful tool for propaganda and organization; an irreplaceable means of influencing the broadest possible masses of people” (KPSS v rezoliutsiakh, 8th ed., vol. 2,1970, p. 85). Lenin believed that the press must serve as “an instrument of socialist construction” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 36, p. 192) and pointed out that the problem was “to convert the press from an organ mainly devoted to communicating the political news of the day into a serious organ for educating the mass of the population in economics” (ibid., p. 146).

Guided by the ideas of the founders of Marxism-Leninism regarding the party proletarian press, the Communist Party created a high-principled party-Soviet press and made it a concern of general party affairs. Fundamental for all Soviet publishing are the principles of party spirit, truth, popular spirit, and the mass nature of the press, which had been established in the pre-October period of the Bolshevik press and which were developed and given concrete form in subsequent party resolutions. In the USSR the press has become an instrument for carrying out the great organizational task of the CPSU—the attraction of the working masses to the active construction of a communist society. The direct participation of the people in the work of the press organs found expression in the worker and village correspondents’ movement.

Various problems related to the development and improvement of the press and book publishing are reflected in many party documents—resolutions of congresses, conferences, and plenary sessions and specially adopted resolutions. Thus, resolutions concerning the press were adopted at the eighth, eleventh, and twelfth congresses of the RCP(B), held in 1919, 1922, and 1923, respectively. In 1928 the Central Committee of the ACP(B) adopted the decree On Supplying the Popular Reader With Books. In the 1930’s, it adopted a number of resolutions pertaining to the improvement of the organizational structure of publishing houses. After the war, the party’s Central Committee adopted resolutions pertaining to various aspects of the press.

BOOK PUBLISHING. Publishing departments of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Petrograd and Moscow soviets were organized at the end of 1917. The principles of modern book publishing were established by the decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee On State Publishing, adopted Dec. 29,1917 (Jan. 11,1918). The literary and publishing section of the People’s Commissariat of Education was charged with immediately carrying out an extensive publishing program, particularly the publication of inexpensive editions of Russian classics and mass editions of textbooks. The major Soviet party publishing house Kommunist in Moscow was organized in 1918 through the merger of the Priboi, Zhizn’ i Znanie, and Volna publishing houses. The publishing house Vsemirnaia Literatura was established in 1918 in Petrograd on the initiative of M. Gorky. In 1919 the All-Russian Central Executive Committee adopted the statute On State Publishing. The foundations for specialized publishing houses were also laid. By 1925, book production exceeded the 1913 level. In 1940, 45,800 book and pamphlet titles were published, totaling 462.2 million copies.

During the years of Soviet power, specialized book, book-magazine, newspaper-magazine, and newspaper publishing houses were established. The most important are Politizdat (political literature), Pravda (newspapers and magazines), Nauka (scientific books), Khudozhestvennaia Literatura (fiction), So-vetskii Pisatel’ (literature), Prosveshchenie (textbooks and related materials), Vysshaia Shkola (books for higher educational institutions), Detskaia Literatura (children’s books), Molodaia Gvardiia (books for young people), Sovetskaia Entsiklopediia (encyclopedias), Mysl’ (socioeconomic literature), Izvestiia (newspapers and magazines), Iskusstvo (art books), and Medit-sina (medical books). Equally important publishing houses are Kolos (books on agriculture), Progress (foreign-language books in the humanities), Mir (scientific and technical books translated from foreign languages), Mashinostroenie (books on machinery), Nedra (books on the earth sciences and related topics), Transport (books on transportation), Energiia (books on power engineering and related topics), Stroiizdat (books on construction and related topics), Voenizdat (military books), and Profizdat (books dealing with all aspects of trade unions).

The Soviet publishing system includes central publishing houses and publishing houses of the republics, regions, krais, and oblasts and various agencies. Publishing is also carried on by editorial and publishing departments of research institutions, large libraries, higher educational institutions, and public organizations. In 1980 about 1,760,500,000 copies of 80,676 book and pamphlet titles were published by all the publishing houses and other publishing enterprises (this amounted to 19.2 billion printer’s sheets). An average of 4,823,000 copies of books and pamphlets were published daily; 663 copies were published per 100 population. Between 1918 and 1980, a total of 53.8 billion copies of 3,190,800 book and pamphlet titles were published. In 1977 books were published in 62 languages of the peoples of the USSR and 57 languages of the peoples of foreign countries. At the same time, books and pamphlets were translated from 64 languages of the peoples of the USSR and 47 languages of the peoples of foreign countries.

The Soviet multilanguage book-publishing industry is characterized by the wealth and diversity of the printed matter. Of great importance in Soviet publishing is proper subject regulation (choice of subject matter) and the assurance of the high quality of publications. Book production is dominated by political and socioeconomic literature. The most important publications include the second edition of the works of K. Marx and F. Engels, the complete works of V. I. Lenin (5th ed.), thematic collections of Lenin’s works, memoirs, and scholarly works devoted to the lives and work of the founders of Marxism-Leninism. Between 1917 and 1980, more than 124 million copies of 3,321 editions of the works of Marx and Engels were published in 92 languages, including 49 languages of the peoples of the USSR and 43 languages of the peoples of foreign countries. Between 1917 and 1980, more than 561 million copies of 14,715 editions of the works of Lenin were published in 118 languages, including 66 languages of the peoples of the USSR and 52 languages of the peoples of foreign countries.

