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The Soviet World War II Propaganda Experience: A Theoretical and Institutional Analysis Prof. Alexander Livshin (Moscow State University) Prof. Igor Orlov.

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Presentation on theme: "The Soviet World War II Propaganda Experience: A Theoretical and Institutional Analysis Prof. Alexander Livshin (Moscow State University) Prof. Igor Orlov."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Soviet World War II Propaganda Experience: A Theoretical and Institutional Analysis Prof. Alexander Livshin (Moscow State University) Prof. Igor Orlov (National Research University – Higher School of Economics)

2 Major Research Goals Developing basic research principles and approaches of the « New Propaganda History »; Reconstrcucting the institutional foundations of the Soviet World War II Propaganda

3 New Propaganda History Looking at propaganda as a two-way process of socio-cultural interaction between the authorities and the society (dialogicality of propaganda) Analysing the war-time propaganda as the crucial factor of political legitimation as well as a specific mechanism of socialization in the Stalinist society Propaganda as a key institution in any society (institution of political communication) The variety of historical sources and the broadening of research opportunities for empirical historians Multi-faceted complex analysis of interactions of all elements constituting the institution of propaganda; important aspect – the symbols and images of propaganda The text of propaganda message is a form of dynamic and dialogical interaction within a certain socio-cultural context between the leaders, who generate major propagandistic meanings; the propagandist who executes the will of the leaders; and the « consumer » of propaganda – the people Multi-disciplinary approach – researching propaganda using the methods of different social sciences

4 The complexity and variety of historical sources Documents of the organizational and structural aspects of propaganda Documents reflecting the financial, material and technological aspects of propaganda Documents showing the qualitative and quantitative parameters of the propaganda apparatus and personnel Documents reflecting propaganda’s images, signs, its the symbolic and discursive aspects Documents showing the impact of propaganda on mentality and popular opinion

5 The Multi-Disciplinary Nature of the “New Propaganda History” New Propaganda History Political anthropology Political sociology Political psychology New social history New political history New cultural history Communication theory

6 Major Problematic Areas of the « New Propaganda History » The mechanisms of transforming information into propaganda Interpreting propaganda messages and reacting to them Propaganda’s social role and efficiency, including the long-term tendencies of propaganda’s impact The « feedback mechanism » with regard to the rank-and-file agitators and propagandists dominating the Soviet propaganda sphere The material resources of propaganda The limits of a propagandist’s initiative The balance of censorship and self-sensorship The balance of continuity and change within the space of propaganda The role of political emotions in propaganda Propaganda as an instrument of constructing collective political identity The reasons for the « Propaganda State » inefficiency in the first stages of the war The propaganda mechanisms of World War II evolving into those of the Cold War period

7 Continuity Versus Change General principles of the war-time propaganda had been developed long before the war The War propaganda hasn’t been the start of the new ideological tradition: Soviet propaganda of the WWII period continued the process of constructing the Stalinist society’s social order Stalinist propaganda could be viewed as the process of the pseudo-reality construction Main indicator of the Soviet propaganda’s variability – finding evidences of popular opinion transformation in the course of the war Important role played by the “propaganda of the deed” (The phenomenon of “Soviet martyrdom”, etc.) Propaganda regulating “the levels of tolerance and hatred” with regard to the enemy The complexity and heterogeneous character of the society’s emotions and its psychological atmosphere accompanies by the growth of patriotic sentiment The parental image of “Motherland” was in the center of the cultural space constructed by the interaction of such images and symbols as “Enemy”, “Defender of the Homeland”, “Treason”, “Heroism”, etc.

8 Propaganda pyramid Secretariat of the Central Committee of the All- Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) Propaganda and Agitation Department Higher Party Schools Lecture Bureau at the Committee for Higher School affairs Mass defense organizations TASS (Soviet Union Telegraph Agency) Radio CommitteeSovinformbureau Cultural and educational institutions Committee for cinematography affairs Party organizations Main Political Direction of the RKKA (Workers and Peasants’ Red Army) Political directions for the fronts Political sections for divisions Commissary of the regiment Political instructors Main Political Direction of the VMF (Naval Forces) Political Directions for Fleets

9 Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) ( ) Agitation section Paper industry section Cinematography section Cultural and educational institutions section Section for Marxist-Leninist education and re-education of Party members Local newspapers section Science section Party propaganda section Printing section

10 Main Political Directorate of the Workers and Peasants’ Red Army organization and instruction section agitation and propaganda department printing department cultural and educational institutions department section responsible for work with Komsomol members section responsible for work with armed forces and civilians of the enemy human resources section for political work among the population of occupied regions

11 Main forms of propaganda Printed propaganda Radio propaganda Verbal propaganda Visual agitation

12 The Leading Role of the Printed Propaganda “There is no better propaganda in the world than the press: magazines, newspapers, brochures. The press is something that creates the opportunity for this or that truth become known to everyone” (Stalin) Over one third of the Department of Propaganda and Agitation apparatus have been employed in the Division of the Press: To monitor the work of the central and local periodicals; To control the personnel selection and recruitment for newspapers’ and magazines’ editorial boards; To investigate and control the main publishing houses’ thematic plans; To bear responsibility for the policies of circulation; To monitor and direct the activities of TASS and Glavlit


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