“… Release the fetters of iniquity, untie the chains of the yoke, and release the oppressed to freedom, and break every yoke; Share your bread with the hungry, and bring the poor who wander into the house; when you see a naked man, clothe him, and do not hide from your soul mate."
(Isaiah 58: 6).
As you know, a revolution is nothing more than an extremely accelerated evolutionary process, accompanied by extra-economic and extra-legal violence, during which law gives way to force. Moreover, these two processes can go on simultaneously, complemented by one another.
Thus, the reform of the Russian alphabet and language, which was being prepared long before the October Revolution, although it was carried out by the Bolsheviks in the mainstream of their entire policy, nevertheless, had a positive meaning for everyone. The same was the case with the introduction of the new chronology, and in a number of other cases. Of course, all these processes were of great interest to the press, including the provincial one. Therefore, it is not surprising that soon after the February bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1917, many new periodicals appeared in the Penza province. This was inextricably linked with the rise of social and political activity, which covered all segments of the population of Russia and their desire to obtain information.
One of the Penza newspapers of the revolutionary time.
Political parties, reflecting the interests of various political clans and social groups, when the opportunity opened up to offer Russia the best, in their opinion, ways of further development, began to publish their newspapers and magazines everywhere. With their help, agitation and propaganda work was carried out, party doctrines and programs were explained to the population, and political opponents were criticized. At the same time, all information, mainly of a topical socio-political and economic nature, was presented to the reader through the prism of the interests, sympathies and antipathies of a particular political party. At the same time, almost all publications ceased to exist already in 1918: some were closed by the Soviet government due to their counter-revolutionary orientation, but the majority simply "died" due to a banal lack of funds and even simple paper, which, in general, was also into the hands of the victorious Bolsheviks.
And this is the newspaper of the Petrograd SRs …
A typical example of the political periodicals of this epoch was the newspaper "Penza speech" - the organ of the Cadets and People's Socialists; its first issue was released on May 11, 1917. The very titles of its creators speak for themselves: Prince V. Trubetskoy, Professor E. A. Zvyagintsev - that is, the nobles and all the same Russian intelligentsia, "who supported the people in their souls." The newspaper was wide-format, and it was published daily in four, and sometimes in six or two pages.
It noted that "… there are no experienced workers, they are not enough in all areas of life", and therefore "… you cannot demand from the new publication that completeness, integrity, content, which the reader has the right to demand from the old publication." However, this publication "… with impartiality illuminates the issues of our time, with respect for the opinions of others and pursuing the ideas of free citizenship … it is necessary to educate … the consciousness of citizens and their ability to sacrifice personal, clan and party interests for the sake of the Fatherland …" [1. C.1] … The publishers of the newspaper considered it their duty to promote a more sober state order and calm, state-building. Confident that "… attacks, ridicule and, perhaps, unfair criticism" will fall on them, the publishers were not going to pursue dissenting views, "… remembering that we have freedom of speech and freedom of the press, the same for everyone." Further, it was argued that "Penza speech" is a non-partisan organ, and the positions that the newspaper is going to defend were listed:
1. Full confidence in government authority.
2. Bringing the war to a happy end, to a general lasting peace that ensures the vital interests of the country.
3. Preparing society for elections to the Constituent Assembly and local government bodies.
4. Complete and impartial coverage of local life [2. C.2].
The photographs from the illustrated editions of those years show the living history of the country.
From the very first issue of the newspaper, they ran the heading "Russian Press", which provided an overview of the domestic press on any topical political issue. At the same time, at the beginning, a quotation from one or another publication was given, after which there was her commentary, expressing the position of this publication. The Bolsheviks, represented by their newspapers Pravda and Sotsial-Demokrat, were told that they apparently decided to break away from the entire "Russian State", since they supported the fraternization of soldiers at the front.
The panorama of the provincial events appeared before the readers of Penza speech in the materials under the headings "Chronicle"; "Life of the Edge". An interesting reprint of the response to the emergence of this newspaper, written by V. V. Kuraev, published by the Bolshevik newspaper Izvestia. Criticizing and exposing the reactionary, from his point of view, direction of the new newspaper, the author led the reader to the conclusion that it protects the interests of landowners and capitalists with the support of sold-out intellectuals. To this, the editors of Penza speech replied that their respect for the printed word and for freedom of the press did not allow it to "respond in the same tone."
That's even what happened, it turns out! Well, who among us loves to find the intrigues of the British in everything? As you can see, it was not without them!