An important position is occupied by research, scientific informational, and popular-science literature in all fields. In 1980 more than 109 million copies of over 19,000 such books and pamphlets were published. Particular attention is devoted to the publication of textbooks and related material, which are published annually by central, republic, and local publishing houses and by individual higher educational institutions in about 50 languages; in 1980 more than 349 million copies, amounting to about 5.3 billion printer’s sheets, of 10,000 textbooks and manuals were published for students in various educational programs. Much attention is devoted to the publication of fiction works, including children’s literature. In 1980,297 million copies of over 5,700 literary titles were published, as well as 498 million copies of 3,400 titles of children’s books. In 1977, a unique 200-volume edition of the series Biblioteka vsemirnoi literatury (Library of World Literature) was completed. The USSR occupies the first place in the world in the publication of works of fiction translated from languages of foreign countries. Between 1918 and 1980, 1,999,000,000 copies of 36,517 titles of works of literature of peoples of foreign countries were published in 92 languages. (See also International Cultural Exchange.)

MAGAZINES AND JOURNALS. During the years of Soviet power, the publication of magazines, journals, and continuing publications has grown tremendously. The first issues of the journals Kommunisticheskii internatsional (Communist International) and Izvestiia TsK RKP(b) [News of the Central Committee of the RCP(B); since 1946, Partiinaia zhizn’ (Party Life)] were published in 1919. After the Civil War, various theoretical and sociopolitical magazines and journals began publication, such as Pod znamenem marksizma (Under the Banner of Marxism), Krasnaia pechat’ (The Red Press), and Zhurnalist (The Journalist).

The theoretical and political journal of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Bolshevik, began publication in 1924 (since 1952, Kommunist). The 1920’s saw the appearance of the literary and sociopolitical magazines Krasnaia nov’ (Red Virgin Soil), Sibirskie ogni (Siberian Lights), Molodaia gvardiia (Young Guard), Zvezda (The Star), Oktiabr’ (October), Novyi mir (The New World), and Ogonek (The Beacon). Also first published in the 1920’s were the satirical magazine Krokodil (Crocodile) and the children’s magazines Murzilka and Pioner (Pioneer). In 1928, 2,074 journals and magazines, with an annual circulation of 303.1 million, were published.

In the 1931 decree of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) On Publishing Work, attention was focused on the necessity of clearly classifying magazines and journals. A number of magazines and journals were founded in the 1930’s on the initiative of and with the participation of M. Gorky, including Nashi dostizheniia (Our Achievements), SSSR na stroike (The USSR in Construction; since 1950, Sovetskii Soiuz [The Soviet Union]), Kolkhoznik (The Kolkhoz Worker), Za rubezhom (Life Abroad), and Literaturnaia ucheba (Literary Studies). At this time, a broad network of magazines and journals was established in the Union and autonomous republics. About 360 party, sociopolitical, literary, specialized, and other journals were published in 1937 in languages of the peoples of the USSR other than Russian. In 1940,1,822 journals and magazines were being published.

In the decades after the war, the party’s Central Committee adopted a number of important decisions pertaining to the press, which defined the position and role of magazines and journals in the ideological life of Soviet society and in party and economic work. The positions of Communist ideology on literature and journalism were affirmed in the resolution of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) On the Magazines Zvezda and Leningrad (1946). A number of new periodicals appeared: Agitator, Politicheskoe samoobrazovanie (Political Self-education), Voprosy istorii KPSS (Problems of the History of the CPSU), Kommunist vooruzhennykh sil (Communist of the Armed Forces), Sovety deputatov trudiashchikhsia (Soviets of Working People’s Deputies), Sovetskie profsoiuzy (Soviet Trade Unions), Sovetskaia pechat’ (Soviet Press; since 1967, Zhurnalist [The Journalist]), and Neva, Moskva, Don, and Ural. The publication of the periodicals Inostrannaia literatura (Foreign Literature), Molodaia gvardiia (Young Guard), and Pod”em (Progress) resumed.

The publication of scientific and industrial journals is rapidly growing. Scientific information and abstract journals in various scientific and technical fields have become particularly important.

In 1980 there were 5,236 serial publications, including 1,428 journals and magazines, 3,543 publications of transactions, proceedings, and similar types of literature, 189 collections, 75 agitators’ notebooks, and Roman-gazeta (Journal of Novels). Of the total number of journals and magazines, 265 were political and socioeconomic journals, 228 were scientific and mathematical journals, 260 were journals dealing with technology, industry, transportation, and communications, 125 were agricultural journals, 113 were public health and medical magazines and journals, 76 were cultural and pedagogical magazines and journals, 180 were literary magazines and journals, 36 were art magazines and journals, 78 were magazines for children and young people, and 45 were women’s magazines.

In 1980, journals with the largest single-issue circulation were the mass sociopolitical magazines Politicheskoe samoobrazovanie (Political Self-education; 2.5 million copies), Agitator (1.6 million), Partiinaia zhizn’ (Party Life; more than 1 million), and Kommunist (The Communist; about 1 million); the mass sociopolitical and literary magazines and journals Rabotnitsa (The Woman Worker; 13 million), Krest’ianka (The Peasant Woman; 6.5 million), Ogonek (The Beacon; more than 2 million), lunost’ (Youth; about 3 million), and Inostrannaia literatura (Foreign Literature; 500,000 copies); the satirical magazine Krokodil (Crocodile; 5.8 million); the children’s magazines Murzilka (5.9 million) and Veselye kartinki (Happy Pictures; 5.3 million); and the popular-science magazines Zdorov’e (Health; 12 million), Nauka i ahizn’ (Science and Life; 3 million), and Vokrug sveta (Around the World; 2.8 million).

Specialized periodicals in the national languages with a large circulation are published in the Union and autonomous republics. In 1980 periodicals and continuing publications were published in 46 languages of the peoples of the USSR and 23 languages of the peoples of foreign countries.

