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Agitprop

AGITPROP

Agitprop, the agitation (speech) and propaganda (print, film, and visual art) section of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, was established in August of 1920, under the direction of R. Katanian to coordinate the propaganda work of all Soviet institutions. Agitprop was originally divided into five subsections, the two most important being the agitation subsection, which directed propaganda campaigns and supervised local press, and the political education subsection, which developed curriculum for Party schools. The three remaining subsections were concerned with publishing Central Committee works, addressing problems with the distribution of propaganda in literature, and coordinating work among the parties of the national minorities. Agitprop, whose activities reached their fullest height during the Stalinist era, was one of the most important Central Committee sections by 1946. The role of Agitprop during the Brezhnev years and beyond included overseeing publishing, television, radio, and sports, directing agitation and propaganda work, guiding political education within the Party, and conducting cultural work with trade unions.

Agitprop techniques, based on the political education of the immediate postrevolutionary period, were basically solidified in the 1920s. Early Agitprop in the cities included parades, spectacles, monumental sculpture, posters, kiosks, films, and agit-stations, located at major railroad stations, which had libraries of propaganda material, lecture halls, and theaters. These varied activities continued throughout the Soviet period. Agitation and propaganda were taken to the countryside during the civil war by agit-trains and agit-ships, a unique Bolshevik method for the political education of rural citizens and front-line troops. These modern conveyances functioned like moving posters with exterior decorations of heroic figures and folk art motifs accompanied by simple slogans. The trains and ships brought revolutionary leaflets, agitators, newsreels, and agitki (short propaganda films), among other items. Agit-trains were reinstituted during World War II to convey propaganda to forces at the front. After the civil war, and throughout the Soviet period, propaganda continued to be exported to the countryside via radio, traveling exhibitions, posters, literature, and film. Agitprop, like other Central Committee departments, had become relatively stable in its organization by 1948, and remained so until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

See also: central committee; higher party schools

bibliography

Kenez, Peter. (1986). The Birth of the Propaganda State: Soviet Methods of Mass Mobilization, 19171929. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Stites, Richard. (1995). Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society Since 1900. New York: Cambridge University Press.

K. Andrea Rusnock

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agitprop

ag·it·prop / ˈajitˌpräp/ • n. political (originally communist) propaganda, esp. in art or literature: [as adj.] agitprop painters.

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agitprop

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Agitprop

Agitprop (ˈædʒɪtˌprɒp) Agitpropbyuro (formerly, Soviet bureau in charge of agitation and propaganda)

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