And from the front page of the first issue to the beginning of June, the newspaper carried out a powerful advertising campaign for the "Freedom Loan" announced by the Provisional Government in favor of the Russian army: "Only the exertion of all our forces can give us the desired victory." In July, "Penza speech" published an appeal to the population with an appeal to join volunteer detachments.
In the reviews placed under the heading “Theater and Spectacles”, the estate and political nature of the publication is clearly visible, which clearly indicates that the publishers clearly felt the difference between themselves and the “people”: “SM was the correct captain Gordeev. Muratov, and the dramatic scenes were carried out with the proper force and enthusiasm, but I think Gordeev should be more graceful, although he was born a "muzhik", but the naval corps and even more so the academy should have educated a gentleman in him."
In the sections "Telegrams" and "Different Izvestia", short messages about Russian and international news were printed. First of all, these were reports from the fronts. The "Little Feuilleton" published satirical miniatures and poems devoted mainly to the situation in the country and blaming the left parties, the Soviets and their policies for everything. In July 1917, the newspaper carried the election campaign of the People's Freedom Party in connection with the upcoming elections to the Penza City Duma.
From mid-July to October 20, "Penza speech" did not appear in connection with the strike of printing workers and the opposition of "local ultra-left forces" participants in the "movement" [3. C.1]. In the fall and winter of the 17th the headings "Civil War" and "Cases of the Bolsheviks" appeared in the newspaper. Many articles were published, stigmatizing both themselves and the entire policy of Soviet power: "Bolshevik autocracy", "In the Smolny dungeon", "What the socialist parties did for Russia after the coup." Perhaps, for the first time, the term “yellow press” appeared in the local provincial press, and the newspaper explained that this is how “abroad” (as in the text - the authors' note) is called newspapers that are not shy about any methods to attract the public. In one of the September issues in the newspaper, the social stratification among the peasants was analyzed in detail. It was concluded that 25% of the peasants are proletarians, "37-38% are those who extract only food from their plots and the same amount of the rural bourgeoisie working for the market."
From July 8 to November 16, 1917, the Penza group of the RSDLP Mensheviks (united) published their daily newspaper "Borba". "Struggle" was small-format, came out on four pages and was rather not a newspaper, but a party combat leaflet. Its content consisted mainly of an exposition of Menshevik doctrines and programs for solving various problems; and the events taking place in the country and in the province were given from the point of view of this party.
Initially, the Bolsheviks also collaborated with the newspaper. However, very soon almost all the Bolshevik authors were sent to the front, and already on July 18, "Struggle" welcomed the Provisional Government, which shot a demonstration of workers and soldiers in Petrograd.
In articles such as "Who benefits from the socialization of the land?" and "Land Reform" [4. C.2-3], published in the August issues of 1917, considered in detail the problems of land management in Russia, however, the facts were again only stated, and appeals were not addressed to anyone in particular. It is interesting to note that the newspaper frankly explained all the difficulties of the war by the poverty of Russia in comparison with France, and this poverty, in her opinion, stemmed from the general poverty of the country's agriculture.
In principle, this edition did not contain anything new, and as for his mood, it is best conveyed by the poems of the poet S. Ganypin "In a time of trouble" printed in it:
In times of trouble
When it boils in my homeland
Treason, darkness and lies …
Sound my verse, human hearts
Wake up, alarm.
When my homeland is full
Crosses, native graves …
Sound my verse
To be silent is criminal
No more strength.
It's funny that both in its content and in the manner of presentation of the material, this newspaper directly echoes with our today's opposition editions, but only … it had no effect on the masses!
The last seven issues of Borba were published irregularly in September-November 1917 on brown brown paper. They are saturated with an extremely sharp rejection of the policies of the Bolsheviks and the October Revolution, which was perceived by Borba as "a criminal uprising raised by the Bolsheviks."
The daily Socialist-Revolutionary-Menshevik provincial newspaper "Our Way" (Organ of the United Socialists), published from December 17, 1917 to May 17, 1918, was a continuation of "Struggle" and also declared: "We are not with the Bolsheviks and even less with the Cadets …" [5. C.1]. It also contained an article about the protest of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Peasant Deputies against the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly and the activities of the Bolsheviks, which the newspaper publishers assessed sharply negatively. Accordingly, most of all other materials of Our Way contained information, selected or written in such a way as to convey to the reader this negative attitude of its editorial staff towards the events that took place in Petrograd.
At the same time, even in rampant criminality, Our Way primarily blamed the new Bolshevik government, which announced an amnesty in the country, which was directly reported in the article “Bolshevik Power and Amnesty”.
