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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union


The mass media acted as an instrument of the CPSU, not only to control society but also to mobilize it. Lenin and the Bolshevik leadership depended on the media to win support for the new regime. Indeed, without important communications links from the party to the people, the Bolsheviks' message would never have been broadly disseminated. During the early years, the leadership sought to galvanize the population by spreading the party line and encouraging the population to build a strong communist society, exhorting it through editorials, commentaries, and tributes in newspapers, journals, and radio. Over time, television, films, and computers became essential components of the CPSU's agitprop (see Glossary) efforts, as well as of its campaigns to spread Marxist-Leninist values among the people. The technological information revolution forced the party to reevaluate its efforts to control the masses because advances in technology also created the potential for communications links outside regime control. For example, with the spread of video cassette recorders (VCRs) in the late 1980s, the party leadership faced the problems created by the underground circulation of video tapes, in addition to the circulation of illegal periodicals.

Data as of May 1989