(Komsomol youth press), specialized periodicals whose chief goal is the communist upbringing of young people; in the USSR, a component of the party and Soviet press. In the USSR, where the All-Union Leninist Communist Youth League (the Komsomol) had 31 million members as of Jan. 1, 1973 (more than 50 percent of the population of Komsomol age), “Komsomol press” and “youth press” have the same meaning.
Fundamental to the Komsomol young people’s press are the principles of communist journalism: party spirit, a high ideological level, national character, irreconcilability in the struggle against the enemies of Marxism-Leninism, a scientific approach to problems, truthfulness, a close link with social practice, and indissoluble unity of upbringing and organizational work. In various ways the Communist Party has continuously directed and still directs the development and work of the Komsomol press.
V. I. Lenin’s speech at the Third Congress of the Komsomol in 1920 was very significant for the Komsomol and its press. It presented the younger generation with a task: to study communism, “to transform communism into a guide for . . . practical work” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 41, p. 308).
On the eve of the Great October Socialist Revolution and during the first months after its victory, young people’s proletarian revolutionary periodical publications emerged at the same time that the first organizations of working-class youth were founded in the industrial centers of the country. Among them were Iunyi proletarii (Petrograd), Internatsional molodezhi (Moscow), lunyi proletarii Urala (Ekaterinburg), and Iunyi proletarii (Penza). They summoned young people to the defense of the Revolution and contributed to the unification of the numerous leagues of working-class and peasant youth into a single Russian Communist Youth League.
The formation of the Komsomol in October 1918 led to the establishment and development of the Komsomol press. In December 1918 the journal Iunyi kommunist—the first printed organ of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Youth League—was first published in Moscow. Subsequently, the press of the local Komsomol committees emerged, including the newspapers Iunyi kommunar (Dec. 11, 1919, Moscow; now known as Moskovskii komsomolets), Smena (Dec. 18, 1919, Petrograd), and Krasnaia molodezh ’ (Mar. 11, 1919, Vilnius; now called Komsomol’skaia pravda and published in Lithuanian). In Baku, which had been captured by members of Musavat, the newspaper Molodoi rabochii was published illegally from June 11, 1919. (Today it is published in Russian and Azerbaijani under the title Molodezh’ Azerbaidzhana.} Many other local Komsomol publications also appeared during this period.
In early 1921 the Komsomol had almost 250,000 members. The cause of building socialism made it imperative to attract to the ranks of the Komsomol many thousands of new, active, conscientious, dedicated young fighters. The creation of a ramified network of the Komsomol youth press was intended to contribute to this need. A resolution of the Eleventh Congress of the RCP (Bolshevik) in 1922 recognized the need to publish newspapers of the Youth League in the large provincial centers and to allot to the Komsomol pages in party and soviet press organs in other towns. The congress approved the decision of the Central Committee on the publication of a major young people’s journal on popular science and literature. Created in May 1922, the journal Molodaia gvardiia was the outcome of this decision. By the time the Fifth Congress of the Russian Communist Youth League was convened in October 1922, 45 Komsomol newspapers and ten journals were being published. A decision of the Fifth Congress created the Molodaia gvardiia Publishing House of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Youth League (October 1922). Founded later were the journals Smena (1924), which was designed for young working people, and Zhurnal krest’ianskoi molodezhi (1925), a young peasants’ journal to which M. I. Kalinin contributed articles (“Besedy Kalinycha”). The children’s journal Iunye tovarishchi was issued from April to December 1922.
In the struggle against Trotskyism, which unfolded in 1924, the Komsomol press actively carried out party policy in the ranks of the Komsomol and resolutely opposed attempts to work in the theory of “youthful avant-gardism,” which rejected the party’s leadership role. Komsomol newspapers and journals published a section known as “Party and Komsomol,” which broadly elucidated the joint practical work of the two organizations.
After the creation in May 1922 of the V. I. Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization under the direction of the Central Committee of the Komsomol, the first Pioneer periodicals were established, including the journals Pioner and Vozhatyi, both of which were first published in 1924, and the newspaper Pionerskaia pravda, which was published from 1925.