Under the heading "Little Feuilleton", satirical stories and poems were published, mainly devoted to the criticism of the Bolsheviks, both in the center and in the localities. For example, in one of the issues there was a satirical poem entitled "Report to His Majesty Vladimir Lenin", which contained a completely clear allusion to the Bolshevik Kuraev and his "expropriatory activities" in Penza.
I immediately issued a decree in Penza, So that everyone recognizes your power, And the organs of the local Socialist-Revolutionaries, cadets
And we took other bourgeoisie.
And now everything goes like clockwork here:
The Duma was dispersed with bayonets, And we made a valiant raid
Alcohol and Banks with Vessels [6. C.2].
"Boldly comrades in step, we will strengthen our spirit in the struggle, we will make our way to the kingdom of freedom, we will pave ourselves with our breasts …"
Feedback in the newspaper was present in the form of letters from readers, but their total volume was very small, moreover, they often did not have social significance. Other letters from the village at the same time were clearly symbolic. So, from the village of Tarkhovo, Penza province, a message came that the local peasants want "at least some inferior tsar, at least some kind of power …". In the same note, it was also reported that the extortion of money from rich peasants by the poor is called "Bolshevism". At the same time, the peasants dream to disperse all the employees of the volost zemstvo council, CLOSE THE SCHOOL (note by the authors - SA and VO) and “destroy the nearby forest, which haunts them” [7. C.3]. In other materials, there were sometimes such topics, the content of which has not changed at all over the subsequent time, up to the present day. In particular, this refers to the article “Urban Socialism. Sewerage. Tram. Water ", in which you can read the following:" Abroad in many cities, sidewalks are washed clean every day with brushes, and in some cities with soap, but in our house, the floors are not washed every day and both adults and children breathe dust "Is a very indicative informational passage, which over all subsequent years has turned into a kind of informational cliché. In the most recent issues of Our Way, articles appeared with headlines such as "Persecution", "Closure of Newspapers," which reported on the closure of non-Bolshevik newspapers in a number of Russian cities.
As for the purely Bolshevik publications, so much was written about them in Soviet times at all levels that in this case it makes sense to note only some of its interesting points. So, it was in the Bolshevik newspaper "Voice of Truth" and it was at this time that the call "Everything for the front, everything for victory!" Was first heard, which became so popular during the Great Patriotic War.
The anarchists had their own newspapers …
In the spring and summer of 1918, three socialist publications in foreign languages were also published in the Penza province. Thus, the Bolsheviks sought to influence the foreign prisoners of war who were in the city and thus win them over to their side. The first was called Die Weltbefreing (Liberation of the World) and was published in German, edited by Heinrich Obstetter. He participated in the days of the White Bohemian rebellion in the defense of Penza, worked as the head of the department of foreign prisoners of the provincial collegium for prisoners and refugees, and actively participated in all major provincial political events. The newspaper Vilagszabatsag (World Freedom) was published by a Hungarian group of prisoners of war. Finally, Ceskoslovenska Ruda Armaja (Czech-Slovak Red Army) was the organ of the Czechoslovakian Red Army communists, and was published in Czech, Slovak and Russian. She played a role in the political education of the Czechoslovak prisoners of war and in attracting a certain part of the soldiers of the Czechoslovak corps to the side of Soviet power. It was edited by a member of the revolutionary movement since 1905, professional journalist Artur Getzl. The main task of the newspaper was to inform the prisoners of war about the events in Russia, about the class struggle in their homeland, explaining to them the ideas of Marxism-Leninism and forming a sense of proletarian internationalism.
It should be noted that an important problem at that time was the shortage of "intelligent workers", even special advertisements were printed in the newspapers about hiring them as registrars for keeping records of bread in the countryside. It was proposed to enroll high school students, and the salary was supposed to be as much as five rubles a day with travel payments at the expense of the land committee. That is, "intelligent" labor cadres were required even at that time, and no revolutionary impulse could replace them!
Also in the spring of 1918, in the face of a sharp struggle between various social and political forces, various ideologies, the Penza Provincial Committee of the RCP (b) began to publish a new daily "Hammer". It showed and analyzed current Russian events from the point of view of Bolshevik doctrines. Practically everything that was published in the newspaper - from short informational messages to poems - was aimed at educating its readers in the spirit of Marxist-Leninist ideology, i.e. performed purely political tasks. At the same time, the articles on the front page provided an overview of current events in Russia and abroad. Much attention was paid here to the topic that was going towards the end of the First World War and was expected in the near future by the publishers of the newspaper of the world revolution. Naturally, the predatory policy of the imperialist states was subjected to sharp criticism (which, again, many of our authors and bloggers write with indignation even today!) And, of course, they talked about the intensification of the class struggle in the Western countries. Of course, all working people were called on to unity and to toughen up the struggle in the name of the world revolution: "not a single concession to the bourgeoisie, no mercy in the last struggle against its actions!"
