Propaganda in the Soviet Union

Communist propaganda
Communist propaganda
Communist propaganda is propaganda aimed to advance the ideology of communism, communist worldview and interests of the communist movement.A Bolshevik theoretician, Nikolai Bukharin, in his The ABC of Communism wrote:...

 in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 was extensively based on the Marxism-Leninism
Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology, officially based upon the theories of Marxism and Vladimir Lenin, that promotes the development and creation of a international communist society through the leadership of a vanguard party over a revolutionary socialist state that represents a dictatorship...

 ideology to promote the Communist Party line. In societies with pervasive censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

, the propaganda was omnipresent and very efficient. It penetrated even social and natural sciences
Suppressed research in the Soviet Union
Suppressed research in the Soviet Union refers to scientific fields which were banned in the Soviet Union, usually for ideological reasons. Science and humanities were placed under a strict ideological scrutiny in the Soviet Union. All research was to be founded on the philosophy of dialectical...

 giving rise to various pseudo-scientific theories
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

 like Lysenkoism
Lysenkoism, or Lysenko-Michurinism, also denotes the biological inheritance principle which Trofim Lysenko subscribed to and which derive from theories of the heritability of acquired characteristics, a body of biological inheritance theory which departs from Mendelism and that Lysenko named...

, whereas fields of real knowledge, as genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

, cybernetics
Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to information theory, control theory and systems theory, at least in its first-order form...

, and comparative linguistics
Comparative linguistics
Comparative linguistics is a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages to establish their historical relatedness....

 were condemned and forbidden as "bourgeois pseudoscience
Bourgeois pseudoscience
Bourgeois pseudoscience was a term of condemnation in the Soviet Union for certain scientific disciplines that were deemed unacceptable from an ideological point of view....

". With "truths repressed, falsehoods in every field were incessantly rubbed in in print, at endless meetings, in school, in mass demonstrations, on the radio".

The main Soviet censorship body, Glavlit, employed seventy thousand full-time staff not only to eliminate any undesirable printed materials, but also "to ensure that the correct ideological spin was put on every published item". Telling anything against the "Party line" was punished by imprisonment or through punitive psychiatry. "Today a man only talks freely to his wife – at night, with the blankets pulled over his head", said writer Isaac Babel
Isaac Babel
Isaak Emmanuilovich Babel was a Russian language journalist, playwright, literary translator, and short story writer. He is best known as the author of Red Cavalry, Story of My Dovecote, and Tales of Odessa, all of which are considered masterpieces of Russian literature...

 privately to a trusted friend

According to Robert Conquest
Robert Conquest
George Robert Ackworth Conquest CMG is a British historian who became a well-known writer and researcher on the Soviet Union with the publication in 1968 of The Great Terror, an account of Stalin's purges of the 1930s...

, "All in all, unprecedented terror
State terrorism
State terrorism may refer to acts of terrorism conducted by a state against a foreign state or people. It can also refer to acts of violence by a state against its own people.-Definition:...

 must seem necessary to ideologically motivated attempts to transform society massively and speedily, against its natural possibilities. The accompanying falsifications took place, and on a barely credible scale, in every sphere. Real facts, real statistics, disappeared into the realm of fantasy. History, including the History of the Communist Party
History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which evolved out of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1912, can roughly be divided into the following periods; the early years of the Bolshevik Party in clandestinity and exile, the period of the October...

, or rather especially the history of the Communist Party, was rewritten. Unpersons disappeared from the official record. A new past, as well as new present, was imposed on the captive minds of the Soviet population, as was, of course, admitted when truth emerged in the late 1980s".

Schools and youth organizations

An important goal of Communist propaganda was to create a new man
New Soviet man
The New Soviet man or New Soviet person , as postulated by the ideologists of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was an archetype of a person with certain qualities that were said to be emerging as dominant among all citizens of the Soviet Union, irrespective of the country's cultural,...

. Schools and the Communist youth organizations, like Soviet pioneers
Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union
The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union, also Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union, also Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union, also Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer...

 and Komsomol
The Communist Union of Youth , usually known as Komsomol , was the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Komsomol in its earliest form was established in urban centers in 1918. During the early years, it was a Russian organization, known as the Russian Communist Union of...

, served to remove children from the "petty-bourgeois" family and indoctrinate
Indoctrination is the process of inculcating ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or a professional methodology . It is often distinguished from education by the fact that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned...

 the next generation into the collective
A collective is a group of entities that share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest, or work together on a specific project to achieve a common objective...

 way of life. The idea that the upbringing of children was the concern of their parents was explicitly rejected.

One schooling theorist stated:
We must make the young into a generation of Communists. Children, like soft wax, are very malleable and they should be moulded into good Communists... We must rescue children from the harmful influence of the family... We must nationalize
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 them. From the earliest days of their little lives, they must find themselves under the beneficient influence of Communist schools... To oblige the mother to give her child to the Soviet state – that is our task.".

Those born after the Revolution were explicitly told that they were to build a utopia of brotherhood and justice, and to not be like their parents, but completely Red. Even Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood, also known as Little Red Cap, is a French fairy tale about a young girl and a Big Bad Wolf. The story has been changed considerably in its history and subject to numerous modern adaptations and readings....

 was pressed into duty to explain the importance to them.

"Lenin's corners", "political shrine
A shrine is a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint, daemon or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated or worshipped. Shrines often contain idols, relics, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated....

s for the display of propaganda about the god-like founder of the Soviet state" have been established in all schools. Schools conducted marches, songs and pledges of allegiance to Soviet leadership. One of purposes was to instill in children the idea that they are involved in the World revolution, which is more important than any family ties. Pavlik Morozov
Pavlik Morozov
Pavel Trofimovich Morozov , better known by the diminutive Pavlik, was a Soviet youth praised by the Soviet press as a martyr. His story, dated to 1932, is that of a 13-year old boy who denounced his father to the authorities and was in turn killed by his family. His story was a subject of reading,...

 who betrayed his father to the secret police NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 was promoted as a great positive example.

