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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union

The Party Role

In the late 1980s, the secretary for ideology and the Central Committee's Ideological Department functioned mainly to mold popular opinion. The former not only regulated the media but also issued directives to republic and provincial ( oblast, kraia--see Glossary, and autonomous division) leaders to administer the mass media and the arts through the various "letters" departments (the media control organs that oversee "letters to the editor" offices), the International Information Department (foreign affairs information overseer), and the Culture Department. Parallel departments dealing with ideology and propaganda operated at lower party levels throughout the country to centralize control over local publications (see Intermediate-Level Party Organizations , ch. 7). Both the central and the local ideology and propaganda departments supervised culture, education, and science. In addition, as part of the party's nomenklatura (see Glossary) authority, party leaders at all levels selected editors of newspapers, magazines, and journals within their domains (see Nomenklatura , ch. 7). According to Soviet émigrés surveyed in a 1982 Rand study, "The Media and Intra-Elite Communication in the USSR," the Propaganda Department (which was absorbed by the Ideological Department in 1988) wielded great power in selections of editors for the central press organs and publishing houses. In many instances, these high positions were filled by party members who had previously worked in some section of the Propaganda Department, whether at the all-union (see Glossary) or at the local level.

Data as of May 1989