NEWSPAPERS. In 1913, 856 newspapers were published in Russia, with a single-issue circulation of 2.7 million. During the February bourgeois democratic revolution of 1917, the monarchist press was abolished. The first issue of the newspaper Izvestiia Petrogradskogo Soveta rabochikh i soldatskikh deputatov (News of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies) came out on Feb. 28 (Mar. 13), 1917. Pravda resumed publication on Mar. 5 (18), 1917. Soon after the October Revolution, the existing central newspapers—Pravda and Izvestiia—were strengthened, and a system of central and local newspapers of the Bolshevik Party and Soviet bodies of authority was established. In 1918, 884 newspapers were published, and in 1919 about 1,000.

In accordance with a resolution of the Twelfth Party Congress (1923), which contained instructions on the differentiation of publications and the creation of a special type of newspaper for each basic level of reader, specialized groups of newspapers were established in the USSR based on intended readership and subject.

Considerable attention was devoted to the organization of factory and plant publications, kolkhoz newspapers, and the newspapers of higher educational institutions. In 1928,1,197 newspapers, with a total single-issue circulation of 9.4 million, were published. During the prewar five-year plans, the number of newspapers reached 8,806 (by 1940), while the single-issue circulation reached 38.4 million. During World War II (1941–45), an especially important role was played by newspapers published at the front; in 1943, 728 newspapers were being published at the front. Underground party committees and partisan groups published 270 newspapers in 1943–44 in areas occupied by the invaders.

After the war, the party’s Central Committee adopted a number of special decisions on newspapers to improve the operation of republic, krai, and oblast newspapers. In a 1968 decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU, particular attention was devoted to increasing the role of raion newspapers in the communist upbringing of the workers. In 1980,8,088 newspapers, with a total single-issue circulation of 176 million, were published, including 31 all-Union (central) newspapers, 159 republic newspapers, 97 autonomous republic and oblast newspapers, 325 krai, okrug, and oblast newspapers, 704 city newspapers, 2,983 raion newspapers, 3,182 lower-level newspapers (such as those published by enterprises and educational institutions), and 607 kolkhoz newspapers. Of the total number of specialized newspapers, 132 were Komsomol newspapers, 28 were Young Pioneer newspapers, 48 were devoted to transportation, 16 were teachers’ newspapers, and 17 were newspapers devoted to culture, literature, and art. The growth in the number of newspapers per 100 population is revealing: 2 copies in 1913, 20 in 1940, 32 in 1960, 58 in 1970, and 66 in 1980.

The most important central newspapers are Pravda (Truth; with a single-issue circulation of 10.7 milllion), Izvestiia (7.0 million), Komsomol’skaia pravda (Komsomol Truth; 10 million), Pionerskaia pravda (Pioneer Truth; 8.1 million), Sel’ skaia zhizn’ (Rural Life; 9.5 million), Trud (Labor; 12.2 million), Krasnaia zvezda (Red Star; 2.6 million), Sovetskaia Rossiia (Soviet Russia; 2.7 million), Sovetskii sport (Soviet Sports; 4 million), Literaturnaia gazeta (Literary Gazette; 1.2 million), Uchitel’skaia gazeta (Teachers’ Gazette; 1.2 million), Meditsinskaia gazeta (Medical Gazette; 1.2 million), Sovetskaia torgovlia (Soviet Trade; 1.3 million), Sotsialisticheskaia industriia (Socialist Industry; 900,000), Ekonomicheskaia gazeta (Economics Gazette; 800,000), Gudok (The Whistle; 700,000), Sovetskaia kul’tura (Soviet Culture; 400,000), and Sovetskii patriot (The Soviet Patriot; 400,000).

In 1980 newspapers were published in 55 languages of the peoples of the USSR and ten languages of the peoples of foreign countries. In each Union republic, autonomous republic, and autonomous oblast, newspapers are published in the language of the native population, in Russian, and in languages of other national groups living there.

STATE INFORMATION SYSTEM. The state information system of the USSR is headed by the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS), which was established in 1925 and includes the information agencies of all the Union republics. In 1961 the public information organization Novosti Press Agency was established in Moscow.

The national bibliographic center and the center for publishing statistics in the USSR is the All-Union Book Chamber. The Book Chamber regularly issues a number of bibliographic indexes, each of which is devoted to a specific type of publication. These include Knizhnaia letopis’ (Book Chronicle; published by the Central Administration of the Press from 1907 to 1917), Letopis’ periodicheskikh izdanii SSSR (Chronicle of Periodical Publications of the USSR; since 1933), Letopis’ zhurnal’nykh statei (Chronicle of Journal Articles; since 1926), Letopis’ gazetnykh statei (Chronicle of Newspaper Articles; since 1936), and Letopis’ retsenzii (Chronicle of Reviews; since 1935). Annual statistics on the production of publications are published in the statistical yearbook Pechat’ SSSR v . . . godu (Publishing in the USSR in ...; since 1954). There are book chambers in all the Union republics except the RSFSR, as well as in the Bashkir ASSR, Chuvash ASSR, and Tatar ASSR.

PUBLISHING IN THE UNION REPUBLICS. Great successes have been achieved in the publication of books, journals, magazines, and newspapers in all the Union republics (see Table 1).