Teachers in economic and social sciences were particularly responsible for inculcating "unshakable" Marxist-Leninist views.

All teachers were prone to follow, strictly, the plan for educating children approved by top for reasons of safety, which could cause serious problems dealing with social events that, having just happened, were not included in the plan. Children of "socially alien" elements were often the target of abuse or expelled, in the name of class struggle
Class struggle
Class struggle is the active expression of a class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote "The [written] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle"....

. Early in the regime, many teachers were drawn into Communist plans for schooling because of a passion for literacy and numeracy, which the Communists were attempting to spread.

Young Pioneers
Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union
The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union, also Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union, also Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union, also Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer...

, the youth group, was an important factor in the indoctrination of children. They were taught to be truthful and uncompromising and to fight the enemies of socialism. By the 1930s, this indoctrination completely dominated the Young Pioners.


Radio was put to good use, especially to reach the illiterate; radio receivers were put in communal locations, where the peasants would have to come to hear news, such as changes to rationing, and received propaganda broadcasts with it; some of these locations were also used for posters.

During World War II, radio was used to propagandize Germany; German POWs would brought on to speak and assure their relatives they were alive, with propaganda being inserted between the announcement that a soldier would speak and when he actually did, in the time allowed for his family to gather.


Wall posters were widely used in the early days, often depicting the Red Army's triumphs for the benefit of the illiterate. Throughout the 1920s, this was continued.

This continued in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, still for the benefit of the less literate, with bold, simple designs.


Films were heavily propagandistic, although they were pioneers in the documentary field. When war appeared inevitable, dramas, such as Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the city's history. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military...

were written to prepare the population; these were withdrawn after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, but returned to circulation after war began.

Films were shown in theaters and from propaganda trains. During the war newsreel were shown in subway stations so that the poor were not excluded by inability to pay. Films were also shot with stories of partisan activity, and of the suffering inflicted by the Nazis, such as Girl No. 217
Girl No. 217
Girl No. 217 is a 1945 Soviet drama film directed by Mikhail Romm. It was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.An anti-Nazi film, it depicted a Russian girl enslaved to an inhuman German family. She is even robbed of her name and forced to answer to "No. 217". Subplots depict abuse...

, depicting a Russian girl enslaved by a inhuman German family.

Because film needs an industrial base, propaganda also made much of the output of film.

Propaganda train

A unique institution was the World War II propaganda train, fitted with presses and portable cinemas, staffed with lecturers, artists, and actors.


Meetings with speakers were also used. Despite their dullness, many people found they created solidarity, and made them feel important and that they were being kept up to date on news.


Lectures were habitually used to instruct in the proper way of every corner of life.

Stalin's lectures on Leninism were instrumental in establishing that the Party was the cornerstone of the October Revolution, a policy Lenin acted on but did not write of theoretically.


Art, whether literature, visual art, or performing art, was for the purpose of propaganda. Furthermore, it should show one clear and unambiguous meaning. Long before Stalin imposed complete restraint, a cultural bureaucracy was growing up that regarded art's highest form and purpose as propaganda and began to restrain it to fit that role. Cultural activities were constrained by censorship and a monopoly of cultural institutions.

Imagery frequently drew on heroic realism
Heroic realism
Heroic realism is a term which has sometimes been used to describe art used as propaganda. Examples include the Socialist realism style associated with Communist regimes, and the very similar art style associated with Fascism...

. The Soviet pavilion for the Paris World Fair was surmounted by Vera Mukhina
Vera Mukhina
Vera Ignatyevna Mukhina was a prominent Soviet sculptor.- Life :Mukhina was born in Riga into a wealthy merchant family, and lived at Turgeneva st. 23/25, where a memorial plaque has now been placed. She later moved to Moscow, where she studied at several private art schools, including those of...

's a monumental sculpture, Worker and Kolkhoz Woman
Worker and Kolkhoz Woman
Worker and Kolkhoz Woman is a 24.5 meter high sculpture made from stainless steel by Vera Mukhina for the 1937 World's Fair in Paris, and subsequently moved to Moscow. The sculpture is an example of the socialist realistic style, as well as Art Deco style...

, in heroic mold. This reflected a call for heroic and romantic art, which reflected the ideal rather than the realistic.
Art was filled with health and happiness; paintings teemed with busy industrial and agricultural scenes, and sculptures depicted workers, sentries, and schoolchildren.

In 1937, the Industry of Socialism was intended as a major exhibit of socialist art, but difficulties with pain and the problem of "enemies of the people" appearing in scene required reworking, and sixteen months later, the censors finally approved enough for an exhibition.


In 1917, coming out of underground movements, the Communists prepared to begin publishing Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....


The very first law the Communists passed on assuming power was to suppress newspapers that opposed them. This had to be repealed and replaced with a milder measure, but by 1918, Lenin had liquidated the independent press, including journals stemming from the eighteenth century.

From 1930 to 1941, as well as briefly in 1949, the propaganda journal USSR in Construction
USSR in Construction
USSR in Construction was a propaganda journal published in the decade of 1930 to 1941, as well as briefly in 1949, in the Soviet Union. It became an artistic gem and counter-current in the first year of socialist realism. Its pages offered some of the greatest examples of early 20th-century...

 was circulated. It was published in Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, and, from 1938, Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

. The self proclaimed purpose of the magazine was to "reflect in photography the whole scope and variety of the construction work now going on the USSR”. The issues were aimed primarily at an international audience, especially western left wing intellectuals and businessmen, and were quite popular during its early publications, including Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, John Galsworthy, and Romen Rolland among its subscribers.


Immediately after the revolution, books were treated with less severity than newspapers, but the nationalizing of printing presses and publishing houses brought them under control. Libraries were purged, sometimes so extremely that works by Lenin were removed.

In 1922, the deportation of writers and scholars warned that no deviation was permitted, and pre-publication censorship was reinstated. Due to a lack of Bolshevist authors, many "fellow travelers" were tolerated, but money only come as long as they toed the party line.