The first attempt to create a central Komsomol newspaper was made by Krasnaia molodezh ’ (the organ of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Youth League; published from Apr. 10, 1921 to Mar. 16, 1922) and Iunosheskaia pravda (the organ of the Central Committee and the Moscow Committee of the Russian Communist Youth League; published between January 15 and Oct. 25, 1923). Komsomol’skaia pravda, the central daily newspaper of the Central Committee of the Komsomol, appeared for the first time on May 24, 1925. On Aug. 14, 1925, the Central Committee of the RCP(B) passed the resolution On the Work of the Komsomol in the Press, which put forth the tasks of transforming Komsomol’skaia pravda into an all-Union mass newspaper of the Komsomol and of further differentiating the various young people’s journals and developing a national Komsomol press (that is, a Komsomol press of the various natsii—nations in the historical sense).
In the 1920’s a national Komsomol press began to develop. For example, the newspaper Leninshil jas (Leninist Youth) was published in Kazakh in Alma-Ata from 1922. In Tashkent Yosh leninchi (Young Leninist), a Uzbek-language publication, appeared for the first time in 1925. For the young people of the Volga Region the Mordvinian-language newspaper Komsomolon’ vaigel (Voice of the Komsomol, 1927) and the other newspapers were published in Moscow.
Under the prewar five-year plans (1929–40) the Komsomol press became the group rostrum for the young builders of socialism. After the Jan. 20, 1929, publication in Pravda of Lenin’s article “How to Organize Competition” the newspaper Komsomol’skaia pravda called on the young working people in industry and transportation to organize an All-Union Socialist Competition. The Komsomol newspapers regularly published information on the participation of young people in the collectivization of agriculture, in construction projects under the first five-year plan (for example, the Dnieper Hydroelectric Power Plant, the Moscow and Gorky automobile plants, and the Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine), and in the All-Union Cultural Campaign for the Elimination of Illiteracy.
In the consolidation of the Komsomol press an important role was played by the worker-peasant correspondents’ (young correspondents’) movement. The total number of letters received by the Komsomol newspapers reached 100,000 in early 1926, and the participants in the movement numbered almost 50,000. In the early years of the Komsomol press the participation of thousands of young correspondents was, qualitatively, a new phenomenon. However, it would become typical of this press. For example, in 1970 alone, 260,000 letters arrived at Komsomol’skaia pravda, 23,789 at the journal Sel’skaia molodezh’, and 18,176 at Smena.
Soviet writers participated actively in the establishment of the Komsomol press. Among those whose works appeared in Komsomol newspapers and journals were M. Gorky, V. V. Mayakovsky, A. A. Fadeev, L. M. Leonov, M. A. Sholokhov, M. S. Shaginian, M. E. Kol’tsov, M. A. Svetlov, A. A. Zharov, I. P. Utkin, A. I. Bezymenskii, and A. P. Gaidar. N. A. Ostrovskii’s novel How the Steel Was Tempered was published in 1933 in the journal Molodaia gvardiia.
During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the Komsomol press contributed to the victory over the enemy, inspiring Soviet youth to heroic feats. Komsomol’skaia pravda organized 38 mobile editorial offices in the most important sectors at the front. Separate pages were devoted to combat experience (for example, the articles “Destroy Without Mercy the Fascist Tanks,” “Wield Skillfully the Antitank Rifle,” and “Set the Enemies’ Planes on Fire”). During the siege of Leningrad the newspaper Smena continued to appear. In addition to party newspapers, a number of underground Komsomol newspapers were published deep behind enemy lines, including Chyrvonaia zmena (Red Youth), the newspaper of the Central Committee and of the Minsk Oblast Committee of the Byelorussian Komsomol, which began to appear as a partisan newspaper on Jan. 31, 1943, and which published 42 issues. The newspapers Molod’ Ukraini (Ukrainian Youth) and Stalinskoeplemia were published behind enemy lines in the Ukraine. For services rendered during the war the newspapers Komsomol’skaia pravda and Molod’ Ukraini were awarded orders of the Patriotic War.