As early as the first years of Soviet power, the party and the government had undertaken a number of steps to eliminate the cultural backwardness of many nations (in the historical sense) and ethnic groups in the Soviet Union by means of the printed word in the native language. The achievement of this goal was hindered by the almost total illiteracy of some groups and by the lack of a writing system among many groups. A vast effort was undertaken to create alphabets and prepare primers and textbooks. In order to assist the national republics and oblasts, the

Table 1. Publishing in the USSR by Union republics
 Books and pamphletsJournalsNewspapers
TitlesNumber of copies (thousands)NumberAnnual circulation (thousands)NumberAnnual circulation (thousands)
1940 ...............32,545353,5051,214207,2015,7305,094,619
1960 ...............48,940990,2282,361648,6804,47411,053,327
1980 ...............49,5631,393,2003,9602,488,0004,41329,245,100
Ukrainian SSR
1940 ...............4,83651,37025112,3171,6721,392,115
1960 ...............7,889113,10936944,8093,2801,624,350
1980 ...............9,061145,100198211,4001,7274,497,400
Byelorussian S̄R
1940 ...............77210,370271,100252192,751
1960 ...............1,60214,2319210,393221323,896
1980 ...............3,00938,30011537,800198816,600
Uzbek SSR
1940 ...............1,21911,187521,637200147,481
1960 ...............1,87519,98811016,379217278,876
1980 ...............2,16934,60083132,300281896,000
Kazakh SSR
1940 ...............7625,775381,149336192,287
1960 ...............1,42015,859979,166366384,619
1980 ...............2,18827,10010552,2004301,047,600
Georgian SSR
1940 ...............1,6395,618771,683120137,944
1960 ...............2,51613,2241255,056132216,129
1980 ...............2,10314,5008126,900141740,100
Azerbaijan SSR
1940 ...............1,1414,97444722141100,907
1960 ...............1,3279,872943,441107162,001
1980 ...............1,22611,8009233,800132511,500
Lithuanian SSR
1940 ...............3873,778203,3541321,336
1960 ...............2,20613,8327310,461109206,214
1980 ...............1,67216,70012642,700124421,900
Moldavian SSR
1940 ...............1381,4693312211,717
1960 ...............1,0387,963501,637189123,723
1980 ...............1,49815,0004438,500175336,800
Latvian SSR
1940 ...............3922,9363514,6702151,090
1960 ...............2,45413,2179213,45385195,912
1980 ...............2,54616,20010555,700103323,900
Kirghiz SSR
1940 ...............3501,283122336933,947
1960 ...............8434,951362,21610280,618
1980 ...............1,0888,8003232,600107227,100
Tadzhik SSR
1940 ...............3722,82391418344,529
1960 ...............7283,894521,6344289,772
1980 ...............5956,0006816,90060257,200
Armenian SSR
1940 ...............6992,819245055643,615
1960 ...............1,2476,914611,9878774,470
1980 ...............1,1659,0009119,70086247,000
Turkmen SSR
1940 ...............3122,17093937345,587
1960 ...............6023,577341,5637864,157
1980 ...............6736,7003110,50058192,400
Estonian SSR
1940 ...............2662,12672721818,137
1960 ...............1,4778,7881157,74555131,060
1980 ...............2,12017,50010526,80043251,600

publication of books in the languages of the peoples of the USSR was organized in Moscow. This goal had been achieved by 1924 by the Eastern and Western publishing houses of the People’s Commissariat of Nationalities. In 1924, the Central Publishing House of the Peoples of the USSR was established on the basis of these two publishing houses. By 1927, primers and textbooks had been published in almost 40 languages of the peoples who previously had no writing systems. In addition to the primers, the first books published in the national languages were the works of Lenin and agitational and political literature. At the same time, the process of organizing state and party publishing houses was undertaken in the national republics in the 1920’s, and new printing houses were established and old ones were renovated. In 1930 literature in the national languages accounted for 33.7 percent of the titles. Its publication was concentrated in the republics and national oblasts.

The extensive achievements of the republic publishing houses were assured by the well-developed system for the production of printed publications in the Union republics, including books, pamphlets, newspapers, journals, and magazines. There are general and specialized book, book-journal, and newspaper publishers in each Union republic.

PRINTING. The material resources for Soviet printing include a growing printing industry and the increased production of paper and printing materials. The October Revolution of 1917 made available to the workers all the technical and material resources for the printing of newspapers, pamphlets, books, and other printed matter. This was established by the first Soviet Constitution of the RSFSR, adopted by the Fifth All-Russian Congress of Soviets on July 10, 1918. During the prewar five-year plans (1929–40), large printing establishments were built, which focused attention on providing the technical resources for newspaper printing. The large printing facilities of the Moscow newspapers Izvestiia and Pravda were put into operation, as were a number of newspaper printing facilities in republic and oblast administrative centers. Small newspaper printing facilities were established in raion administrative centers. At the same time, the principal book printing facilities in Moscow and Leningrad were considerably expanded and modernized, and new enterprises were constructed.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), many printing enterprises located in areas temporarily occupied by the fascist German invaders were destroyed. Most were restored during the first postwar years.

The 1950’s marked a new era in the development of printing, characterized by the construction of large specialized printing combines. The largest combines are the Kalinin Color-Printing Combine, the Yaroslavl Printing Combine, the Saratov Combine for the Publication of Textbooks, the new Pravda printshop complex in Moscow, the Minsk Printing Combine, the Kalinin Children’s Literature Printing Combine, the Chekhov Printing Combine for the publication of journals, the newspaper and journal combine of the Radians’ka Ukraina Publishing House, and the color-printing plant in Kiev. Old buildings were renovated and new ones built for a number of large printing houses, including the Krasnoe Znamia, Krasnyi Proletarii and Detskaia Kniga printing houses in Moscow; the I. Fedorov Printshop, the V. Volodarskii Printshop, and an offset printing factory in Leningrad; the K. Požela Printshop in Kaunas; the Riga Model Printshop; and the printing combine in Kishinev. Between 1960 and 1970, more than 400 new enterprises were put into operation, and more than 1,000 were modernized and expanded. In 1980 there were more than 3,000 printing enterprises in the USSR.

The modern Soviet printing industry is characterized by the introduction of advanced equipment and technology, the mechanization of main and auxiliary processes, the complete mechanization of sections, shops, and entire enterprises, and the automation of a number of processes and sections. One of the main goals established by the party and government for the printing industry is to hasten the modernization of the material and technical base of modern printing and to increase paper production.