Many articles published in Molot strongly criticized other socialist parties in Russia that did not agree with the policies of the Bolsheviks. Here are the very characteristic headlines of articles on this topic: "Former Socialists", "There is a Black in the Family," "Impossible, Sirs Sirs!" but the predators. " That is, the journalists of the victorious side were not too shy about the terms “towards the former”, although today in denouncing those who disagree we give odds to the then “accusers”. Our language has clearly become richer!
Was engaged in "Molot" and directly the political education of readers, publishing articles containing the main provisions of Marxism-Leninism. Thus, in the issue of May 5, 1918, three such articles appeared, timed to coincide with the jubilee of K. Marx "Karl Marx", "What did Marx give to the working people?", "Karl Marx is a Russian political criminal." Moreover, Molot published a lot of poems - both satirical and revolutionary - pretentious, which were found in almost every issue. The titles of these works speak for themselves: "The Sackers", "The Tale of Freedom", "March of the Communists", "Singers of the Proletarian Heights". Many authors (mostly local) glorified people of labor in poetry: "The Wayfarers", "At the Factory", "In the Foundry", "Proletarian Writer". It is interesting that this tradition - to publish the poems of "working people" - has been preserved by the modern communist press of Penza, and in the same way as then, despite the sincerity and topicality, "this is far from Pushkin."
It is interesting that the newspaper also noted the shortcomings that took place in the Bolshevik Party, that is, beginning Soviet journalists, not hesitating to "wash dirty linen in public." So, for example, the Bolshevik A. Markin in his article "The disease of our party" directly wrote that the communists do not attend party meetings, that "everyone was swallowed up by the Soviet." As a result, in his opinion, life in the party begins to die down, and "Soviet workers are torn away from the masses." The solutions, as always, were proposed in an imperative spirit: "to introduce party service for all Soviet workers," and in conclusion, the "slogan of the moment" was proclaimed - "Back to the party!" Those.in the conditions of effectively organized work in the soviets, the activity of the Bolshevik Party proper was, in general, clearly unnecessary, and it is not surprising where subsequently the slogan "For the Soviets, but without the Communists" was born!
This newspaper was also published in Penza. How many different printed editions were there then, weren't there?
The content of the Penza Poorota newspaper largely coincided with the content of Molot. However, it paid even more attention to foreign events, as if the poor could become richer from this! At the same time, the heading of international news was called “The Beginning of the World Revolution”, and, judging by the materials published in it, it turned out that the world revolution had already begun.
Summaries from the fronts of the Civil War were published in the section "Struggle against counterrevolution". The events that took place in the regions of Russia occupied by the White troops, the decisions taken by the command of the White Guard units and the governments that supported them, were told in short messages under the heading "In the camp of the White Guards."
The state of affairs in the Penza province was reported by notes under the heading "Around the province". Here much attention was paid to the changes that were taking place in the countryside, as well as to the work of the provincial committees of the poor. And what is interesting to note, it turns out - and one of the notes on this topic said directly that when organizing the committees of the poor in the Mokshansk district, it was noted that "the poorer and smaller the village, the more successful the organization of communist cells and committees of the poor goes there." And, on the contrary, “in villages with a population of six to seven thousand, with shops, fishing establishments … the creation and operation of committees is extremely difficult”, i.e. The "tramp" character of the revolution itself in the countryside and the activities of the commissars in the province could not but strike the eye for an attentive and thoughtful reader!
The notes and correspondence published under the heading "Spiders and Flies" also dealt with the class struggle in the countryside. It constantly printed letters from peasant activists from the villages and villages of the Penza province, the authors of which urged the poor to get out of the influence of the "kulaks" and fight exploitation, ie. “The voice of the people” in the Bolshevik newspapers was now used in the most active way, which was not noticed even 10 years ago. However, the peasants wrote not only about kulak and priestly "outrages", but also about drunkenness in individual Soviets and other negative facts of the life of the peasants at that time.
