Ë─╩ 93/94 WORKING-CLASS AND RURAL CORRESPONDENTSĺ TASKS ACCORDING TO THE VIEWS OF THE 1920s SOVIET LEADERS A.A. Slezin, A.A. Arestova Tambov State Technical University, Tambov Represented by Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor S.A. Esikov Key words and phrases: information; legislation; political control; press; power; Stalin; victims; working-class and rural correspondents.
Abstract: The authors consider working-class and rural correspondentsĺ movement in soviet Russia as a political control institution, analyze the speeches of the soviet state officials of the first decade of its existence and the decisions of party and state bodies which became the theoretical basis of this political control institution and show that victims among working-class and rural correspondents seemed quite acceptable and even necessary from communist ideologistsĺ point of view for the sake of general victory in socialism construction.
From the first years of its existence the soviet state (in the person of its leaders) considered the press as the most important instrument of class dictatorship which remains valid till it serves not only for carrying out ideas, slogans and resolutions top-down but also for expressing opinions, estimations and criticism. Already the VIIIth congress of the Russian Communist Party (of Bolsheviks), which took place in March 1919, considered ôthe exposure of the crimes of various officials and organisations and the indication of soviet and party organizations mistakes and shortcomingsö [11, p. 116] (here and hereinafter the translation is ours ľ the authors) as one of the main priorities of the party-soviet press. Local authorities formulated this task more specifically:
ôIt is necessary to write notes about party membersĺ crimes. Thus we can mark those who hang on to the party. Many rural communists commit such dealings that they should be better acquainted with a public prosecutorĺs assistantö [5, f. 1244, s. 2].
It is evident that the above mentioned problems were considered to be more topical than economic ones, that is why there was the obvious preponderance of unmasking materials in periodicals pages up to the end of the 1920s.
Thus, for example, from October 1924 till March 1925 public prosecutorĺs office filed 394 criminal suits due to the working-class and rural correspondentsĺ notes published in the pages of Morshansk district newspaper ôRed Ringingö [6, f. 1244, s. 11 ţß.]. During only 6 months of 1927 ôTambov Peasantö editorial board got 3980 notes. 487 (12 %) of them caused investigation and more than a half, as inspection showed, rightly signaled about different abuses and shortcomings. As a result criminal and administrative proceedings were instituted against 121 people . In whole in the country only public prosecutorĺs office instituted 488 criminal proceedings in 1927, 968 ľ in 1928, 1188 ľ in 1929 [9, p. 39].
It is doubtful whether such impressive figures, telling about soviet printed matters efficiency in control functions implementation, were possible, if the authorities couldnĺt organize the wide movement of freelance (working-class and rural) correspondents, which became one of the most powerful political control institutions in the 1920s.
The following figures, for example, tell about working-class and rural correspondentsĺ movement scale. By 1926 ôPeasant Newspaperö communicated with 2019 ônewspaper friendsĺ circlesö on-site. ôWorking-Class Newspaperö got 400ľ500 working-class and rural correspondentsĺ letters every day that allowed publishing some issues on eight pages .
Organizing working-class and rural correspondentsĺ movement the authorities took measures on publishing the enormous number of the methodological and specialized periodicals for working-class and rural correspondents. Altogether by the first five-year plan there were issued about 30 working-class and rural correspondentsĺ journals and 40 newsletters [10, p. 81]. All these issues tried to raise working-class and rural correspondentsĺ authority. For example, the first issue of Tula journal ôThrongö writes about a rural correspondent with respect: ôNow he is spoken about seriously. Because he is among the first builders of new village, he is the best ally of the soviet rule. A rural correspondent in a village is acknowledged by both friends and enemies. The first consider him as their best defender, assistant in common cause; the second ľ hate him fatallyö [4, p. 3].
The most famous proletarian poets and writers created the image of a working-class and rural correspondent ľ hero in their works. V.V. Mayakovskii in his poem ôRural Correspondentö (1924), particularly, proclaimed: ôYour pencil / shoots more correctly / than a rifle / and pierces / better than a bayonetö.