Lenin, V. I. O pechati. Moscow, 1974.
O partiinoi i sovetskoi pechati, radioveshchanii i televidenii: Sb. dokumentov i materialov. Moscow, 1972.
400 let russkogo knigopechataniia [vols. 1–2]. Moscow, 1964.
Izdatel’skoe delo v pervye gody Sovetskoi vlasti (1917–1922): Sb. dokumentov imaterialov. Moscow, 1972.
Kniga v SSSR. Moscow, 1975.
Pechat’ SSSR za 50 let. Moscow, 1967.
Bol’shevistskaia pechat’: Kratkie ocherki istorii, 1894–1917 gg. Moscow, 1962.
Istoriia russkoi zhurnalistiki XVIII-XIX vv, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1973.
Ocherki istorii russkoi sovetskoi zhurnalistiki, 1917–1932. Moscow, 1966.
Ocherki istorii russkoi sovetskoi zhurnalistiki, 1933–1945. Moscow, 1968.

Soviet radio and television, as well as other mass media used to disseminate information and propaganda, exert a considerable influence on the entire social life of the country. They play an important role in the formation of a communist world view among the workers and in the dissemination of information about scientific and cultural achievements. They contribute to the realization of measures for the construction of a communist society and play an active part in the most important political campaigns. Radio and television inform the public about the work of party congresses, sessions of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and important international events. In addition, they assist in the dissemination of knowledge and education and in the organization of the people’s leisure time.

Radio and television in the USSR are administered by the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR for Television and Radio, which includes Central Television, Central Intra-Union Radio Broadcasting (or All-Union Radio), and Central Radio Broadcasting to Foreign Countries. The State Committee for Television and Radio is a member of the International Radio and Television Organization and its subsidiaries Intervision (since 1961) and Intersputnik (since 1971). It maintains creative ties with 70 countries, including the largest international television organization, Eurovision.

The State Committee for Television and Radio publishes the weekly Govorit i pokazyvaet Moskva (Moscow Speaks and Shows) and the magazines Televidenie i radioveshchanie (Television and Radio), Krugozor (Outlook), and Kolobok (Round Loaf of Bread). It also publishes literature on the history of television and radio broadcasting and on the production of radio and television programs. It administers the All-Union Scientific and Research Institution for Television and Radio, which works on the development of new technology and on various technical problems in broadcasting. The continuing and advanced training of television personnel is conducted at the All-Union Institute for the Advanced Training of Personnel in Radio and Television. The Center for Scientific Programming conducts research on problems related to broadcast effectiveness.

Radio. From the very first years of Soviet power, the Communist Party devoted considerable attention to radio as a means of communication and as a means of disseminating information and propaganda.

The first Soviet radiotelegraph transmissions of important events in the country were made in November 1917, and the first radio broadcasts were made in 1919. Regular radio broadcasting was begun in 1924. In the 1920’s, the following genres of radio broadcasts were developed: reportage, radio discussion, and radio commentary. The following program types were developed: radio newspaper, radio magazine, and radio conference call. Children’s, young people’s, musical, and sports programs were also introduced. The first radio reportage took place in 1925 from Red Square in Moscow in connection with the October festivities. Regular broadcasts of the newscast Latest News were begun in 1932. The All-Union Committee for Radio Broadcasting was established in 1931, and 12 local radio committees were established in the republics and oblasts in 1932. Radio broadcasting played a significant role in the 1930’s in the dissemination of advanced work methods, such as the Stakhanovite movement, in the organization of socialist competition, and in the patriotic instruction of the population.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), radio played an active role in the mobilization efforts for the struggle against fascism. More than 2,000 summaries of the Soviet Information Bureau were broadcast. In addition, 2,300 broadcasts of Latest News, about 7,000 reports from the army in the field, and more than 8,000 broadcasts of Letters From the Front and Letters to the Front were made. Regular broadcasts were made to the partisans and to the people in the temporarily occupied areas. Orders of the Supreme Command and speeches by leaders of the Soviet government aired on the radio had great political significance and maintained the fighting spirit of the people during the difficult war years. In 1944 the Council of People’s Commissars adopted a decree on strengthening the material and technical basis of Central Radio Broadcasting. In 1945 it adopted a decree on the annual celebration of May 7 as Radio Day (it was on May 7,1895, that A. S. Popov demonstrated the operation of the radio receiver he had built). Extensive work was done toward the development of radio broadcasting and radiofication in the postwar decades.

The radio broadcasting system encompasses the entire Soviet Union. Broadcasts are transmitted in 68 languages of the peoples of the USSR and 70 languages of the peoples of other countries. The USSR leads Europe in the total power output of radio stations.

Broadcasts of All-Union Radio are prepared by the chief editorial desks (for propaganda, information, children’s and young people’s programming, literary, dramatic, and musical programming, and programming for Moscow and Moscow Oblast) and by the radio committees in the Union and autonomous republics, krais, national okrugs, and oblasts.

As of the beginning of 1980, All-Union Radio had nine programs, with an average of 178.4 hours of programming a day. Program 1, which is the main program, carries broadcasts of an informational, sociopolitical, educational, and artistic nature. With an average daily broadcast time of 20 hours, it is aired throughout the country. It has three editions for broadcasting in different time zones: for Western Siberia, the republics of Middle Asia (except the Turkmen SSR), and Kazakhstan; for Eastern Siberia; and for the Far East. Program 2—Maiak—operates. around the clock and broadcasts various types of information and music. It is transmitted simultaneously to all parts of the country. Program 3 is a general educational, literary, and musical program. It broadcasts an average of 16 hours a day. Program 4 broadcasts music and operates in middle and ultrashort wavelength bands an average of nine hours. Program 5 operates around the clock, providing informational, sociopolitical, and artistic programming; it is intended for Soviet citizens outside the country, such as sailors, fishermen, and polar research workers.