After the war the Komsomol press participated actively in mobilizing young people for the restoration of the national economy. Mobile editorial offices of Komsomol’skaia pravda were organized, for example, at the Dnieper Hydroelectric Power Plant and in war-ravaged Stalingrad.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s the Komsomol press actively propagandized party decisions on raising agricultural production and developing industry and provided news on the labor feats of young people who had been sent by the Komsomol to participate in the development of the virgin lands and the Golodnaia Steppe and in the construction of hydraulic engineering installations and many other new and very important structures. The Komsomol press energetically propagandized the movement of groups and shock workers of communist labor (1958), which took shape on the initiative of the Komsomol. Thus, the Komsomol press closely linked the propaganda of production experience with the shaping of a communist world view and with the upbringing of Soviet youth in communist attitudes toward labor and in lofty moral principles. The practice by which groups of Komsomol publications extend permanent patronage to top-priority Komsomol construction projects has become widespread.
In the Komsomol press a great deal of space is devoted to problems related to the physical training of young people. Sports competitions, games, and the achievements of young sportsmen receive regular coverage. The press gives serious attention to the aesthetic education of young people, publishing critical reviews of new books, plays, films, and works in the fine arts and conducting discussions of problems in the knowledge of the arts.
Komsomol publications devote a great deal of attention to the military patriotic education of young people. For example, many Komsomol newspapers have organized walking tours of places connected with the revolutionary, combat, and labor glory of the Soviet people. They also participate actively in the annual physical culture festivals.
In order to promote progress toward the goal of the international upbringing of Soviet young people and the strengthening of their friendship and cooperation with the young people of other countries, the Komsomol press regularly covers the expanding international ties of the Komsomol and the activity of the Committee of Youth Organizations of the USSR and the World Federation of Democratic Youth.
In 1972, 131 Komsomol newspapers with a total daily circulation of 16.6 million were published in the USSR, including one all-Union newspaper, Komsomol’skaia pravda (1972 circulation, more than 8 million), and 28 republic Komsomol newspapers were issued in the languages of the various natsii. (Each of the Union republics, except the RSFSR, has a Komsomol newspaper published in the national language and in Russian.) Moreover, Moscow, Kiev, and Leningrad have one young people’s newspaper each, which is published for both the city and the oblast named after it. Komsomol newspapers are also published in the krais and oblasts. In 1972, 42 Komsomol journal publications (26 journals and 16 collections) were issued.
The rich experience of the press of the Soviet Komsomol has contributed a great deal to the establishment of the mass young people’s press of the communist youth leagues of the countries of the socialist community. In 1970 the Dimitrov Communist Youth League (People’s Republic of Bulgaria) alone published 23 young people’s periodicals with a total circulation of more than 1 million copies. The newspapers of the youth leagues play an important role in the communist upbringing of the young people of the socialist countries. Among these newspapers are Narodna mladezh (People’s Republic of Bulgaria), Junge Welt (German Democratic Republic), Sztandar mtodych (Polish People’s Republic), Miada fronta and Smena (Czechoslovak Socialist Republic), and Zaluchudyn unen (Mongolian People’s Republic). Other youth league newspapers are agyar Ifjúság (Hungarian People’s Republic), Scînteia Tineretului (Socialist Republic of Rumania), Mladost (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), Tien fong (Democratic Republic of Vietnam), and Juventud rebelde (Cuba).
The youth publishing houses of the socialist countries make a practice of putting out joint issues of newspapers, books, and journals. Thus, since 1972 the publishing houses of the Central Committee of the Komsomol of the USSR and of the Central Committee of the Dimitrov Communist Youth League have issued Druzhba, a joint Soviet-Bulgarian literary and sociopolitical almanac.
The press of the communist youth leagues of the capitalist countries plays an important role in uniting progressive young people in their struggle against exploitation and monopolies and for social progress. Among the publications that have gained wide recognition are Avant-Garde (France) and Nuova generazione (Italy).
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th éd., vols. 16, 41.
O partiinoi i sovetskoi pechati: Sb. dokumentov. Moscow, 1954.
Sovetskaia pechat’ v dokumentakh. [Moscow, 1961.]
Komsomol’skie gazety SSSR, 1918–1969. (Bibliographical index compiled by I. Ia. Levin.) Moscow, 1970.
V. N. GANICHEV