V.I. Leninĺs works ôGreat Initiativeö, ôWhat to Begin withö, ôLetter to Comradesö, ôParty Organization and Party Literatureö, N.I. Bukharin, A.I. Rykov, G. E. Zinov'ev, N. K. Krupskaya and L. B. Kamenevĺs speeches served to prove the necessity of readership connection with periodicals (citation corpus was modified according to intraparty struggle results).
L.D. Trotskii devoted several quite solid works to working-class and rural correspondents. As an experienced orator and political essays writer he allowed giving not only political but also professional pieces of advice to working-class ┬╬¤đ╬Đ█ Đ╬┬đ┼╠┼══╬╔ ═└Ë╩╚ ╚ ¤đ└╩Ď╚╩╚.
and rural correspondents. First of all, L.D. Trotskii summoned correspondents ôto awaken the dozing thought of the most backward matesö. However, even for him a newspaper is ôa powerful correction of state machine workö, it gets vast masses involved in checking state work and gradually prepares them for the participation in management itself through working-class and rural correspondentsĺ movement. From L.D. Trotskiiĺs point of view, a working-class correspondent ôis not just a newspaper employee, no, he is a new and important element of the soviet constitution, he supplements governmental bodies activity, counteracts their bureaucratizationö, he is ôa public consciousness body, which watches, which exposes, which demands, which insistsö . It is important to emphasize that L.D. Trotskii considered working-class and rural correspondents, first of all, as ideological fighters winning over ôthe right and possibility of the mobilization and up-bringing of working peoplesĺ public opinion in behalf of revolutionary dictatorship and socialist buildingö .
I.V. Stalin was gradually becoming more and more cited author (ôPress as a Collective Organizerö, ôThe Further You Getö, ôAgainst Self-Criticism Slogan Vulgarizationö, ôTo Peasant Newspaperö and others). I.V. Stalinĺs talk with the employee of the journal ôWorking-Class Correspondentö (1924) was of special importance for the working-class and rural correspondentsĺ movement development. I.V. Stalin stated: ôWorking-class and rural correspondents can play the role of the mouthpiece and the champion of proletarian public opinion, the exposer of soviet community shortcomings, the tireless fighter for our building perfection during press development only as an organized forceö. He wanted to see working-class and rural correspondents, first of all, as ôthe fighters for the elimination ofů shortcomings, the commanders of proletarian public opinionö. I.V. Stalin thought that their newspaper work must be controlled by party newspapers: ôNewspapers editorial boards connected with the party must manage working-class and rural correspondents directly and ideologically and censor correspondenceö [22, p. 261ľ262]. Though, from the very first years of the soviet rule the expansion of newspapers correspondentsĺ network of province, district and lower levels was directly guided by the party.
Periodicals of various purposes and scales were the champion of party ideas concerning working-class and rural correspondentsĺ movement development.
Today a lot of people are surprised by the fact that the newspapers of those times consisted mainly of working-class and rural correspondentsĺ materials.
But we must take into account that the soviet press was dilettantesĺ concern over the years. New journalists were trained directly while working. The basic criterion of their professionalism was neither journalistic mastery nor objective information possession but the consent with soviet rule policy.
Working-class and rural correspondentsĺ attraction as authoritiesĺ (as a rule, superior ones) secret agents, giving them broad supervisory functions, was caused, first of all, by the absence of the organized systematic control of central authorities over local ones, by the incompleteness of command line formation, by the frequent ôtransfersö of personnel and, most importantly, by their low qualification.