Local broadcasting in the USSR is carried out by republic, krai, oblast, and city radio committees and editorial desks. Broadcasts are transmitted by 400 two-program transmitting radio stations. Moscow, the capitals of the Union republics, and more than 15 cities transmit stereophonic broadcasts. The USSR has the largest wired broadcasting system in the world, the total length of which is about 2 million km. More than 700 cities have multiprogram wired broadcasting. Fourteen committees of the Union republics broadcast over two or four programs.

Of 162 oblast, krai, and okrug committees, 113 carry broadcasts in more than one language. For example, in the Dagestan ASSR there are broadcasts in nine languages. The major cities of the Soviet Union also have their own broadcasting systems; there are a total of 382 city editorial desks. There is a network of factory and plant broadcasts, as well as broadcast systems of higher educational institutions, research institutes, kolkhozes, and construction sites.

In 1975 there were 79 radio receivers or radio-phonographs per every 100 families in the country. Almost every urban family can receive programs of All-Union Radio or local radio by cable. In 1977 the total average daily broadcasting time in the Soviet Union was 1,307 hours. A special place was occupied by broadcasts devoted to the 50th anniversary of the Great October Revolution, the 100th anniversary of the birth of V. I. Lenin, and the 30th anniversary of the victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War (1941–45). They included The Chronicle of Great October, The Year 1917, 50 Fiery Years, Literary Leniniana, the newsreel Biography of V. I. Lenin, The Feat of the People, and Documents of the Great Patriotic War.

The principal sociopolitical program of All-Union Radio is the informational broadcast Latest News of Program 1, as well as news broadcasts of the Maiak program. Various issues related to the building of socialism are elucidated in the radio series Leninist University of the Millions. All-Union Radio’s broadcast Time, Events, and People discusses various aspects of the everyday working lives of the Soviet people. International issues are the topics of International Journal, In the Countries of Socialism, International Commentators at the Round Table, and Through Countries and Continents.

At the suggestion of N. K. Krupskaia, programs intended for particular social and age groups of the population were created at the very outset of radio broadcasting. There are programs for workers (for example, Workers’ Noon), the rural population (Land and People and Rural Encounters), children (such as Coevals and Pioneer Dawn), and young people. The radio station Iunost’ has different series for rural youth, students at vocational and technical schools, students at higher educational institutions, and soldiers and a special program for workers building the Baikal-Amur Mainline.

Literary and dramatic programming acquaints listeners with the best fiction works and plays of Russian, Soviet, and foreign writers. Famous writers and poets, as well as leading critics, appear on the radio, in such broadcasts as Writers at the Microphone, Poetic Notebook, Literature and Art Abroad, and Theater and Life. All-Union Radio regularly participates in the international festival of radio programs for children and young people.

The role of radio has been particularly great in acquainting listeners with the works of Soviet composers, classical works, and new foreign musical works. Program 1 alone broadcasts 15 to 17 concerts and general programs about music on All-Union Radio. Maiak airs musical broadcasts around the clock. Music constitutes a large part of Program 3 and all of Program 4.

A number of broadcasts are based on listeners’ letters; they include Radio Mail, Iunost’ Army Mailbag, As You Requested, Poetic Notebook, and In the World of Words. Advice and information on a variety of topics are given. A great deal of attention is devoted to educational broadcasts. Programs differ according to the educational level of the audience and according to the branches of knowledge. One such popular program is Radio University of Musical Culture. Educational broadcasts prepared by local radio committees also enjoy extensive coverage. Programs reporting sports news and providing coverage of sports events within the country and of major international competitions are broadcast regularly.

An important role in All-Union Radio and on the local radio committees is played by public editorial desks, which include workers, scientists, and specialists in various social, scientific, and cultural fields. Many programs are developed and broadcast with the help of worker correspondents and free-lance correspondents. Requests and suggestions of listeners are taken into consideration in the preparation of broadcasts.

Regular broadcasts to foreign countries were begun in 1929, first in German and then in English, French, and other languages. In 1975 ten editorial boards were involved in broadcasting to various countries and regions in 70 languages. Broadcasts for foreign listeners are also prepared by the Mir i Progress station (founded 1964), an organ of Soviet public organizations. Soviet radio provides listeners throughout the world with the true facts about the first socialist country, the Soviet way of life, and the successes of Soviet workers in the building of communism; it also explains the foreign and domestic policies of the CPSU and the Soviet government. Musical programs and programs about the arts are also broadcast. Broadcasts to foreign countries are also made by nine republic committees, those of Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Armenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, the Ukraine, and Estonia. More than 200 hours of programming is broadcast per day from Moscow to foreign countries. (See Tables 2 and 3 on the development of radio networks in the USSR.)

Table 2. Development of radio and television in the USSR (end of year)
Number of television stations and repeater stations ...............22753447
Receiving points (millions) ...............763.4216.3
radio receivers ...............1.127875
television sets ...............40014.875
wired radio outlets ...............5.9308

Television. Experimental television transmissions with a small-screen mechanical television system were made in the USSR in 1931. The first transmission of a moving image was made in 1932. Regular broadcasting of mechanical television with sound was begun in 1934. The decree of the Council of People’s Commissars On Measures for Improving Communication (1934) contained concrete instructions for the development of television. In 1938 experimental electronic television transmissions by Moscow and Leningrad television stations were begun. This expanded television’s creative possibilities and established the conditions necessary for the development of mass television broadcasting. In 1939 regular electronic television broadcasting was begun in Moscow, when a film was made by Soiuzkinokhronika for television of the opening of the Eighteenth Congress of the ACP(B).

