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Pravda

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The front page of an issue of Pravda published during the . The main headline says: "Declaration by the  Leadership". The second reads: "Appeal to the Soviet People".
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The front page of an issue of Pravda published during the attempted coup of August 1991. The main headline says: "Declaration by the Soviet Leadership". The second reads: "Appeal to the Soviet People".

Pravda (Template:Ll: Пра́вда, "truth") is a famous newspaper of the Soviet Union, an official publication of the Communist Party between 1918 and 1991. The paper is still in operation in Russia, but it is most famous in Western countries for its pronouncements during the period of the Cold War. A number of other, less famous, newspapers were (and are) also called Pravda.

Contents

Origins

Pravda was founded as a newspaper for workers in 1912; the Bolsheviks started legal publication of the newspaper in St. Petersburg on April 22, 1913. It was a time of unrest, with 400,000 workers striking on May Day 1913, and letters from common workers were encouraged and published in the papers, showing and stirring the workers' anger. Pravda was regarded by the communists as a successor to the socialist newspaper Iskra.

Vladimir Lenin, who controlled the paper, placed Joseph Stalin on the editorial board; Stalin's first stint on the board lasted until his exile in 1913. During this period, the editorial board's more moderate stance often clashed with Lenin's, and the editors sometimes censored or refused to publish Lenin's works. The Russian government attempted to suppress publication of the newspaper, but the Bolsheviks built up a loyal readership of over 40,000 and a network of distributors. Pravda was dependent on financial support from workers.

Lenin was now living in Krakow and writing more and more articles for the paper, with increasingly anti-Tsarist sentiments. When the paper was shut down, the Bolsheviks continued to distribute newspapers illegally.

Pravda played an important role in the revolution to come. The February Revolution of 1917 allowed Pravda to reopen, and shortly after Stalin's return from Siberian exile in March 1917 he returned to the editorial board, working with Lev Kamenev. After Stalin and Kamenev's return, Pravda initially took a more conciliatory tone towards the Provisional Government; however, its readers were unhappy with this change. During April, Lenin's April Theses set out Lenin's analysis of where Russian politics should develop; Lenin strongly condemned the Provisional Government and the prevailing editorial stance of Pravda; a few days later, Pravda's editorial tone changed, strongly condemning Alexander Kerensky and other Provisional Government sympathizers as being "counter-revolutionaries". From then on, Pravda essentially followed Lenin's editorial stance. After the October Revolution Pravda was selling nearly 100,000 copies daily.

The Soviet period

The offices of the newspaper were transferred to Moscow on March 3, 1918. Pravda became an official publication, or "organ", of the Soviet Communist Party. Pravda became the conduit for announcing official policy and policy changes. It would remain so until 1991.

Other newspapers existed as organs of other state bodies. For example, Izvestia — which covered foreign relations — was the organ of the Supreme Soviet, Trud was the organ of the trade union movement, Komsomolskaya Pravda was the organ of the Komsomol organisation, and Pionerskaya Pravda was the organ of Young Pioneers.

In the period after the death of Lenin in 1924, Pravda was to form a power base for Nikolai Bukharin, one of the rival party leaders, who edited the newspaper and was able to develop his reputation as a political theorist from this role.

Similarly, after the death of Stalin in 1953 and the ensuing power vacuum, Nikita Khrushchev used his editorial control over Pravda as a tool to gain power ahead of Georgy Malenkov, the editor of Izvestia.

The post-Soviet period

On August 22, 1991, a decree by Russian President Boris Yeltsin shut down the Communist Party and seized all of its property, including Pravda. Its team of journalists did not struggle for their newspaper or for its history. Instead, they registered a new paper with the same title just weeks after that.

A few months later, the then-editor Gennady Seleznyov (now a member of the Duma) sold Pravda to a family of Greek entrepreneurs, the Yannikoses. The next editor-in-chief, Alexander Ilyin, handed Pravda's trademark — the Order of Lenin medals — and the new registration certificate over to the new owners.

By that time, a very serious split occurred in the editorial office. Over 90% of the journalists who had been working for Pravda until 1991 quit their jobs. They established their own version of the newspaper, which was later shut under government pressure. These same journalists, in January 1999, launched Pravda Online (http://www.pravda.ru/), the first web-based newspaper in the Russian language; English and Portuguese versions are also available.

The new Pravda newspaper and Pravda Online are not related in any way, although the journalists of both publications are still in touch with each other. The paper Pravda tends to analyse events from a leftist point of view, while the web-based newspaper often takes a Nationalist approach.

Other Pravdas

Russian Pravdas

Other Pravdas had existed before the Russian Revolution, but they were comparatively short-lived. Leon Trotsky published the newspaper considered the fore-runner of the famous Pravda in Geneva and Vienna between October 3, 1908 and April 23, 1912. During its run, Trotsky's Pravda was the most popular revolutionary publication; Lenin later appropriated the name and popular style of Trotsky's Pravda as a Bolshevik newspaper.

The Tsarist government pursued a policy of shutting these early Pravdas, but each time the publisher would re-establish the paper under a slightly changed name (True Pravda, Workers' Pravda, etc.), thereby bypassing the ban.

Other Russian Pravdas included Komsomolskaya Pravda and Pionerskaya Pravda, mentioned above.

Slovak Pravda

Pravda (the Slovak word for truth) is also the name of a newspaper in Slovakia, which in the past was the Slovak equivalent of the Russian newspaper. Founded in 1945 (other Slovak Pravdas existing before [in 1925-1932, 1944 ] were shut down), it was a publication of the Communist Party of Slovakia and, as such, it became a state-owned newspaper. Its equivalent in the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was the Rudé Právo.

After the Velvet Revolution, Pravda temporarily became the newspaper of the Social Democratic Party, the successor to the Communist Party of Slovakia. Today, however, it is a modern neutral newspaper and one of Slovakia's main newspapers.

Ukrayinska Pravda

Ukrayinska Pravda (Ukrainian: Українська правда, Ukrainian Truth) is Ukrainian liberal news organization.

Pravda in arts

  • American science fiction author Robert Heinlein, wrote a nonfiction monograph on the newspaper, based on his experiences as a tourist in Russia during the Soviet period, entitled "Pravda means Truth."
    Missing image
    Lenin_reading_Pravda.gif
    Lenin reading a copy of Pravda
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, a tale of Lunar revolution also by Heinlein, contains a paper (published in Novy Leningrad) named Lunaskya Pravda.
  • In the film Alphaville, the secret agent Lemmy Caution claims at one point to be working for Figaro-Pravda, obviously an amalgamation of Pravda with Le Figaro.
  • Pravda was often present in artistic works of Socialist Realism.

References

  • Cookson, Matthew (April 30, 2004). The spark that lit a revolution (http://www.iso.org.au/socialistworker/532/p7c.html). Socialist Worker, p. 7.
  • PRAVDA.Ru: About us (http://english.pravda.ru/about_en.htmld). Retrieved August 3, 2004.
  • "Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia: Russia under Kruschchev". Encyclopædia Britannica CD 1999.

See also

External links

fr:Pravda he:פראבדה it:Pravda nl:Pravda fi:Pravda sv:Pravda

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