During the purges, textbooks were often so frequently revised that students had to do without them.


Revolutionary theater was used to inspire support for the regime and hatred of its enemies, particularly agitprop
Agitprop is derived from agitation and propaganda, and describes stage plays, pamphlets, motion pictures and other art forms with an explicitly political message....

 theater, noted for its cardboard characters of perfect virtue and complete evil, and its coarse ridicule. Petrushka
Petrouchka or Petrushka is a ballet with music by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, composed in 1910–11 and revised in 1947....

 was a popular figure, often used to defend poor peasants and attack kulak
Kulaks were a category of relatively affluent peasants in the later Russian Empire, Soviet Russia, and early Soviet Union...


New Man

Many Soviet works depicted the development of a "positive hero" as requiring intellectualism and hard discipline. He was not driven by crude impulses of nature but by conscious self-mastery. The selfless new man was willing to sacrifice not only his life but his self-respect and his sensitivity. Equality and sacrifice were touted as the ideal appropriate for the "socialist way of life."

Work required exertion and austerity, to show the new man triumphing over his base instincts. Alexey Stakhanov's record-breaking day in mining coal caused him to be set forth as the exemplar of the "new man" and to inspire Stakhanovite movements. The movement inspired much pressure to increase production, on both workers and managers, with critics labeled "wreckers".

This reflected a change from early days, with emphasis on the "little man" among the anonymous labors, to favoring the "hero of labor" in the end of the first Five-Year Plan, with writers explicitly told to produce heroization. While these heroes had to stem from the people, they were set apart by their heroic deeds. Stakhanov himself was well suited for this role, not only a worker but for his good looks like many poster hero and as a family man. The hardships of the First Five-Year Plan were put forth in romantized accounts. In 1937-8, young heroes who accomplished great feats appeared on the front page of Pravda more often than Stalin himself.

Later, during the purges, claims were made that criminals had been "reforged" by their work on the White Sea/Baltic Canal; salvation through labor appeared in Nikolai Pogodin
Nikolai Pogodin
Nikolai Fyodorovich Pogodin was a Soviet playwright.Born into a peasant family at Gundorovskaya Stantsiya in the Don Province, young Nikolai Stukalov "spent a wandering childhood with his mother, who travelled from one Cossack village to another taking in sewing"; he worked as a bookbinder and...

's The Aristocrats as well as many articles.

This could also be a new woman; Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

described the Soviet woman as someone who had and could never have existed before. Female Stakhanovites were rarer than male, but a quarter of all trade-union women were designated as "norm-breaking." For the Paris World Fair, Vera Mukhina
Vera Mukhina
Vera Ignatyevna Mukhina was a prominent Soviet sculptor.- Life :Mukhina was born in Riga into a wealthy merchant family, and lived at Turgeneva st. 23/25, where a memorial plaque has now been placed. She later moved to Moscow, where she studied at several private art schools, including those of...

 depicted a momentual sculpture, Worker and Kolkhoz Woman
Worker and Kolkhoz Woman
Worker and Kolkhoz Woman is a 24.5 meter high sculpture made from stainless steel by Vera Mukhina for the 1937 World's Fair in Paris, and subsequently moved to Moscow. The sculpture is an example of the socialist realistic style, as well as Art Deco style...

, dressed in work clothing, pressing forward with his hammer and her sickle crossed. Pro-natalist policies encouraging women to have many children were justified by the selfishness inherent in limiting the next generation of "new men." "Mother-heroines" received medals for ten or more children.

Stakhanovites were also used as propaganda figures so heavily that some workers complained that they were skipping work.

The murder of Pavlik Morozov
Pavlik Morozov
Pavel Trofimovich Morozov , better known by the diminutive Pavlik, was a Soviet youth praised by the Soviet press as a martyr. His story, dated to 1932, is that of a 13-year old boy who denounced his father to the authorities and was in turn killed by his family. His story was a subject of reading,...

 was widely exploited in propaganda to urge on children the duty of informing on even their parents to the new state.

Class enemy

The class enemy was a pervasive feature of Communist propaganda. With the civil war, the Communist moved to massacre large numbers of kulaks and otherwise promulgate a Red Terror to terrify the masses into obedience.

Lenin proclaimed that they were exterminating the bourgeois as a class, a position reinforced by the many actions against landlords, well-off peasants, banks, factories, and private shops. Stalin warned, often, that with the struggle to build a socialist society, the class struggle would sharpen as class enemies grew more desperate. During the Stalinist era, all opposition leaders were routinely described as traitors and agents of foreign, imperialist powers.

The Five Year Plan intensified the class struggle with many attacks on kulaks, and when it was found that many peasant opponents were not rich enough to qualify, they were declared "sub-kulaks." "Kulaks and other class-alien enemies" were often cited as the reason for failures on collective farms. Throughout the First and Second Five Year plans, kulaks, wreckers, saboteurs and nationalists were attacked, leading up to the Great Terror. Those who profited from public property were "enemies of the people." By the late 1930s, all "enemies" were lumped together in art as supporters of historical idiocy. Newspapers reported even on the trial of children as young as ten for counterrevolutionary and fascist behavior. During the Holodomor
The Holodomor was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian SSR between 1932 and 1933. During the famine, which is also known as the "terror-famine in Ukraine" and "famine-genocide in Ukraine", millions of Ukrainians died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of...

, the starving peasants were denounced as saboteurs, all the more dangerous in that their gentle and inoffensive appearance made them appear innocent; the deaths were only proof that peasants hated socialism so much they were willing to sacrifice their families and risk their lives to fight it.

Stalin, denouncing White counter-revolutionaries, Trotskyists, wreckers, and others, particularly aimed his attention at the Communist old guard. The very improbability of the charges was cited as evidence, since more plausible charges could have been invented.

These enemies were rounded up for the gulags, which propaganda proclaimed to be "corrective labor camps" to such an extent that even people who saw the starvation and slave labor believed the propaganda rather than their eyes.