There was no television broadcasting in the USSR—as in other European countries—during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45). The first postwar broadcast was made on May 7,1945. On Dec. 15,1945, the Moscow television station was the first in Europe to resume regular television broadcasting (twice a week). The Leningrad television center resumed regular broadcasting in 1947. In 1951 the Central Television Studio was established, where in 1954 editorial offices (departments) were set up for propaganda, industry, agriculture, science, and sports.

The Soviet television system includes Central Television and republic and local (krai and oblast) television broadcasting services, which use programs from Intervision and other foreign television organizations. Television stations were established in 1952 in the capitals of the Union republics. By the late 1950’s, television reception was available throughout the country. The first transmissions from the spacecraft Vostok 3, piloted by Cosmonaut A. G. Nikolaev in 1962, marked the beginning of space television, and thus the USSR became the birthplace of space television.

Regular color programming was begun in 1967. Central Television programs are prepared and shown by 11 main editorial offices, the Main Programming Board, and the Fiftieth Anniversary of the October Revolution Television Technical Center. There are similar editorial offices (departments) at local studios. The Television Technical Center is the largest television station in Europe and one of the largest in the world.

Central Television broadcasts (1980) ten programs, six of which are telecast in remote areas of the country. Program 1—the main program—carries news, sociopolitical, artistic, and general information broadcasts for the entire Soviet Union. Broadcasting an average of 13 hours a day, it includes the main programs of Central Television. Its programs are received in the European part of the USSR and in a number of adjacent areas. (By 1970, it was transmitted in all the Union-republic capitals and 200 other cities.) Program 2 provides news, publicistic, and artistic broadcasts. Daily programming averages four hours a day and is received in areas near Moscow. Much of its programming deals with life in Moscow and Moscow Oblast. Program 3 offers educational and popular-science broadcasts for students in secondary, specialized, and higher educational institutions and for specialists working in various branches of the national economy. The average daily broadcasting time is seven hours. The programs are broadcast to a number of areas in the European USSR. Program 4 offers artistic, educational, and sports programs. Daily programming, which averages 5.5 hours, can be received in the European part of the USSR and includes a significant proportion of repeat broadcasts.

Time zone considerations have led to the preparation of a second edition of Program 1, entitled East (Vostok), for Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Kirghizia, Turkmenistan, and a number of areas of Kazakhstan and the Urals. Daily programming averages 13 hours. Program 1 supplies the material for the first, second, and third programs of the Orbita system, and is transmitted by means of a space communications system to certain parts of Siberia, the Far East, the Far North, and a number of areas of Kazakhstan and Middle Asia. Average daily broadcast times are 12.6, 12.1, and 12.6 hours, respectively.

Ground and space communications systems are used for the transmission of television programs. The ground receiving and transmitting network includes (1975), in addition to programming television stations, more than 1,600 repeater stations. Space television communication is achieved by using artificial earth satellites of the type Molniia 1, Molniia 2, Molniia 3, Raduga, and Ekran, as well as by using 70 Orbita ground receiving stations, a Mars 1 receiving and transmitting station, and five stations of the international Intersputnik system. Soviet Orbita-type space receiving telecommunication stations are in operation in the German Democratic Republic, the Polish People’s Republic, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, and Cuba.

Republic and local (krai and oblast) television broadcasting is conducted from 117 programming television centers ǀ(1980). Local broadcasts supplement Central Television broadcasts. Ninety-one television centers broadcast over two programs, while 14 cities, such as Leningrad and Kiev, carry broadcasts over three programs. The Alma-Ata and Frunze studios broadcast over four programs. Broadcasts in the indigenous languages of the indigenous populations of the Union and autonomous republics are also transmitted in all the republics. Color television programs are regularly filmed locally in all the Union republic capitals, as well as in Leningrad, Volgograd, Sverdlovsk, Novosibirsk, Gorky, Saratov, Cheliabinsk, Petrozavodsk, Vladivostok, and Perm’. Color transmissions are received in more than 700 cities. Closed-circuit television is developing successfully, mainly at higher educational institutions, enterprises, and medical institutions.

Between 1971 and 1975, 92 high-power transmitting stations were built, and the Orbita system of receiving stations was expanded considerably. Television broadcasting encompasses an area inhabited by 86 percent of the country’s population. By the beginning of 1978, four out of every five families owned television sets.

Broad coverage of life in the Soviet Union and the entire world was provided by television broadcasts devoted to the 50th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, the 50th anniversary of the All-Union Lenin Communist Youth League, the 100th anniversary of the birth of V. I. Lenin, the 50th anniversary of the formation of the USSR, and the 30th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War (1941–45). The most important such broadcasts were Chronicle of a Half Century, In Lenin’s Footsteps, The Indissoluble Union, and Memory of Fiery Years, as well as the informational broadcasts Time and News. In the period 1971–75, a series chronicling life in the USSR was prepared. It included 140 broadcasts of the cycle The Five-year Plan-Ahead of Schedule! and programs of From Congress to Congress, which presented a panoramic view of the achievements of all the Soviet republics in socioeconomic and cultural construction. Attention is focused on international issues in the series International Panorama, Cooperation, Studio Nine, and The Soviet Union Through the Eyes of Foreign Guests and in conversations of foreign news analysts. Much time is also devoted to presentations by outstanding industrial workers and innovators and discussions with war veterans and experienced workers, for example, the program With All One’s Heart.

Answering the questions of workers is an important type of television program. Well-known scholars, scientists, journalists, and public figures appear on such broadcasts. In 1976 television mail totaled 1,665,000 letters.

One of the most important sociopolitical broadcasts, Lenin’s University of the Millions, discusses contemporary problems of Marxist-Leninist theory, as well as materials and documents of the Communist Party.