The level of the political and general culture of local officials was low and the authorities took active interest in the real situation on-site, thus inciting working-class and rural correspondents to snitching. ôIf Ignatovka village is a Ë═╚┬┼đĐ╚Ď┼Ď Ŕý. ┬.╚. ┬┼đ═└─Đ╩╬├╬. ╣2(40). 2012.
thousand versts away from the center, how can the central authorities get to know that the tax is exacted from this village incorrectly or that local authorities abuse their position without a rural correspondentĺs helpö ľ asked the central journal ôRural Correspondentö [12, p. 1]. The press organ of Tula Province Committee of Russian Communist Party (of Bolsheviks) ôVanguardö proclaimed not without reason: ôWorking-class and rural correspondentsĺ institution is the revolution great army reconnaissance partyö. The journal spoke about ôthe importance of patrols, their number and qualityö . The two-day meeting of the Secretary General of the Central Committee of Russian Communist Party (of Bolsheviks) I.V. Stalin with the delegates of the Ist AllUnion Rural Correspondentsĺ Congress, which was held on the 14thľ15th of March 1925 is still more significant. The delegates told that before the beginning of the talk I. V. Stalin had directly stated that a rural correspondent was eyes and ears of the party, its first assistant and had asked to tell the truth frankly, not to feel shy and be afraid of nothing [7, f. 1, s. 10].
Stalinĺs reaction to the numerous stories about the outrages of the partystate bureaucracy on-site was very strict. A peasant woman from Livny district of Orel province told about the injustice while levying agricultural tax: ôThey take everything from the poor. And everyone unintentionally thinks: so much blood was shed but nothing changed in the villageö [7, f. 1, s. 7ľ8].
During the meeting with rural correspondents I. V. Stalin demonstrated that he himself was ready to protect every correspondent if necessary. It is evident that I.V. Stalin understood that authorities couldnĺt radically change the situation on-site but were obliged to show that tireless struggle with abuses was carried on just due self-preservation instinct.
During the talk I.V. Stalin was able to create his image as a common peopleĺs defender, for whom any unjust deed on-site is a heart ache and a material for reflections and heroic actions. He was indignant with the fact that unaffiliated people had no admission to party and Komsomol meetings (ôfeel shy before honest peasantsö) [7, f. 1, s. 10] and pointed at the RSFSR Constitution: ôPeople wrote this Constitution and the same people will change itö [7, f. 14, s. 12]. He reacted to the criticism of the delegate from Bobrovsk district of Voronezh province M. Sitnikova concerning local authorities by sending the telegram to Voronezh, and just the next day the peasant woman admiringly told about her offers realization .
I.V. Stalin stated at the meeting: ôMany people on-site donĺt understand the goals and tasks of the soviet rule. They must be turned out, and we can do it only together. We canĺt see from Moscow everything that takes place on-site. In our villages not all people are like those who oppress you. So, find a persistent, honest man and work in councils more activelyö [7, f. 14, s. 8].
At the end of the talk Stalin also showed his actor talent: ôWe have good communists, ľ looking at women ľ rural correspondents ľ begged their pardon, ľ but also rotten communists. Try to eliminate all the disorders, outrages on-site, in a district, in a province. If you fail, write to me. My address is simple: ôMoscow. Kremlin. To Stalinö. And added a little later: ôStamps are not necessary, Iĺll get, anywayö [7, f. 14, s. 19].
Tambov rural correspondent └. Lavrinov, persecuted in his native village for local officialsĺ criticism, not for nothing admired the party leaderĺs wisdom:
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ôItĺs nice to deal with you, comrade Stalin, on-site ľ it is lethally dangerous.
They are all for oneůö [7, f. 14, s. 17]. Central soviet leaders with the help of working-class and rural correspondents were able (at least, in part) to distinguish between the dissatisfaction with concrete officialsĺ actions and the ideas about soviet rule as a just, popular and taking into account average citizensĺ opinions one.
In fact letters to newspapers turned into official appeals to competent authorities. Public prosecutorĺs office was to check working-class and rural correspondentsĺ notes when they told about abnormalities or faults. Lipetsk district congress of working-class and rural correspondents officially turned to local public prosecutorĺs office with the request to use also the notes in wall newspapers and to react to the published notes in the same newspapers.
Attention was paid to the necessity to organize the show trials on the cases revealed due to working-class and rural correspondentsĺ notes [8, f. 38, s. 17].
Working-class and rural correspondents understood that it was not enough to tell about bad work in order to awake state authoritiesĺ interest: political matter was necessary, at least, the reference to culpritsĺ non-proletarian origin.