During World War II, entire nationalities, such as the Volga German
Volga German
The Volga Germans were ethnic Germans living along the River Volga in the region of southern European Russia around Saratov and to the south. Recruited as immigrants to Russia in the 18th century, they were allowed to maintain German culture, language, traditions and churches: Lutherans, Reformed,...

s, were branded traitors.

Stalin himself informed Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein , né Eizenshtein, was a pioneering Soviet Russian film director and film theorist, often considered to be the "Father of Montage"...

 that his film Ivan the Terrible
Ivan the Terrible (film)
Ivan the Terrible is a two-part historical epic film about Ivan IV of Russia made by Russian director Sergei Eisenstein. Part 1 was released in 1944 but Part 2 was not released until 1958 due to political censorship...

was flawed because it did not show the necessity of terror in Ivan's persecution of the nobility.

New society

A common theme was the creation of a new, utopian society, depicted in posters and newsreels, which inspired an enthusiasm in many people. Much propaganda was dedicated to a new community, as exemplified in the use of "comrade." This new society was to be classless. Distinctions were to be based on function, not class, and all possessed the equal duty to work. During the 1930s discussion of the new constitution, one speaker proclaimed that there were, in fact, no classes in the USSR, and newspapers effused over how the dreams of the working class were coming true for the luckiest people in the world. One admission that there were classes—workers, peasants, and working intelligentsia—dismissed it as unimportant, as these new classes had no need to conflict.

Military metaphors were used frequently for this creation, as in 1929, where the collectivization of agriculture was officially termed a "full-scale socialist offensive on all fronts." The Second Five Plan saw a slowdown of the Socialist Offensive, this against a propaganda background of trumpeting the USSR's triumphs on "the battlefield of building socialism."

In Stalinist times, this was often portrayed as a "great family", with Stalin as the great father.

Happiness was mandatory; in a novel where a horse was described as moving "slowly", the censor objected, asking why it was not moving speedily, being happy like the rest of the collective farm workers.

Kohlkhoznye Rebiata published bombastic reports from the collective farms of their children. When hot breakfasts were provided for schoolchildren, particularly in city schools, the program was announced with great fanfare.

Since Communist society was the highest and most progressive form of society, it was ethically superior to all others, and "moral" and "immoral" were determined by whether things helped or hindered its development. Tsarist law was overtly abolished, and while judges could use it, they were to be guided by "revolutionary consciousness". Under the pressure of the need for law, more and more was implemented; Stalin justified this in propaganda as the law would "wither away" best when its authority was raised to the highest, through its contradictions.

When the draft of the new constitution led people to believe that private property would be returned and that workers could leave collective farms, speakers were sent out to "clarify" the matter.


Stalin bluntly declared the Bolshevists must close the fifty or a hundred year gap with Western countries in ten years, or socialism would be destroyed. In support of the Five Year Plan, he declared being an industrial laggard had caused Russia's historical defeats. Newspapers reported overproduction of quotas, even though many had not occurred, and where they did, the goods were often shoddy.
During the 1930s, the development of the USSR was just about the only theme of art, literature and film. The heroes of Artic exploration were glorified. The twentieth anniversary of the October Revolution was honored with a five volume work glorifying the accomplishments of socialism and (in the last volume) "scientifically based fantasies" of the future, raising such questions as whether the whole world or only Europe would be socialist in twenty years.

Even while a majority of the population was still rural, the USSR was proclaimed "a mighty industrial power." USSR in Construction
USSR in Construction
USSR in Construction was a propaganda journal published in the decade of 1930 to 1941, as well as briefly in 1949, in the Soviet Union. It became an artistic gem and counter-current in the first year of socialist realism. Its pages offered some of the greatest examples of early 20th-century...

glorified the Moscow-Volga Canal, with only the briefest mention of the slave labor that had built it.

In 1939, a rationing plan was considered but not implemented because it would undermine the propaganda of improving care for the people, whose lives grew better and more cheerful every year.

During World War II, the slogans were altered from overcoming backwardness to overcoming the "fascist beast" but continued focus on production. The slogan proclaimed "Everything for the Front!" Teams of Young Communists were used as shocktroops to shame workers into higher production as well as spread socialist propaganda.

In the 1950s, Khrushchev repeatedly boasted that the USSR would soon surpass the West in material well-being. Other communists officials agreed that it would soon show its superiority, because capitalism was like a dead herring—shining as it rotted.

Subsequently, the USSR was referred to as "developed socialism."

Mass movement

Socialism was to be built not only by the centralized state, but by the masses themselves; Lenin proclaimed that it was hard to give more details than "All Power to the Soviets!"

This led to a great emphasis on education.

The first post-mortem attack on Stalin was articles in Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

proclaiming that the masses made history and the error of a "cult of the individual."


A common motif in propaganda for the outside world was that the Soviet Union was peace-loving.

Many warnings were made of the necessity of keeping out of any imperialistic war, as the breakdown of capitialism would make capitialist countries more desperate.

The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was presented as a peace measure.


Even before the Bolshevists seized power, Lenin proclaimed in speeches that the Revolution was the vanguard of a world-wide revolution, both international and socialist. The workers were informed they were the vanguard of world socialism; the slogan "Workers of the world, unite!" was constantly repeated.

The Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic used the term Rossiiskaya not Russkaya, to make it refer to the region rather than the ethnic group, and so include all ethnicities.

Lenin founded the organization Comintern
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

 to propagate Communism internationally. Stalin proceeded to use it to promote Communism throughout the world for the benefit of the USSR. When this topic was a difficulty dealing with the Allies in World War II, Comintern was dissolved. Similarly, The Internationale
The Internationale
The Internationale is a famous socialist, communist, social-democratic and anarchist anthem.The Internationale became the anthem of international socialism, and gained particular fame under the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1944, when it was that communist state's de facto central anthem...

 was dropped as the anthem.

Japanese prisoners of war were intensively propagandized before their release in 1949, to act as Soviet agents.