The series Man, Earth, and Universe, Science Today, The Obvious and the Incredible, and A Word by the Scholar discuss current scientific and technological problems and their role in the development of the economy and in the expansion of man’s knowledge about the surrounding world. General information series, such as Motion-picture Travel Club, In the Animal World, and Health, are extremely popular.

The television programs Youth Broadcast, Good Luck to You, and Well Now, Girls are intended for young people. A number of programs are intended for children of all ages, including Buglers, Reply, Good Night, Little Ones, and the television olympiads Musical Evenings for Young People, Happy Starts, and Skilled Hands. The series Friendly Faces, many programs of which are prepared on the basis of letters from viewers, tells about outstanding teachers, about the work experience of various children’s groups, and about Soviet people who devote all their efforts to the upbringing of the younger generation.

The role and place of literary and artistic figures in the life of the country are discussed in Pages From the Work of Soviet Writers, Talks About Literature, Artistic Masters, Poetry, and Stories About Artists. A special place is occupied by educational television programs, which are prepared jointly with public education organizations, the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the USSR, the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and leading educational institutions. Programs for secondary schools cover the main topics of most academic disciplines and are telecast directly to the classroom; such programs are also telecast for evening viewing by students. Programs are regularly broadcast for teachers (Teachers on Camera), for prospective students in higher educational institutions, and for students in correspondence and evening higher educational institutes. Series for specialists employed in various branches of the national economy enable them to improve their skills without leaving their jobs. Further expansion of educational television is being planned.

Table 3. Development of radio and television in the Union republics
 Receiving points1 (thousands)
1 Radio receivers, television sets, and wired radio outlets
RSFSR ...............4,64139,335115,929
Ukrainian SSR ...............1,30312,37937,534
Byelorussian SSR ...............1911,9537,021
Uzbek SSR ...............721,9705,851
Kazakh SSR ...............1512,3569,090
Georgian SSR ...............678982,446
Azerbaijan SSR ...............648802,385
Lithuanian SSR ...............965182,013
Moldavian SSR ...............186542,534
Latvian SSR ...............1676851,924
Kirghiz SSR ...............243741,516
Tadzhik SSR ...............173241,346
Armenian SSR ...............383811,366
Turkmen SSR ...............283381,283
Estonian SSR ...............993911,216

The theory of television genres is being developed. The main groups are information and publicistic programs (reportage, feature stories, and information programs), documentary and artistic genres (discussions, docudramas, and television contests), and artistic entertainment genres (television performances, including dramatic, literary, estrada [variety stage], musical, and puppet presentations; concerts; television films). The educational program, which includes lectures, educational theater, and television excursions, constitutes a special genre. Promising television forms are serialized works (for example, short story, novel, or news specials) and cyclic broadcasts.

As a new art form, television is in a continuous state of development. One of the illustrations of this is the artistic broadcasting of recent years. Works for television depict the heroism of the Soviet people during the October Revolution of 1917, the Civil War of 1918–20, and the Great Patriotic War (1941–15) and in socialist construction. These include the serialized feature films His Excellency’s Aide-de-camp, Operation Trust, How the Steel Was Tempered, Shadows Disappear at Noon, We Draw the Fire on Ourselves, For the Rest of Your Life, and Seventeen Moments of Spring, as well as the televised presentations Such a Short, Long Life and Kruzhilikha. Serialized films about the working man have been created, including such films about the working class as Assignment, You Will Gain It in Battle, and Difficult Storeys and such films about kolkhoz life as Var’ka’s Land, Only Three Weeks, and lurka’s Dawns.

Television has contributed much to the creation of a library of stage performances. By 1980, more than 400 performances had been recorded on film.

Musical broadcasts acquaint viewers with the most important musical events in the USSR and abroad, popularize modern, classical, and folk music, and help deepen the viewing public’s understanding of music. These include the cycles Musical Kiosk, Your Opinion, The Great Symphony Orchestra Hour, and Meeting a Song, such estrada shows as Benefit and Art Lotto, and such folk music shows as Our Address Is the Soviet Union, Comrade Song, Songs From Near and Far, and Native Melodies.

Central Television places significant emphasis on telecasting motion pictures, which acquaints viewers with the best of Soviet and world cinema. Motion-picture Panorama devotes its broadcasts to important events in Soviet and world cinema.

An important place in television scheduling is occupied by sports broadcasts and coverage of international championships and Olympic Games.

In accordance with the decree of the Central Committee of the CSPU On Measures for the Further Improvement of Radio and Television (1962), technical conditions for receiving programs were improved everywhere, and the exchange of programs between Moscow, the republics, and the oblasts was expanded. Courses to train radio communication and broadcasting workers were established; in 1977 nine such courses were offered at higher educational institutions. (See Tables 2 and 3 for the development of television networks in the USSR.)

Soviet television participates in various international competitions and festivals, the most important of which are the Prague television film festival, the Leipzig movie and television documentary and short film week, the Sofia television theater festival, the Monte Carlo television festival, the Florence television festival (Italian Prize), and the Munich festival of programs for children and young people (Youth Prize). In turn, the USSR hosts the Intervision television-film festival Man and the Sea (since 1966) and the Rainbow international festival for television programs dealing with folk art.

Television and radio programs reflect the indissoluble moral and political unity of Soviet society, the solidarity of the party and the people in their support of the Leninist Central Committee of the CPSU, and the Soviet people’s enthusiasm for work, creative zeal, optimism, and confidence in the future. In addition to the other means of disseminating information and propaganda, television and radio help to strengthen the effectiveness and public awareness of all-Union socialist competition, to increase the efficiency of production and quality of work, and to successfully fulfill national economic plans.

Long-range plans for the development of the national economy of the USSR envision the further development of television and radio broadcasting, the more extensive use of color television and stereophonic radio broadcasting, and the expansion of the areas of reliable high-quality radio and television reception.



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