There were also published articles of an educational nature, which told about the various stages in the history of the national liberation movement. For example, in Nos. 112-114, the article "Pugachevshchina" was published, which not only talked about the reasons and the course of the peasant war under the leadership of Ye. I. Pugachev, but also popularly explained its historical significance. Numerous cartoons were dedicated to visualizing the images of the class enemy, which were printed in almost every issue of the "Penza Poor". Most often they reflected the vicissitudes of international politics and episodes of intervention, civil war, struggle against the kulaks, etc. Some cartoons were provided with verse commentaries.
In December 1918, "Hammer" and "Penza Poorota" merged, and on December 16, the first issue of "Penza Commune" was published. The new newspaper became full-format and was published daily on four pages. Its editors were S. Davydov and A. Maryin. The editorial of the first issue, written by Maryin and entitled "Penza Commune", spoke about the goals pursued by the publication - “to give the masses (ordinary workers and peasants) an interesting popular newspaper that even any semi-literate reader could easily read and assimilate. It should touch upon the most pressing problems of the life of workers and peasants, post short notes on current events and comment, explain them to the reader, be a friend, a faithful interlocutor and leader of the working people. " At the end of the article, there was an appeal to readers with a request for assistance in distributing the newspaper and for cooperation with it.
From the "Penza Poor" to the new edition were headings: "The beginning of the world revolution", "White light", "In the camp of the White Guards", and from "Hammer" - "News from the village", "Rabochaya zhizn", "Around the counties" … Summaries from the civil front were published under the heading "On the Red Front." As in previous editions, the Penza Commune published many stories, feuilletons and cartoons. The section of humor was called "Bitches and Hitch" in the newspaper.
A traditional section in the newspaper was the "Party Life" section, which also contained calls for the party's health. Under the heading "Red Calendar" the events that took place on this day in the past years were reported - a tradition that has successfully migrated to many newspapers of today!
The newspaper maintained intense reader feedback. This can be clearly seen in the materials under the headings "Reader's Complaints" and "Mailbox". Here were printed both the letters of readers and the answers that the editorial staff gave to them.
From January 29, "Penza Commune" began to appear on wrapping paper, and its last issue was published on February 10, 1919.
Since there were many foreign citizens in the Penza military garrison, from July 14, 1918, the newspaper “For freedom” (a military organ of the Penza Red Army) began to appear in the city twice a week. The article "From the Editor" stated that it would be published in Russian, Czech-Slovak, German, Hungarian, Latvian, Serbian, Polish and other languages in order to rally the Penza international garrison around the newspaper.
Odessa newspaper "Struggle" in 1919.
It is interesting that in it we find a different view of the problems that existed in the Bolshevik Party. In the article “It's Time to Understand” (signed with the pseudonym “Proletarian”) its author wrote that “the newspapers are read by the dark mass of the people … spirit and strength ". Here's how - the "dark people" should not know the party differences!
V. Kuraev's article "The Proletarian in the Countryside" again noted the need for more active agitation of propaganda in the countryside. That "in each provincial town it is necessary to publish small newspapers like" The poor "and distribute them free of charge in tens of thousands", as well as to use for propaganda purposes the publication of a character familiar to the people - songbooks, calendars, popular prints with poems. The main slogan of the publication was the appeal: "Long live the merciless iron dictatorship of the urban and rural poor!" [8. C.1.] The newspaper described in detail the suppression of armed uprisings against the Soviet regime, and it was emphasized that all its enemies would be destroyed in the most merciless manner. That is, the stake in the informational impact on the public was largely made on fear (which was exactly what the tsarist government lacked! - note by the authors S. A. and V. O.) and this practice, as we all well know, completely justified itself!
A very curious example of the Soviet revolutionary press was the county newspaper Golos Poornya (The Poor Man's Voice). This newspaper began to appear in 1919 and from the very first issue addressed the readers with a proposal to establish close feedback, and subsequently constantly reminded him of this. “You give little information, you do little correspondence in the newspaper! Comrades, send more! …Without hesitation! All that is fair will be placed."
The newspaper as a whole was even more revolutionary in character than the newspapers published in the provincial center. In any case, it contained much more short appeals and appeals, which were both informational and clearly slogan: “Families of deserters are deprived of rations and the right to use land; “Read the newspaper to the illiterate. This is your duty, comrade! " etc. The newspaper also paid a lot of attention to the fight against religion. In particular, the author A. Blumenthal in his article "School and Faith" explained that faith in God was born in a moment of popular despair and that now it is dying, since it was an instrument of popular enslavement, which has now been destroyed. "Long live the free man and his new free faith!" - he ended his article with a rather peculiar appeal [9. C.3]. The layout of the materials themselves in the newspaper was extremely variegated. Often, information from abroad was side by side with instructions on how to carry out sowing!