Personality cult

While Lenin was uncomfortable with the popular personality cult that sprung up about him, the party exploited it during the civil war and officially enshined it after his death. As early as 1918, a biography of Lenin was written, and busts were produced. With his death, his embalmed body was displayed (to exploit beliefs that the bodies of saints did not decay), and pictures books of his life were produced in mass quantities.

Stalin presented himself a simple man of the people, but distinct from everyday politics by his unique role as leader. His clothing was carefully selected to cement this image. Propaganda presented him as Lenin's heir, exaggerating their relationship, until the Stalin cult drained out the Lenin cult—an effect shown in posters, where at first Lenin would be the dominating figure over Stalin, but as time went on became first only equal, and then smaller and more ghostly, until he was reduced to the byline on the book Stalin was depicted reading. This occurred despite the historical accounts describing Stalin as insignificiant, or even a "gray blur", in the early Revolution. From the late 1920s until it was debunked in the 1960s, he was presented as the chief military leader of the civil war. Stalingrad was renamed for him on the claim that he had single-handedly, and against orders, saved it in the civil war.

He often figured as the great father of the "great family" that was the new Soviet Union. Regulations on how exactly to portray Stalin's image and write of his life were carefully promulgated. Inconvenient facts, such as his having wanted to cooperate with the tsarist government on his return for exile, were purged from his biography.

His work for the Soviet Union was praised in paeans to the "light in the Kremlin window."

Marx, Engels, Lenin, and above all Stalin appeared frequently in art.

Discussions of the proposed constitution in the 1930s included effusive thanks to "Comrade Stalin." Engineering projects such as canals were described as having been decreed personally by Stalin. Young Pioneers were enjoined to struggle for "the cause of Lenin and Stalin". During the purges, he increased his appearances in public, having his photograph taken with children, airmen, and Stakhanovites, being hailed as the source of the "happy life," and according to Pravda, riding the subway with common workers.

The propaganda was effectual. Many young people hard at work at construction idolized Stalin. Many people chose to believe rather that the charges made at the purges were true rather than believing that Stalin had betrayed the revolution.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, this personality cult was certainly instrumental in inspiring a deep level of commitment from the masses of the Soviet Union, whether on the battlefield or in industrial production. Stalin made a fleeting visit to the front so that propagandists could claim that he had risked his life with the frontline soldiers. The cult was, however, toned down until approaching victory was near.

Soon after his death, attacks, first veiled and then open, were made on the "cult of the individual" arguing that history was made by the masses.

Khrushchev, though leading the attacks on the cult, nevertheless sought out publicity, and his photograph frequently appeared in the newspapers.


As Stalin drew power to himself, Trotsky was pictured in an anti-personality cult. It began with the assertion that he had not joined the Bolshevists until late, after the planning of the October Revolution was done.

Propaganda of extermination

Some historians believe, an important goal of communist propaganda was "to justify political repression
Political repression
Political repression is the persecution of an individual or group for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take political life of society....

s of entire social groups which Marxism considered antagonistic to the class of proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

", as in decossackization
Decossackization is a term used to describe the Bolsheviks' policy of the systematic elimination of the Cossacks of the Don and the Kuban as a social and ethnic group...

 or dekulakization
Dekulakization was the Soviet campaign of political repressions, including arrests, deportations, and executions of millions of the better-off peasants and their families in 1929-1932. The richer peasants were labeled kulaks and considered class enemies...

 campaigns. Richard Pipes
Richard Pipes
Richard Edgar Pipes is an American academic who specializes in Russian history, particularly with respect to the Soviet Union...

 wrote: "a major purpose of Communist propaganda was arousing violent political emotions against the regime's enemies."

The most effective means to achieve this objective "was the denial of the victim's humanity through the process of dehumanization
Dehumanization is to make somebody less human by taking away his or her individuality, the creative and interesting aspects of his or her personality, or his or her compassion and sensitivity towards others. Dehumanization may be directed by an organization or may be the composite of individual...

", "the reduction of real or imaginary enemy to a zoological state". In particular, Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 called to exterminate enemies "as harmful insects", "lice" and "bloodsuckers".

According to writer and propagandist Maksim Gorky, "Class hatred should be cultivated by an organic revulsion as far as the enemy is concerned. Enemies must be seen as inferior. I believe quite profoundly that the enemy is our inferior, and is a degenerate not only in the physical plane but also in the moral sense".

He also called to use enemy of the people
Enemy of the people
The term enemy of the people is a fluid designation of political or class opponents of the group using the term. The term implies that the "enemies" in question are acting against society as a whole. It is similar to the notion of "enemy of the state". The term originated in Roman times as ,...

 as "human guinea pig
Guinea pig
The guinea pig , also called the cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, these animals are not in the pig family, nor are they from Guinea...

for human experimentation
Human experimentation
Human subject research includes experiments and observational studies. Human subjects are commonly participants in research on basic biology, clinical medicine, nursing, psychology, and all other social sciences. Humans have been participants in research since the earliest studies...

 in the USSR Institute of Experimental Medicine in 1933, which would be "a true service to humanity", according to him. According to The Black Book of Communism
The Black Book of Communism
The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression is a book authored by several European academics and edited by Stéphane Courtois, which describes a history of repressions, both political and civilian, by Communist states, including genocides, extrajudicial executions, deportations, and...

, an example of such demonizing animal rhetoric were speeches by state procurator Andrey Vyshinsky
Andrey Vyshinsky
Andrey Januaryevich Vyshinsky – 22 November 1954) was a Soviet politician, jurist and diplomat.He is known as a state prosecutor of Joseph Stalin's Moscow trials and in the Nuremberg trials. He was the Soviet Foreign Minister from 1949 to 1953, after having served as Deputy Foreign...

 during Stalin's show trial
Show trial
The term show trial is a pejorative description of a type of highly public trial in which there is a strong connotation that the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt of the defendant. The actual trial has as its only goal to present the accusation and the verdict to the public as...

s. He said about the suspects:
"Shoot these rabid dogs. Death to this gang who hide their ferocious teeth, their eagle claws, from the people! Down with that vulture Trotsky, from whose mouth a bloody venom drips, putrefying the great ideals of Marxism!... Down with these abject animals! Let's put an end once and for all to these miserable hybrids of foxes and pigs, these stinking corpses! Let's exterminate the mad dogs of capitalism, who want to tear to pieces the flower of our new Soviet nation! Let's push the bestial hatred they bear our leaders back down their own throats!"


Early in the revolution, atheistic propaganda was pushed in an attempt to obliterate religion. Regarding religion more as a class enemy than an contender for people's minds, the government abolished the prerogatives of the Orthodox Church and targeted with ridicule. This included lurid anti-religious processions and newspaper articles that backfired badly, shocking the deeply religious population. It was stopped and replaced by lectures and other more intellectual methods. The Society of the Godless organized for such purposes, and the magazines Bezbozhnik
Bezbozhnik was a monthly anti-religious and atheistic satirical magazine, published in the Soviet Union between 1922 and 1941 by the Society of the Godless. Between 1923 and 1931, there was also a daily newspaper called Bezbozhnik u Stanka...

(The Godless) and The Godless in the Workplace promulgated atheistic propaganda. Atheistic education was regarded as a central task of Soviet schools. The attempt to liquidate illiteracy was hindered by attempts to combine it with atheistic education, which caused peasants to stay away and which was eventually reduced.

In 1929, all forms of religious education were banned as religious propaganda, and the right to anti-religious propaganda was explicitly affirmed, whereupon the League of the Godless became the League of the Militant Godless.

A "Godless Five-Year Plan" was proclaimed, purportedly at the instigation of the masses. Christian virtues such as humility and meekness were ridiculed in the press, with self-discipline, loyalty to the party, confidence in the future, and hatred of class enemies being recommended instead.

Much anti-religious efforts were dedicated to promoting science in its place. In the debunking of a miracle—a Madonna weeping tears of blood, which was shown to be rust contaminating water by pouring multi-colored waters into the statue—was offered to the watching peasants as proof of science, resulting in the crowd killing two of the scientists.

A "Living Church
Living Church
The Living Church , also called Renovationist Church or Renovationism was a schism in the Russian Orthodox Church in 1922–1946...

" movement despised Russian Orthodoxy's hierarchy and preached that socialism was the modern form of Christianity; Trotsky urged their encouragement to split Orthodoxy.

During World War II, this effort was rolled back; Pravda capitalized the word "God" for the first time, as religious attendance was actually encouraged. Much of this was for foreign consumption, where it was widely disbelieved, with Roosevelt condemning both Nazism and Communism as atheistic regimes which did not permit freedom of conscience.


Between campaigns against bourgeois culture and making the ideology of the Socialist Offensive intelligible to the masses with cliches and stereotypes, an anti-intellectual tone grew in propaganda. Communist leaders posed as common people, lacking interest in such matters as fine art and ballet, even as they selectively chose from working class culture.


In the 1920s, much Soviet propaganda for the outside world was aimed at capitalist countries as plutocracies, and claiming that they intended to destroy the Soviet Union as the workers' paradise. Capitalism, being responsible for the ills of the world, therefore was fundamentally immoral.

Fascism was presented as a terroristic outburst of finance capitial, and drawing from the petit bourgeoisie, and the middling peasants, equivalent to kulaks, who were the losers in the historical process.

During the early stages of World War II, it was overtly presented as a war between capitalists, which would weaken them and allow Communist triumph as long as the Soviet Union wisely stayed out. Communist parties over the world were instructed to oppose the war as a clash between capitalist states.

After World War II, the United States of America was presented as a bastion of imperial oppression, with which non-violent competition would take place, as capitalism was in its last stages.


Campaigns against the tsar society continued well into the Soviet Union's history. One speaker recounted how men had had to serve for twenty-five years in the imperial army, to be heckled by an audience member that it did not matter, since they had had food and clothing.

Children were informed that the "accursed past" had been left far behind them, they could become completely "Red".

Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact

In the face of massive Soviet bewilderment, the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was defended by speaker in Gorky Park. Molotov defended it in an article in Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

proclaiming that it was a treaty between states, not systems. Stalin himself devised diagrams to show that Chamberlain had wanted to pit the USSR against Nazi Germany, but Comrade Stalin had wisely pit Great Britain against Nazi Germany.

For the duration of the pact, propagandists highly praised Germans.


Stalin himself declared in a 1941 broadcast that Germany waged war to exterminate the peoples of the USSR. Propaganda published in Pravda denounced all Germans as killers, bloodsuckers, and cannibals, and much play was made of atrocity claims. Hatred was actively and overtly encouraged. They were told that the Germans took no prisoners. Partisans were encouraged to see themselves as avengers.

Many anti-German films in the Nazi era revolved about the persecution of Jews in Germany, such as Professor Mamlock
Professor Mamlock (1938 film)
This article is about the 1938 film. For the play upon which it was based, see Professor Mamlock . For the film by Konrad Wolf, see Professor Mamlock ....

and The Oppenheim Family. Girl No. 217
Girl No. 217
Girl No. 217 is a 1945 Soviet drama film directed by Mikhail Romm. It was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.An anti-Nazi film, it depicted a Russian girl enslaved to an inhuman German family. She is even robbed of her name and forced to answer to "No. 217". Subplots depict abuse...

depicted the horrors inflicted on Russian POWs, especially the enslavement of the main character Tanya to an inhuman German family, reflecting the harsh treatment of OST-Arbeiter
OST-Arbeiter was a designation for slave workers gathered from Eastern Europe to do forced labor in Germany during World War II. The Ostarbeiters were mostly from the territory of Reichskommissariat Ukraine . Ukrainians made up the largest portion although many Belarusians, Russians, Poles and...

in Nazi Germany.

Despite their own treatment of religion, a revival of Orthodoxy was permitted during World War II to demonize Nazism as the sole enemy of religion.
Germany vs. Hitlerites

Soviet propaganda to Germans during World War II was at pains to distinguish between the ordinary Germans and their leaders, the Hitlerites, and declaring they had no quarrel with the people. The only way to discover if a German soldier had fallen alive into Soviet hands was to listen; the radio would announce that a certain prisoner would speak, then give some time for his family to gather and listen, and fill it with propaganda.
A National Committee for 'Free Germany' was founded in Soviet prisoner-of-war camps in an attempt to foment an uprising in Germany.


Anti-fascism was commonly used in propaganda aimed outside the USSR during the 1930s, particularly to draw people into front organizations. The Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 was, in particular, used to quash dissent among European Communist parties and reports of Stalin's growing totalitarianism.


In face of the threat of Nazi Germany, the international claims of Communism were played down, and people were exorted to help defend the country on patriotic motives. The presence of a real enemy was used to inspire action and production in face of the threat to the Soviet Union, or Mother Russia
Russian nationalism
Russian nationalism is a term referring to a Russian form of nationalism. Russian nationalism has a long history dating from the days of Muscovy to Russian Empire, and continued in some form in the Soviet Union. It is closely related to Pan-Slavism...

. All Soviet citizens were called on to fight, and soldiers who surrendered had failed in their duty. To prevent retreats from Stalingrad, soldiers were urged to fight for the soil.

Russian history was pressed into providing a heroic past and patriotic symbols, although selectively, for instance praising men as state builders. Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky (film)
Alexander Nevsky is a 1938 historical drama film directed by Sergei Eisenstein, in association with Dmitri Vasilyev and a script co-written with Pyotr Pavlenko, who were assigned to ensure Eisenstein did not stray into "formalism" and to facilitate shooting on a reasonable timetable...

made a central theme the importance of the common people in saving Russia while nobles and merchants did nothing, a motif that was heavily employed. Still, the figures selected had no socialist connection. Artists and writers were permitted more freedom, as long as they did not criticize Marxism directly and contained patriotic themes. It was termed the "Great Patriotic War
Great Patriotic War (term)
The term Great Patriotic War , Velíkaya Otéchestvennaya voyná,) is used in Russia and some other states of the former Soviet Union to describe the portion of World War II from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945, against Nazi Germany and its allies in the many fronts of Soviet-German war.-History:The term...

" and stories presented it as a fight of ordinary people's heroism.

While the term "motherland" was used, it was used to mean the Soviet Union
Soviet people
Soviet people or Soviet nation was an umbrella demonym for the population of the Soviet Union. Initially used as a nonspecific reference to the Soviet population, it was eventually declared to be a "new historical, social and international unity of people".-Nationality politics in early Soviet...

, and while Russian heroes were revived, Soviet heroes were used plentifully as well. Appeals were made that the home of other nationalities were also the homes of their own.

Many Soviet citizens found treatment of soldiers who fell into enemy hands as "traitors to the Motherland" as suitable for their own grim determination, and "not a step back" inspired soldiers to fight with self-sacrifice and heroism.

This continued after the war in a campaign to remove anti-patriotic elements.

In the 1960s, reviving memories of the Great Patriotic War was used to bolster support for the regime, with all accounts to carefully censored to prevent accounts of Stalin's early incompetence, the defeats, and the heavy cost.

Soviet propaganda abroad

Trotsky and a small group of Communists regarded the Soviet Union as doomed without the spread of Communism internationally. The victory of Stalin, who regarded the construction of socialism in the Soviet Union as a necessary exemplar to the rest of the world and represented the majority view, did not, however, stop international propaganda.

CIA estimated in 1980s that the budget of Soviet propaganda abroad was between 3.5-4.0 billion dollars.

Propaganda abroad was partly conducted by Soviet intelligence agencies. GRU
GRU or Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye is the foreign military intelligence directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation...

 alone spent more than $1 billion for propaganda and peace movements against Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, which was a "hugely successful campaign and well worth the cost", according to GRU defector Stanislav Lunev
Stanislav Lunev
Stanislav Lunev is a former Soviet military officer, the highest-ranking GRU officer to defect from Russia to the United States.He was born in the family of a Soviet Army officer...

. He claimed that "the GRU and the KGB helped to fund just about every antiwar movement and organization in America and abroad".

According to Oleg Kalugin
Oleg Kalugin
Oleg Danilovich Kalugin , is a former KGB general. He was a longtime head of KGB operations in the United States and later a critic of the agency.-Early life and the KGB career:...

, "the Soviet intelligence was really unparalleled. ... The KGB programs -- which would run all sorts of congress
A congress is a formal meeting of the representatives of different nations, constituent states, independent organizations , or groups....

es, peace congresses, youth congresses, festival
A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

s, women's movements, trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 movements, campaigns against U.S. missiles in Europe, campaigns against neutron weapons, allegations that AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 ... was invented by the CIA ... all sorts of forgeries and faked material -- [were] targeted at politicians, the academic community, at the public at large."

Soviet-run movements pretended to have little or no ties with the USSR, often seen as noncommunist (or allied to such groups), but in fact were controlled by USSR. Most members and supporters, called "useful idiots" did not realize the fact that they were unwilling instruments of Soviet propaganda. The organizations aimed at convincing well-meaning but naive Westerners to support Soviet overt or covert goals. A witness in a US congressional hearing on Soviet cover activity described the goals of such organizations as the: "spread Soviet propaganda themes and create false impression of public support for the foreign policies of Soviet Union."

Much of the activity of the Soviet-run peace movements was supervised by the World Peace Council
World Peace Council
The World Peace Council is an international organization that advocates universal disarmament, sovereignty and independence and peaceful co-existence, and campaigns against imperialism, weapons of mass destruction and all forms of discrimination...

. Other important front organizations included the World Federation of Trade Unions
World Federation of Trade Unions
The World Federation of Trade Unions was established in 1945 to replace the International Federation of Trade Unions. Its mission was to bring together trade unions across the world in a single international organization, much like the United Nations...

, the World Federation of Democratic Youth
World Federation of Democratic Youth
The World Federation of Democratic Youth is a progressive youth organization, recognized by the United Nations as an international youth non-governmental organization. WFDY describes itself as an "anti-imperialist, left-wing" organisation...

, and the International Union of Students
International Union of Students
The International Union of Students is a worldwide nonpartisan association of university student organizations.The IUS is the umbrella organization for 155 such student organizations across 112 countries and territories representing approximately 25 million students.-Aim and work areas:The aims of...

. Somewhat less important front organizations included: Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization, Christian Peace Conference
Christian Peace Conference
The Christian Peace Conference was a Czech organization founded in 1958 by Josef Hromádka, a pastor who had spent the war years in the USA and moved back to Czechoslovakia when the war ended. Hromádka was a member of the Bureau of the World Peace Council...

, International Association of Democratic Lawyers
International Association of Democratic Lawyers
International Association of Democratic Lawyers is an international organization of jurists' associations.-Subsidiaries and affiliated organizations:Local:* Bangladesh - Democratic Lawyers Association of Bangladesh...

, International Federation of Resistance Movements, International Institute for Peace
International Institute for Peace
The International Institute for Peace says that it was founded in Vienna in 1956 and re-organised in 1989. According to Dr Julian Lewis, a campaigner against the peace movement, it was "set up by the Kremlin after the WPC [World Peace Council] was thrown out of Austria for subversion." According to...

, International Organization of Journalists
International Organization of Journalists
International Organization of Journalists was a Soviet bloc front organization.It was initially portrayed as a place where Western and Eastern Bloc journalists can meet...

, Women's International Democratic Federation and World Federation of Scientific Workers. There were also numerous smaller organizations, affiliated with the above fronts.

Those organizations received (total) more than 100 million dollars from USSR every year.

Propaganda against the United States included the following actions :
  • Promotion of false John F. Kennedy assassination theories
    John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories
    There has long been suspicion of a government cover-up of information about the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. There are also numerous conspiracy theories regarding the assassination that arose soon after his death and continue to be promoted today...

    , allegedly using writer Mark Lane
    Mark Lane (author)
    Mark Lane is an American lawyer who has written many books, including Rush to Judgment, one of two major books published in the immediate wake of the John F. Kennedy assassination that questioned the conclusions of the Warren Commission. Another book, Plausible Denial, published in 1991, continued...

  • Discrediting the CIA, using historian Philip Agee
    Philip Agee
    Philip Burnett Franklin Agee was a Central Intelligence Agency case officer and writer, best known as author of the 1975 book, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, detailing his experiences in the CIA. Agee joined the CIA in 1957, and over the following decade had postings in Washington, D.C., Ecuador,...

     (codenamed PONT).
  • Spreading rumors that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover
    J. Edgar Hoover
    John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972...

     was a homosexual.
  • Attempts to discredit Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

     by placing publications portraying him as an "Uncle Tom
    Uncle Tom
    Uncle Tom is a derogatory term for a person who perceives themselves to be of low status, and is excessively subservient to perceived authority figures; particularly a black person who behaves in a subservient manner to white people....

    " who was secretly receiving government subsidies.
  • Stirring up racial tensions in the United States by mailing bogus letters from the Ku Klux Klan
    Ku Klux Klan
    Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

    , placing an explosive package in "the Negro section of New York" (operation PANDORA), and spreading conspiracy theories that Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination had been planned by the US government.
  • Fabrication of the story that AIDS virus
    Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

     was manufactured by US scientists at Fort Detrick
    Fort Detrick
    Fort Detrick is a U.S. Army Medical Command installation located in Frederick, Maryland, USA. Historically, Fort Detrick was the center for the United States' biological weapons program ....

    ; the story was spread by Russian-born biologist Jakob Segal
    Jakob Segal
    Jakob Segal was a biology professor at Humboldt University in the former East Germany...


See also

  • Communist propaganda
    Communist propaganda
    Communist propaganda is propaganda aimed to advance the ideology of communism, communist worldview and interests of the communist movement.A Bolshevik theoretician, Nikolai Bukharin, in his The ABC of Communism wrote:...

  • Censorship in the Soviet Union
    Censorship in the Soviet Union
    Censorship in the Soviet Union was pervasive and strictly enforced.Censorship was performed in two main directions:*State secrets were handled by Main Administration for Safeguarding State Secrets in the Press was in charge of censoring all publications and broadcasting for state...

  • Nazi propaganda
    Nazi propaganda
    Propaganda, the coordinated attempt to influence public opinion through the use of media, was skillfully used by the NSDAP in the years leading up to and during Adolf Hitler's leadership of Germany...

  • Propaganda in the United States
    Propaganda in the United States
    Propaganda in the United States comes from governments and private entities of various kinds. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions and encite action...

  • Propaganda in the People's Republic of China
    Propaganda in the People's Republic of China
    Propaganda in the People's Republic of China as interpreted in Western media refers to the Communist Party of China's use of propaganda to sway public and international opinion in favor of its policies. Domestically, this includes censorship of proscribed views and an active cultivation of views...

  • Propaganda in North Korea
    Propaganda in North Korea
    The propaganda in North Korea is extensively based on the Juche ideology to promote the Workers' Party of Korea line. From its beginning to this day the propaganda is omnipresent.-Cult of personality:...

External links

Further Reading

  • Ellul, Jacques
    Jacques Ellul
    Jacques Ellul was a French philosopher, law professor, sociologist, lay theologian, and Christian anarchist. He wrote several books about the "technological society" and the interaction between Christianity and politics....

    . Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes
    Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes
    Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes is a landmark work on the subject of propaganda by French philosopher,theologian, and sociologist Jacques Ellul. This book appears to be the first attempt to study propaganda from a sociological approach as well as a psychological one...

    . Trans. Konrad Kellen & Jean Lerner. New York: Knopf, 1965. New York: Random House/ Vintage 1973
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